by Dick Walker, edited by Peter Maskell; published by Maskell Publishing Services
£27.95 (leather £170) www.dickwalker.co.uk
This has been published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Walker’s capture of the 44lb carp that sent shock waves through the angling community. (Nobody believed that a carp that big existed, and certainly such a fish could never be taken on rod and line.)
But it’s a lot more than that. While there is a chapter on his momentous catch, and a fair bit about Redmire, the title is appropriate. Walker was way ahead in his thinking, even if he wasn’t always right. (Would he have the same view on stocking now?)
Some of the book is devoted to his responses to various sniping, and he’s remarkably patient with his critics. Here’s how he responded to an accusation that he spent all his time on exclusive waters like Redmire Pool. “I had taken over 70 double-figure carp before I visited Redmire for the first time.”
A hefty chunk on his early years reveals he had actually taken 53 over 10lb from one water, the best 16lb 8oz, by 1939. And look at the tackle he was using!
“A wooden Nottingham reel, a light split-cane pike rod with wide porcelain rings. Mine is 6ft land weighs about 10oz, Line should be of plaited silk about 15lb, steeped in melted paraffin to make it float.”
What would he make of carp-fishing now? In 1969 he wrote: “My only regret us that on so many waters, the fishing has become uncongenial through the behaviour of those who fish them, especially at night, which is made hideous by a combination of Tilley lamps, radios, anglers stamping about and shouting at one another, and the splashing of handfuls of groundbait being thrown in.” The only difference now is that it’s televisions.
The editor, Peter Maskell, said: “He was remarkable. Often I go back through his writings and discover something I had missed first time.” Keith Elliott