I first became aware of Ian Chillcott through the UK carp mags. As a fairly newcomer to carping it was our first intro into carping after the Irish carp forum. He was the first author that I would look forward to his articles and no nonsense approach to fishing Amazingly consistent from carp waters all over the UK, you name it Chilly has done it. I love his matter of fact writing style and obviously his great skill in catching carp. He has been carping a hell of a long time and seen it all. Consultant for Fox and Mainline baits Chilly continues to be at the forefront of the UK carp scene. When I asked Chilly to do this interview he was only too happy to help so now with the questions and over to the man himself….
Me: How did you get into fishing?
IC: My family and I used to holiday in a little village called Beer in Devon, and whilst we were there my parents would buy my brother and myself a present. I remember well the day I asked for some fishing equipment, and being presented with a solid glass maroon rod with a wooden handle and a centre pin reel. To me it was the coolest thing that I had ever seen and several hours later, after battering limpets from the rocks, I landed my first fish. It was a small Ballen Wrasse; I haven’t looked back since really. The sea, the Bristol Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal became the centre of my Universe, and if I am anything of an angler then it because of those places.
Me: Was there an early moment in particular when you knew you were hooked?
IC: The answer above just about sums it up really, from the moment I felt that fish on the line I knew it was all I cared about. Carp fishing, however, would be a long way down the line for me, but I think I always knew it would be the ultimate challenge for me someday.
Me: You have fished all over, but if you had to pick an all time favourite lake what would it be?
IC: You’re not wrong, but that is the thrill of carp fishing for me. It’s not so much about the size of the fish as it about the environment you fish in and the challenges they represent. I have fished the countries hardest venues, and caught from all of them, however it is some of the lesser known places that have given me the greatest joy. Size is not the be all and end all of carp fishing. However, if you forced me to say which venue was my favourite, it would have to be Ashmead in Somerset. The most unique place I have ever fished with the most unique stock of English carp!!
Me: Can you tell us about the events surrounding your UK Pb, and how did you celebrate?
IC: I had been lucky enough to get hold of a winter ticket for Ashmead and fully intended to fish it hard from November through to spring. I caught steadily to start off with but very soon I had found out where the biggest fish in the lake was hanging out. I baited that spot regularly, but even I was beginning to doubt myself when the weather started to get very cold indeed, the lake froze several times and the mud was making it difficult to even walk around the lake. To be honest it just made me more determined to succeed. And so it was, on the 26th of January 2010, I set up once again on a little island. I was massively confident and even told Lynn, my wife, that if I go a bite that night then I knew which fish it would be. In the early hours I got the bite I almost knew I would get and eventually Single Scale at 53.12 lay in the bottom of my net. Light my Fire!! To celebrate, Lynn and I went to our favourite Cantonese restaurant and slayed as many lobsters as possible, all washed down with a stunning bottle of Nuit St George!
Me: What anglers did you look up to as a young carper?
IC: There can only be one. Richard Walker was my mentor, although he never knew it of course. It was his picture of Ravioli; often referred to as Clarissa, from Redmire that set me off on a lifetime’s ambition to catch a common comparable to his record, which eventually came true in 2007. But that, as they say, is another story.
Me: If you weren’t a carper, what kind of fishing do you think you would have gone into?
IC: It has to be a challenge, and I can’t help thinking that I would have chased some Ferox Trout around in the deep lochs and lakes in the North of the country. I also have a soft spot for big eels and there can be no doubt how hard they are to catch.
Me: What would be you perfect day?
IC: An early morning drive in my 6 litre Dodge truck, taking in lunch in some nice little Country Inn. Return home to take my Harley Davidson out for a run and getting my knees in the breeze. Then spend the evening at a small secluded lake catching some carp off the top on crust. Well, you did ask!!
Me: If you could catch a carp past or present that you have not caught what would it be?
IC: There are plenty of candidates for this particular question, but ultimately I should go to a fish that I lost twice. Mary from Wraysbury would have to be the ultimate carp for me, although she broke my heart. I lost her once in No Carp Bay after a titanic battle with her and the weed, and then again in The Dredger Bay a couple of months later. Sometimes your name just isn’t on them, and there’s bugger all you can do about it!
Me: What advice would you give someone just starting up in carp fishing?
IC: Don’t take too much notice of all the bullshit you read in some of the mags. Most of it is there to relieve you of more money. Carp fishing is still quite a simple pastime, but it has been bent so far out of shape by the constant hype to sell tackle and make certain people look far better than they actually are. Keep it simple and fish for yourself.
Me: And finally Chilly what are you hopes for 2014?
IC: All I want to do is keep having fun, one carp at a time; it’s what fishing should really be all about…shouldn’t it?
Me: Well thanks for your time Chilly and all the best for 2014
IC: All the very best Paddy have a great year