Imagine my surprise when he asked Ron Barnet to stand up. I was thinking that my secret was out and that he was referring to me. It bought the events that had taken place that day back to me. The following is an account of what happened, before Jack arrived. When I told him this tale he reckoned I had lost one of the monsters that still lived in Redmire at the time. Anyway, read on for a Redmire tale to add to the others that must have taken place there.

It was October or November 1967 when Bob Nixon controlled the water. I was granted two days of pilgrimage at the shrine of carp Angling. I took over from Ron Blackmore and Dave Cruikshank, who were there 2-3 days before me. They hadn't had a run, which wasn't unusual for this water. I was to spend two days and nights alone in Mecca. As I stopped the car at the approach to the dam, I could see the white wooden hand rail on the dam wall and the big willow beyond. It was with a sense of extreme privilege that I drank in the heavy atmosphere and mystic of the place.

I fished from the Style swim opposite the swim called BB's pitch. I put two baits out, free lined. One close in and the other out to the edge of the centre channel. I made it possible to cast the distance required by moulding a ball of maize meal around my hook bait, which was an enormous bunch of maggots threaded onto a needle and cotton and wrapped around a size I or 2 hook. I thought I'd try something different. The maize meal, by the way,(I learned this by watching it in a bucket of water) when immersed in water for a while, flakes away and forms a nice neat attractive circle around the hook bait. Using this approach on both rods, I caught a big Gudgeon and a small Eel. 'Two species down one to go', I thought. I had read of only 3 species being present in the water.

The conditions I encountered during my stay were appalling. High winds with black thunderous clouds rolling over the valley. The rain eventually fell like stair rods for over 24 hours. The water around the margins began to turn red as the surrounding fields drained into the lake. The conditions were of no real consequence, for I was at Redmire and I could not ask for more.

All too soon, my time there was drawing to a close. The realisation of a dream fulfilled (in part) but I was loath to leave. The time had come to pack up, my stay in Mecca was almost over. I packed all my gear into the car except the rod with the bait out in the channel and, of course, my landing net. I stood beside them and watched like a hawk as the seconds ticked away to my agreed departure time and beyond, I could not bring myself to go. As I stood there in stolen extra time, hovering over my rod, the line trembled, the silver paper lifted about an inch and my Heron bite indicator sounded as if by design. I struck, not wishing to give whatever had picked up my bait a chance to put it down. My rod bent over into full battle curve as I wound down into what seemed like an unmoving object. I stood there with pounding heart and trembling knees, for what seemed like ages. A huge cloud of bubbles erupted on the surface as the rod top thumped down as if hit by a sand bag, once, twice, three times. What ever I had hooked had now decided to move. Very slowly it went, away from me towards the centre of the channel.

The bubbles that followed it looked at least a yard wide. It then turned and headed up the channel towards the dam to my right. Slowly, unstoppably it went, bubbles bursting onto the surface marking its path. The clutch of my Mitchel 410 gave line grudgingly in a series of short bursts, relieving the pressure from my arched and straining rod. The fish surged slowly on, without gaining speed. The power and lack of speed, took me completely by surprise. The trail of bubbles continued, like someone dragging a sack of potatoes through the bottom silt. At about fifty yards from where I first hooked it, the fish turned in towards the bank and ploughed into the thick weed that lined both sides of the channel. It went a few yards before stopping, apparently stuck solid. This did not concern me unduly as I had been advised by Ron Gould, an angler who had been successful there 2-3 weeks previously, that the weed was dying back and broke away easily enough for him to haul his fish back encased in a huge ball of weed. Armed with this knowledge I hauled as suggested to the limit allowed by my new lOlbs B.S. Platil Strong line and 1.75lb T.C. rod. I pulled and pulled until the fish started to move, then to my horror, the line snapped halfway between me and the fish! I watched helplessly as the two ends floated down and lay limply on the surface. I quickly decided to go in and to try to grab the end of the line, but too late. As I watched, the line started to snake off across the surface and disappeared into the depths.

I stared blankly at the water whilst my world drained away from me. My carp fishing at the time meant a great deal to me. To fish Redmire had always been my ultimate angling dream since reading about the exploits of Walker and the Carp Catchers Club there, as a teenager in the fifties. To be so lucky to hook a carp there was too much to comprehend, but to loose it through what I judged to be faulty line was the final irony. The Gremlin that had caused much havoc in my carp angling, had struck again, the cruellest stroke of fate. As a recent divorcee, the salvation of my sanity had been my carp fishing, into which I had thrown myself with great enthusiasm. This was the final blow. The rejection I felt was total, doom and despondency swallowed me up as I drove back down the A40 in a daze. I suspect I was not the first to be similarly affected by the place. I vowed never to fish for carp again, "life is too short" I recall reading somewhere.

Jack Hilton later offered me a place in the Redmire syndicate, which I, strange as it might seem, declined. The decision not to accept was a good one, for it enabled me to sort myself out and get my life back on a stable path again. But I can't help but wonder how much my life would have changed, had I accepted (or even landed that fish?)

Since that day in 1967 I have never again fished for carp seriously. Indeed, I think it was not until 1974 that I fished for them again and then only light-hearted affairs on small fish waters, 2-3 hours stalking early mornings before work and evenings with floaters, that's my lot nowadays. I think it was H.T.Sheringham who said that a carp angler is a man who has a strange look in his eyes, as if has seen heaven and Hell.

I know that look.