Kevin Nash has spent a lifetime fishing for carp. He started in the 1960’s when there were very few carp anglers. He has watched carping develop over the years and got involved with making his first tackle company in the 1970’s. He is now CEO of Nash tackle, one of the biggest providers of top carping tackle in the world. Despite the workload Kevin is as active with his fishing as ever and loves nothing more than fishing neglected UK waters in search of hidden gems. So with pleasure over to Kevin Now for his interview…
Me: Hi Kevin, having been fishing for over forty years, what was you earliest memory of fishing?
KN: Maybe I can answer your first two questions with this extract from my book “Memoirs of a Carp Fisher – The Demon Eye”:
There was a swirl, and then the duckweed parted as it danced and shimmered in the vortex. The boy dipped his net and lifted. He struggled; it was so heavy – much heavier than it should have been for the capture of a tadpole or a newt. He gasped when he saw the fish – and what a fish! Thick-set, deep and armoured with the most golden of scales, its huge mouth opened and closed and its dorsal fin bristled. The boy looked on it in wonder. He had never seen such a beautiful fish and wondered what it could be.
On Monday, after school, the boy visited the village library. He was still thinking about the magnificent golden fish. In fact, that was all he thought about while at school that day. His lessons had been in vain; his teachers’ words never heard.
He browsed the library shelves, wondering where to look. Then he saw a book, ‘Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing’. He reached up for it, stretching his body from the tips of his toes, barely managing to lift the large book off the shelf. He liked this book because it had realistic drawings, just like his favourite comic.
As he thumbed through the pages he stopped suddenly. There was a picture of Mr Crabtree’s son, Peter, with a fish – it was the boy’s fish. He read the words and discovered that it was a crucian carp.
He took the book to the library table and commenced reading, his anticipation and excitement growing as every page was turned. He wanted to be Peter and have a dad like Mr Crabtree. He glanced at the clock. He was very late and would have to run all the way home, or face a beating.
It was the evening of the 8th July, 1963. The time was ten to six. At that moment a lifelong fisherman was born. That boy was me.
Me: From that first carp, could you ever have imagined where it would lead you?
KN: Absolutely not! To be honest, even in my late 20s when I had a lot of big carp under my belt, and I had started my fishing tackle company (then called Happy Hooker tackle), I could never have dreamed where life and my adventures would lead me.
Me: You caught the largest ever brace of carp in the UK with both fish over 50lb, could you tell us about that session?
KN: That’s the funny thing about carp fishing – we spend hours, days, months or even years after a carp, and indeed that is exactly what happened to me with the Emperor. Then, after a lay off in my pursuit, it just came together so easily. I popped over to the Copse Lake on a bright sunny morning with a light breeze blowing down the lake armed with a bucket of Riser Pellet – an old bait which I first used in the 90’s, but for some bizarre reason I had forgotten about since. I went downwind about 40 yards and started catapulting out a steady stream of Riser Pellet. I watched the pellet drifting up the lake until it was out of sight, but after 10minutes I heard what I thought could have been a carp taking and so I left the catapulting and went down the bank for a look. To my utter astonishment the bay was full of carp – some of them huge fish with backs out the water hoovering up the pellet. This is the reaction the Riser can give you, they just don’t feed on it like they do on a dog mixer for example, where they come up from underneath and slurp up the bait. With the Riser its, backs out the water swimming along the surface hoovering it up. Im sure this fearless feeding is because they believe its an insect hatch. As the old saying goes, I baited with trembling fingers, and whats more my whole body was shaking with excitement. I stood for a minute or two and assessed the situation and spotted one particularly large mirror avidly feeding. I cast my controller past and beyond it then slowly bought the controller back dead in line with its feeding path – just before it arrived! Without hesitation it slurped down my hook bait! To be honest, whilst playing it I thought it was about 40lbs, so no one was more surprised than me when the scales swung past 50! With the short weighing and photography ceremony over, and with a bottle of bud in my hand, I was quite surprised to see that despite the commotion there were still fish taking – albeit they had been pushed out to the other side of the bay. I thought there might be a chance of a second carp, so why not? I grabbed the rod and moved around to a swim on the other side of the bay. I stood in this swim, watching the carp over to my right trying to figure out which one I would cast to, when I heard a noise to my left in a small inlet and there was the Emperor! I flicked my controller out but despite it landing virtually disturbance free it unsettled the Emperor and it swam out into the main bay. I wound in and cast out beyond the fish. I didn’t expect any interest, as it was swimming quite fast – as if it had been spooked, so again, no one was more surprised than me when it just appeared and gulped down my bait! A brace of 50’s in something like 10minutes, and a brace made up of a mirror and a common to boot! I thought at the time, as I walked around to have another go, I would never have dreamed that I would catch another 50!
Me: Where else in the world would you like to fish that you have yet to?
KN: I’m not one to follow – I love pioneering and being the first, such as I did on the canary islands. Our trip to Gomera last year was significant, not only because they are undoubtedly the most amazing carp I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, but no one knew they were there. To be able to find such a situation today when carp anglers are scouring the world is pretty rare! If such a situation came up again I would be there like a rat up a drainpipe, but until then I am content to fish quite neglected waters in the UK.
Me: You have always been a tackle innovator, which one of your inventions could you not live without?
KN: Wow, that’s challenged me! I think the answer is going to surprise you, but I think I would have to say a Siren bite alarm which features speed sensing. To my mind, in this day of highly pressured carp fisheries and rig wise carp it is the biggest edge I’ve got, to know when carp are getting away with it. Certainly I am putting carp on the bank which I wouldn’t of nailed previously with a conventional alarm.
Me: You were a pioneer of fishing in Gran Canaria, can you tell us how that came about?
KN: At this time (the late 80s), I was regularly in contact with my friend Dave Plummer, a specimen hunter who used to go to Gran Canaria every year on holiday. One day he decided to take a safari trip up into the mountains. It was a red hot day and the safari stopped by the side of one of the reservoirs so that the guests could have a swim. Whilst Dave was swimming a dirty great carp swam past him. On his return he told me the story and we both jumped on a plane to Embalse De Chira. That first trip was amazing and I doubt if the like of it could ever be repeated. Embalse De Chria has the ability to hold a massive head of carp, and as we were the first to have a go at them they were pretty naïve. We caught 180 carp on that first trip! The water still holds fond memories for me and today the only thing which has changed is the average size of the carp and the numbers of bigger fish. What makes Embalse De Chira so enjoyable is that mainly these carp are beautiful scaly fish. I would recommend this adventure to anyone, and if you are going with your family and fancy a ‘day sneak away’ then Dave and Ali Beecham do some great guided day trips providing you with all the gear and bait.
Check them out www.carpgrancanaria.com
Me: If not a carp fisherman, what kind of fishing could you have pursued?
KN: Actually, my favourite fish is a specimen perch, and to be honest if I wasn’t so involved in the carp fishing scene and thus the necessity to keep on top of ongoing developments, and therefore the need to go regularly, I would probably be spending a disproportionate amount of time Bass fishing. Where I live there are loads of inlets and creeks. I would love to get into that. Maybe I would get myself a Jet Ski, all black like mad max! Laughing.
Me: If you could relive any fishing session, what one would it be?
KN: Helping a lady with MS catch her first carp. One, because of the utter pleasure and the buzz from watching her, her excitement and what it meant to her, and secondly because the fish I helped her catch was the biggest common in the UK at the time, and one which I had been after for two years. Mixed emotions hey.
Me: And finally Kevin, what are your fishing hopes for the future?
KN: To be able and fit enough to still get out there. I was always competitive, driven, and focused to catch the biggest, but now (as a sportsman) I recognize that with age I not only cant compete with the young guns, I have no wish to be on the busy circuit waters. Rather, I like the challenge of fishing for uncaughts in wild waters that others have left. Its not about size for me now, but rather about tracking down one of the few carp in hundreds of acres that’s never seen a hook before…
Me: Well Kevin, thanks for giving us some of your time
KN: No problem lads my pleasure….