CARPFEED HERITAGE: Jack Hilton on Redmire's heyday

CARPFEED HERITAGE: Jack Hilton on Redmire's heyday

This Angling Times column by Jack Hilton from 1972 reveals the extraordinary stocks of Redmire Pool during its heyday.

Redmire’s glory days were the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in Chris Yates ‘record’ 51lb 8oz fish of 1980.

From 1967 until 1975, the 10-man syndicate was run by one of the godfathers of modern carp angling, Jack Hilton.

As well as writing several notable books, Jack also penned a regular column for the Angling Times, and in 1972 became the first man to catch three carp over 30lb.

In that same year Jack wrote a piece in AT which detailed the incredible stocks swimming around in this remarkable little pool.

Nearly 50 years ago he wrote: “I am very often asked about various aspects of Redmire Pool. And as I shall be writing from time to time about the fishing at this great carp water, a few words about the place and the fish it contains should not go amiss.

“The pool itself is something less than three acres in extent and roughly takes the shape of an elongated triangle - the shallows at the apex, the deeps at the dam which forms the base.

“Nowhere is the pool deeper than about 11ft, though the average depth would probably be nearer 6ft. The depth at the margins is such that even the largest carp can nose right in to the bank should they so wish.

“Surface-water springs feed into the shallows to such an extent that water continually flows over the dam outlet.

“Because of this, the pool becomes highly coloured during the wet winter months from sediment washed in from adjoining fields.

“Most summers the pool is crystal clear, and during the five years or so that I have been privileged to fish there I have only known the water to colour on one or two occasions during the summer - and this was due to exceptional rain.

“The average summer, too, finds the pool choc-a-bloc with many kinds of soft weed, including a surface scum, the texture of which closely resembles a thick yellow blanket.

“Heavy wind and rain tend to sink much of this surface layer, whereas calm sunny conditions have the opposite effect and cause blobs of blanket weed to rise from the bottom to the surface, naturally playing havoc with previously cast lines.

“And now something about the Redmire inhabitants. Apart from gudgeon and a vast number of small eels, no other species swim there but the carp.

“And what carp they are! At a rough guess I estimate their number to be between 60 and 70 in excess of 20lb.

“Of these, the average weight would be nearer 30lb than 20lb, and there are several of around record size – give or take a pound or two. 

“You can add to this at least three carp of such enormous proportions that a rough guess of maybe 60lb could well be way out on the lean side!”

“Each year, without fail, the carp spawn and the growth rate of the offspring is phenomenal.

“September fish – from June spawn of the same year – reach 12oz or so. Next season they’ve increased to 3lb or 4lb.

“The following 7lb to 9lb, and the next as much as 15lb for the faster growing specimens. That’s some growth rate.

“Before 1951, Redmire Pool was comparatively unknown due, no doubt, to the general lack of interest in carp in those days.

“But it burst into the angling world in October of that year when Bob Richards’ 31lb 4oz mirror cracked the existing carp record held for so long by Albert Buckley’s 26lb Mapperley fish.

“As fantastic as Richards’ fish appeared at that time (it was though by many that Buckley’s fish was unbeatable), the record it set was short-lived.

“The season following, Maurice Ingham got a 24lb 12oz fish in June; Pete Thomas a 28lb 18oz fish, also in June; and on that fateful September morn Dick Walker took the great 44lb fully scaled carp that holds the record to this very day.

“From October 1951 on, Redmire Pool has been recognised as the carp fishers’ Mecca.

“Dick Walker, members of the Carp Catchers’ Club, and a few honoured guests were allowed to fish the pool from 1951 to 1965.

“As far as I can make out, about 25 fish in excess of 20lb were caught during those years. Yet two were over 40lb - Walker’s and Eddie Price’s fish of 40lb 8oz - and three over 30lb.

“The next two years the water was controlled by John Nixon who allowed members of specimen groups to fish there on day tickets.

“During this time nine carp of over 20lb were caught - and no 40-pounders, but three over 30lb.

“From 1967 I have been fortunate enough to control the fishing of a limited 10-member syndicate. During our spell we have taken 47 carp in excess of 20lb - just one 40-pounder, but eight of 30lb-plus.

“Obviously Redmire is on its way up, whether due to the carp, concentrated angling or just different baits and methods, I just don’t know.”