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Originally published as The Lost Diary
In 1981, when he was thirty-three and had just caught what was then the largest British carp, Chris Yates wondered if he could now dream of capturing Redmire’s Pool’s real monster: the King.
But far from the King itself, it was the idea of such a leviathan that hooked Chris that summer, playing him along the banks for one final season before releasing him back into the world. Chris’s account of those pivotal months – originally published as The Lost Diary – recounts the final reckoning of an angler’s long relationship with a beloved and mysterious pool.
It is also a magical record of both familiar and freshly discovered waters, meetings with new friends, and unexpected encounters with creatures other than fish and presences that are not quite human.
I am a photographer and a writer but mostly a fisherman and a father.
Twitter: What? I don’t even have a mobile phone!
Took the punt out after my meal, and cruised gently into the weeds, where lay, basking, the carp. The fish didn't seem to mind me, and I was able to drift right next to a Mirror of maybe 30 pounds, and a very big Common. Suddenly the potential in my position was realised, and I gently made for shore. Once there I hurriedly got a rod, net, and a tin of maggots, and after baiting up, drifted back into the weed beds. The sun was hot on my back, and my heart began to pound as I dapped that same big Mirror Carp with a bunch of maggots. But the punt drifted just too close, and the fish became wary and cruised off. They didn't go far, though - they came to rest next to the large Common carp just to my left.
I paddled as quietly as I could and then dropped the bait onto the Mirror's nose from about 15-foot. It just hung there in the weeds, and the bait was clearly visible, right next to its face. The boat began to drift away in a gentle breeze, and I had to use the paddle with one hand and hold the rod with the other. The fish seemed to understand what was going on, and once more it swam quietly away, though the Common remained, and I dapped for him, but with no result.
- 4th August 2014 Chris Yates at Soho Lit Fest
As a supporter of The Lost Diary we thought you'd like to hear that Chris Yates will be appearing at the Soho Literary Festival on Saturday 27th September at 6pm. Tickets and more information are available here, should you wish to attend.
These people are helping to fund Golden Scales.