A nostalgic look back at carp fishing as I remember it!
Just some of the guys who used to fish the canal many years ago. This picture was taken on the canal at Clayhanger, some time in the mid-eighties. From left to right - Dave 'Gypo' Williams, my mate Jase Batchelor, Me, Stoney, Dave Edwards & at the front, Lee Evans. Oh what fun times, when the summers were hot & lazy & the carp were very lethargic!
Here's my mates Dave Edwards (left) & Royston Butwell. This picture epitomises a typical session 'down on the cut'. The 50" Wavelock Nubrolly was standard kit, & if you look closely, you can see where Royst has had the velcro sewn on the underside of the brolly to take his Terry Eustace stormsides! Quite often news would travel that someone was doing a session & someone would generally pay you a visit. Nice tache Royst!
I will always be grateful to have spent as much time as I have in the company of such a nice guy as Wayne Dunn, & that I can proudly call him a mate of mine. Although its been some time since our paths have crossed. I met Wayne whilst fishing the canal back in the late eighties, & his record from some of the hardest UK waters is now second to none. I learned so much from him, & his straight forward, no-nonsense approach has given him legendary status within the West Midlands circuit, & he is one of the most respected carp anglers nationally. Here is one of my favourite photographs of the mild-mannered, softly spoken man holding one of those glorious big Hawk lake commons.
Not one of the the bigger fish from my Salford Park campaign, but perhaps one of the best marked fish I've ever caught. I used to love fishing this place, it was just such a shame that it was in a bad area. This mid-double was taken from the 'square end', when I was catching a lot of fish, & managing to keep most of my captures relatively quiet.
My time spent on the winter syndicate on Molands Mere, Packington, was perhaps the toughest fishing I'd ever experienced. My companion on the syndicate was a very young Ben Woodhouse. Here he is cooking breakfast in the first bay. We caught two fish each, & that was the best anyone had done during the winter that year.
Here is a classic picture of Dave Williams returning 'The Leather' after catching her off the surface at 'Tesco Arm', Brownhills at a weight of somewhere around 20lb. To the left, my old friend Benny is capturing the moment, while Dave Edwards (right) keeps a close eye on proceedings. A small crowd has gathered behind, amazed to witness the capture of such a large fish.
I guess this photograph was taken somewhere around 1987 at Clayhanger, by Dave Edwards. In the foreground is Dave ‘gypo’ Williams (sitting down) with Benny standing alongside him. In the background is Royston Butwell (in the camo jacket) & me. Four of the guys were fishing at the time (I wasn’t), & this is a typical example of a session in the early days.
A great shot this one, again taken by Dave Edwards, during a session on the canal at 'Longwood'. Here you can see how our set-ups have changed over the years. Dave’s rods were the famous T24’s built by Terry Eustace, coupled up with Mitchell 300S reels (yes, the rare skirted versions!) & Hi-tone Optonic compact alarms all mounted on needle thin banksticks. Oh those were the days my friends!!!
Sometime around the late 1980’s this picture was taken by Royston Butwell. Here Dave Williams (sitting on the ground), myself & Royst fished a weekend night session during a baking hot summer on ‘Tesco’ bend at Brownhills. Dave is seen here doing a spot of roach fishing, as he was a class angler & enjoyed fishing for a variety of different species, not just carp.
This is my two-rod canal setup from some time around the late eighties. The rods were 12ft, 2¼ test North Western Sealey's built by Fosters of Birmingham (which were all the rage at the time – check out how small the rings are!), the reels were Mitchell 300’s set up ‘churner’ style (they would backwind on a take), a pair of matching ‘Hi-tone’ compact Optonics & for those of you who can remember it, an original Gardner rod pod! If you look closely, you’ll also notice the shortened black, aluminum Gardner banksticks with brass heads (no one made complete stainless banksticks at that time) & stainless two-rod buzzer bars with brass ends that I had to shorten myself!
Not exactly 'back in the day', but I had to include this picture here! This was taken quite recently - at Royston Butwell's wedding reception & was the first get together of the lads for many years. My how we've all changed! For those who don't recognise em... (from left to right) Royst, Benny, Dave (Gyp), Me & Dave Edwards.