I wrote this, huddled under my leaky old brolly beneath a furious rainstorm. It wasn't what I had in mind when I packed in the sun on Monday but then this is the UK. Back then I was planning more roach fishing but with forecast showing light rain, I gave up any ideas I might have had about fishing the pole. Pete wasn't coming along so I thought maybe I'd dig out the cane carp rods and wide centrepins for some margin carp fishing. With the predictions becoming more laughable by the hour, I changed my mind again. I just couldn't bring myself to subject such aristocratic hardware to the deluge and decided instead on my old 1970's Simpson's compound taper carp rods coupled with 410s.

     I hate it when people start quoting model numbers at me but somehow as a vintage tackle user these appendages have become badges of honour in a way that Armalites, Exocets and Daiwa 12345 GTXLs may never achieve. Angler's are no less hypocritical than anyone else, I'm living proof of that. Anyway fibreglass is waterproof and cheap so that was my final decision.

The prettiest carp of the morning.

     It all started very well. I put my right hand bait close to a marginal tree about 35 yards to my right and the second a similar distance out in the open water of the bay. Twenty large pellets and twenty small boilies over each spot and it was time to put in the second rod. I set it and then went to tighten the line on my first rod only to have the bobbin snatched out of my hand by a nice mirror of exactly ten pounds.

     A while later I had a big liner on the tight hand rod but as I watched, waiting for the tip to pull round, it was the left hand one that took off rewarding my stubborn resistance to the weather with a smaller fish. The third was my biggest so far and came in the heaviest weather, but it was the most distressing fish I have caught in a long time. It fought sluggishly and ponderously to the net , in fact I thought it was a bream to start with, whereupon the hook fell out. I laid it on the mat and there was blood everywhere particularly around the gills. I've no idea why and all I could do was slip it straight back and wash the mat down. It swam off strongly but I fear for it, I really do. In a moment my once buoyant outlook defying the weather, turned as foul. It was a real downer.

     Quite obviously other species were getting a taste for my baits, 15mm Krill pellet in open water and monster crab boilie in the margins, as they were always whittled down when I wound them in. In fact my by-catch today was probably more interesting than the four carp that I did get. A 4-9 tench was my largest of the season and a great reminder of what I used these rods for in my teens. Back then I was fishing Wraysbury No 1 for tench using these very rods, employing Mitchell 300s loaded with 10 lbs line because they fought so hard. This one was similar and put up a great show for a female. It's usually the males that scrap. Aside from a couple of skimmers around the pound mark, I also had my biggest Roach/Bream hybrid of the season so far at 3-6 so all in all a fine mornings fishing in spite of the torrential, non-stop rain.

      It's hard not to mourn the loss of real carp fishing although its tenure as the pursuit of the mysterious and hard to catch was pretty short-lived. Until Walker interfered by catching his 44 in the fifties, they were deemed virtually uncatchable and only worth the bother to a few imaginative souls. Walker showed us how and promoted the ethos that to catch big fish, one must treat their pursuit with all the seriousness of war. It was the beginning of the end although like everyone else, as a Walker acolyte, I didn't have the vision to see where it would lead. By the nineties people who had never been fishing before were treating doubles with disdain such was the availability of over stocked waters full of huge fish unable to survive on anything but a diet of anglers bait.

     My first carp over a pound took me six years to catch, my first double a bit longer. Today I had four takes and caught three fish into low double figures within two hours of my first cast. I enjoyed myself, no doubt about it, but it was not wholly satisfying. If I'd caught just one of them back in the early seventies. I wouldn't have been able to think of anything else for weeks. Today's catch will be forgotten by friday. There is no adequate compensation for the loss of the magic of carp fishing and if you weren't fishing in the sixties or seventies you have no idea what Walker and the ensuing commercialisation of their pursuit by, I'm embarrassed to admit, my generation, has deprived you of.