Cakey’s been with us forever (or at least it seems that way), a forum regular and a very knowledgeable carp angler who also likes his predator fishing.



Another of Cakey’s great loves is custom cars and American cars – he’s had 30 of them over the years.

He now resides in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, loves to carp fish in France and knows more than a bit about electronics. He’s a right geezer and struggles to understand northern lingo.

My Story – Cakey

I was born in Bedford in 1950. No one wanted me, so I was chucked into a kid’s home where I was very lucky and was adopted by my mum and dad who just happened to live on the banks of the river Lea.

Mum and dad who just happened to live on the banks of the river Lea

Although my dad didn’t fish a couple of the neighbours did, so I got into fishing at a very early age, catching minnows and roach and a few perch. I was most upset when I left my primary school to go to a secondary modern school in Hoddesdon, which was at least an hour away and ate into my valuable fishing time. Instead of waiting half an hour for a bus I used to run and walk as fast as I could get home, grab the rod and fish as long as mum and dad would let me.


A cabin cruiser moored in the front garden

Around the time of the school swap, my dad decided to build his own boat for our holidays, etc, a 36 foot twin cabin cruiser which was then moored in my swim in our front garden. What a cheek! But as it turned out it was far more comfy than sitting on wet grass (no chairs in them days) and it also allowed me to fish many other venues, ie, the whole of the Lea, the whole of the Stort and most of the Grand Union Canal, to name a few. Mind you, some of those holidays were hard work; somewhere around Leighton Buzzard there’s a flight of 39 locks in about a quarter of a mile.

Me scrounging bait, mum in the boat, around 1962, whereabouts unknown


A pike over 30lb that ended up on the wall of the local pub

At 15 I had one of those red letter days that you get now and then. I was piking and perching, catching minnows and using them for livebait. I had pulled in quite a few of both when I had a big pike. I called for help and my granddad, who lived a couple of doors away from us, came to help. I haven’t got a clue how we landed it (no net for me in those days of 1965) but it was huge and my normally quiet granddad was dancing round saying he had never seen anything like it in his life. He then wrapped it in a sack and put it in a wheel barrow and wheeled it up the high street to the local butchers shop where it was weighed at over 30lb.

I can’t exactly remember what happened next but back in those days pike didn’t go back. My granddad had this one stuffed and mounted in a glass case and was then fastened to a wall in ‘The Jolly Fisherman’ pub where he used to drink. There it stayed until a refurbishment about 15 years ago and then went missing. To say I was gutted was an understatement.


Then I discovered girls

I carried on fishing every minute I could until I was about fifteen, then I discovered girls which slowed the fishing down a bit, as time got divided between a girlfriend in Luton and fishing.

Looking back they were good times and the fishing was so different in those days; no licenses and no day tickets. At 18 I met my wife and a short while after (at 19) I married then we had two children, both boys, which meant work, work and more work and the fishing took a back seat.


Then it was custom cars, and then American cars

At the age of 20 I got interested in cars, specifically custom cars, my first custom being a MK3 Cortina called Midnite Magic, which I painted black. It had a mural of a magician making spells on the bonnet with dust turning into flames down the sides and of course the customary fur and fluffy dice inside!

Then I got into American cars (I’ve owned about 30 in the last 30 years) and I didn’t fish at all for about 10 years due to putting all my time into the boys and cars (not always in that order). Then the boys got into fishing with their mates and I would occasionally go visit them and would have to have a go and show them how to do it.

Then I got into American cars


The bug started to bite again and I found my way into carp fishing

That was it, the bug started to bite again, but nothing serious, just taking them early mornings now and again down to the local lakes (when I got married I moved to Cheshunt) but I was still into cars big time, and now racing at Santa Pod (one for the Monk…I was drag racing) and showing cars at various locations including around Europe.

Then I realized that a lot of shows were in fishing locations (Billing Aquadrome, Lea Valley Park, etc) so I used to pack a rod and fished for roach, tench, pike or perch. I still hadn’t heard of carp until one fatal day when I was visiting my mum, and my sister’s boyfriend was walking round with a rod in his hand. I asked him what he was up to and he told me he was going carp fishing. I asked him what that was, so he invited me along to watch, to which I said OK, and we set off, stopping on the way for a crusty loaf.

Where and when unknown

On reaching the lake (Holwell Hyde in Welwyn Garden City) he set up his rod with a controller thingy, cut a piece of crust off, attaching it to the hook, then cast out as far as he could to the middle of the lake. Then out came a pair of bins and he stood there watching…

Within 10 minutes I saw this eruption at the crust and John struck like a lunatic (I later found out he was quite a noddy really) into nothing. So he set up again and recast and the same thing happened again. In fact this happened about six times before he hooked one and put a really nice common of about 10lb on the bank. We stayed for about two hours in the end and he had 5 or 6 fish. On the way home John said he was coming back the next day, that he had a spare rod and I was welcome to join him and have a go, to which I accepted.

So the next day I turned up but John being John, a bit of a pain, he wouldn’t really let me fish, ie, he had to put the bread on, then he had to cast, then he was telling when to strike, so I ended up with nothing. But it was too late, I had the bug now. I saw those incredible fish, big and hard fighters, and so much different to the roach and minnows, etc, that I had been catching. So the next day it was down the local shop and I told the guy at the shop what I wanted to do. He sold me a second hand Shimano rod, some old reel loaded with line, a couple of controllers, a packet of hooks. And then I was off!


Deliberate mistake – no landing net!

Anyone spot the deliberate mistake? Yep, no landing net! I ended up at the Hyde and cast out. Within seconds I had the eruption at the bread and I struck, the rod went solid and I was in! I played it like an expert to the margins then I was stuck – no net! So I had to shout for help. A nice young man a couple of swims over came round with a net and landed it for me. He also showed me how to unhook it and put it back safely. It was a mirror of about 8lb. With not having a net I decided to go home.

A couple of days later back I went, this time armed with a net. I landed four carp but should have more than 20 if I’d hooked them and not struck into nothing. Then I went back into the tackle shop (I can’t remember why) but the chap said to me, “have you tried boilies?” I said, “tried what?!” So he sat and explained it all to me. He sold me the set-up and a packet of strawberry oily boilies (strange what you do remember) and I was off to the lake again where I set up as he had shown me and cast out to where I thought there was carp. After putting the rod down on a pair of rod rests he had sold me, I sat back on the bank, waiting.

An hour went by…nothing. I was just thinking I was better on the crust, maybe I should change back, when all of a sudden the rod jumped three foot in the air! I just managed to grab it before it disappeared into the lake. I played the fish nicely and landed it. When I looked into the net it was massive, or so I thought anyway. I put it back in the soup and put another boilie on the spike (who knows what I’m talking about?) and recast. After a while the same thing happened but I was ready for it this time, sitting with the rod almost in my hand! Then I landed another nice mirror.

Warmwell in 1996

So I had two that day on boilies when not much else happened on the lake, so I was really happy and on the way home called in to my mum’s to tell John what had happened. He really only knew how to fish one way for the carp and so could really only fish during the summer months; what I refer to as a solar powered fisherman. He too got excited and got the same gear as me and we spent the rest of the summer and autumn sun bathing and catching carp to 20lb. I was learning as I went along, buying books, etc, as there was no internet in those days; kids today have got it easy.

I also brought another rod, then I got some bite alarms; strange things called Delareeds, which were two alarms connected to a sounder box which I then modified to latching lights and GPO speakers and did away with the sounder box. Then in ’96 I decided that the race/show car had to go. The bug had bit and I wanted more time fishing for carp, nothing else, just carp, so the car was sold and Cakey had two new rods, two new baitrunners, all matching, a pod, etc.

My first 30-pounder


Nice runs waters and then off to France

I was now fishing Stanstead Abbotts and Holyfields in Waltham Abbey, which were nice little runs waters and was a very good place to test rigs, baits, etc. PB’s were going up all the time, both the boys were now carp fishermen and I was having a ball as they say. Then fishing Holwell one day the bailiff Keith asked me if I’d like to go to France as they’d had one drop out, so I said yeah.

So the day comes around and off we set in the tattiest Transit you’ve ever seen, rust everywhere, holes in the door that I could get my hand into, but nevertheless, it gets us to our destination 24 hours later, a lake called Raho at Perpignan. Well, I’m not joking, it’s the best looking lake I’ve ever seen and it was huge, 500 acres in all, divided up into different areas for fishing, wind surfing, a topless beach, mountains all down one side. It was heaven!

Cakey more recently

All the way there Keith was telling me “it isn’t no English lake,” and said he had 14 days on it before and had blanked, so don’t expect too much. Yeah right, four of us had 58 takes the first night! The fish were between 20lbs and 33lbs. We were there for about five days and were too knackered to carry on. I had runs on all three rods runs four times, and ended up with over a 100 fish. And I was fishing only half the time due to waiting for the rowboat to get baits out again as the fish were at about 200yds out.

From Raho we moved up to a park lake in Paris, which we heard held some whackers. We blanked, but with no thanks to the French guard waking us up every hour to make sure we weren’t night fishing. So we were off again, this time to the river Seine near Paris, where I was the only one to catch a lovely 33lb common. We stayed a few more days then started heading off home. That was it for now. The French bug had bitten and left me wanting to go back for more. I wish I’d paid more attention to my French teacher now!

So now you know how I got into carp fishing, and the rest is history.

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