“My favourite carp? Well, the Black Mirror was a bit special…”
This month the legend Terry Hearn talks to Carpfeed about his early influences, most memorable catches and favourite venues…
When did you start fishing for carp, and who was your biggest inspiration in the early days?
I caught my first carp, a 6lb common, when I was 12-years-old while on holiday in Dorset with my parents.
My biggest inspiration in the early days has to be Rod Hutchinson. I read all of his books, and to me he had the biggest influence on what carp fishing has become today, especially where bait is concerned.
Rob Maylin was another inspiration, and again I loved his books.
I remember reading his second book, Fox Pool, and I enjoyed it so much that afterwards I stopped off on my postie round in Kingston-upon-Thames and bought his first book, 'Tiger Bay'.
For his third book, 'Bazil's Bush', I queued up outside Yateley Angling to get one of the first copies!
What is your favourite venue of all time (one that you’ve fished)?
I have lots of favourite venues.
The thing is, due to the nature of big-carp fishing, where you’re targeting one particular fish and then moving on to pastures new, you don't really have favourite venues, or at least you don't have favourite venues which you keep going back to.
Once you've caught the carp of your dreams you move on and leave the other anglers to it: that's just how it works.
There are plenty of places I loved fishing, but if I had to name a favourite, somewhere I keep going back to year in, year out, then it would have to be the River Thames.
You’ve caught many famous big carp, but which is the most memorable to you, and why?
Again, it'd be hard to name just one. Bazil was a bit special, being my first ever 40, and to this day remains among the best and most famous carp I've ever caught.
The Black Mirror was a bit special too. When I landed it, it was only its second ever capture and the first time it had been on the bank in over five years.
The Burghfield Common was super special also, the kind of carp you really do wonder if you’re ever going to catch.
It was a mega challenge. So, overall, there are lots of memorable catches, and some of my favourites are the ones that aren't so famous.
Occupation: Angling writer/consultant
UK PBs: Common - 47lb 4oz (Burghfield): Mirror – 63lb 1oz (Cranwells, Wasing)
Hobbies outside of fishing? Shooting and gardening
If you could go back in time and fish for one carp, in one venue, which fish and where?
Oooh, I'd have to have a good think on that one!
Off the top of my head, probably the original Englefield Lagoon big'un, Twisty.
A proper, rarely caught Leney mirror which was already long gone by the time I went looking.
Like I say, I'd want to have a good think on that one, just in case I've missed another long, black and scaly monster someplace!
What’s your idea of the perfect session, in terms of the time of year, style of fishing etc?
Big pit, small pond, river or canal, so long as the venue holds my kind of carp and the fishing is quiet, then I’m more than happy.
I can think of perfect carp-fishing sessions whatever the time of year. Spring, summer, autumn and winter – all the seasons can be magical in their own ways.
Who is the best carp angler you’ve ever fished with, or witnessed fishing?
I'd struggle to give a fair answer to that question, to be honest. I've fished with many good carp anglers over the years, far too many to list. They all have their own strengths.
Do you have an opinion on the modern trend for carp to be grown-on before being stocked at huge weights?
It's each to their own in my book, but ‘instant big'uns’ aren't my thing. I like fishing for the ones with a bit of history attached to them.
Have you ever fished abroad for big carp? If not, why not?
No, I've not fished abroad for carp at all, simply because I’ve been too busy fishing for carp at home. I love it here in England.
Finally, do you think that there’s an uncaught British record swimming around out there somewhere?
I'd like to be a romantic and say yes, but it’s unlikely that there's an uncaught one.
There's certainly known carp approaching that sort of size though, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the record go with one of the younger, newer strains of fish in the next couple of years.