Like many I first got a taste for fishing on the canal with my old man. I remember the very first fish I caught was a lovely roach maybe about 1lb in weight on a simple float fishing set up with good old maggots. I was only very young but that same fulfilling excitement still runs through me every time I catch a fish to this day.
It was a few years later when I began to get hooked on ‘carp fishing’ in particular. I distinctly remember an awesome family holiday in Cornwall around the age of 15/16 where me, my dad and my brother would visit a local fishery most days to try our luck in unfamiliar territory. The bailiff explained to us what stocks of fish were in each lake, and one specimen lake for some reason really caught my eye.
It was a beautiful place and that summer was particularly warm. With lots of nice deep margins, snags and overhanging tree’s I decided to try for some of these bigger carp that the bailiff had told me about. Up until this holiday I hadn’t caught a carp bigger than around 4lb from local canals and lakes.
Armed with my dad’s old reel loaded with brand new 8lb maxima line, a 10ft rod and a few tins of Spam I went and tried my luck. That day I must have caught in excess of 15 carp all up to 10lb. Every single one gave me an amazing heart throbbing fight and the feeling of landing each one was out of this world.
My older cousin Will Tonks, who you will see is another team member, was already seriously fishing for carp by this point. I would look at his pictures of much bigger carp in awe. One day around the age of 17 he took me to Winterley Fisheries to show me what it was all about. We caught a mid double Koi that day and that’s when my mind was made up, I needed to get down to Stapely Water Gardens and kit myself out with a proper carp fishing set up!
Ten years on I am now in the very fortunate position of owning HF Angling which is currently going from strength to strength. I’ve met some amazing people and my angling has drastically improved over these last few years and I hope it continues that way.
We’re working really hard on sticking to our strap line “Service, Value & Choice” with Service being the first and most important aspect. With a fantastic team representing the HF Angling brand I am excited to see what the future holds.
I started fishing when I was about 4 years old, I was very fortunate growing up to have access to a private 17-acre estate lake that had everything you could ever dream of living in it. Up until the age of 18 I very rarely ventured anywhere else, there was the odd occasion I went to Brookfield in Betley or to some small farm lakes close to friends’ houses, but for the most part I fished on this private lake for 14 or so years. Every week I would be there, sometimes more than once, and sometimes for a whole week! I lived that lake; I knew everything about it and saw most things that swam in it, although not always in my net, I think I only ended up catching about 25% of the carp stock, but that for a little later in the bio!
My first casts were the same as yours and most others, bit bashing with my family, either my dad or my uncles. We used to sit on the stage all day with our keepnets stretched out in front having competitions for the most and the biggest. Most of the captures were roach and Rudd, with a random bream thrown into the mix…. But….. on the odd occasion one of my peers’ rods would bend over double and words were shouted that at the time my ears should not be hearing! On the even rarer chance that one of these fish would be landed I would look down into the net to see a red eye staring back at me.
Tench were the first specimen fish to really catch my eye (apart from pike, I loved pike fishing, what young lad didn’t)! And from there on a whirlwind of hunting and searching started.
It was Tench fishing that started my carp obsession back when I was about 13 years old. I remember fishing the lift method for Tench along side sole pads down the quiet end of the lake when my float rose and lay down on the surface until slowly sliding away. I lifted the rod into something that took me all 12 rounds and never saw it, not even a glimpse…. But I know what it was, there was only one fish that could do that…. Cyprinus Carpio.
Carp took over my life after that, I wouldn’t fish for anything else, and nothing else interested me in the same way. At the time I didn’t read any fishing magazines know anything about the outside fishing world. All I did know was Stapeley Water Gardens and Tillys Tackle Shop, and they opened my eyes!
I ended up catching some amazing fish from that lake, including quadruple takes of amazing scaley bangers that you can see in the pics above (I’m the geek in the cap, the other guy was my school friend, Alex). When I look back now, I kick myself as I never realised how good I had it! I spent a week there once with another school friend Tom and we caught countless carp which we recorded in a diary which is sadly lost now. The memories and the lessons I learnt there I will never loose.
The fish I saw but didn’t catch were something else, fish that I dedicated my life to and never had the chance to meet, fish that at the time were probably 40lb or more (comparing them to fish I had caught swimming with them). These fish still haunt me to this day!
…………. Nowadays it’s much different, I fish day tickets all over the country whenever I can, and I fish my club waters which are local to me. I fish for the lookers, not the big ones, the ones that have a story to tell, the fish that have seen a thing or two! I don’t go out to catch the biggest; I want the ones that are old and crusty!
I work at HF for Chris as the Sales and Marketing manager, it’s a dream job to me. After a life of perusing fish, what better job is there? We pride ourselves on the Service Value and Choice that we provide, The Service being the biggest part of the HF ethos. I love our customers and have made some amazing friends since being at HF. The stories, the banter and the new shiny gear I get to see on a daily basis makes getting up in the morning the easiest part of my day.
Like many, it was my dad who got me into fishing. I started around the age 6 and have been angling ever since. In the beginning my fishing was exclusive to small puddles really, catching roach, rudd, bream and the odd carp along the way. For me, the buzz for fishing began when I learnt the ropes of carp fishing on a small lake that was packed full of carp. There were certainly no monsters in there, but it allowed me to learn my craft as a beginner and catch some lovely fish along the way.
Currently, my angling is predominantly carp fishing on my local club water where I plan to do a couple of seasons and then either change to a different water on the club or set out a new adventure at a different club.
My names Jack Mellor, I like to think of myself as an all-round fisherman there’s nothing I won’t try or do. My dad first took me fishing when I was 3 years old – basically as soon as I was able to walk and my attention span was a little more focused. Needless to say, my first fish wasn’t a monster, it was a 2inch daddy ruffe which at the time was a monster for me. I then progressed into gudgeon, roach, bleak, perch and the dreaded slimy eel. Whilst watching my dad trying his best to unhook the tiny boot lace… I didn’t realise at the moment… but I got hooked, hooked on fishing for life.
I spent a lot of time fishing canals through my early stages of my life, I liked the Shropshire union canal the most, catching 5lb to 10lb mixed nets of silver fish, with the biggest fish only being just over a pound in weight. Then I joined Wybunbury Anglers Association in my early teens doing the same style of fishing, but after big nets of bream. If I recall correctly, the biggest net I had was around 80lb with the biggest bream at 9lb 10oz which still stands as my pb.
It was a few years later when I started to lean more towards catching carp, I didn’t have a clue though. When I look back and remember what I was using I feel like kicking myself, but funnily I managed to catch my biggest carp on that tackle which still stands at 29ib 1oz – it absolutely blew me away, an amazing fish. It was caught on a simple knotless knot with a standard 15mm cell bottom bait. Just goes to show simple is best. Needless to say, it started an unbridled passion for them.
I’ve also done a lot of sea fishing around our coast from Liverpool all the way down to Weymouth fishing for cod, conger, tope, smooth hound and recently when shark fishing which was fantastic experience, I caught a blue shark around 70lb to 80lb and a porbeagle around 40lb. My friend had the biggest at a whopping 110lb porbeagle, jammy bugga!
My dad is my mentor, angling hero and best friend and I thank him for having the patience to teach me all different types of fishing, also to respect the fish we catch and for being an excellent nets man and photographer of the years.
The most memorable catch I had was with my dad fishing queens park in Crewe back when I was a young teen, fishing with a float ledger and a glugged tuna oiled cube of luncheon meat for carp. I managed to catch one roach at 2lb 3oz, a Rudd just over 2lb and an awesome 3ib 8oz eel that fought like an absolute demon…. that was a good day and one I will never forget.
I’m glad to be part of the HF Angling team, Chris and Jon are top lads, they have the knowledge and experience to help even the inexperienced anglers bag a couple and have a good time and that for me is what it’s all about.
I hope I can inspire and help you get out in our beautiful country side and catch some stunning fish and maybe an absolute monster.
I caught my first fish in 1967, a mackerel at the age of 6 from a boat out of Tenby. This lit a spark that didn’t turn into a flame until I was 12 when I began coarse fishing.
General coarse fishing was the order of the day with summers filled with float fishing and swing tipping and the winters catching live bait and pike. Bathpool and Leg o Mutton in Kidsgrove being my main haunts along with trips to Westport lake and Rudyard Lake along with others.
The summer of 1976 saw a group of us inspired by the antics a local carp angler, Eric Green. We began fishing Bathpool and Legga with sweet corn and go cat paste. Sometime toward the end of the long school holiday I caught my first carp, all 8lbs of it.
1978 to 1982 saw me having a break from fishing due to discovering motorbikes, girls and pubs!
In 82 I began general coarse fishing again and enjoying summers of tench fishing. By the end of 83 I started to get the carp bug again.
In 84 I began what has been an on and off love affair with Lawton Hall lake.
Over the years I fished most local waters and travelled to Oxfordshire carp fishing.
I served on Wheelock Anglers committee from 1997 to 2006 being the general secretary from 2004 to 2006. I then had a 5-year break from the sport.
In 2013 I re-joined the committee of WAS and have been the General Secretary again since 2015. I enjoy being part of a team that run 10 successful waters 2 of which have some great personal memories for me.
I am currently a member of 2 publicity ban syndicates one of which I joined this year chasing carp to upper 40s. Unfortunately, I have had my fishing hours limited this year but managed some nice carp with a number of 30s to 36lb including a stunning 35lb mirror.
My best carp is 39.12 so the elusive 40lb barrier still alludes me.
I have had many memorable captures over the years but have to say the capture of a stunning 34lb common from a club water must be the most memorable catch.
I have also been present when good friends have had memorable captures and enjoyed their success with them. Also, being part of the committee of Wheelock it is good to hear of memorable captures of the club membership.
I am very happy to be part of the HF team, from the first time I met Chris I was impressed with his character and business ethics along with seeing him helping young and inexperienced anglers.
I look forward to sharing some my angling experiences with you.
I fished with my dad from a young age but it wasn’t until I started going on my own, pinching all of his tackle, that I got the bug for carp fishing. He would often give me a good grilling for ruining his gear – I particularly remember the boll***ing I got when I messed up his favourite Mitchell reels.
My first every memorable capture was a pit that me and many friends use to go and catch Perch from near where I lived. One Sunday afternoon after numerous mates had left the pit to go and play football; I packed up and went for a last stroll around the small pit. Under an overhanging dead tree I saw a massive carp with a funny shaped nose. In a panic decided to re- set up a rod and try have a go for the strange character, after getting caught up in the barb wire fence and making lots of commotion I eventually return to the tree to see the fish had disappeared – I was gutted and couldn’t wait to return.
The following week at school I told the tale too all my mates of what I saw, however I was taunted and accused of lying as it was to all my friends belief there was nothing but perch and Rudd in the pit. With a new found enthusiasm to prove all my friends wrong and to see the fish again, I couldn’t wait till the following weekend and geared up with some luncheon meat, and found myself at the pit on a school night.
My friends followed and we had another pleasant evening perching. I was baiting with the meat all the time I was there, and for the last hour decided to put a bigger hook on and give it a go. It didn’t take long before the float bobbed and I was away! It was clear from the off that this wasn’t the usual perch and the Jonny Wilson rod was bent over double the whole fight, it went through numerous weed beds which I didn’t even realise were in there and a good ten to fifteen minutes later the carp was ready for the net. It was silent the whole fight as soon as the fish went over the cord all mates were jumping with joy – I couldn’t believe I actually caught it. The marvellous fish turned out to be a 7 pound grass carp and was (all though at the time I didn’t realise it) the first fish I targeted and managed to catch.
From there I went about carp fishing. I started to get all the gear and spend numerous weekends on local waters catching as many as I could up to twenty pounds.
My next memorable capture was my first thirty. I started fishing a local club water that was known at the time to be hard for carp, but there was a handful of thirty pound plus carp in there. I fished for a couple of season on there still a relatively inexperienced carp angler. This was an amazing venue that really taught me how to carp fish. I started to get amongst them in my second season and my drive to catch a thirty plus carp kept growing until it became an obsession. I put a lot of time in and on one work night I had a screaming take, after a long fight taking out other anglers rods I managed a fantastic scaley mirror which was slightly unknown at the time at 34 pound. I still remember looking in net and was amazed by its size and beauty. This is an unreal fish and remains my English personal best mirror carp – have a look at the first picture above.
I then began to carp fish hard for many years travelling down south and across the pond into Europe, catching many big fish up too just under 60 pounds. I had the best of times, making lots of fantastic memories and having a great laugh along the way.
Up to date I don’t take my fishing nowhere near as serious. With a young family and the usual work commitments I just don’t get as much time as I would like to get out there. However still thoroughly enjoy my fishing when I do get chance. You’ll find me carp fishing, bit bashing with my dad and even predator fishing around the local area – I just get out when I can.
I am very happy to be part of the HF family and hope to share some new memories with you all in the future.
Enjoy your fishing!
I remember being 11 years old when I first started fishing. Like many of you, I began on the canals around Nantwich catching greedy Perch and lots of Gudgeon. It was a few years later when I joined a local angling club fishing for the jewels that these fantastic waters held. When I was old enough I began entering the club matches, finding myself up against some very good anglers and occasionally beating them. This style of fishing vastly improved my angling.
It was only when a good friend of mine convinced me to go night fishing on the canal with him that I found my true love for specimen carp fishing. My seat box made way for a bed chair and my pole became 3 rods and bite alarms. From this point onwards carp fishing has been a massive part of my life. I try to get out on the bank wherever possible to try and bank a kipper or two.
In recent years I have been travelling across to Europe as regularly as possible to track down some of the monsters that reside over there. I’ve managed some wonderful creatures so far and long may that continue. The air of mystery that surrounds these foreign canals and waters keeps me on my toes and itching to get back over for the next fishing trip.
As a youngster of about 9 years old I used to go fishing with my dad when I visited him every other weekend and during the summer holidays. I always remember him waking me up at 5am to go to Top flash. I never really slept mind! I was far too excited and would jump out of bed in a heartbeat. We would wait in the car park until the gates opened at 6am and then tackle the planks that took you to the long sandbank at the bottom of the river where we would fish for Bream and Tench on our wicker seat boxes. Those childhood memories will never leave me.
I lived with my mum in St Helens, and from the age of 11 I would bike 3 miles to get to a canal called ‘The Hotties’; it was a stretch of canal that had hot water sprinklers fed by Pilkington’s glass. Because of this there was an amazing mixture of fish, from Tropical fish like Guppy’s and Cichlids to your usual strains of cold water fish including the odd goldfish! I would have a great time catching weird and wonderful fish, you never knew what you were going to get!
As I got older I joined the Army and got into motorbikes so fishing took a back seat. I moved to the midlands after leaving the army and the passion for fishing came back very quickly as I started to fish a place called Pool Hall Lower Penn near Wolverhampton where I would spend a lot of time fishing for Carp.I left the midlands and moved into Cheshire where I joined Wheelock Anglers of which I am still a member, and now a bailiff. I have spent all my free time targeting some of the biggest residents in the club whilst meeting some wonderful and dedicated anglers.
Becoming part of the HF team gives me great pleasure I can share my catches and knowledge with you all!
Fishing has always run in my family and it was only a matter of time before I became addicted myself, now it’s in my blood.
Like most I started my fishing adventure as a young boy down the local canals with the old man. Good memories made most weekends and summer evenings walking the canals with our wicker baskets strapped to our backs and cane rods in our hand, armed with a pint of mixed maggots and a flask of coffee we used to sit and fish until the sun went down…… those were the days!!!!!
I continued to fish local canals and I became a member of Elworth which has ran in the family for generations. Fishing the small lakes on the pole catching roach, Rudd, tench and whatever else came my way… sometimes the occasional big carp 3-4lb that was big to me back then.
After sometime I decided to try different tactics Fishing the method and swing tip targeting the bigger fish. I can remember a session when me and my dad were fishing one of the small pools next to big Moore, dad was on the pole and popped over to me to grab his butties and coffee and as soon as he sat up turned his back I saw his pole fly into the water and him trying to do some kind of ninja move to grab it, it was being dragged around the lake …… he had no chance!!!
We used a little boat which was available to try and reclaim his pole managing to get out into the middle of lake using two old planks of wood as paddles the fish was giving us a run for our money and the other anglers a good laugh. We managed to grab the pole playing the fish while being in the boat, we were in the water for over half an hour and by this time we had an audience then…. CRACK we lost it!!!!My dad’s expression will sit with me forever and I was obviously the one to blame…. THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY!
I started to develop an ambition to catch bigger fish moving to larger gravel pits and lakes with friends, in my early teens I used to venture to winterly pool travelling down in the early hours on my mums push bike and deck chair on my back. When doing the night back then it wasn’t like today, all we used to take was a little brolly and sleep on the unhooking Matt watching in anticipation for our washing up caps to scream off ….. they were long nights!!!
When I got a bit older and wiser I started to fish my local park waters and I remember the rush of landing my first big carp!!! Fishing close to the boats I had my first double take and fear set in this was a new one, Unfortunately I lost one of the fish but managed to land my first decent carp. I had created another audience that were taking photos they were shocked and amazed at the size of the fish I’ve just caught (22lb mirror) especially being a young lad….. what a memory!!! After that I started to catch more incredible carp and the bug was set for life.
After that day my life has been very much taken over by hunting Carp of any size anywhere I can get a line in. My fishing hasn’t really changed much throughout the years, only thing I would say is I have a lot more gear but there is nothing more I enjoy than hunting those wary fish down with a Rod, Reel, hook and line with a small bit of bread.
To this day I chase and try target big fish whatever the species and would class myself as an all-round angler. I like to fish different venues, styles and tactics pursuing perch and pike in the winter months, tench in the spring then who doesn’t love a bit of float fishing for carp in the summer months!!!!
Angling isn’t a hobby for me it’s a way of life and it will always be close to my heart ( my fiancé would say more of an obsession )!!! Some fish take months sometimes years to catch but for that brief moment when I am holding the fish I have caught it makes all the time chasing worthwhile.