2010s: The 10 biggest news stories
Like any decade in our sport, the twenty-tens have brought us plenty to talk about...
Like any decade in our sport, the 2010s have brought us plenty to talk about. Only now, we all get to share our opinions instantly and directly across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. News items in this decade didn’t start and end with a definitive article in a single magazine - it has been the era of debate, controversy and division.
Dean Fletcher catches the Parrot
It had been eight years since the last British carp record when Dean Fletcher banked Wasing’s Parrot at 68lb 1oz. The fish, which was ratified by the British Record Fish Committee and remains the official best, slipped up in January 2016 and eclipsed Oz Holness’s capture of Two-Tone from 2008. Dean grabbed local and national headlines, and the carp world was united in praise for the affable greengrocer and the extraordinarily long fish. Oh how things would change!
Redmire is sold
After years of rumour and conjecture, the Richardson family handed over the keys to the Bernithan Court estate after decades of ownership in August this year. They had previously put the estate - on which Redmire Pool sits - on the market in 2017 but withdrew it and commissioned Mark Walsingham to undertake a huge desilting and renovation scheme on the lake in the winter of 2018/19. The new owners have honoured existing bookings into 2020 but the long-term future of the famous pool is not clear.
Tom Doherty catches Big Rig
In September 2016, Tom Doherty went fishing at his syndicate venue - the Avenue in Shropshire - and landed what was then biggest carp ever banked in Britain. Tom submitted a claim to the BRFC for the 69lb 3oz giant, but the knives were already out. The 33-year-old received abuse and even a death threat because some believed the fish, called Big Rig, wasn’t ‘proper’. The BRFC agreed and dismissed the claim, saying the fish had been “grown under an artificial feeding regime close to a weight close to or exceeding the existing species record”. Big Rig was subsequently caught at 71lb 4oz before dying the following year.
Nick Helleur catches the first Thames 50
Those north of Watford Gap will be quick to point out that the country’s first river 50 was from the Aire in Yorkshire, but Nick Helleur’s Thames giant certainly grabbed the carp world’s attention in 2018. Nick’s ability to tell a compelling story was the icing on the cake when a video of the capture was released by Sticky in early 2019.
The first and only weekly print title dedicated to carp fishing ceased publication in the summer of 2018 having first appeared on newsstands in June 1994. The closure followed the demise of monthly titles Advanced Carp Fishing and Crafty Carper the year before.
Bluebell Lakes fire
Bluebell near Peterborough is a cracking day ticket complex with great scenery, varied fishing and some of the biggest open-access carp around. And like all top venues, by early 2017 it had moved with the times and established top-notch facilities including a massive on-site tackle shop. Then, in March of that year, a freak accident occurred as a charging bait boat battery exploded and set fire to the shop, torching £150,000 of tackle.
Scott Lloyd catches the Burghfield Common
The debate over what is the best carp in the land can never be settled, but for many people it is The Burghfield Common, and when Scott Lloyd became just the 11th angler in history to bank it we were all bowled over. That spring 2017 capture saw the fish at its biggest-ever weight of 62lb 8oz, and it looked supreme.
The rise of Holme Fen
At the start of the decade, Holme Fen in Cambridgeshire was still an open pit waiting to be flooded. Less than a decade later it’s home to more than half a dozen 60-pounders and a 71lb mirror, and it’s open to anyone to fish. Two different Holme Fen mirrors have been caught at weights exceeding the current official British record, but after the first claim was rejected - due to the fish’s Israeli heritage and the initial feeding regime on the lake - subsequent captors have been loath to bother.
We were well and truly into the social-media era when news of this capture trickled out in November 2017. The initial reaction from cynics in the industry was that this had to be another bullsh*t internet rumour - but no, hurried phone calls confirmed that Wingham in Kent had indeed produced a fish of 83lb 4oz. When pics appeared in journalists’ inboxes, courtesy of then Wingham boss Steve Burke, it was clear this was indeed an extraordinary fish, but for all the wrong reasons. The distended mirror was visibly ill and was found dead the following summer.
Rod Hutchinson dies
Widely proclaimed as one of the godfathers of modern carp fishing, Rod Hutchinson passed away in June 2018. The Grimsby lad with a glint in his eye brought us many bait and tackle innovations that we now take for granted. Synonymous with Savay, Redmire, Cassien, particles, HNV baits and much, much more, Rod inspired many anglers to target carp.
Ten things RH did for carp fishing…
1. Particle fishing
Yes, others certainly contributed to the development of particle fishing, but few would argue that Rod was the master.
2. Euro adventures
Rod wasn’t content with success on these shores. The same inquisitive nature saw him depart for mainland Europe, waaaay ahead of the crowds.
It was Rod that encouraged us to ‘smell the roses along the way’, both in person, for those lucky enough to have fished with him, or through his writings.
4. Birdfood boilies
It was Rod that introduced the carp world to Robin Red, a now-legendary additive that is still in common use to this day. He is credited with the development of birdfood baits.
5. Synthetic flavours
Rod’s name is irrevocably linked with the very finest flavours ever made, with Scopex and Monster Crab being among the most famous.
6. Specialist bivvies
Once he got into tackle manufacture, Rod’s fertile mind kicked into gear. His early bivvies, particularly the Apotheosis, were among his favourite products.
7. 12ft rods
Working with rod builder Alan Brown, Rod prototyped (he extended an existing rod with a 2ft parallel butt) and then helped produce the first 12ft carp rod.
8. Understanding the weather
Rod is widely thought to have been the first person to write about the significance of fresh winds on carp movement.