The angling community mourn the loss of Len Gurd
The angling community was reminded just how short and precious life is this week, after the much loved fishery manager, film director, author and artist, Len Gurd, passed away. Len touched the hearts of many in the angling world and was a true pioneer in the sport. Being a true innovator, Len realised the potential of carp angling way back in 1974, when he founded the original Linear Fisheries complex, Linford Lakes in Milton Keynes.
In the years that followed, Len put his personal drive and focus into the creation of angling films through his own company, The Original Video Company. It was through his path into film making that saw him meet Matt Hayes. As a result, Len helped catapult Matt into stardom, through the production of the incredibly popular Total Fishing series aired originally on the Discovery Channel. Being such a huge influence on his life, Matt commented on the passing of his friend: “Len was a visionary and a pioneer, and although I hadn’t seen him for numerous years, there is no doubt he played a huge role in my career through the creation of the early Total Fishing shows on Discovery TV. The sport has lost a true legend.”
As well as TV shows, Len put his passion into making videos for everyone to enjoy. Many classic angling films were made by the hands of Len, titles such as: Carp Fever, Haulin at Harefield and Tel and Jacko Go Carp Fishing were all the brainchild of the avid videographer. His eye for film was truly remarkable and he would always put 100% effort into every single shoot, such was his passion for it. Having filmed with Len and fished many of his fisheries, we asked Terry Hearn what his memories of Len were: “Everyone who had the pleasure of spending time with Len would say the same thing; old school, quiet and softly spoken. There wasn’t a bad bone in him – a true gentleman of carp fishing.”
Having already founded the original Linear Fisheries, Len turned his attention to expanding his fishery profile. In the early 1990s, he became the co-founder of Linear Fisheries Oxford with family run aggregate business, Smiths Bletchington. His plan was to turn this set of lakes into the country’s best carp fishery. Fast forward to the present day, and you would be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn’t agree: Linear Fisheries is the best carp fishery in the UK. Without Len’s passion and vision, it certainly wouldn’t be where it is today without him.
Long time friend of Len and Linear Fisheries general manager, Chris Blunt summed up the infectious character: “Although Len wasn’t based in Oxford, every week he would show up at the lakes for our fishery meetings, box of cakes or donuts in hand – myself, Roy Parsons and Len would then talk all things Linear, inevitably we would go off track and end up listening to one of Len’s many fishing related stories, stories that kept you engrossed for ages. He was always a pleasure to be around and the world of carp fishing has lost one of its best. I took pride in calling Len a friend and respected as my manager, he was somebody that would always be there if I required advise or just wanted a chat. He will be missed by more people than he could ever have possibly imagined. The world of fishing has lost a true gentleman and a legend – Linear will never be quite the same again!”
Judging by the huge amount of tributes seen online this week, Len clearly touched many people’s lives in a positive way. Whether that be through his books, films, fisheries or charity work, the angling community thought very highly of him. On behalf of everyone here at Carp-Talk, we will all miss this great man’s contribution to angling – rest in peace.