Oz Holness Q&A

Oz Holness Q&A

We grabbed 10 minutes with former British record holder Oz Holness to talk about his life in carp fishing...

Oz with Two Tone at a record weight

Oz with Two Tone at a record weight

When did you start carping and who inspired you?

I started carp angling in mid-1980s and at that time my main inspirations were the many local anglers that took the time to help me out.

More broadly, the writings of Hilton, Maddocks and Hutchinson gave me the fire in my belly to get out there and seek what I desired.

Favourite venue of all time?

Burghfield, simply due to the huge diversity of the angling on there - from tiny intimate bays, to panoramic vistas of open water - and the intense effort involved just to fish there of course.


  • Age: 47
  • Lives: Kent
  • Occupation: Thinking Anglers media and angling consultant
  • UK PBs: mirror 67lb 8oz, common 55lb 4oz
  • Hobbies outside fishing? Hiking with my dogs, and surfing whenever I get the time
  • Music to accompany your perfect session? I usually only listen to tracks when I'm travelling back and forth from lakes…but probably something by The Bright Light Social Hour or maybe some vintage John Martyn. I never really associate music with my angling, preferring to listen to the world around me when I'm out and about.
  • Pot Noodle or Toastie? Toastie …no contest!
Away from fishing, Oz like hiking with his dogs

Away from fishing, Oz like hiking with his dogs

What's your most memorable catch?

That would have to be (former British record) Two Tone, simply because of the epic boat battle that took place in the crystal-clear waters of the pit.

The sight of that giant carp, ploughing through the weedy depths etched a lasting memory into my brain…it was pretty mind-blowing in fact!

If you could go back in carp history where would you go?

Mary, and Wraysbury. The venue just epitomised everything I love about carp angling. Big and wild, so you experience the full forces of nature. Intimate in places, yet with a sense of rawness, an edgy quality if you like.

A tough water and a tough challenge in every respect, just how it should be! Stocked with just a handful of carp and that huge mirror Mary, out there somewhere among the fallen timber work or subterranean weedbeds. What a buzz that must have been!

What’s your idea of the perfect session?

A large, mature and quiet gravel pit in late spring.

That period is so special, with the long evenings and bright early mornings. Everything has taken on a fresh look and the birds are singing at dawn.

The perfect scenario would be fishing at range, onto a big, shallow pre-baited area of the lake over sparse new weed growth.

There nothing like seeing one of those rod tips pull over at first light, watching the line slicing way out into the early morning mist as a big unseen carp surges away sending the coots screaming to the safety of the bushes! Lovely times!

Oz loves angling away from the crowds

Oz loves angling away from the crowds

Who is the best carp angler you’ve ever seen?

I’ve met so many good carp anglers along the way it’s impossible to say - they all have different attributes that I have tried to take on board.

The best and most successful are always adaptable, masters of observation, and realise how important mobility is.

They have a constant drive to find the carp and make the most of whatever the situation demands.

You need a lot of self-discipline, and a little luck - or a shedload of time at your disposal - to make the most of today’s busy world of carp angling!

Have you ever fished abroad for big carp?

I’ve only fished abroad once, when I was 16 on the Twente canal in Holland.

It was a late-winter trip to an area of canal with a warm-water flow from nearby factories. We all caught carp on that trip but I have never had the desire to really fish abroad since.

I always preferred to concentrate on my UK angling. How I always looked at it was a week abroad fishing could have been a week spent in search of my dream carp on home turf.

Aside from boilies, what single carp bait would you use forever more?


Do you have many ambitions left in fishing?

Of course! There’s always something new, fresh and exciting happening and new challenges cropping up.

My main ambition these days is to angle on the quietest venues possible and just enjoy the pure element of why we set out to fish in the first place.

The excitement of the unknown, being out and about amongst nature, and living in the moment.

Big scaly English carp are Oz's preferred quarry

Big scaly English carp are Oz's preferred quarry

Do you think that there’s an uncaught British record out there somewhere?

Always a possibility! The romantic element to what we do, that mysterious element of angling and the carp themselves, I hope, can make almost any dream a reality!