My story…by John Llewellyn
Age 59. Carp fishing for nearly 47 years
UK PB: 52lb 4oz (Bruno from Dinton Pastures).
French PB: Mirror 80lb 8oz. Common 65lb. Grass carp 57lb.
I caught my first ever carp on a piece of bread at Darenth in 1967 when I was 10. I caught a few more at Horton Kirby whilst fishing for whatever came along but it wasn’t until I joined Kingsmoor Anglers in around 1970 and I began fishing at Moorlane lake that I really began to fish seriously for carp. I caught my first 20 at Moorlane in the winter of 1972 on a tiny piece of luncheon meat. I caught three over that magic weight that winter which was a right result. I started to get amongst some bigger fish when I began fishing at Taplow gravel pit near Maidenhead. We were using ‘special pastes’ moulded around the hook at that time as we hadn’t yet found out about the hair rig and boilies. I have always been fascinated by bait and at that time my favourite ‘special’ was ground trout pellets with added PYM (a birdfood conditioner). I used to mould a big ball of paste around the hook and then dip it in the PYM powder before casting out – I caught loads on that. I tried adding curry powder and that was awesome. I did go a bit overboard on the levels though and the bait was so hot it would burn your mouth out – but the carp still loved it! Great days.
I lived in Switzerland for two years from 1977 to 1979, working for Nestlé in their research laboratory at Vevey on the banks of lake Geneva. I was involved in research essentially on sugars, sweeteners and taste enhancers. It was fascinating and I learnt a lot about different ingredients and taste enhancers that can make a real improvement to a bait. I also learnt invaluable lessons about how to combine ingredients to achieve balanced nutrition and how certain ingredients work synergistically, making a marked improvement in taste. They were valuable lessons that I have been able to put to good use when formulating my bait recipes. There is no doubt that the better the bait, the more the fish want to eat it and the easier they are to catch. And that’s particularly true when targeting the bigger fish.