Dan Wildbore quizzes Scotty K on writing, publicity, weekend angling and his time on the notorious Car Park Lake in Yateley.
Scotty K // the Interview: Part I - Text Only
DAN: Some of the readers may recognise you from a few appearances in books, but you have never really done anything for the mags, why is this?
SCOTT: Firstly, I would say that nobody has really asked me to be honest. I have always kept my pictures to myself and a few friends and never really felt the need to share them about. They were fishing the same lakes as myself and none of us wanted to attract any more attention to the place.
I have never had a sponsorship before, so have not felt obliged to give my pictures away. I have had a reduction in my bait cost, but they never really asked for anything in return, I have always been happy to pay for things and get on with my fishing and not have to do anything that may jeopardise the attention drawn to the lake if you know what I mean.
Some of the lakes that I have fished are no publicity and it was frowned up to publicise anything from there. I fished one particular lake that had such rules from a young age and I guess I just carried it on from there. If a friend asked to see a picture I would show them, but as soon as social media came in, a picture can go from between a few of you to thousands of people in an instant.
DAN: With an area code that boasts an impressive list of waters, have you fished all the lakes you would have liked to or did you miss out on some in their hey day?
SCOTT: I definitely missed out on the North Lake, back when Bazil was in there. I used to fish a club lake nearby and a few of my friends left to go and fish the North. The Yateley complex was a little bit ahead of me in terms of experience, so I didn’t fish it, but would visit them all the time.
They used to fish the Match and the Copse and I would visit them a lot, especially at the weekends. They then progressed to the North Lake and I loved the place. It was the same as the Car Park, you never really feel ready for it and being 18 at the time, I thought it was a bit too much of a step up.
I saw a lot of the fish on the bank, including Bazil and I just loved the place. The pits were full of weed and an atmosphere like nothing I had experienced before. I used to tip toe past anglers on the Car Park to see my friends on the North and it felt like you shouldn’t be there.
Before I got over to that side of the road to fish, Bazil passed away. The Causeway fish is another one that I would have loved to have a go for. I never fished it but photographed it for a friend and what a carp that was.
DAN: Speaking of the Car Park Lake, it was known to be one of the trickiest pits in the land, yet having spoken to people that fished it in the past, you were incredibly successful on there. What was the secret?
SCOTT: I think it was the hours of walking, chatting and learning leading up to actually obtaining a ticket. I had a few friends fishing it and for two or three seasons, I would go and share stories over cups of tea and through watching the lake you begin to build a picture or a plan in your mind.
I got to know the people that fished there and by the time I got my ticket, I knew the lads and had seen a fair few of the carp on the bank.
I was lucky too that the first one that I caught was on my 5th night, which gave me a lot of confidence. It removed that doubt or your bait and rig not being effective and from then on I could just worry about getting in the right area and making sure everything was bang on.
I caught two the first year and 5 the second season. I think I fished there for 18 months and absolutely loved my time on there, it truly was a special lake. I was a bit of a loose end because one minute you think this could take 5 years, but I was lucky in the sense that it didn’t take that long at all.
DAN: Did you have a favourite one in there and what was the most memorable capture from the lake?
SCOTT: I would have said before I joined Chunky was my favourite one. I never caught that one, but I did see it on the bank and it was such an impressive carp. It died on the opening day of the second season that I fished it, which was such a shame.
I would say that my favourite capture was Arthur, mainly from the way it was caught. I was fishing the bars a couple of weeks before and my friend had caught a fish from up the road. His phone had run out of battery so he came to get me for photos. On his way round he spotted a big fish roll really close in off the island swim.
He told me about it and at the time, the spots that everyone used to fish out in the pond were blown and covered in old bait. So the swim was fairly left alone and I was intrigued to see what was going on close in. I think the swim had been free for 11 nights, which was unheard of at the time.
I got in there and had a flick around with a lead close in. It felt really odd flicking around so close in, a rod length from the bank. Right at the bottom of the shelf I found one little crack down amongst the soft surroundings. It was totally different to anything else around it and it took a number of casts to get it right, such was the size of it. I found another spot a couple of rod lengths to the right, which was a nice, smooth silty area. I baited that one with a couple of hundred little boilies and just fished a single on the crack-down spot.
Sure enough about 10pm that night, the single hook bait was snapped up by an angry carp, which turned out to be Arfur, one of the real tricky ones to catch and special carp for sure.
DAN: When your time was up on the Car Park, did you find it hard to find somewhere to fish that held such prestige and a unique atmosphere?
SCOTT: Yes, totally. I didn’t live in Yateley at the time but actually moved there not long after. I would still pop in to the Lake most days after work, because I loved the place so much.
It had been such a huge part of my life for so long, I found it hard to let it go. I wasn’t fishing it, but my friends still had tickets and would go visit them and almost re-live the wonderful times and experiences I’d had on the lake.
DAN: Have you always been a weekend angler?
SCOTT: Yes, since day one really, I have fished the weekends. When I fished the Car Park it was busy, but quite often I would go down on a Friday night and if I couldn’t get a swim, I would be back first thing on a Saturday morning. Then I would squeeze it out until Monday morning and start work late. It normally meant that I could get a decent swim at least on the Sunday night.
It was weird at times, because some people would even swap swims. If one person had caught Arfur but it was in his swim, and someone had Heather in their swim and they wanted to catch it, they would sometimes swap.
DAN: Having most of the lakes that you have fished quite local to your home, is prep work something that you put in to your fishing?
SCOTT: I must admit that it is something that I don’t tend to do and never really have. A lot of my fishing is with single hook baits and when I have started fishing on this lake as a kid, we used to always find the fish and set up on top of them. I prefer the opportunist style of fishing, setting up on the day where the fish are and reading the situation there and then.
A lot of the time when you pre-bait you get obsessed and often disappointed. If all you can think about is that swim, only to arrive and find someone in there, you are on a downer from the off. Whereas if you can turn up with no pre-conceived idea of what you are going to do or where you’re going to go, it’s a nice way of fishing.
I have pre-baited recently, but that was because I couldn’t really fish at the time and the lake wasn’t busy. I knew that I would be the only one there or certainly in that swim, and on such a big lake I thought that baiting it was going to be an advantage to me for when I could actually fish it.
But on a busy club lake like this, pre-baiting is near enough impossible, without other seeing it or of course, actually effecting other anglers fishing. They have paid their money to fish the lake so you can’t claim a swim, they are perfectly entitled to fish there too.