MatthewTheCarper – 1st Year Anniversary.

I can’t believe its been a year since we started our little website documenting Matthew’s fishing adventures.

Its been a amazing year; new pb’s, monster catfish, competition wins, magazine articles, meeting the Nash guys, LearnToFish, The Carp Society and so much more.

I’m sure that the next 12 months will be just as exciting, for Matthew at least.

June 2018 round up.!

It’s been a few weeks since our last post, not because Matthew hasn’t spent every spare waking moment carping but because we’ve just been too busy with other family stuff.

So here’s a quick rundown on what happened in June.

Matthew got yet another inclusion in the weekly edition of Carp-Talk, the article focused on the success of this years Junior Carp camp. A great photo of his new PB and even a mention from Mikey Wilson.

We might have to get this particular edition framed and hung somewhere.

He joined another local fishing lake, the Kennington Park Fishing Club, in Aveley. He and his partner in crime Louis have already completed a 24 hour session at their newest hunting ground, with reasonable success. Its a small but well maintained private lake, the club was formed in 1999 by local residents. This gives Matthew and his buddies yet another option, especially during the up and coming 6 weeks holidays.

A few weeks back, I dropped Matthew at one of his favourite lakes, Slough House and he actually started teaching me the basics. I’ve purposely tried to avoid getting seriously into fishing, partly because I couldn’t afford it and partly because Vicky wouldn’t be overly impressed with the both of us disappearing at weekends. Also, even though it would be nice during the closed football season, being the coach of my younger boy Callum’s footie team, it wouldn’t afford me the time over the weekends to spend 12 hours plus fishing. Anyhow, his teaching skills certainly paid off, as I actually managed by first ever double, a really nice 14lb common.


Matthew was adamant I had my photo taken with my new PB. I think he was more excited for me than I was.

The most significant development over the last few weeks, is that Matthew has now started ‘working’ with Steve Deare at LearnToFish on Saturday mornings. After completing his voluntary work for his DofE award, Steve offered Matthew the opportunity to help him coach the local children and families. Matthew absolutely loves it. He gets to talk fishing all day, teach others the basic skills, he gets to fish for free in the afternoons at Tylers Common AND he gets paid, perfect.!

He also got the chance to coach his little cousin Jack, which ended up with him landing a new PB, with a lovely 11lb9oz mirror.



Matthew and his brother Callum finished off the month with an lovely sunny afternoon down on the beach at Westcliffe and a little bit of pier fishing at Southend.

And mum got to top up her tan as well….


Junior Carp Camp 2018 – Horseshoe Lake, Gloucester.

To say that he has been looking forward to this ever since we booked it for him last year, is an understatement. Three nights and four days fishing with the Nash lads; Mikey Wilson, Olli Davies and the rest of the boys at Horseshoe lake, Gloucester.

The day before he left he was an absolute nightmare and drove Vicky up the wall. You could see the anxiety in him, he couldn’t sit still. He spent most of the day before, in his fishing shed, checking and re-checking his equipment, making sure he had all the tackle he could ever possibly need.

As usual he was up with the birds at 5:30am and shortly afterwards so were we.
Luckily Matthew was going with a friend and his Dad had agreed to pick him up from home and take them both there, which was a result.

By around 9:30am he had arrived and he gave us a quick call to let us know that he was there safe and sound and then he was gone.

I was in work when Matthew phoned next and although the line was rather faint, I could tell that he had something good to tell me. It was a Facetime call, and no sooner had the call connected, I could see his excited smile and then a quick shot of his first catch of the trip, safety in his landing net. With that he quickly ended the call, telling me that he’d call back in a while.

Ten or fifteen minutes later he phoned me back.

‘Dad, Dad……’

‘Yes Matthew, gone on, tell me how big was it?’

‘Dad……..20lb8oz, my first ever twenty, I cant believe it.’

I was so pleased for him. He’d waited quite a while to break his twenty and within a few hours of arriving, he’d actually done it. The sheer excitement in his voice, was so heartwarming. I felt so unbelievably happy for him. And he was very happy too.

The pictures that the Nash guys took of Matthew, in his waders, up to this chest in water, holding his prize catch were phenomenal. Definitely ones for framing. Thanks a million to Mikey Wilson @MikeWilson at Nash for looking after Matthew during his stay and helping him smash his pb and thanks to everyone at the Carp Society @TheCarpSociety for arranging such an amazing event.




Matthew has continued with his voluntary work at Tylers Common with Steve Deare and the ‘Learn to Fish’ team.

7am Bank Holiday Monday, we has up and ready to go. Travelling extra light, he packed his new 6ft Nash, Sawn Off, Stalker rod for a bit of surface fishing in between sessions.

He actually didn’t get to too much time to fish himself today, as it turned out to be a very busy session. So much so that Steve Deare asked him whether he would be able to stay on a few extra hours to help him out.

Matthew was only too keen to oblige and spent almost the whole day helping out and passing on his young fishing knowledge to the children and their parents.

Once again, a huge, huge thanks to Steve Deare at Learntofish and Arthur the baliff at Tylers Common, Brentwood

County Angling, Hornchurch, Essex

We always try to use and support local businesses where we can and it’s especially easy when its fishing related.

County Angling in Hornchurch is Matthew’s go to place if he ever needs any last minute new tackle. It’s Matthew’s birthday tomorrow (May 26th) and so in preparation, he took mum along to show her what he’d like.

Like many of the lakes that Matthew visits, he is well known to the staff and many of the fishermen that that frequent our local tackle shop.

I’m sure that he pops in there sometimes just for a chat to Jeff, the other staff and anyone else who might be in the shop at the time.

He loves being around other fisherman, always trying to extract information and tips from them as much he can. And it’s always so nice to hear someone, completely out of the blue, tell us what a great lad he is and how he’s even “overly polite” when he pops in. It helps remind us that, deep down, Matthew is a good, sweet, kind lad despite all his struggles.

Anyway, thanks to all the staff and customers at County Angling, Hornchurch for giving Matthew somewhere to go and chat and to get all his essential tackle.

County Angling
19 Suttons Ln,
RM12 6RD
Tel: 01708 477834
Mon-Sat: 0900hrs – 1730hrs


Sea fishing at Deal, Kent for a change.

The weather forecast was predicting sunny weather for the bank holiday weekend, so we decided to take a trip down to the coast. Matthew had already checked the tide-times for Deal in Kent and they were perfect. High tide at 3:30pm meant we could all have a leisurely drive down to seaside for a spot of late afternoon pier fishing.

It was very sunny but also extremely winding on the pier and Vicky and I spent most of the afternoon huddled together to keep warm.

Nevertheless, both Matthew and Callum had a fantastic afternoon sea fishing (they dont feel the cold like we do) and although we dint catch anything we could take home for supper, both of them did manage to bag their first ever dog fish each.



As the sun went down on a lovely afternoon/evening we ventured off to one of the local sea-fish restaurants Hythe Bay

DofE Bronze award – Volunteer work 28th April, 2018

A few months ago Matthew decided to attempt to complete his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Part of the programme required him to complete 3 months worth of volunteer work and there was only ever going to be one place and one activity that he would participate in to complete this section of the award.

Luckily for Matthew, Steve Deare at Learn to Fish agreed to allow Matthew to join him and complete his volunteer work there.

Learn to fish is a local fishing organisation that helps gets children away from the computer screens and back into the great outdoors.
Its run by qualified fishermen from the Angling Trust, all who are DBS (CRB) registered, first aid trained and a very experienced anglers.
And best of all its run at one of his favourite lakes, Tyler’s Common, Brentwood.

Matthew would be spending his days helping children and adults learn to fish. Giving them the benefit of his experiences as a young angler and hopefully helping them catch a few fish as well.

It was the perfect scenario, he would be spending the mornings teaching others, meeting and talking to new people about fishing, and in the afternoons he would get a few hours to himself on the bank.

His first session seemed to go extremely well. I arrived at the lake, late in the afternoon just as Matthew was starting to pack up. As I wandered down the hill over to his swim, a women approached me from the opposite lake, seemingly wanting to talk to me. As she came closer she pointed to Matthew, who was busy reeling in his last cast of the day. ‘Excuse me’ she said, ‘Are you Matthew’s Dad?’. It was obvious, by her clothes that she wasn’t a fishing mum and I didn’t recall ever seeing her at the lake before but the fact that she already knew Matthew’s name didn’t surprise me at all and made me smile.

‘Yes, I’m his Dad, everything okay?’

‘Oh yes’ she said. ‘What an absolutely lovely young man’.

I pointed at Matthew, who had just finished pulling in the last of his rods;

‘Sorry, that Matthew?’, I replied jokingly. ‘Are you sure you’re not getting him mixed up with somebody else?’. She smiled back at me, getting the joke. Matthew just looked over at me and rolled his eyes.

She continued to tell me how Matthew had spent most of the day helping her and her husband and their children learn to fish. How polite and kind he was, how he helped the husband release a duck that he had inadvertently hooked while fishing on the top and how Matthew had helped one of the children catch their first 10lb’er.

‘He’s an absolutely credit to you and a wonder lad.’

I thanked her for her kinds words, said our polite goodbyes to the family and trundled off up the hill to the car park.

On the walk back, Matthew told me what a great day it had been. How he’d managed to net the duck that had been snared, so he could get the hook out of its mouth. How he’d been giving £15 in ‘tips’ for his help and hard work and how his friend Arthur the bailiff hadn’t even charged him for the days fishing, a perfect day.


A huge, huge thanks to Steve Deare at Learntofish and Arthur the baliff at Tylers Common, Brentwood

4pm Sunday afternoon and bored.!

At 4pm Sunday afternoon most parents would probably be sat at home, maybe around the fire, maybe watching TV with the delicious smell of a slow cooking Sunday roast wafting through the house, not us.

Instead we were convinced to take the boys (both of them this time) over to one of the local lakes for a spot of late afternoon surface fishing. Obviously, it was Matthew’s idea but this time he had managed to convince Callum to come along too.

So for the first time in probably a year, all four of us went out together, which made it a little bit special, despite the cold and the drizzle.

Vicky and I were ushered out of the front door the second the boys had packed the car and 10 minutes later we were unloading at Tylers Common.

The boys ran off to their favourite spot. Vicky and I followed, slightly less enthusiastically, carrying a chair each, Matthew’s larger fishing umbrella and the essential tea, coffee and snacks bag.

We set up, promptly putting the kettle on and settled down in the relative dry.

It was actually quite snug sat together, the content feeling further accentuated at the sight of the boys happily fishing and enjoying the outdoors, together.

It was almost inevitable that Matthew would be the first one to catch. They were never going to be huge, having chosen the easier ‘nursery lake’ to surface fish in. But it wasn’t long before Callum began to catch too. To the point where, no sooner had I sat back down from helping him with a fish, he was straight into another. We both found it sort of funny in the end. It was only ever going to be a few hours fishing but they both made the most of it. Late in the afternoon Matthew started to spot some surface activity from his favourite lake and he quickly moved swims. And it wasn’t long before he was into a fish, and a nice one too. Callum was on hand and was eager to offer his help netting the last catch of the day.

Tylers Common with the Boys

It turned out to be a beautiful 14lb common, the perfect end to a late afternoon session.

Tylers 14lb Sunday afternoon

Before too long we were all back home in the dry with the smell of roasting chicken wafting through the house.

Denver, Colorado to Slough House, Essex and a new PB.!

Having only arrived back in the UK from the US 24 hours earlier, after a weeks skiing Matthew was desperate to get back to it.

We were up as usual at just after 6am and I drove him over to Slough House, Bulphan for his first session since his return.

Thankfully, the weather had finally starting to warm up and the reports that were being posted on social media, suggested that the fish were starting to bite.

‘Marthew’ has a couple of nice fish during the morning but at about 5pm I got a call to get over there quick as he’s just netted a big one and he wasn’t sure whether this might be the day that he finally broke his ’20’.

Sadly this wasn’t that day (although it was mighty close) but he was still very please with a new pb, a lovely 19lb8oz leather.


Forty Acre Plantation Lakes, Billericay

A new venue for Matthew this time and his first 24hrs session of 2018. And boy it was a cold one.

It’s was a nice venue, well kept swims, pleasant bailiffs and an all important flushable toilet block.

We arrived at around 2pm, with Matthews equally crazy fishing buddy Lewis, arriving shortly after.

After completing my bivvy building duties, unpacking and the preparing and handing out of hot beverages and snacks, we all settled down.

It was an uneventful afternoon, mostly spent trying to keep the local Canada geese away from the boys swims and keeping them supplied with tea and flapjacks. By around 8pm after a welcome, albeit rather burnt, alfresco sausage sandwich, Matthew decided to turn in, and with his Nash receiver tucked securely into his pocket, he bedded down.

It was around 3:30am, when I was woken up by the shouts of Matthews friend from their bivvy. One of Matthews rods had screamed off, his bite alarm was going crazy but he was still fast asleep. Finally I heard him scrabble frantically out of his shelter, trip over in the mud, swear (I bit my lip) and finally snatch his rod from its pod; he was in. I lay in my bivvy listening to the excited noises from them both, chattering quietly to each other, with words of instruction and encouragement. It may have been the middle of an extremely cold winters night but this is what they had both been desperately waiting for and you could hear the euphoria in their voices. It made me smile.!

Shortly afterwards I heard Matthews let out a stifled yell of “Get in.!” and his catch was safety landed.

As warm as I was, wrapped up in several layers of clothes and two sleeping bags, I felt the urge to get up and share in his success. So boots on and phone switched to camera, we completed the obligatory nighttime, headlamp, beaming smile, photo shoot. A nice little 10lb common.

40Acres 10lb

It’s almost midday Sunday morning as I write this “from the bank” and they are both still busy outside. Discussing their approach for the rest of the afternoon, in between teasing each other with the usual friendly teenage banter.

The Story of an Obsessed Young Fisherman