Much of what we consider as modern Carp fishing can be attributed
to this gentleman in the video, Richard Walker.
On the 13th Sept 1952, Richard Walker whilst fishing with lifelong
friend Peter Thomas at Redmire Pool shook the UK angling world
by catching a Common Carp that weighed 44 Lbs. The Carp that
became known as Clarissa broke the pervious record of 31 Lbs
and stood as a record for almost 30 years until 1980 when Chris
Yates caught another monster Carp from Redmire Pool at 51.8 Lbs.
The capture of Clarissa is embedded in UK angling history and any
angler growing up during the 1950-1980's would of marveled at the
pictures and stories in the angling press and books available at that
Prior to Richard Walkers capture of Clarissa is was believed that it
was impossible to catch big Carp by design. In the 1950's the type
of tackle, availability of Carp waters and knowledge about how to catch them did not exist. A Carp over 10 lb was a rare beast with only around a dozen or so caught over the 8 lb mark per year. Very little was known about Carp angling but Richard Walker was about to change all of that.
The rod that was used to capture Clarissa was a split cane Mk. IV Carp rod with approx 1.5 lb test curve.It was paired with a Mitchell 300 reel and 12 Lb breaking strain line. Bait was a simple chunk of balanced bread paste on a size 2 hook. Richard Walker cast the bait a distance of approx 30 yards in 10 foot of water, Clarissa picked up the offering early in the morning at 04.45 and after a relative short but torrid 10 minute scrap with a few heart stopping moments, the monster Carp lay in the net.
It was not possible to walk into a fishing tackle shop and buy such a rod back then. Carp fishing rods did not exist so Richard Walker made the rod himself, but not by using a pre-made blank as we do today, he had to find, fashion and dry the wood from scratch.
Richard Walker was an engineer by trade and this engineering background was applied to his angling. He was a forward thinking innovative angler that didn't let the lack of tackle available hold him back. He also made his own landing nets, invented electronic bite alarms and is accredited with the invention of the Arlesey Bomb which helped him catch large Perch whilst fishing at distance from Arlesey lake.
Richard Walker went on to become an angling legend with fantastic captures of numerous species including Carp, Perch, Chub and Trout. He came one of the pioneers of the Carp Catchers Club, wrote many articles for the angling press and authored numerous books.
The formation of the Carp Catchers Club with it's small circle of members spread throughout the UK lay the foundation for what we know as modern Carp fishing. These earlier pioneers aided by Richard Walkers innovation and inventions changed the Carp fishing scene forever. During the 1970's and 1980's the desire for Carp fishing boomed as more knowledge became available and Carp fishing tackle became easily available and affordable.
Richard Walker initially named the Carp "Ravioli". It was a reporter covering the story that suggested the name "Clarissa".
Clarissa was measured at 3 foot, 1 inch long with a girth of 2 foot, 7 inches. Neither Richard Walker nor Peter Thomas had scales capable of weighing a 44 Lb Carp. They obviously knew it was big by it's size and used two spring scales together to establish it was in the region of 40 Lb.
Richard Walker used the telephone in the house of the Redmire Pool owners to call London Zoo. It was weighed in the presence of an inspector from weights and measures and other witnesses. Clarissa lived out her day's at London Zoo from where she was admired by millions of visitors over many years.
Richard Walker recalling the story about the capture of Clarissa from Redmire Pool in 1952