Richard Walker was an angling genius; but you have to follow his advice, often to the very letter, to realise how good he was. He was, in fact, a technical genius; - rarely have
I followed his guidance to find myself disillusioned or disappointed, for the fact is, he had so much to say, concerning so many angling situations, no-one today is quite at his level. Yes, things and times do move on: but I had Richard Walker to thank for
the two carp I caught today at the farm pond I call Hoveland Pool. In short, I used margin crust technique: straight from the Walker hand book; I've used the method before, but always with 'tweaks' - a Shimano Baitrunner perhaps, to yield line, and so
on. Today, I did not have the luxury - just one of my old AKN 116's, designed by Kevin Nash, and a Mitchell 410a, and two rod rests...So why is Richard Walker a genuis? Well, he clearly offered advice because he'd been there, done that, as modern parlance
has it. The carp today were inhabiting a pool that, because of the recent rains, was almost bursting its banks. In fact, most of the decent carp I saw were moving through floating grasses in the margins, and that is where I lowered my crust. I sat about six
feet away from the margins and I allowed around ten to twelve inches of slack - just as Walker (way back in the 1950's) recommended - between the closed bail and the first rod ring. Now, and this returns me to the subject of Walker's genius: before I tried
this, I assumed the line would fall back onto the surface, due to gravity, - but it does not.
Walker had the set-up absolutely right. The line falls ever so nicely from
the rod top to the margin crust, and no line touches the surface; no line at all. Walker must have discovered this by trial and error, and he was generous enough to share the technique. This way, I was able to fool a nice common of 14lbs today,
and another, rather more hard-fighting common, of 9lbs 9oz. So what? - you might say...Well, I think the result is signficant because I simply could not fool any surface carp while line was on the surface. Even more remarkable: a good angler fishing
opposite, using hair-rigged dog biscuits with a modern "bolt machine" line controller, failed to fool any surface carp while I was there: although he did, I am pleased to say, catch three carp on ledgered boilies. This chap, Rob, was kind enough to take the
picture you see.
So what am I saying? The point I think I'm making, about surface baits, is that margin crust - some sixty plus years on, is still an amazing method when
conditions are right. I have no doubt, no doubt at all, that Richard Walker would have taken Hoveland apart - (again, to use modern parlance.) This speaks oceans for his influence and his still valid legacy.
PS: Please excuse the pained expression on my face! Hoveland carp are the slimiest I know - and this one was particularly wiggly!