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The Special Album

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Re: The Special Album

Post by Garren on Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:36 am

Brilliant,thanks for that !
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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:04 am

A Special Moment
I guess the Martin Clarke brace of 40lb+ Summerleaze carp totalling 91lb 10oz from June 2000 stands out as one of the highlight catches in modern carp fishing - for just to witness the spectacle of these two carp put on the bank in under an hour makes the hairs on the back of my neck still bristle at the thought of it all.

The dramatic nature of these captures was heightened by a series of mobile calls by Martin to Simon Crow in the Carp-Talk offices. After he landed the first mirror, a fantastically long and magnificently proportioned 45½lb mirror, he than rang Simon in the office. Soon after Simon rang me with the request to get the story and pictures for the magazine.

Around half way through the journey my mobile rang, and the now slightly high-pitched voice of Simon Crow blurted out something like this, “Chris, Chris, you’re never gonna believe this, but I’ve got Martin Clarke on the other phone and he has another fish in his landing net which looks as big as the first one!”

And so it turned out to be - the second fish weighed even more at 46lb 2oz, a deep bodied heavily-plated mirror. Both the fish were lake records and provided Martin Clarke with yet another outstanding catch in his long and illustrious carp fishing career.

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:04 am

The county of plenty
I’ve just completed a short chapter for a forthcoming book about the history of Kent carp fishing. When trawling through the carp fishing archives I was soon reminded me of how influential and inspiring the catches early on (1960s) that took place in the county of Kent. News reports in the weekly angling press of the day invariably included captures of Kentish carp and then double-page and centre-page spreads on successful methods in use.

One of the chief players in all this was the late Gerry Savage. The amount of carp in many of the gravel pits around the Darenth Valley and beyond were plundered by a new breed of carp angler in the early to mid 1960s. Gerry wrote extensively about carp fishing and along with many others caught a rake of decent carp included stacks of double-figure specimens.

Elsewhere in the country there were pockets of fisheries that held ‘doubles’. Where I lived in Surrey you had Farnham AS, Godalming AS and Cranleigh AS. However, the expansion in carp fishing techniques, bait and tackle was led by developments that were taking place in Kent.

This rare picture below shows Gerry Savage (left) and friend John Probert with double-figure carp from Horton Kirby, one of the main lakes where at the time you were more likely to catch a carp over ten pounds than under.

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Re: The Special Album

Post by Stoney on Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:31 am

I remember when Gerry was the first angler to catch 100 twenties in a season.

Not sure of the year though, one for you Chris ?

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:14 am

Fifty years and counting

It was great to see my friend Elliott Symak at Carpin’On 2015. He’d arrived to accept his carp fishing Hall of Fame award and pointed out to me that next January he’ll have been carp fishing for fifty years.

Elliott hit the jackpot almost straightaway at what was to become a famous big carp venue - the Electricity Cut off the River Nene near Peterborough - with the first big carp he had ever caught on New Year’s Day in 1966. The fish weighed a little over 22lb and was one of four twenty-pounders that Elliott and another local, Dave Moore, caught in January 1966 alone. These two anglers, although coming to the ‘Cut’ as separate individuals, soon got to know one another.

These kinds of results came from plain good angling as well as the pair being able to withstand the rigors of cold winter night fishing with none of the thermal gear of today available. There were others such as Dave Goodrum, Stan Hill and Bernard Jessop all of whom seem to have an in-built endurance to keep them alert and keen in the most severe of weather conditions.

Many was the time when the cold chilled their bodies almost to the point of them giving up and going back to their warm homes. But the carp bites were coming at just the right frequency to make them forget the frosty conditions and concentrate on the exciting prospect of a big ‘Cut’ carp.

Elliott basked in the glory of the publicity that Angling Times gave him at the time and later with the subsequent captures, but soon he realised that publicity meant more anglers which made less bank space for the locals.

He fished hard down at the Cut, catching a good number of carp, some of which were large. His fishing consisted of Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime sessions the whole winter through. The baits in use generally consisted of bread in one form or other, flake being a particular favorite - although the flow could give problems by washing the bait from the hook, especially when the power station was pumping warm water into the ‘Cut’ at full tilt.

Elliott joked, “At times the warm water was a godsend, you could put your wellingtons in the edge and feel the life coming back into your toes.”  

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Elliott Symak with his last 20-pounder from the Cut in late October 1971.
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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:02 am

Pete’s big common
One of the biggest common carp of the Jack Hilton Redmire syndicate years (1968 - 1975) was taken by a long-friend of mine Pete Badley in June 1970, the grand fish weighing in at 31lb. To put things into perspective, Pete’s fish was one of only half a dozen 30-pounders reported during the whole of the 1970/1 season.

Up to the start of that season syndicate leader Jack Hilton had little problem in filling the nine places available on the syndicate, but this year for various reason he had five places to fill. Jack’s friendship with British Carp Study Group’s head honcho Pete Mohan soon resulted in a number of trusted names put forward. Amongst them were three members of the South East London Specimen Group, Dave Hayes and Alf Engers along with Pete Badley. They had the second week of the season and poor old Alf, who hadn’t slept much of the previous week amid great excitement, had arrived hours before the noon changeover time, and was met by Bill Quinlan and Jack Hilton by the entrance as they left the estate.

Plenty of carp were caught by the trio of new hopefuls that week - all around the 5lb mark. But it was Pete who struck gold on Thursday evening when found the shallows black with carp. His line was continually fouled by the feeding fish and in an effort to help the situation he held his rod high feeling the line for bites. There was no mistaking when an almighty wrench on the rod top signalled a big fish had taken the bait. It turned out to be the biggest common taken at Redmire that year.

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With Redmire’s unmistakable dam rail in the background Pete Badley poses with his immaculate 31lb common caught in June 1970. Also shown is Pete’s own manufactured high-quality carp net, one of only a few he made in the late 1960s.
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Re: The Special Album

Post by Gary Bills on Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:55 pm

That picture was in Quest for Carp, wasn't it? Fantastic image! Thanks Chris.
Pete Badley's net was quite admired for its structure, was it not?

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:45 pm

Yes, Pete Badley’s landing nets are highly prized and made to a very high standard, one problem... he made so few. Some years back I was fortunate enough to acquire a very well used one by long-time Kent carper, Dave Rudd, who fished with Pete and other lads in the South East London Specimen Group at places like Brooklands and Horton Kirby in the 1960s.

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Re: The Special Album

Post by Gary Bills on Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:37 pm


Nice looking rods too - what's their history Chris?

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:23 pm

Gary Bills wrote:
Nice looking rods too - what's their history Chris?

The rods are also Dave Rudd’s. They are 10ft Hardy Gordon Carpquest (fibreglass) rods that Dave used extensively in the 1960s/70s. Plenty of carp were caught on these during the embryonic period of carp fishing development in Kent.
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Re: The Special Album

Post by Gary Bills on Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:33 pm

I'd like a pair of those - very smart!

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu May 14, 2015 12:15 pm

Graeme Igglesden
I’ve just been writing about the ‘Big Freeze’ of the winter of 1962/3 and the ramifications it had on the fish stocks of the UK when most stillwaters, many river and even the sea froze around pier stanchions. At Redmire Pool it was thought that it too had fallen victim to the harshness of that winter. Little was heard of the place but it still stirred in the minds of anglers. Then in 1965 two prominent carp anglers of the period, Bob Rolph and Graham Igglesden who were members of the Kent Specimen Group, decided that they sneak a look at the fabled pool for themselves. Armed with an Ordnance Survey map they boldly went where no specimen hunter had gone before! Once near the estate they crossed several fields and before they knew it the Redmire shallows suddenly appeared before their eyes.

When researching my ‘King Carp Waters’ book in the early 1990s I eventually made contact with Graeme Igglesden and visited him at work in London - I’d met him years before at Kent regional British Carp Study Group meetings. He told me of the few hours he and Bob Rolph had spent at Redmire that afternoon. The long and short of it was that the carp had not all died in the freeze-up - far from it. They saw stacks of fish, including numbers of what they considered to be fish well over 20lb, After this things moved quickly, the upshot being that the following year John Nixon (himself a captor of a Redmire 20-pounder in 1961) secured the fishing at the Pool. Essentially it meant that members of major specimen groups of the period could literally book day tickets to fish Redmire.

The take-up was slow to start with, but one carp angler from the West Country, Roger Bowskill, arrived with several friends for the first week in September. To cut a long and well-documented story short, casting a freelined lobworm to bubbling fish close to the dam wall, Roger hooked and ultimately in grand style landed the third largest carp to date - a fabulous 38½lb mirror.

Graeme Igglesden was a successful Kent carp angler of the 1960s and fished at Redmire during both the Nixon and Hilton years. In 1967 he hooked a big’un on big ball of maggots threaded onto cotton and wrapped around a size 2 hook. After sometime with the carp within 20 yards of the bank it just ‘fell off.’ He deserved a big Redmire carp... but was never destined to catch one.

Graeme pictured in the mid-1960s with a gravel pit carp from Kent.

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:15 am

Life after the Big Freeze of 1962/3
Lately I’ve been writing about Frensham for my ‘Historic Carp Waters’ feature in Carpworld and was reminded of how tragic and devastating the Big Freeze over the winter of 1962/3 was. Almost every reach of freshwater was affected in the UK, the Thames froze in a number of places, and even the sea froze around the Whitstable area, beside many piers around the country having ice around their stanchions.

The havoc that was caused in many waters the length and breadth of the country with having ice on them for nearly three months killed ten of thousands of fish, some waters were wiped out.

Mercifully this icy blast was survived by the Frensham carp and thankfully the Redmire carp too. Though reports during the early part of the 1963/4 season at Redmire indicated that it too had fallen victim of the freeze up some hope was given when the late Peter Thomas banked this lovely 20lb common in September 1963.

Though one-time bailiff, Eric Higgs, who lived in one of the cottages at the top of the hill overlooking the pool reported that some big fish had been seen floating lifeless at some stage in the late spring of that year, the vast majority pulled through and Redmire rose again to dominate the big carp catches for years to come.

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:56 am

Bruce Ashby’s remarkable carp catches
With the launch of the ‘Carp County - Kent and the Evolution of Carp Fishing’ book later this year, I thought a little bit about the late Bruce Ashby, carp catcher supreme, who ran amok in Kent with sensational catches from very early on, would be in order.

I guess it’s hard to realise these days the importance of Bruce’s catches when half a century ago a double-figure carp was something that was talked of for months after, but in 1964 Bruce landed his first 20-pounder. By then he’d already been a dedicated carp angler for six years.

It was captured on a typical October morning. His mates had been at the lake all night without success when he rolled up at 8.30am following an all-night party. He baited with potato in his regular swim and soon struck into a lovely 21lb mirror. Then like most things in life, when you have achieved a long sought-after ambition it then often becomes easier to repeat. The important word is ‘easier’ because Bruce only banked three fish over 20lb in the next five years.

However, by 1970 he’d accounted for an eye-watering 40 carp over twenty pounds and in 1978 became this first man in carp fishing history to land 100 carp over the magic twenty pound figure. A truly outstanding feat that took him twenty years to complete.

So spare a thought for Bruce when you complain to a mate that you fished for a whole 24-hours without one 20lb carp gracing the net.

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Bruce Ashby with his first 20lb carp caught in the autumn of 1964.
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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:25 pm

For all you fans of the Special Album, I’ve completed a recording with Mark Watson of The Carp Cast all about the pictures in the Special Album which is going live at the end of next week. Will give details and links soon.
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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:51 am

Phil Shatford and Billing Aquadrome
Some years after Billing Aquadrome burst on the scene with a string of remarkable catches by Bob Reynolds others were keen to try for the elusive Billing carp. A concerted effort in 1962 by noted anglers Fred Wagstaffe, Johnny Bingham, Phil Shatford, Bill Keal and Alec Lewis (Bob Reynolds had virtually given up fishing there). But the Billing carp were far from impressed - only one carp was caught all year long, a 14lb mirror that fell to Fred Wagstaffe’s rod. The Saturday night dances had become popular features with visitors to the Aquadrome and it was felt that this combined effect and other attractions had made the carp far more wary.

Prebaited swims produced nothing more than the dreaded Billing bream. By 1964 Fred Wagstaffe and Phil Shatford really had the bit between their teeth, and deserting any form of prebaiting maintained a constant watch on the lake and only fished swims where carp activity could be seen. Success came as a result of this observation, for at the end of July they noticed a gathering of carp for several nights in one corner. Naturally they fished there. In darkness it was found that the carp fed in amongst the accumulation of scum which had drifted there on the strong south-westerly wind. They tried floating crust, but to no avail. Then they tried a different tactic and fished this time from a little island so they could fish the approaches to the accumulated debris.

Shortly after dusk a slow run occurred on one of Phil’s rods baited with balanced crust. A terrific battle ensued in the close proximity of the island, but heavy pressure from Phil lasting several minutes had the fish swirling close to the bank. Finally a great carp came ashore. Fred hurriedly found a torch and, flashing it on the fish the two men gasped as an immense golden flank of a common carp bucked wildly in the landing net. Soon it was up on the scales, and carefully checking the dial Phil registered a weight of exactly 32lb. A just result for Phil Shatford as all his efforts during the previous two seasons had gone unrewarded. This carp turned out to be the second largest recorded in the UK that year and placed Billing amongst one the best big carp waters in the country, having now produced two carp over 30lb in weight.

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Re: The Special Album

Post by Gary Bills on Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:23 pm

Amazing common! Many thanks.
Do you think the Billing carp were all Leneys Chris?
And, in your view, was Billing's fabled "Big Ben", the 42lb carp that Ray Clay landed?
How big do you think they went in Billing?

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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:42 pm

Gary Bills wrote:Amazing common! Many thanks.
Do you think the Billing carp were all Leneys Chris?
And, in your view, was Billing's fabled "Big Ben", the 42lb carp that Ray Clay landed?
How big do you think they went in Billing?

Hello Gary,
Thanks for your questions.
1) Certainly from investigations made by Kev Clifford and copy invoices from the Surrey Trout Farm indicate that several hundred carp came from the Surrey Trout Farm in the mid 1930s. However, there was thought to be a handful or so of wild carp from the river Nene also swimming around in the lake during the 1950s/1960s era.
2) Not sure the fish reported by Bob Reynolds as ‘Big Ben’ and the large carp Jim Gibbinson saw in the mid 1960s were the same fish. But who knows, maybe Ray Clay’s 42-pounder was this same fish.
3) Though I’d like to think that larger carp than were caught at Billing were around, in the back of my mind I’m inclined to think Ray Clay’s big common was the largest present.
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Many thanks..

Post by Gary Bills on Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:33 pm

Chris Ball wrote:
Gary Bills wrote:Amazing common! Many thanks.
Do you think the Billing carp were all Leneys Chris?
And, in your view, was Billing's fabled "Big Ben", the 42lb carp that Ray Clay landed?
How big do you think they went in Billing?

Hello Gary,
Thanks for your questions.
1) Certainly from investigations made by Kev Clifford and copy invoices from the Surrey Trout Farm indicate that several hundred carp came from the Surrey Trout Farm in the mid 1930s. However, there was thought to be a handful or so of wild carp from the river Nene also swimming around in the lake during the 1950s/1960s era.
2) Not sure the fish reported by Bob Reynolds as ‘Big Ben’ and the large carp Jim Gibbinson saw in the mid 1960s were the same fish. But who knows, maybe Ray Clay’s 42-pounder was this same fish.
3) Though I’d like to think that larger carp than were caught at Billing were around, in the back of my mind I’m inclined to think Ray Clay’s big common was the largest present.


Many thanks Chris - informative as ever -

Best - Gary

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Re: The Special Album

Post by Martin Herbertson on Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:11 am

Hi Chris,
Some way back you posted a photo of Chris Currie with a fish and asked if anyone knew anything about it. The fish in the photo is the 32-pounder Chris caught from the Railway Pool back in 1978. The bait was floating crust, according to the specimen group newsletter.
Great thread BTW.
Cheers,
Martin.

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Re: The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:44 am

Martin Herbertson wrote:Hi Chris,
Some way back you posted a photo of Chris Currie with a fish and asked if anyone knew anything about it. The fish in the photo is the 32-pounder Chris caught from the Railway Pool back in 1978. The bait was floating crust, according to the specimen group newsletter.
Great thread BTW.
Cheers,
Martin.

Blimey, hello Martin all the way from the other side of the world. Great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to help with the Chris Currie picture. Which pool? The Railway Pool at the Royalty Fishery on the Avon at Christchurch, or one of the Farnborough pits, possibly Pit 4?
Kind regards,
ChrisB
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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:49 am

New River Record Carp
Seeing we are in the depths of winter - though you’d hardly know it at present - here is winter carp story of a River Record carp.

The effects of warm water being pumped from the Peterborough Power station, after its use to cool its giant turbines, and back to the river Nene was handled by the construction of 20 yard wide and third of a mile long canal. This emptied back into the river Nene some 600 yards due west of the intake water valve adjacent to the power station, it was known as the Electricity Cut, and it became for a few years in the mid 1960s a mecca for big carp.

Yet again our old friend Donald Leney of the Surrey Trout Farm was selected by The Nene & Welland Fishery Board as supplier of some 5,000 yearling carp - a considerable order at the time amounting to £267.00 (around £7,500 in today’s money). Of these around 1,800 were released at five points along the River Nene with some 400 being placed around the Peterborough area.

Nothing was heard of these carp for some years, but stories circulated of lost whoppers hooked on inadequate tackle, until January 1959 when an angler battled on light line and eventually won the day after a dramatic fight. Angling Times ran the headline, ‘Huge Nene Carp on Only 4lb’ to describe the 20lb 6oz mirror landed from Electricity Cut by Don Barnes. This was bettered a couple of years later when Peter Nisbet, a schoolteacher from Norfolk, netted a splendid 21lb 5oz mirror.

The Cut being close to Peterborough meant it was an easy bike ride for many including a collection of teenage anglers. One lad, David Olson, between January and November 1962 landed 13 carp topped by two 20-pounders. And there were others, some as young as 12-years-old.  

The Cut soon became the attention of more serious carp anglers and in particular members of the Peterborough Specimen Hunters Group and the Denton Carp Catchers’ Club. In December 1964, Peter Harvey, a 16-year-old British Railway’s clerk and member of the Peterborough group went carp fishing at the Cut. With snow sweeping the country along with freezing winds, Peter along with four members of the group started fishing the Cut close to where the warm water was pumped in via an underwater culvert. At 6.30pm his ledgered potato was picked up by a fast moving fish which eventually with help from other group members was successfully landed - it turned out to be a new River Record carp of 33¾lb.  

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With a dusting of snow at his feet Peter Harvey proudly holds his 33¾lb River Record carp caught in December 1964.
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Re: The Special Album

Post by Martin Herbertson on Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:48 am

Chris Ball wrote:
Martin Herbertson wrote:Hi Chris,
Some way back you posted a photo of Chris Currie with a fish and asked if anyone knew anything about it. The fish in the photo is the 32-pounder Chris caught from the Railway Pool back in 1978. The bait was floating crust, according to the specimen group newsletter.
Great thread BTW.
Cheers,
Martin.

Blimey, hello Martin all the way from the other side of the world. Great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to help with the Chris Currie picture. Which pool? The Railway Pool at the Royalty Fishery on the Avon at Christchurch, or one of the Farnborough pits, possibly Pit 4?
Kind regards,
ChrisB

Hi Chris, the water I refer to is a small lake near Otterbourne in Hampshire. British Rail employees were allowed to fish it in the 1970s and Chris managed to get a ticket through a friend of his who worked for BR. The fish in the photo was the only mirror and by far the largest carp in the lake and Chris joined specifically to catch that fish. As far as I'm aware the fish was caught only twice - once by Mick Roman at 31lbs 8ozs (in 1977, I think) and once by Chris Currie at just over 32lbs in 1978.
Cheers,
Martin.

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Re: The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:38 am

Martin Herbertson wrote:
Chris Ball wrote:
Martin Herbertson wrote:Hi Chris,
Some way back you posted a photo of Chris Currie with a fish and asked if anyone knew anything about it. The fish in the photo is the 32-pounder Chris caught from the Railway Pool back in 1978. The bait was floating crust, according to the specimen group newsletter.
Great thread BTW.
Cheers,
Martin.

Blimey, hello Martin all the way from the other side of the world. Great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to help with the Chris Currie picture. Which pool? The Railway Pool at the Royalty Fishery on the Avon at Christchurch, or one of the Farnborough pits, possibly Pit 4?
Kind regards,
ChrisB

Hi Chris, the water I refer to is a small lake near Otterbourne in Hampshire. British Rail employees were allowed to fish it in the 1970s and Chris managed to get a ticket through a friend of his who worked for BR. The fish in the photo was the only mirror and by far the largest carp in the lake and Chris joined specifically to catch that fish. As far as I'm aware the fish was caught only twice - once by Mick Roman at 31lbs 8ozs (in 1977, I think) and once by Chris Currie at just over 32lbs in 1978.
Cheers,
Martin.

Brilliant Martin, always wondered about that fish and it whereabouts, will update the Carp Fishing Archives. When Kev Clifford and myself were doing research for his ‘Revisited’ History of Carp Fishing book we were stocked to learn of Chris’ death some while back.
Happy New year, ChrisB
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The Special Album

Post by Chris Ball on Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:00 am

Penn Pond biggie
The capture of this superb 41½lb carp in June 1994 from Penn Ponds in Richmond Park drew breath from a number of people, not least Ritchie McDonald who then worked at the Hounslow Angling Centre.

Ritchie was in the shop one day in late June 1994 when an angler, who turned out to be Joe, got talking to him about carp fishing. Joe mentioned he’d recently landed a biggie - a 41½-pounder. Ritchie was more than interested, so much so he got Joe to nip off home and get some pictures. When he returned Ritchie’s eyes grew bigger and bigger at the sight of a lovely looking big carp.

He popped the question; where did it come from? In fairness Joe had no problem in naming the venue - it was Ritchie who gulped when he heard the name Penn Ponds in Richmond Park.

A couple of weeks later I too visited Hounslow Angling Centre and Ritchie was blabbering on about this fish and showed me a picture. The conversation when something like this, “I can’t believe it Chris... Christ, I take the dog most days around those ponds, never for one minute did I realise they held fish like this.”

Later that year Ritchie started fishing for this carp, he angled long and hard through the winter and finally on the last day of the season (14th March 1995) he caught it! And fortunately I was there to witness and report on the event for Carp-Talk.

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Joe Kavanagh and Ritchie McDonald with the ‘Royal Forty’
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Chris Ball

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Join date : 2012-12-18
Location : United Kingdom

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Re: The Special Album

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