The Angling Trust has joined with MPs, carp fishing enthusiasts and angling historians in welcoming the decision of the Environment Agency to commemorate the life of the former carp record holder and writer Dick Walker in the centenary year of his birth.
The new ‘three rod’ coarse fishing licence, which is particularly popular with carp and specialist anglers, features an image of Walker’s record breaking carp ‘Clarissa’ caught from Redmire Pool in September 1952. The 44lb fish beat the previous record by nearly 13lb and was taken to London Zoo aquarium where she lived out her days. The record stood until 1980 when it was beaten by a fish of 51½ lb from the same water caught by Chris Yates.
Dick Walker was born in 1918 in Hertfordshire and was one of the most influential anglers in the country. He was a prolific writer and inventor and is rightly considered the ‘father of modern angling’. As well as the widely used ‘Arlesey bomb’, a large rounded weight which he developed to fish the deeper water for specimen perch in Arlesey lake, he also invented the first electronic bite alarms and was heavily involved in the development of carbon fibre fishing rods.
Dick Walker passed away in 1985 but is still fondly remembered by the angling world.
The idea for commemorating Dick Walker’s life on the 2018 rod licence came from Sheffield angler Iain Noble who first suggested it to his namesake – Charles Walker MP, the Chairman of the All Party Angling Group back in 2015. Charles raised the issue with both the Angling Trust and government ministers. In October 2016 he tabled a parliamentary question which elicited a positive response from Fisheries Minister George Eustice.
The reaction to last week’s announcement from the Environment Agency has been overwhelmingly positive.
Martin Salter, Head of Campaigns at the Angling Trust, said: “Many of today’s anglers grew up reading the works of Dick Walker and still consider him to be one of the giants of our sport. Marking his centenary in this way seems wholly appropriate and the Angling Trust is pleased to have been part of the process that made this happen.”
Bev Clifford, editor of Carp Talk, said: “It’s great to have Dick Walker featured on this year’s rod licence. His catch picture of Clarissa is an iconic image that is recognised by carp anglers everywhere and Dick’s writings are part of carp angling history.”
Iain Noble said: “Dick Walker was an inspiration and his writings on the craft of angling, especially the weekly column in the Angling Times, are still worthy of attention. Back in the 1950s and 60s their effects, especially on the new post-war generation, were not much short of revolutionary. Every angler today who thinks about their fishing celebrates the life of Dick Walker and it is fitting that his centenary is marked with a picture of his most famous catch. Over the next 12 months I will carry my rod licence with pride.”
Charles Walker MP said: “I’m delighted to be associated with this fabulous tribute to Dick Walker who was such a legend to myself and thousands of other anglers who avidly read his works as we learned our craft. It was my privilege to join forces with Iain Noble and the Angling Trust to achieve this fitting tribute to a giant of our sport whose lasting contribution fully deserves to be recognised in this way.”