Despite Matthew spending most of the day at the Nash Redbond Junior competition on Saturday, he was still up and raring to go at 6am Sunday morning for yet another session. I drew the short straw for the early start and dropped Matthew and his friend Ollie off at Slough House Lake, Bulphan just after 7am.

After helping them set up, and after being joined by another friend Josh, I left them all at the lake and went home to get on with my Sunday chores.

I spent the morning calling in regularly for updates on how the day was going. Matthew did manage a nice 11lb mirror early in the day, which I could tell he was partciulary chuffed with.

Then came the call….

It was around 1pm when I received the call from Matthew. As the phone rang and I realised it was a FaceTime call, I guessed that I would either be greeted by a selfie of his latest ‘trophy catch’ or a sorry hungry looking face enquiring when I would be back with food supplies.  The call connected and Matthew appeared  on screen with the look of a newly crowned lottery winner across his face. Screaming and whooping at me down the phone, unable to put more that a couple of words together. As the immediate hysteria died down a little, he took a deep breath and then spoke…”Dad… Dad… oh my god, oh my god, seventy one pound, seventy one and a half pound cat fish, oh my god….aaaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhh.!!!”

The screen when blurry for a few seconds then re-focused as the connection flipped to a close up of a huge gapping mouth of a monster. As he panned round it was difficult for him to get the whole fish into frame at once, it was that big. The phone was shaking and I could hear the squeaks and squeals from his two fishing partners, who still couldn’t quiet believe what he’d just landed.

“Put it in the net, if it fits” I said “and I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”

I arrived at the lake and started to make my way found to his swim. As I passed by other anglers, I started to receive a few nods of acknowledgement, which I found a little strange. Did they know me or were they just being extra polite. They must have seen me arrive with Matthew earlier in the morning. Then I realised that they were actually offering subtle congratulatory nods of approval for what had just taken place on the lake. It wasn’t until I arrived at Matthews swim that I started to realise just quite what had happened. All three of the boys were still bouncing up and down like little kids at Christmas. They were now also accompanied by a small additional crowd of anglers that, as I subsequently discovered, had offered the use of various bit of their equipment and help in various ways, during Matthews half hour struggle to land the thing. Apparently almost the entire lake had come to a standstill to watch the battle unfold.

Even though I’d seen the it via FaceTime, I still couldn’t quite believe just how big it was, not to mention how the hell he actually managed to land it without it dragging him in, rod and all. Although I was told by his two friends later on that they physically had to hold on to him to prevent him going in; he’s not exactly a heavy lad. We spent quite a while taking photos from every conceivable angle and made sure we covered the obligatory ‘so big it takes three of us to lift it’ type of shot.

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Then it was time to release the beast back into the depths. We videoed the release, Matthew stroking its slimy skin as it wriggled free of then weighing sling, almost unable to let it go. Finally, it rolled over and slipped silently back into the lake. Matthew bid it farewell, then turned to the camera, with a look of pure joy and happiness on his face and with his fists clenched, let out and almighty roar ‘YYYEESSSSSS.!!’.

In years to come when he’s telling his kids and maybe even his grand-kids the story and his monster catch, with his arms outstretched, they’ll be safe in the knowledge that it really was ‘that big’…

NASHTACKLEUK – Redbond Junior Match 2017

Matthew had his first ever competitive junior fishing competition yesterday at Birkett Hall Farm Fishery. Rayleigh and District Angling Society and Nash Tackle joined forces to sponsor the day, the Redbond Junior Match 2017, which was a culmination of 6 weeks of tuition that Matthew had attended throughout the summer holidays.
He’d been looking forward to it for weeks, but I’m sure it was more to do with meeting up again with the young guys at Nash again and hopefully finally getting to meet Alain Blair.

Around 20 young anglers took part in the day, which started with them all drawing pegs. Matthew was lucky enough to draw peg 12, which was only two swims away from his favourite spot he’d occupied on the last two visits to Birkett, so he was happy. And to his delight Mikey Wilson was on hand to help him out for the day.

Things started well, with Matthew bagging a nice early common on a float and some very light tackle. But it was clear that he was up against some very good young compettion. As the morning wore on we could see a couple of rival ‘yanglers’ catching on a regular basis, not huge but all adding towards a possible winning weight.

Rules were that only a single rod could be in the water at any one time, so Matthew cunningly set one up a method feeder on one rod and had a spare set up ready for the surface. All the time his method feeder was out near his chosen spot, he would be constantly introducing floating bait to his swim. The moment the carp appeared on the surface, he quickly draw in his method feeder and then went straight onto the suface, with his hookable floaters.

The tactic did work in part, as he managed to bag another nice 5lb common from the top, with 30 minutes of the two hour session left to go. But alas, it was enough. Two fish on the day, a total of just under 10lb and Matthew had to settle for fifth place.

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Redbond Junior Match

Still it was a great afternoon, the weather was kind, the young guys at NashTackle were brilliant, as always but most importantly he did finally get his photo with Alan.

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With Alan Blair

Well done everyone at #NashTackle for a superbly organised event.

We’ll definately see you all next year.!


It’s been a very quiet week on the carping front, Matthew is back at school now and is severely missing his daily fishing fix. He’s resorted to float fishing along the local river Ingrebourne after school for a few hours each day and spending the evenings improving his rig-making techniques. This evening was spent trying his hand at making his own multi-rigs. Personally, I wouldn’t know where to start. He tells me that this is going to be his “rig for the winter”.


Next weekend will be a big day for him. As a result of him taking part in the Nash junior fishing school for the last 6 weeks, he has been entered into a junior competition next weekend at Birkett Hall Farm Reservoir. Neither of us are quiet sure exactly what to expect on the day. Nash have done a fantastic job over the holidays with their free fishing school and he’s picked up so many new tips and tricks, all of which he will hopefully put to good use this Saturday.

You never know, we might have to clear some space on his shelves at home for a new Junior Nash Carp Champion 2017 trophy…..you never know.

Crowsheath Fishery, Billericay – 03 Sept, 2017

Another Sunday and another new venue to try. This time Mathew has decided to give Crowsheath Fishery, Billericay a try, having read good things about it online.

We arrived at around 7am and Matthew promptly jumped out of the car to survey the lake. I managed to catch up with him about halfway round the lake, passing several discounted swims. The watercraft lessons that Steve Deare at Learn to Fish had taught him, seemed to be sinking in. He would stop at a swim, studying for potential water hazards or watching for bubbles of fizzing, signs that would determine our spot for the day. We almost made it all the way around the lake and back to car park again before Matthew decided on his swim for the day.

Sadly, it was to be a very, very quiet day and we drew a complete blank. Not even a sniff. Matthew did spend time chatting to some of the regulars, all of whom said the same thing, it had been a very, very quiet weekend. In fairness the fish were there, the quietness occasionally broken by the crash of a carp breaching the water but they just weren’t biting.

It wasn’t through lack of trying either; Matthew tried everything. Boilies, pop ups, fake sweetcorn, zig foam, smoke and goo. Ronnie rigs, pva bags and pva string. He tried everything in his arsenal but it wasn’t to be.

At one point I doubted whether Matthew had even turned on his bite alarms, or that we’d left them on from a previous trip and the batteries were dead. However, my fears were allayed when, during early afternoon and totally out of the blue, all three sang out in unison. Our heads both span round in the direction of Matthew’s rod pod and there, sat on the handle of one his rods was an exhausted looking fledgling pigeon. It did makes us both chuckle.


So after a half dozen cups of tea each and a couple of local take out ‘all day breakfasts’ later, we decided to call it a day and packed up. The weather had been good, albeit rather windy and I could at least enjoy the drive home, Matthew discussing plans for our next adventure and the thick, pungent all to familiar smell of king crab boilies wafting through the car….