Caught by the River

How To Catch Them

John Andrews | 31st August 2007


well done on your rotten bait bushwhacker what a lump. you must have written the lost chapter in dave steuart’s 1954 – ‘carp – how to catch them’, – ‘carp how to catch them after three seasons of rain’. that’s what i call stalking, sometimes i feel as though it might take me three seasons to bank a common, i don’t mind the wait, in fact it may make the final fish all the more satisfying and feels a little bit more how carp fishing used to be. after all it was dick walker who said in a letter to bb ‘two bites in a day from a carp are as much as an ordinary mortal can hope for’. he obviously never anticipated fishing at bushy park where the permits would be torn up if the locals were told that two runs a day was the limit. i went there last wednesday, leaving home in the dark and sneaking through the open gates at 06:20. it was barely light blowing a gale and raining streadily. my only joy was that i had a flask of tea and that the water would be deserted. the deer were huddled under the oak coppices and i plotted up under a big willow. carp rolled under my feet and jumped over the lily pads. i put my bait in the deepest water for once, mindful that that would be my best chance of a take. i wanted a fish before anyone else arrived and then i would retreat to the cafe and a fry up. i didn’t have a touch all morning, the wind got up and carried the sound of church bells over the bracken, seven, eight, nine o’clock. by eleven the place was packed again and the sawdusts were hauling them out on halibut pellet long lines. having watched a noddy land a fish and then conspire to allow it to slither back into the water with the hook only to be played in again i slipped away and was home for lunch. at least i’m bringing the average catch down to walker levels.

dave steuart was a good london writer – wrote books on roach and had a tackle shop in twickenham. a lot of his old customers come to the stall to talk about maggot baths and bait droppers. steuart’s still alive, living down in hampshire. his wife kay was a tarn ghost in the sixties, got a great pic somewhere of her behind a pair of mk iv’s. coolness personified.

thanks for the spec for one true void – can’t wait – when’s the publishing date? we having some kind of celebration? maybe the rod rests won’t be empty in the next swim – a lot depends on the stall takings and book progress. can smell that french cider already. don’t stop cutting the grass on the landing strip just yet.

herbert jenkins and other lost fifties publishers on the birdtable