When and how did you start with your carp fishing?
I started general angling when I was very young with my father and grandfather, like most anglers do. I fished for anything back then, small roach, tench and perch mainly. I heard the stories about carp and what they were like, but didn’t catch my first one until 1980 from Leightons Pool in Wolverhampton close to my home. It weighed around 8lb and I will never forget it because my reel fell off my rod during the fight! To this day I still can’t believe I landed it because I was so nervous from the power of the fish.
On how many waters and countries have you fished for carp?
At the last count I was well over 300 different venues from where I’ve caught carp from, and there’s been many I’ve not caught from too! I’m unsure of how many countries I’ve caught them from, but I can say I’ve caught 50lb-plus fish from six different countries and 60lb-plus from three.
Which anglers have directly influenced your carp fishing and why?
I think you learn something off everyone you spend time with on the bank so there’ve been quite a few guys I’ve picked bits up off. My old mate Rob Hughes would probably be the most influential on me, plus anglers like Rod Hutchinson, Kevin Nash, Tim Paisley, Kevin Clifford and Steve Briggs have helped a lot, all great anglers and people.
Which is your favourite water at home and which would it be abroad?
At home, it would have to be the legendary Redmire Pool. I was lucky enough to fish the opening week of the season there in 2004 when I booked the lake out for myself. I grew up reading about that water and it was a boyhood dream to actually fish there. Abroad, it would have to be Cassien in France, for the same reasons as Redmire. Cassien is where the continental carp scene started, and you can meet anglers from all over the world there because it has such a huge standing within the global scene. Both waters are also quite tricky, which makes catching carp from them very rewarding.
Any venues you’d specifically like to fish?
I had my first dabble on the Orient in France this year and loved it. I can see me getting very addicted with fishing a water like that. The conditions on the bank make it so demanding, both physically and mentally. I was fortunate to catch three fish and it has made me want to go back as often as I can. I’d love to catch a biggie out of somewhere like that.
Which is your most memorable angling moment?
I’ve had quite a few. Catching my first fish would be up there, as would catching the Nostell Priory biggie from Yorkshire, winning the first ever World Carp Cup in 1996 with Rob Hughes, landing my UK personal best of 56lb 12oz and netting my current biggest carp of 86lb 8oz from the demanding Rainbow Lake in France.
What else do you do outside of angling, do you play sport or have any other interests?
I love sport, but don’t play much these days other than keep fit events. I used to be involved with cricket and boxing when I was younger, but these days I mainly do running etc. I completed two marathons in 2015, both under four hours.
Favourite tv programmes?
Wildlife documentaries, sports channels and BBC News. My favourite films are Black Hawk Down, Lone Survivor and The Great Escape.
I like anything really, ranging from hard-core dance to pop and even classical. My recent CD collection includes Oasis, Nirvana, Guns n Roses, Robbie Williams and U2.
People you admire?
Any man who fought for his country, and sportsmen like Muhammed Ali, Marvin Hagler, Tiger Woods and Ian Botham.
Arrogant anglers who look down their nose at where others choose to fish.
Lastly, do you have any unfulfilled ambitions in life or carp fishing?
In carp fishing I’d like to keep enjoying it. I particularly like fishing up north where I live and going after the older fish in Yorkshire. We all dream of coming across a previously uncaught big fish so that would be high on my list. Overseas I’d like to catch a 50lb-plus from Cassien and the Orient. In life, I’d like to go and see a big fight in America and continue being happy.