Question 1

I guess the obvious place to start would be at the beginning, so where did it all start for you in terms of your angling?

I’ve always had a dabble from a young age, but more so because of my friends – I was never really mad into fishing as a youngster. I remember a mate’s dad took us fishing for my first night. I caught my first twenty using some of his spare kit, then went out and bought my first little set up. I was around 14 at the time, and armed with my new pair of Fox rods and alarms, my good friend Ashley took me to Farnham Flint for three nights. I blanked, and as soon as I got home, I told my brother he could have all my fishing gear and that I wasn’t interested anymore. He actually gave me 20 quid in the end, just so I couldn’t ask for it back.

Question 1

I guess the obvious place to start would be at the beginning, so where did it all start for you in terms of your angling?

I’ve always had a dabble from a young age, but more so because of my friends – I was never really mad into fishing as a youngster. I remember a mate’s dad took us fishing for my first night. I caught my first twenty using some of his spare kit, then went out and bought my first little set up. I was around 14 at the time, and armed with my new pair of Fox rods and alarms, my good friend Ashley took me to Farnham Flint for three nights. I blanked, and as soon as I got home, I told my brother he could have all my fishing gear and that I wasn’t interested anymore. He actually gave me 20 quid in the end, just so I couldn’t ask for it back.

Question 2

At what point did that change then?

It was when I moved from Reading to Thatcham in 2007. Ashley and my mate Nathan had slowly worn me down and I eventually found myself making the odd trip to Bellwood lake. There was a large mirror in there, a mid-forty named ‘Shoulders’. I was fishing when I could, but honestly didn’t have a clue. My mates were always keen to give me a little push and tell me what was what and taught me a lot. I was in my early twenties by now and doing the odd night here and there. We’d flit about on a few waters such as the Thames, Bellwood, and a couple of local pits that didn’t belong to anyone, one of which I eventually went on to catch a forty mirror from.

Question 2

At what point did that change then?

It was when I moved from Reading to Thatcham in 2007. Ashley and my mate Nathan had slowly worn me down and I eventually found myself making the odd trip to Bellwood lake. There was a large mirror in there, a mid-forty named ‘Shoulders’. I was fishing when I could, but honestly didn’t have a clue. My mates were always keen to give me a little push and tell me what was what and taught me a lot. I was in my early twenties by now and doing the odd night here and there. We’d flit about on a few waters such as the Thames, Bellwood, and a couple of local pits that didn’t belong to anyone, one of which I eventually went on to catch a forty mirror from.

Question 3

So was your fishing starting to become more of a focus by now?

It was. I had my first forty from Bellwood, the mighty Shoulders at just over 43lbs and it all changed from there. I found myself making time to fish rather than just going when I could.

Question 3

So was your fishing starting to become more of a focus by now?

It was. I had my first forty from Bellwood, the mighty Shoulders at just over 43lbs and it all changed from there. I found myself making time to fish rather than just going when I could.

Question 4

Where did it go from there then?

I had been bouncing about, fishing a few different waters but eventually ended up fishing a large sailing lake which a friend had been running. It was big, and at 350 acres, I felt way out of my depth. There was only a small syndicate, so it was great for getting about, baiting areas and just learning what was what. I remember making a cool little swim out in the lake using scaffolding – it was one of those kind of waters. That spring, I settled in an area which contained a large set of snags. I was keeping bait going in and checking on the snags daily. I remember going down 17 days on the bounce without fishing it, just looking around in the boat and baiting. On the 18th day I had a golf tournament and ended up badly sunburned. I had planned to get to the lake afterwards, but was feeling rough with it, maybe heat stroke or something, so I went home. A mate who had also been fishing a similar area called me at around 10 that night, telling me the fish had turned up. I’m fairly confident they were there all day and he just wanted a head start on me! (laughing)

I arrived at the lake for first light the next morning, boated the gear over to my swim and got the rods in position. I had two bites within an hour of being there and couldn’t believe it. I phoned my mate who was the other end of the island I was fishing but there was no answer, before I could call again the other rod ripped off! Shortly after I slid my net under one of the lake’s proper ones. I stood there up to my chest in water with two fish in my only “good” retainer, and had this big mirror sulking in my net. By now I’m screaming for my mate who was only a hundred yards or so away. After a minute or so of shouting for him it was clear he was out for the count. I couldn’t reach him on foot as the Island was thick with brambles, the only way to wake him up would be to go round using the boat and give him a good shake. I did have another retainer with me, one of the old Angling Intelligence ones, but had been hearing horror stories of carp escaping. I wasn’t planning on ever using again, but my new one was in use and I needed to wake my mate up to help with the fish on the bank. I decided to transfer the carp into the AI retainer, but tied the top together with some cord. I was confident the carp was never getting out and took a minute to get myself together, just before I went to grab my mate, I thought I’d check on the fish. I couldn’t believe it when all I found was an empty retainer! This mirror had escaped! I was so concerned about the top coming open that I had completely forgotten to zip the sides up! I was so annoyed with myself; I just couldn’t believe it.

Question 4

Where did it go from there then?

I had been bouncing about, fishing a few different waters but eventually ended up fishing a large sailing lake which a friend had been running. It was big, and at 350 acres, I felt way out of my depth. There was only a small syndicate, so it was great for getting about, baiting areas and just learning what was what. I remember making a cool little swim out in the lake using scaffolding and everything, one of them kind of waters. That spring, I settled in an area which contained a large set of snags. I was keeping bait going in and checking on the snags daily. I remember going down 17 days on the bounce without fishing it, just looking around in the boat and baiting. On the 18th day I had a golf tournament and ended up badly sunburned. I had planned to get to the lake afterwards, but was feeling rough with it, maybe heat stroke or something, so I went home. A mate who had also been fishing a similar area called me at around 10 that night, telling me the fish had turned up. I’m fairly confident they were there all day and he just wanted a head start on me! (laughing)

I arrived at the lake for first light the next morning, boated the gear over to my swim and got the rods in position. I had two bites within an hour of being there and couldn’t believe it. I phoned my mate who was the other end of the island I was fishing but there was no answer, before I could call again the other rod ripped off! Shortly after I slid my net under one of the lake’s proper ones. I stood there up to my chest in water with two fish in my only “good” retainer, and had this big mirror sulking in my net. By now I’m screaming for my mate who was only a hundred yards or so away. After a minute or so of shouting for him it was clear he was out for the count. I couldn’t reach him on foot as the Island was thick with brambles, the only way to wake him up would be to go round using the boat and give him a good shake. I did have another retainer with me, one of the old Angling Intelligence ones, but had been hearing horror stories of carp escaping. I wasn’t planning on ever using again, but my new one was in use and I needed to wake my mate up to help with the fish on the bank. I decided to transfer the carp into the AI retainer, but tied the top together with some cord. I was confident the carp was never getting out and took a minute to get myself together, just before I went to grab my mate, I thought I’d check on the fish. I couldn’t believe it when all I found was an empty retainer! This mirror had escaped! I was so concerned about the top coming open that I had completely forgotten to zip the sides up! I was so annoyed with myself; I just couldn’t believe it than just going when I could.

Question 5

No!? Do you know what fish it was?

Yeah, it actually went on to do another capture just after spawning that year and weighed over 45lbs! I knew it was big and at that time the largest carp I had seen on the bank.

Question 5

No!? Do you know what fish it was?

Yeah, it actually went on to do another capture just after spawning that year and weighed over 45lbs! I knew it was big and at that time the largest carp I had seen on the bank.

Question 6

Its funny isnt it, but if you dont have the photos, its as if it didnt happen? Wheres the trust?

If I’m honest, the photo I can live without, but it’s not knowing the weight. I’m fairly sure that was a new PB and could still potentially be my personal best to this day, we’ll never know. But yeah, that did me in really and although it wasn’t the fish I really wanted from there, I never did go back.

Question 6

Its funny isnt it, but if you dont have the photos, its as if it didnt happen? Wheres the trust?

If I’m honest, the photo I can live without, but it’s not knowing the weight. I’m fairly sure that was a new PB and could still potentially be my personal best to this day, we’ll never know. But yeah, that did me in really and although it wasn’t the fish I really wanted from there, I never did go back.

Question 7

I can imagine. So, what next?

That summer saw the start of my Wasing ticket, 10 years after putting my name down on the list. I had put my name down in 2007, but I knew nothing of the place back then. It was Nathan who had made me join really. I think at the time, the Parrot was just another 30lb mirror, but there were a lot of nice fish to go at, or so Nathan had told me. If I’m honest, I never really thought about fishing there. The previous winter before getting my ticket, the Parrot had done the British record, but like I say, I’d kind of forgotten about it and was looking at fishing other lakes – then my chance to fish Cranwells arrived.

Question 7

I can imagine. So, what next?

That summer saw the start of my Wasing ticket, 10 years after putting my name down on the list. I had put my name down in 2007, but I knew nothing of the place back then. It was Nathan who had made me join really. I think at the time, the Parrot was just another 30lb mirror, but there were a lot of nice fish to go at, or so Nathan had told me. If I’m honest, I never really thought about fishing there. The previous winter before getting my ticket, the Parrot had done the British record, but like I say, I’d kind of forgotten about it and was looking at fishing other lakes – then my chance to fish Cranwells arrived.

Question 8

What is it like fishing for a potential British record, the opportunity doesnt come around often?

If I’m being honest, it’s not something I really thought about, it’s just a big carp, and close to home which made it ideal. My main target was actually a carp known as Floppy, I just loved that carp and was buzzing when I caught it! I didn’t really think about the weight of the Parrot, I just knew it was a fish I wanted to catch.

Question 8

What is it like fishing for a potential British record, the opportunity doesnt come around often?

If I’m being honest, it’s not something I really thought about, it’s just a big carp, and close to home which made it ideal. My main target was actually a carp known as Floppy, I just loved that carp and was buzzing when I caught it! I didn’t really think about the weight of the Parrot, I just knew it was a fish I wanted to catch.

Question 9

I do know you had a chance at the Parrot, would you like to share what happened there?

Some you win, some you lose. (laughing)

Question 9

I do know you had a chance at the Parrot, would you like to share what happened there?

Some you win, some you lose. (laughing)

Question 10

Fair enough (laughing) what was your time like on Wasing then?

I did a full year on Cranwells, which was really enjoyable. I did a lot of nights, 52 to be exact and I managed 103 fish. It was just really nice, lots of lovely carp and a beautiful lake. For my second season, I was really going for it, I had seen the Parrot on the bank by now and was blown away. It was then that I started to change the way I fished on there. Rather than just fishing for bites like I had been doing, I was going to make more of a concentrated effort for that particular one. I had worked out patterns by that point and noticed a few things, so came up with a plan. I decided to bait it heavily during the close, in preparation – it felt good for the return trip. Sadly, that opening session, the Parrot was found dead. A mate had called and said he’d seen something floating; I had a look through the ‘bins’ and at first thought it was a swan, but unfortunately it turned out to be the Parrot. After that, I only did another handful of nights that year.

Question 10

Fair enough (laughing) what was your time like on Wasing then?

I did a full year on Cranwells, which was really enjoyable. I did a lot of nights, 52 to be exact and I managed 103 fish. It was just really nice, lots of lovely carp and a beautiful lake. For my second season, I was really going for it, I had seen the Parrot on the bank by now and was blown away. It was then that I started to change the way I fished on there. Rather than just fishing for bites like I had been doing, I was going to make more of a concentrated effort for that particular one. I had worked out patterns by that point and noticed a few things, so came up with a plan. I decided to bait it heavily during the close, in preparation – it felt good for the return trip. Sadly, that opening session, the Parrot was found dead. A mate had called and said he’d seen something floating; I had a look through the ‘bins’ and at first thought it was a swan, but unfortunately it turned out to be the Parrot. After that, I only did another handful of nights that year.

Question 11

Sounds like you enjoyed some great fishing which came to an unfortunate end, was that it for Wasing then?

No. I did have a go on Oxlease, which is the lake next door. It’s joined to Cranwells by two channels, one which is around 6ft wide and 10m long that the fish can actually move between when the water is up. There were a group of six ‘gooduns’ which I would find regularly and could always be found together. I decided to start priming a couple of areas nice and early. The prep started paying off and I was having some good hits. I hadn’t seen this group of better fish for a while though. Being a really deep lake, I assumed they were in the deeper water. Eventually one of them did turn up on the bank, but from the lake next door! They had obviously moved through when it had flooded. It all got very confusing then, knowing which fish were where and if I’m honest, trying to catch a couple of carp in amongst the ones I had caught already became a real headache! I did do some more time between the two lakes and managed one of the fish I needed, the Long Common at 43lb. That was my last night on there.

CLICK HERE for part 2

Question 11

Sounds like you enjoyed some great fishing which came to an unfortunate end, was that it for Wasing then?

No. I did have a go on Oxlease, which is the lake next door. It’s joined to Cranwells by two channels, one which is around 6ft wide and 10m long that the fish can actually move between when the water is up. There were a group of six ‘gooduns’ which I would find regularly and could always be found together. I decided to start priming a couple of areas nice and early. The prep started paying off and I was having some good hits. I hadn’t seen this group of better fish for a while though. Being a really deep lake, I assumed they were in the deeper water. Eventually one of them did turn up on the bank, but from the lake next door! They had obviously moved through when it had flooded. It all got very confusing then, knowing which fish were where and if I’m honest, trying to catch a couple of carp in amongst the ones I had caught already became a real headache! I did do some more time between the two lakes and managed one of the fish I needed, the Long Common at 43lb. That was my last night on there.

CLICK HERE for part 2

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