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Terry Lampard by Chris Paris - 02/03/20

My memories of Terry Lampard, by Chris Paris


I first met Terry Lampard in the late 1960s when I was a student at Southampton University, and he was just starting out on his specimen-hunting career. I’d been pre-baiting a swim at the top lake at Stoneham where my university mate Bill Branch had a 20 lb carp the previous year. Unbeknownst to me, however, somebody else had been baiting the very same swim. A plump scruffy young man of about my age, wearing a silly woollen hat, had his rods already ready set up when I arrived on the evening of 15 June.  ‘Bloody noddy’, I thought. Cursing my luck, I moved into an adjacent swim in the hope that the fish might come to my baits anyway after the magic start of the season at midnight. But I blanked that night, while Terry caught the first of many carp – and other species – that I have seen or heard him catch.


My bait of choice for carp at Stoneham then was the same as Terry’s – par boiled potatoes. I’d considered using sausage meat because I’d had my first doubles at a lake in Essex the previous summer using that bait and it seemed to be more effective than spuds. But Bill Branch had much more carp fishing experience than me and he’d explained that sausage meat was OK for ‘easy’ waters in Essex but the Stoneham carp needed more sophisticated bait. He was a scientist so we believed him at the time. Later, of course, Terry went on to use sausage and other higher protein baits at Stoneham and other waters with great success.


With the benefit of hindsight, I am amazed at some of the daft ideas and theories that were floating around in the late 1960s about bait and fishing methods for carp. We mainly free-lined our baits in the belief that carp would drop them at the slightest hint of resistance. We also believed that you should hide your hook inside the bait so the carp wouldn’t feel it, and that you shouldn’t put too much bait in before fishing because the carp would become full. All of those ideas have been overturned since that time, of course, with the widespread use of bolt rigs, hair-rigging and massive pre-baiting campaigns.


Terry and I had a chat that first evening together over a cup of tea and something stronger while waiting for the magic ‘opening time’ at midnight. We got to know each other over the next few days, swapping stories of fish caught and fish that we hoped to catch; at that time, of course, there were many more of the latter than the former! I’d done a lot more fishing than Terry at that stage, and had picked Southampton University as it was near the Hampshire Avon, especially the Royalty Fishery, with its massive barbel and chub. I’d already had some success there before meeting Terry and he was keen to catch barbel and chub, so we swapped addresses – no emails or mobile phones in those days – and agreed to meet up after I got back from my summer vacation with my family in Suffolk.


Our early trips to the Royalty were the first of many trips together, nearly always in his part of the world. We kept in touch by letter while I was a student at Glasgow University from 1969 to 1971 and swapped stories of big pike – his from Hampshire and mine from Loch Lomond – as well as his growing tally of big carp. I was gradually getting into an academic career while Terry was becoming almost a full-time angler. He was a roofer by trade but he developed unusual back problems around mid-June every year just before the coarse fishing season started and had to take a few months off work!


I moved to work in Birmingham in 1971 and had many trips to fish with Terry at various carp lakes, including Charlton, Embley and other lakes in Hampshire and Dorset. I didn’t drive until the mid-70s so I’d catch a bus or train from Birmingham to meet Terry at Winchester railway station, where we’d load my gear onto his scooter, at first, then in later years into a three-wheeler, and eventually into his first real van. I have NO idea how we managed to get the gear on his scooter, nor how I managed to carry it all on buses and trains! At other times I was driven down to Hampshire by my Brummy mate Roger Baker and we teamed up with Terry. We had some good fishing and much agreeable socialising in local pubs and Indian restaurants. By the late 1970s I was working in London and I visited Terry a few times when he was fishing at Yateley, usually taking him a tub of my homemade curry, which he appreciated hugely. (Actually, come to think of it, he wasn’t just ‘fishing’ there – he was more-or-less living there!)


We didn’t see much of each other during the 1980s as I was living in Australia, but we kept in touch regularly by letter, swapping stories of fishing and pictures of fish. Younger readers should please remember that there were no emails or electronic copies of images in those far-off days. I’ve got lots of those pictures in my scrapbooks and will always treasure them. We resumed our trips together after I moved back to the UK in 1992, to a job at the University of Ulster. Terry found it very amusing that one of his best mates was a professor, but then lots of people think it’s amusing that I’m a professor, including me. I tried to talk Terry into coming to fish with me in Ireland, but that never worked out so I usually visited him in spring or autumn in Child Okeford. I even stayed in his house once – his first and only overnight guest - but once was more than enough, as I had to sleep on the lumpy cushions off his old couch on the less than spotlessly-clean floor and was woken up by mice investigating my beard during the night. It was strictly B&B after that.


My last few trips with Terry included a brilliant day’s piking at Milton Abbas when we each had a 20+ fish, a trip to the Dorset Stour where I had my biggest perch, and a couple of days on a local lake where I had my biggest carp. Our very last trip together in October 2011 included a couple of days at Longleat where I finally managed to get Terry to use his fly rod – on carp that we’d chummed up with dog biscuits and using an imitation dog biscuit ‘fly’. We caught shedloads of carp up to about 8 lb on the lower lake before heading to the next lake up the chain and I went on to catch my PB carp on fly at that time, around 16 lb.


We chatted a lot on that trip about how fishing had changed over the 40-plus years that we’d been friends. Carp fishing had changed most, of course, which was why neither of us had much interest in it any more. Or, rather, we enjoyed carp fishing the way that we still did it - which was light-hearted, short sessions and often stalking individual fish. We had our usual friendly disagreements over bait, especially boilies and the possibility of near-perfect baits and the ethics of ‘trapping’ fish with bolt rigs - he took great delight in setting up a helicopter rig for me to trap fish with. I was a true believer in Fred Wilton’s arguments and ideas about bait but Terry never accepted those arguments. He believed that the best bait for big roach was bread flake – and who could possibly argue that he would have done better with any other baits?! He considered the best bait for pike to be a fat roach and loved using natural baits; he even suggested that boilies had become a ‘natural’ bait on the Stour by 2011 because so many were being thrown into the river. He was a great fan of Trigga paste, so I called him ‘Trigga’ and he called simply me ‘Prof’.


I didn’t get over to fish with Terry in the Autumn of 2012 as I had too much work to complete before heading back to Australia on a 2-year contract at Adelaide University.  Terry had just retired and he was looking forward to going fishing more often, though I wasn’t sure that this would be possible! We had a long chat on the phone in January 2013, just before I headed down’under, and we agreed to have a trip together when I got back in a couple of years time. But Fred Wilton contacted me in early February to say that Terry had died after a short illness. So our trip together in early 2015 never happened, but I was able to sit quietly with Tim Norman on the first of March that year on the bench dedicated to Terry’s memory and look across that lovely lake where his ashes were scattered.


Terry Lampard was a natural, intuitive angler with a great love of fish, fishing waters and the countryside. We were good friends, living very different but overlapping lives. Terry rarely strayed far from his native Wessex, feeling little desire to travel, whereas I’ve spent more of my life outside England than in it, with fourteen years in Australia and over twenty in Northern Ireland, as well as travelling widely for work and pleasure. Terry remained a passionate coarse angler all his life and although he took a great interest in my other enthusiasms - saltwater game fishing as well as fly-fishing in both fresh and saltwater – he never had any inclination to stray into those areas. I’ve lived two lives, one as a professional academic and the other as an enthusiastic amateur angler; Terry was verging on being a full-time professional angler, though he did the odd bit of roofing work to keep the wolf from the door. He became an angling legend in his own lifetime, though he neither sought nor wanted fame. In fact, he was a shy and rather reclusive man, who lived a life of gentle self-indulgence and never harmed anyone or anything. His fishing was the most important part of his life, but he was an extraordinary good friend to a small number of people, and I’m privileged to have been one of them. I’ve also been lucky enough to get to know a couple of his other closest friends since his death and to share our memories of Terry and the times we had together.


Our long friendship came about because two young blokes happened to be chucking potatoes into the same estate lake at the same time, with neither knowing that the other was doing exactly the same thing. The only things we had in common were our working class backgrounds and mutual love of fishing and the countryside, but our shared enthusiasms proved to be the basis of the longest-lasting friendship of either of our lifetimes, and I miss him very much indeed.