In our latest interview we get into the mind of seasoned big-fish angler Dave Levy...
Q When did you start carp fishing and who inspired you?
A I was about 13 when I started to fish solely for carp.
Back then there wasn’t many carp-fishing magazines so inspiration tended to come from anglers you met. There was a local guy called Gerry Chandler and I was lucky that he took me under his wing.
Gerry had caught some good carp, including the Silver End fish - which was the biggest carp in Essex at that time. He’s now 75 and we are still great friends.
There were also a few well-known anglers who I’d read about in Angling Times, such as Lee Jackson.
I read everything he wrote and he was years ahead of the game. I remember reading he had caught 20lb carp from 18 different waters, and at the time that was an amazing feat.
- Age: 44
- Lives: Wickford, Essex
- Occupation: Angling consultant
- UK PBs: 50lb 12oz (mirror), 44lb 9oz (common)
- Other hobbies: Going to the gym
- Music to accompany a perfect session: James Brown
- Pot Noodle or toastie? Cheese toastie, but nothing beats a good curry!
Q What is your favourite venue of all time (one that you’ve fished)?
A I’ve fished an awful lot of venues down the years and would struggle to pick a firm favourite.
However, of those that had the biggest impact on me, I’d have to go for either the Yateley Match Lake or West Warwick.
Q Which capture left the biggest mark on you?
A There was a carp from the West Warwick known as the Sub that I became so obsessed with catching that it cost me several jobs!
It took me two years to catch, and when I look back and ask myself was it worth it… I just think, damned right it was!
Also, I’ll never forget my first 40, which was a fish that used to live in the Essex Manor known as the Annie.
I had her at 46lb after a good year on the water and she was the icing on the cake.
Q If you could go back in time and fish for one carp, in one venue...
A Easy – there was a fish in Harrow called Chop Dorsal. She was an Italian-strain fish with high shoulders and a massive frame.
A truly mega carp – I remember Paul Forward caught her and she looked absolutely wicked.
Q What’s your idea of the perfect carp fishing session?
A It would be the first few warm days of spring proper, when the sun emerges after the long winter and the carp come out into the open and become catchable.
I don’t have a particular favourite style of fishing - I just locate them and use whatever it takes to catch them, whether using chods in the weed, bottom baits over hard spots, zigs in mid-water or floaters in the summer.
Too many anglers limit themselves to just one method.
Q Who is the best carp angler you’ve ever seen?
A I’ve fished a lot of waters alongside anglers who I would rate as being in a different league.
If I were to name just a few off the top of my head the list would include people like Aaron Copp, Leroy Swan, Ian Russell, Simon Bater, Elliott Gray, Dave Lane, Oz Holness and Greg Ellis.
All very different as anglers, but all very successful.
Q What's it like working full-time in the angling trade?
A It’s very different to what I used to do when I worked in an oil terminal!
I’m loving it, to be honest. I’ve always wanted to put my own twist on products and in the past if I’ve had an idea it’s never come to much.
Now I’m involved with a company (RidgeMonkey) that produces end tackle I get to correct things I’ve seen as wrong for a long time.
I mean, who would you want designing your end tackle - someone who fishes a few times a year or someone who lives and breathes it with a passion and wants the very best for not only himself but the customer too?
Q Aside from boilies, what bait would you use if forced to pick one?
A Easy - tiger nuts! They’re one of the best carp baits of all time, although in my opinion they are not the best winter bait.
All nuts contain oil, so when the water is warm they will be working their magic for you, sending up sweet smells, but in the winter this will not be the case.
So can I cheat and add maggots to the list too?
Q Do you have any angling regrets?
A A few. First, I wish I’d been on Mainline baits 10 years before I did get on them!
Second, when I fished the Brook I did 22 nights in the first year and caught White Tips at 31lb and lost the Long Common.
In the second year there were a lot of full-time anglers on the venue and the 48-hour rule went out of the window.
This meant getting a swim that was ‘on the fish’ was hard, and in the end it beat me. Looking back, I wish I’d just manned up and carried on fishing there. Still, our experiences are what shape us I suppose!
Q Whats plans do you have for 2018 and beyond?
A I’m currently fishing the last few nights of my Horton ticket. I’ve not fished it much this past year but wanted to sit back and look at the place one more time.
And it’s been a bit of a red-letter day as I caught a 40-pounder this morning! I’ll be moving on to Wraysbury 1 soon and I can’t wait.
I also have a few waters that I’m hoping a ticket comes up on... and one of them has an absolute shocker in it!