Quick Questions with… Lewis Read

This time renowned big-carp catcher and 'Mr Happy' himself, Lewis Read takes centre stage.

Three words to describe yourself? 

Honest, odd, lucky (occasionally).

Who have been your biggest influences in carp fishing?

All the wonderful (and very patient) people that have somewhat foolishly allowed me into their carp lives. A roll of honour from my younger years would have to include Tel, Nige, Jamie, Lee, Greg, Fat Al, Dave Ball (Jnr) and many, many others!  

Scariest moment on the bank?

Blacking out while having a pee against a tree in the middle of the night on the big point on the Split Lake and waking up with my head in a tangle of willow roots three feet under the water in the darkness, minus my delicious old spectacles – lost forever! 
That was slightly perturbing and unsettling!

How long have you been carp fishing?
Thirty-nine years targeting them (rather than fishing for anything and hoping)


How did you start carp fishing?
Initially with an old family friend who used to take me along to the Leg of Mutton in Bushey Park and I’d fish balanced breadcrust paste hook baits that acted like snowman rigs. 
I’d sit by the lake and he’d make a makeshift camp in the ferns and do something he referred to as ‘hot tonging”. I never did ask what that was…

Other sporting interests?

Are there other interests? 
Does chubbing in the winter count… ’cos they’re greedy, easy fish in the cold. 
Do you actually mean something that’s not fishing? You’re kidding right!

One day left to go fishing, where would you go?

Down the River Blackwater with a trotting rod and a centrepin slowly spinning round – calming and meditative… after all, if I knew it was the last day I’d be freaking right out and would need a nice bit of flowing water to calm the ‘voices’ screaming in my cranium… 

Worst fishing related injury?

Luckily, I haven’t suffered any horrific ‘zipp lead in eye’ or ‘bankstick up anus’ moments yet (that I remember). 
About the worst I have is a numb middle finger tip from a nasty life-threatening bail arm moment last year.

Best three anglers you’ve ever worked with?
Man this is unfair, as I know many, many humungous egos that are also great anglers – many of whom will think I’m disloyal for not naming them specifically.

1: Terry H – the human personification of the carp god Ullah and the fullest angler I have ever known).
2: Greg Richardson (Oxland god!) and his stunning girlfriend Darren Belton. They’re both absolutely lovely level
3: Neil Stephens – Welly friend and multi-species uber hero who has won both those silly speci cup things

… but now I’m in trouble with all the others.

Your favourite moment in your carp-angling career?

There have been a thousand magical moments – some related to people, some to weird or wonderful events, and a couple for special captures. The secret is to appreciate how special it is along the way (plus I have a dreadful memory…)

Three things you’d never go fishing without?
1: A sense of humour and a smile.
2: An open mind.
3: A jaunty skip in my step.

Any regrets? 

Certainly too many to even start to list… 
hypocritically, my biggest is probably being an absolutely obsessed carp angler. It’s such a weird and horribly selfish branch of the coarse angling world that I often wonder how (or why) my family would or should have to put up with me feeding the unquenchable thirst to try and catch the next special one wherever I’m angling. 

What are your favourite bits about carping?

The camaraderie and lifelong friendships forged. The intrinsic link with the outdoors and being subject to extremes of wind and weather. The feeling of achievement when you succeed, whether it’s the rush of the bite, the tension of getting liners, the thrill of watching them glide over a spot or watching fizz lines froth to the surface (gosh, don’t I sound like Austin! #carpy). 

It’s almost certainly the changing dynamics of the whole thing that make it all feel exciting, despite being a largely sedentary pastime. 

Your least favourite bits? 

People saying how sh*t it is now… IT’S NOT, YOU BUFFOONS – IT’S AWESOME! Go and crawl under a stone…

Tell us a secret?
Honestly, I really don’t think that I’m all that at this carp fishing game… in fact, I think I’m a bit sh*t TBH.