I first started fishing way back in 1976 at a place called Catterick in Yorkshire on the river Swale. My first decent fish was a three and a half pound barbel that almost pulled my arm off. I was to fish this river for some twelve months before we moved to RAF Farnborough due to my Father being in the services.
It was whilst at Farnborough that I joined the then Leisure Sports waters at Frimley which was only a short walk from where we lived.
It was whilst fishing one of the lakes on the complex for tench that I hooked and lost my first carp. This was also the place that I first saw a carp over twenty pounds. The Leisure Sports team had organised a netting one day and I was fortunate enough to be there when this took place. I couldn’t believe the size of some of the carp they had netted which were housed in big water tanks.
It was once I left home that I joined my first proper carp lake, a place called the Airman Pit. I had managed to scrape enough money to buy a couple of 1.5tc rods some Mitchell 300 reels and a couple of Rolon bite alarms. During one weekend session on the lake I was shown the hair rig for the first time and sworn to secrecy by the lad who showed me. I spent a couple of years fishing this lake, but never caught anything bigger than 15lbs.
The first syndicate I joined was Arlesey Lake in Bedfordshire, a place made famous by the late Dick Walker who invented the Arlesey bomb for deep water perch fishing. Things progressed and so had my earnings at the time. I managed to purchase my first proper three rod set up that consisted of 3x 12ft 2 ¼ lb tc Armalite rods coupled with Shimano Carbomatic reels and some optonic Banford conversions.
I fished this lake for a couple of years before I at last managed to catch my first twenty, a fish called Hole In the Dorsel at a weight of 27lbs 10oz. I caught the fish off the top with a bubble float a twelve foot double strength hook link using a small piece of balsa wood as an imitation mixer.
A friend who was fishing at Elstow recommended and suggested joining Elstow Pit 1. To be honest I didn’t think I would have a chance of getting into the syndicate but a few weeks later a letter and invitation to join arrived. I can remember jumping around and dancing in the kitchen as I was so looking forward to fishing there. My first trip To Elstow was with a good friend of mine who also fished at Arlesey. I fell in love with the place and caught a 19lb mirror on my first session. A short while later I was to catch a new pb that went 27lb 12oz.
I ended up not fishing for a few years though eventually I got the bug back and started carping again. I joined the Gingerbread Lake and went on to have some impressive hits from there catching fish like Cluster at 29lb and eventually catching it at over 38lbs, along with a few other thirty pound carp.
All the while I fished there this little voice kept creeping into my head saying Elstow. I knew that things had changed over there and that in order to fish pit one you now had to fish pit two which automatically put you on the waiting list. Eventually I managed to land the Mother at a weight of 49lbs and managed to brace it with a carp called Scaley at 37lb 19oz.
It was to take another two years before I at last got my Pit One ticket. I fished a lot of overnighters during that first year and managed to land
some impressive carp. One weekend just before the New Year I was lucky enough to land pits big fish, a carp called Scarface at a weight of 47lbs
10oz. My love for the two lakes on the complex still burns strong and the fishing can be unbelievable.
I have also been a member of a lake called Wellington Country Park for a couple of years now and I have been pretty lucky down there. Last April on my final day of a session at Elstow I landed a fish known as Dark Cloud at a weight of 42lbs 10oz. After picking some more bait up from home I went to Welly and on my final morning of a three day session I managed to catch a 42lb ghostie, the big linear at 46lbs and a mirror known as Willow at 46lbs. Four different forties from two lakes, this seriously blew my head apart.
Welly will be the place that is going to get the majority of my attention this year as I would dearly love to catch a few of the really big ones in there. There are so many cracking lakes around where I live, and what with Fen Drayton only being a few miles up the road I think it would be silly to ignore it for too much longer. The hunger to fish is still burning strong and I for one cannot see the light for it, ever fading!!!
What are you ambitions for the future? To catch a forty off the top. To land the Turtle from Welly and catch the Chestnut common. To catch the big fully scaled out of Elstow. and eventually have children!
Name: Ian Stott
Location: St Neots
Date of Birth: 47
Favourite Venues: Elstow Complex
PB’s (lb): UK personal best mirror: 49lbs 10oz – UK personal best common: 48lbs 3oz – Foreign personal best: Mirror 62lbs Rainbow – Most memorable capture: My first Twenty Pounder at a weight of 27lbs 10oz caught from Arlesey