My friend, Simon King
It must have been about twelve years ago that I first met Simon, I was an Area Bailiff for RMC Angling and I had been asked by Ian Welch (the then Boss) to check a few permits, this could be anywhere within the then RMC portfolio of waters.
And it just happened to be on the confluence between the Old River Lea and the Relief Channel, where I decided to do a quick ticket check.
It was raining if I remember rightly and Simon had set up his umbrella so that I had to tap on the top, to ask to see his ticket?
Simon was on a “high” when he told me he had just had a 6lb Chub, a new P.B. and I was less than diplomatic when I replied; there are loads of 6’s in here mate, that of course was before the big fish kill.
Some where there is an article that Simon wrote, in which my statement upset Simon a little bit, it was not meant too, it was an honest statement of the huge populations of Big Chub and of course Barbel then in Fishers Green at that time.
It started raining harder and as the rain got heavier I settled under his umbrella and we had a long chat about the Chub and Barbel that lived in the Old River and the Relief Channel.
Through our initial conversation I explain that I was in the RMC Specimen Group as Records Officer, which was about to be disbanded and we were starting up a new group called the Osprey Specimen Group.
Over the next few months we chatted quite a lot and Simon seemed keen to join Osprey, I put it to the committee that Simon King would be just the sort of angler we needed within the group.
And so it proved, Simon had the mental fortitude to do the time, endure the blanks and put up with the ribald comment about lack of fish on difficult waters.
He was also willing to listen and learn; to take on board what more experienced anglers said, but not just accept it as gospel, but sit down and analyse it, then put his own spin on it.
Simon was every inch the old fashion Specimen Hunter and becoming a very competent angler at catching big fish.
He was not one for following current fashions; his fishing tackle had to do the job, but if a £10.00 Dragon rod did the job or a Badger umbrella kept you dry, why pay any more?
Simon and I became good friends, we fished together for many species and we pooled our knowledge, Simon became a good friend and joined me at my 60th Birthday party and lots of parties we had at our house over the years.
I have suffered from a bad back for years and more recently a Heart Attack which required a triple bypass, but Simon was always there to ferry me and my tackle around in times of need.
Our first serious campaign together was at Jerry Hammons Carthagena fishery, where we targeted the River Lea Zander.
We had a great couple of years on this venue, but just could not manage a double; I ended up with a 9lb 4ozs Zander and Simon had a 9lb 10ozs Zander.
He of course went on to catch a 15lb 5ozs Zander from the Wyboston complex, a brilliant effort where big fish don’t come that easily!!
Simon built up a reputation as a very good Barbel angler at Fishers Green, where he used single/double maggot, very small hooks and fluorocarbon hooklinks to great effect and caught a large amount of fish, both in darkness and in the daytime.
Simon also became a valued member of the Fishers Green Bailiffing team and was held in high esteem both amongst the bailiffs and the members who fished the Green, ever helpful and courteous.
And then there was Landridge, many so called Carp anglers looked upon Simon as some poor lost soul, who fished with non matching rods, small baitrunner reels, a tatty cheap umbrella and decidedly dodgy bedchair.
But Simon heeded advice from some very good Carp anglers; he had good watercraft, sound carp rigs that worked and some very good bait made by Kevin Wilkinson of All Season Bait Developments.
On top of this he was prepared to do his time, over the years he learnt the water well, listened to anglers who had been successful there and the ways of the Landridge carp, he kept his capture quite, no bad thing in the modern age of Carp fishing, his last close season carp fishing on Landridge produced 6 carp, some so called Landridge carpers have never seen 6 Carp from Landridge.
Having photographed most of Simons carp, I’m sure he will not mind if I recount a lasting memory of one of his captures.
Simon had caught another 30ty and kept it in the landing net to await my arrival for the celebrity shots.
Si; I said, it’s a bit lively mate?
It will be okay he replied, are you sure said I?
Well we get everything ready and he lifts the Mirror Carp onto the unhooking mat.
I get ready with the camera, Simon lifts the Carp from the net and in one swift movement it’s off the unhooking mat and back into the lake, I follow the action through the viewfinder and have a prefect picture of my mate on the floor, arms outstretched waving goodbye to a Landridge Carp.
It’s at moments like that you don’t know what to say?
I put away the camera, we had a cup of tea and I left the scene, we laughed later, but at the time what can you say.
Simon and I did a lot of Piking together on Landridge and it was Simon who had the twenty pounder, we also went Chub fishing every autumn and winter, Simon preferring the Relief Channel to my wonderings around the Lea Valley venues.
And we caught a good number of 7s between us, but that “8” eluded us both.
Try as we liked the “8” never seemed to come our way; Simon had come the closest with a 7lb15ozs Chub, a monster, but not the 8 we so much desired.
That of course was until this year; we had started our autumn campaign just below the confluence, but could not locate any of the bigger chub, Simon decided on a change of locations, it’s never easy finding the big chub on the Relief and to start with it was smaller Chub that came Simon’s way, 3, 4, and 5lbders.
I chipped in with 6lb and 7lb Chub, on the second of January 2013; I got that long awaited phone call from Simon.
I’ve done mate?
How Big I said, Si replied, it’s Huge!!
I picked up my old friend and fellow Osprey member Ray Taylor on the way down to the Relief Channel and we were privilege to witness the weighing of the current Chub Record holder at a slightly lower weight of 8lbs 14ozs.
A fantastic effort from Simon for ten years of hard work and worthy of the current Osprey Salver holder for the best set of fish recorded in 2012.
Simon was not feeling too well by then and decided to have a bit of a rest from Chub Fishing in the exceptionally cold weather of last winter, but after a month he was back for one last go on the Relief Channel to record his second “8” at 8lb 6ozs, a completely unknown fish to us.
I kept going on the channel and finally got my biggie, although Simon was not very well, he came out to weighed and photographed the Chub for me, I will always be grateful for that and the memories of the Chub we caught together in types of weather.
Simon was on the Osprey Specimen Group committee, a valued member of the Osprey and the Groups Records officer and was also compiling a book written by the Past and present Osprey members.
Simon was a well respected angler, not only in Osprey but the wider field of fishing, he often appeared in the angling press with captures of huge fish, writing articles for a number of well known angling websites.
Fishing wise we shared so much in a few short year and as with his fishing, Simon was determined to fight this dreadful disease of Cancer.
He fought it bravely, with dignity and courage, a battle that only lasted 6 months; he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
On a personal level; I will miss him terribly, he was a good friend who could be trusted and likewise he trusted me.
Now when I fish the Lea, the Ivel, The Relief Channel or one of numerous places we fished together, I will think of Simon and remember him; oh so fondly, like I’m sure many others will.