One Man's Passion For Carp - Norman Symonds

It may be this is really a history book as opposed to a fishing book, if it wasn't for the fact that the man whose life is relived within these pages has had such a huge impact on carp fishing in this country… probably as much as any of the legendary names associated with the sport.

We are taken through the life and times of Norman Symonds, a man who many of us might not be too familiar with, but mention Waveney Valley Lakes, Homersfield, or Fishers Green, and you might start to realise how influential Norman became in shaping the carp scene as we know it today.

The book is written by none other than John Wilson MBE, who became great friends with Norman, and his late wife Vera, enabling him to recount many a humorous story from their many chats together.

Starting with his early life working at his uncle's flower nursery, Norman soon got into the veneer business… and this would change his life.

Then with chapters on the War years, his return to business, buying his first house with Vera, and promotions at work, we begin to see how Norman used his keen business mind to advance his career, and his personal goals.

It was during a business trip that he happened upon a book about breeding carp that impressed him so much, that his mind was then set on having his own fishery one day.

An aerial view of Waveney Valley Lakes

An aerial view of Waveney Valley Lakes

A 36lb'er on its way to Waveney

A 36lb'er on its way to Waveney

And later, noticing an advert for the sale of Waveney Valley Lakes, it wasn't long before he became owner of half the venue, comprising of six lakes, and was soon stocking them with some very large carp. That was in 1963, and by 1967 he had bought the rest of the site. History was in the making.

With Fishers Green purchased in 1972, and then Homersfield in 1978, all the waters began to receive more big fish.

So being a bit of an all-rounder and not a full time 'carper' it's still great to read about the whole host of top carp anglers that were attracted to these waters specifically targeting 20lb fish, but with the hope of catching a '30'.

Waveney Valley at one stage had 30lb carp in all of its lakes except one, not that they seem huge by today's standards, but this was 40 years ago!

Names like Rod Hutchinson, Kevin Maddocks, Rob Maylin, Chris Yates, Jim Gibbinson, Andy Little, John Bailey, Lennie Middleton, and Tim Paisley, all caught huge fish there and generally learnt their trade.

It also became a hot-bed of innovation with baits such as 'Black Magic' being created, and probably the most important invention for the carp angler, Lennie Middleton's hair rig.

This is not your usual fishing book as such, but it deserves a read, and to borrow one of Mr Wilson's lines 'And the irony of it all is that Norman was never a keen angler anyway'.

The book retails at £18.99, and is available from http://www.calmproductions.com/acatalog/onemanspassion.html

Andy Little in 1992, with a 41lb 8oz mirror from Yew Tree lake, the largest carp caught at the Waveney

Andy Little in 1992, with a 41lb 8oz mirror from Yew Tree lake, the largest carp caught at the Waveney

Norman (far right) chatting to syndicate members at Homersfield

Norman (far right) chatting to syndicate members at Homersfield