I’M over-inclined to look back into angling’s past, but have been doing so more than usual lately.
Perhaps it is because the pit is closed to allow the fish to spawn, or because I just haven’t reached the back of the shed yet, where the trout rods live.
Or maybe it is because of a recent invitation. I had an email last week from my carp-catching friend Stu Harris. He’s made quite a name for himself in the virtual world of blogging under the nom-de-plume The Sweetcorn Kid, and in the real world with his first book.
He’s a prolific catcher of big fish, but that wasn’t why he got in touch. Oh no. He wanted to know if I fancied spending a few days of my summer at Redmire Pool.
Readers with an appreciation of angling’s past will know the gravity of such an invitation. Redmire, nestled in the Herefordshire countryside, is carp fishing’s spiritual home. It is where Dick Walker caught his record fish in 1952, and where Chris Yates surpassed it with a carp known as The Bishop almost 30 years later.
It is also the place where Stonehouse farmer Eddie Price spotted a common carp so big that speculation about its weight continues to this day. Price’s common was photographed from the pool’s punt in 1958, but the resulting Box Brownie blur is startling even now. Whatever he saw that day, it was huge.
The following September, Price became the first man in Britain to land a 40lb mirror carp, with a beauty only ounces over that magical weight. Twenty-one years later, the very same fish became a record-breaker, falling for the piscatorial wiles of Chris Yates.
There are other local links to Redmire, not least the fish themselves; prior to stocking in 1934, they were kept in small ponds at the Midland Fishery at Nailsworth. Redmire’s owner, Lt. Col. Barnardiston, drove down himself from Ross to collect the young carp that would go on to make history.
Now Redmire is a tricky place from which to catch a carp, and I’m just delighted to be casting a line there. I’m unlikely to repeat the heroics of Eddie Price, but I’m telling myself that the progeny of those Nailsworth fish will remember their Cotswold connections and afford me a little luck. I’ll let you know how I get on.
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