Carp Specialist UK
Ian Chillcott Columnists
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The Name of the Game

Just my opinion of course...

Have you ever wondered why we give certain carp a name? I have, and to be honest, it’s something I didn’t feel the need to do. For that very reason I’ve only ever named three carp in all the time I have been fishing for them. I tried to name a fourth many moons ago, and as I will explain later, it nearly started the Third World War! It’s hard to imagine that the simple act of naming a fish can almost lead to a punch-up, but like everything to do with carp fishing, it sometimes seems par for the course. I guess in a lot of respects we name just about everything we come across, and although I haven’t named that many carp, I did name women I came across as a young soldier, and the raunchier they were, the more alarming the name became.

As a ‘green behind the ears’ recruit, I arrived at the Aldershot Garrison in 1978, and the first order of business for a testosterone-fuelled lad was to earn, and to qualify for, my parachute wings. The second objective - and probably just as important to be honest - was to try and get laid! The first girl I shared the back of my car with became known as “Over Easy”, I guess for very obvious reasons. As the years passed by, it seemed fashionable to name girls after certain animals: The Horse, The Camel, and if one was really desperate, The Donkey. I reckon it was all about getting on board for the ride, and as much as I could, I held on for grim death and galloped the night away! As things progressed, the trend was to start naming our vehicles too. My first vehicle was a 3.0-litre Scimitar, and as it was a bit of a fast and flashy speed machine.; she bore the name Fanny Magnet, again for obvious reasons. I only mention such things because it shows how much importance we associate with certain aspects of our lives. For your average young fella it’s all about chicks and motors, and therefore they get branded with a certain handle. However, it happens in all walks of life, from ships and yachts to aircraft and motorbikes. The point is, it’s a personal choice, a choice utilised by the new owners of these things.

The wrong name! He should have been called Pagasus!

Horton Church Lake, of all places, seemed to have missed out on that unwritten law, and it started many years ago when the then Leisure Sports moved the residents of Longfield into Horton, just up the road. An example would be the name-change of one of the most famous carp we have ever fished for: Shoulders. His shape very obviously was the reason he was given that name, but he was called Little Big Head when he lived in his original home, and I never understood why. That was until I tried to name a fish one day…

She had only been caught once before, and not having a name made the capture even more special

Back in the Spring of 1997 I landed a fish that had recently been introduced to Horton, after it had been moved from a lake up the road. As far as Keith Jenkins and I were concerned it had no name, so as a serving paratrooper, I decided to call it Pegasus. I entered it into the diary, and thought nothing more of it until I arrived the following week, at which point I was threatened with a ban if I didn’t change it in the log. The manager was amusingly very harsh, and stupidly thought I wasn’t about to splatter his face all over the lodge, because he was the boss. It made me laugh when I was told to name it The Boxer. If only he could have realised just how close he had come to getting boxed himself! Horton actually continued to confuse people when, after the fish deaths in 1998, they named every fish as they were stocked before anyone had caught them. It always amazed a few of us how weak management imparted their authority by trying to dominate their customers. The names were rubbish, and many of them still fin around today bearing the most ridiculous titles!

Dawn on a new lake, and I never knew the name of a single fish… heaven!

That said, I have had my moments. I caught a very rare fish in 1997 from the then, incredibly understocked Wraysbury. It hadn’t been caught for sixteen years, and although I mentioned her the other month, it’s worth mentioning again that she became known as Rosie, because AC/DC were hollering out the lyrics of Whole Lotta Rosie on my radio when I got the bite. A name given for personal reasons, on the bank, just the way it should be. Another of my namings was a 43lb mirror I landed from Wellington Country Park back in 2009. I banked her just a couple of days after Keith Jenkins’ second granddaughter was born, and her name was Willow. Some call the fish The Willow, but it’s just Willow for those who wish to know, and as far as I am aware it is now the biggest fish in the lake. History and memories: sweet dreams are made of this!

The first and nameless fish from a new water

Names are a big part of our carp angling, some of which have become just as famous as the anglers who’ve fished for them - dead or alive. Remember, even Chris Yates was naming the fish in Redmire, something that clouded the lake in an even more dense cloak of mystery at the time. The only problem I see in today’s incredibly fast-changing carp angling environment is how some are going to refer to the ones they are fishing for. For sure, there must be the odd Pierre and Champs-Elysees, the occasional Helmut and Hansel and you may even come across a Sheila or Kangaroo. I suspect things are going to get even more confusing to be honest. Judging by the places where some of these carp - rightly or wrongly of course - have come from, I can only imagine what some of the future captures will end up being known as. At one notorious venue I suspect that names such as Mossad, Shalom and even The Circumcised One will take centre stage! I suppose a few anglers in the world will understand these alien names, but I cannot help but think of carp angling’s modern day developing years in the ‘80s… bring back Basil, Mary and Big Bollocks; all is forgiven! Just my opinion of course…

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