Simon, being a teacher, editor, a semi-professional drummer and a very keen carp angler as well, he got in contact with me probably about 3 or 4 years ago now, where we shared stories and helped one another out a lot.
It is a cold January morning in 2021 when Simon Hartop shoots me over a few snaps with some text and I am stunned! The quality of the old-school photos is staggering and I'm looking at them in awe!
So, on he sends, more and more photos and stories. I can't take my eyes off of them and love the simplicity and rawness.
Being in love with the oldschool scene as we both are, we agreed to share a few of those tales.
Here's some of the best ones;
The first and arguably the best of the bunch;
Si in his own words;
'He was absolutely pristine in '98, and uncaught. I was fishing off the back of a houseboat my friend was renting. I knew it looked good there. I freelined a tute with a single swan shot over a tin of chick peas! Incredible battle on low tide.'
'I sent on to catch that Thames common again 6 years later at 38.2. Swinchatt caught it a few years later and after that Terry Hearn, it's on his Thames video. Nick Helleur had it last around 10 years ago at 32 so it's probably no longer around now.'
Even earlier and maybe, just maybe, even better;
'Salmon Supreme 1986!'
My personal favourite and also Si's fav;
'Probably my favourite capture. 1st time out - 46.2 of unknown Colne Valley carp. Rock hard pool, only one of 5 fish! It only got caught four times. It took me 3 springs to tempt him, it took Tel 8! Shows you how hard it really was. It's in his new book - I think he called it 'Old Slippery' or something... Unfortunately it passed away earlier this year.'
Quite an iconic one from Si again;
'Uncle Pete and I at Mike Willmott's. We were both hanging after Mike's wife's 50th. The next day we braved the cold easterly wind and fished fruitlessly for 3 hours. Pete went to the loo and I managed to intercept Heart Tail on bread, the oldest fish in the pool. Pete came back none the wiser and I said have a look in the net mate. "Fuck me!" He exclaimed. One in the bag for my hero.'