We pick the brains of Dave Lane, one of the most successful carp anglers in the history of the sport with eight UK 50s to his name...
You’ve caught some of the most famous big carp in the country, including the Black Mirror, Sonning Eye and the Burghfield Common. Which is the most memorable to you, and why?
They all mean so much, for different reasons. The Black Mirror involved massive challenges due to the restrictions and the wild nature of the pit.
The Sonning Eye lived in 240 acres, of which about 60 per cent was out of bounds.
The Burghfield Common was probably the easiest of those three but I still had to carve out a new swim from solid brambles to be able to fish where I needed to.
I have so many good memories from all my major captures that it would seem unfair to single out just one.
Age: ‘Unknown’ (by his own admission)
Occupation: Angling consultant and writer
UK PB: 55lb mirror, 55lb common
Hobbies outside fishing: Photography, rugby (watching, not playing)
Music to accompany your perfect session: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Pot Noodle or toastie? Neither, I don’t eat wheat!
What has been your favourite venue down the years, and why?
That’s almost as hard to answer as the last question, and I couldn’t honestly put the Mere forward as a contender as that was more of a ‘love-hate’ relationship!
Brogborough was amazing, because of the size of the place and the freedom I enjoyed down there, and Marys in Northants was a bit special as well.
I was alone most of the time on there, the surroundings were terrific, and it held wild carp that moved around as they should do without pressure.
Burghfield would also be up there in the top three because of the size and notoriety of the lake and, of course, its most famous inhabitant.
Is there anywhere you’d like to fish, but haven’t yet had the chance?
There are quite a few but most of them have either a ‘no dogs’ policy, a publicity ban or a ‘no Laney’ rule.
Your love of large, wild waters is well known. Do you ever feel the need to go and get a bend in the rod somewhere less challenging, just to recharge?
Regularly, but I tend to save all that for the winter months. It’s hard for me to visit busy lakes in the summer as I end up getting frustrated because I can’t move on to fish. I don’t make a very good spectator!
Have you ever fished abroad for big carp? If not, is there any foreign venue that particularly interests you?
I have fished holiday venues with my mates for a giggle and also a few competitions on the larger lakes such as Madine and the Orient.
Some of these were hilarious and disastrous in equal measure, and I’ve written a whole chapter in my next book that catalogues the madness that surrounded my years competing in the World Carp Classic.
Aside from boilies, if you had to use just one bait to target carp, what would it be?
Tiger nuts, they are a terrific bait at all times of the year, particularly when fished in conjunction with hemp.
Who was your biggest inspiration in your formative carp fishing years?
I would have to mention Kevin Maddocks and Rod Hutchinson here, simply for their books. I read them so many times the pages fell out. I also had a mate who always caught more than I did and that spurred me on to be better.
What’s your idea of the perfect session – in terms of the time of year, and tactics?
I like mid-summer on the big pits when an unusual wind turns up and moves the fish into new areas – a big easterly in August on a massive gravel pit, for example.
I love fishing for carp in areas that they are seldom found in or for fish that are there at the wrong time of year – such as up on the shallows in midwinter or right under your feet in flood conditions.
Anything a bit out of the ordinary really, and always on big pits.
If you could use just one rig for the rest of your carping days, what would it be?
It would have to be a 360 rig, or maybe a straightforward bottom bait rig with a stripped back Jel-E-Wyre hooklink.
Who is the best carp angler you’ve ever fished with, or witnessed fishing?
God, I hate this question! Those who I know are really good I wouldn’t dare mention, as I’d never hear the last of it, and those that think they are really good seldom are!
What about the best bit of angling you’ve ever seen? Any stand-outs?
My mate Clive at Dinton in February.
He sat next to me and dragged out a 46lb linear in a blizzard and then, a year later, set up next to me and did it again, landing Bruno, the lake’s biggest carp.
I blanked both times!
Finally, Dave, do you think that there’s a British record swimming around in a huge lake somewhere that’s never been caught?
I’m not so sure that there is a record carp out there, but there are definitely some very big fish indeed that have never been caught.
I know of a couple of mid-fifties that have not been banked and, when they are, they will not be advertised. I also know of a trout reservoir that holds some colossal fish, and of a few old Leneys in estate lakes, although most of those must be getting very old by now.
I’d like to hope there are still some surprises out there… in fact, I’d like to hope there is one out there in front of me where I’m fishing right now while I’m answering these questions!