My childhood was spent at a place called “The Warren” in Folkestone. This place had it all in those days. We used to camp by the sea amongst the trees and bushes. My dad and grandad both worked for British rail; the line from Folkestone to Dover runs under the backdrop of the white cliffs of Dover, they both regularly went down the warren. My grandad was the rodent operator for the Kent area, ferreting and generally being in the country side was the norm for me. The warren is where my fishing started at a very early age, collecting all the bait we needed amongst the rocks and pools at low tide, we could catch Cod, Bass and an array of of other species. I was also lucky to have Reg, a Londoner who spent most of the summer at the Warren. Reg showed me how to handle his boat. This also help me in our seamanship classes at school. There was also a freshwater pond that lay under the shadow of a Martello tower which really interested me. There were a few small carp in there, bearing in mind this was in the early sixties and carp were deemed very difficult to catch. So learning to catch these elusive fish was a great way to add more fishing skills to my sea fishing experience.
My fishing was put on the back burner for many years, just the odd few hours here and there as my Football career started to gain momentum playing for my school and county and then signing for Coventry City. Living away with no fishing was the only downside to that great adventure into professional football.
When I was eventually released by Coventry with re-occurring groin strains I then played semi professional football with the likes of Folkestone,Ashford, Ramsgate and Dover.
Overnight Carp Fishing
My overnight Carp fishing in mid week really got going, I enjoyed some great catches on limited time. This is where my learning curve gained momentum as there was no time to waste just sleeping behind the rods going through the motions. Baiting fancied swims a couple of days before the overnight trip was key to my success.
The lakes available to us in them days with twenty pound plus carp were much more limited than today’s Venus holding forty pounders.
Local Waters in Kent
My local water Nicholls and Lydd water sports were great places to learn and catch doubles and twenties. Learning how to handle and photograph these magnificent fish was fascinating. Another challenge at the time was to continue my overnighters at Fordwhich near Canterbury. This was one of the best waters around our area. More groin strains plagued my football career during this period, so I channeled my energy into this water. Fishing for a couple of days at a time was something very new to me but I was making the most of it; fishing the same way as if I was on a limited time period. I caught some fantastic fish and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.
Fishing at the school pool
Next on the agenda was the school pool, just fishing day ticket only as I never did manage to get a full ticket with Faversham Angling club. Fishing with good friend Mr F as every one now calls him. I first met Paul many years earlier when he relocated from the Nottingham area; A great all round angler at the time, we bounced ideas off each other. He was the main catalyst for my energetic approach to carp fishing. He also got me into trout fishing for which I’ve always been thankful.
Paul went on to catch many fish from the school pool, including the famous she, one of the few thirties around Kent. This inspired me to catch a thirty, so I joined Hairfield in Hertfordshire, where I then caught my first thirty, this was about the time I started to create my own fisheries.
Carp Fishing in France
Then French fishing really got my attention with reports of captures of carp we had only dreamt about. Well we simply had to go find out for ourselves what this fishing was all about. The big waters we intended to fish called for called for the use of a boat. I think this is why I love French carp fishing so much. My boat skills and sea fishing experience are all needed to succeed on some of these wild waters. My first visit was to the mighty Der (Lac Du Der) or “Chanty” as some of us refer to it.
To succeed and get the most from fishing in France you need a partner you can rely on and most importantly get on with. Jealousy about who’s catching what has no place on these trips. I’ve been fishing in France with my good friend Simon for over twenty years catching carp to almost sixty pounds.
Carp Talk Column “The Grapevine”
Along my Carp angling journey I’ve written in Carp Talk magazine with my own regular column “The Kent Grapevine”. I’ve also written some articles around how to catch carp in winter for the free Freshwater Informer newspaper. Currently I am writing a regular column for the Folkestone Handbook magazine.
Well that’s just a brief overview of my fishing, I will be putting all my adventures into words at carp fishing HQ
I also run my own business as a Utilty Warehouse distributor. You can find out more at this site: www.cashbackbills.co.uk