Significant angling biography
PUBLISHED: 10:13 18 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 17 June 2010
ANGLING: For Christmas I received a book - Richard Walker, Biography of an Angling Legend - by Barrie Rickards, published by the Medlar Press. This was of particular interest to me. My father knew Richard (usually called Dick) during the War. I fished with Dick,
For Christmas I received a book - Richard Walker, Biography of an Angling Legend - by Barrie Rickards, published by the Medlar Press.
This was of particular interest to me. My father knew Richard (usually called Dick) during the War. I fished with Dick, staying in his luxurious 'hut' on the Upper Ouse, always great fun.
There I met Fred J Taylor, Pete Thomas, Peter Stone and sometimes caught up with old pal Frank Guttfield. Surprisingly, there are two photos of me in the book at the hut with Dick.
When Fred J's son-in-law, Ian Howcroft, acted as 'Keeper' on Dick's fishery, I could fish whenever I liked - such was Dick's kindness and generosity.
This extended, for me, to a MK IV carp rod, a carp landing net (both Dick's design) and some floats. I still use the rod and net, but I've kept the floats 'mint'.
Dick could also be very forthright, arrogant even, which some anglers didn't like. If he thought you were fishing like a fool, he'd tell you so.
I remember the first chub I caught in his company, a two pounder. He said "record it in the fishing diary". "But it's too small," I protested.
The response was sharp. "Now see here, you've caught your first Ouse chub, one of the best educated chub in England at that. Plenty of people come here and catch nothing, so put it in the diary!"
But all that is by the way when I look back at what Dick did for angling in this country during his lifetime from 1919 to 1985.
It all began whilst I was still short-trousered at primary school. Dick and his friends got together to plan the capture of the biggest fish they knew of.
He designed and built the MK IV rods and large landing nets especially for big fish, electric bite alarms, rod rests and swivelled leger weights (Arlesey Bombs) and devised new uses for fixed spool reels.
In 1952 he caught a monster 44lb carp, a new record, which went to London Zoo aquarium in case nobody believed it.
He was an innovative fly tier and caught a record trout he didn't claim. He wrote a weekly article in Angling Times for 30 years, numerous books, including the revolutionary Still Water Angling, No need to lie and, with Maurice Ingham Drop me a line.
He proved that skill, not luck, caught big fish - which changed the future of angling for good.
He towered above the 'angling greats' since Walton, including all the modern day 'experts'. Yet many young anglers seem to have little knowledge of him even though much of their fishing today evolved from his innovations!
I grew up to fish 'the Richard Walker way' and don't regret a moment of it. His influence was so profound he will never be forgotten - a true angling legend. I have many happy memories of him.