Quick Questions With… Jim Foster

This time it’s the turn of one of the founders of Total Carp magazine, Jim Foster, to answer the questions.

Three words to describe yourself?
Blunt, misunderstood, loyal.

Who have been your biggest influences in carp fishing?
In the mid-1990s, Colin Davidson and Julian Cundiff. Late 1990s, Kevin Maddocks, Dave Lane, Ian Chillcott. 2000s, Simon Scott, Ian Russell, Tim Paisley and Simon Crow, who are great anglers and writers.

Scariest moment on the bank?
At a session on Withy Pool in 1998. It was late autumn and the clocks had gone back. I was fishing in The Boards swim, there was no wind and it was deadly quiet, inky black, cold and still. I was awake, lying in my bag looking at the rods. Suddenly, all three of my bobbins rose one inch, then dropped one inch, all together, all at the same time. All three alarms sounded as one. The lines were spread out – it was impossible. But it happened. There were no birds around. I later found out that it was Bob Baldock’s favourite area of the lake. He’d tragically committed suicide a year or two previously – I often wonder if it was his spirit, being mischievous.

How long have you been carp fishing?
I think I caught my first carp in 1987. So ever since then.

How did you start carp fishing?
At Baffins Pond in Portsmouth. I used to get the bus there, with all my kit. I quickly learnt that you could bait spots in the edge, come back later to find the fish feeding, and that a ball of trout pellet paste fished under a pole float would fool them. It was great fun.

Other sporting interests?
Football: I was a Pompey season ticket holder for many years. These days I play league pool in my home town of Stamford. I also run.

One day left to go fishing, where would you go?
If it was any form of fishing? I’d hire a helicopter and get dropped into the upper Rangitikei river valley in New Zealand. Pristine river, no people, amazing wild trout. If it’s carp, I’d like to be taken back in time to the late 1990s and have one more go on Withy Pool.

Worst fishing-related injury?
When my first issue as editor of Catchmore Carp came back from the printers, we all went for a pub lunch to celebrate. I had a few pints, came back and found that the company owner – David Hall – had put a post-it note on each page criticising almost everything I’d worked so hard to achieve. I was so angry I went into the toilet and punched a door, breaking a knuckle. I’ve avoided alcohol in business hours ever since.

Best three anglers you’ve ever worked with?
It’s hard to have a top three, as there are many I’ve worked with over the years. But Terry Hearn, who once fished in my garden and introduced me to vaping, is up there. Simon Scott also. And maybe Dave Lane.

Your favourite moment in your carp angling career?
There are loads! But I would say, whenever you get a bite. It’s all about the bite!

Favourite capture?
The Amphibian from the Essex Manor, or any of my Withy Pool captures back in the day. More recently, a beautiful scaly from the syndicate I’m a member of.

Three things you’d never go fishing without?
My iPhone, battery chargers, a bottle of red wine!

Any regrets?
Not really. Perhaps I should have asked out Lucy Bradshaw in 1991. I spent all of the Upper Sixth wanting to, but never had the guts. She was beautiful, the first girl I ever really loved.

Biggest character you have met through fishing?
Derek Ritchie. Or my old boss, David Hall, who was properly colourful – and never spoke to me again after I left his employment. Des Taylor, too, who I remember didn’t like it when Adam Penning tried to wind him up on a feature… but that’s a story for another day.

What are your favourite bits about carping?
The bite! It’s all about the bite!

Your least favourite bits?
Other people. Especially those who don’t seem to understand rules and etiquette.

Who do you most admire in carp fishing?
Cliff Fox, Shaun McSpadden, Danny Fairbrass, Kev Knight: all for what they’ve achieved in angling and business. Tim Paisley, the godfather of carp fishing and for his achievements in publishing. Simon Crow, for his ability to catch fish wherever he goes. Simon Scott, whose intellect takes some beating. Ian Chillcott, for his dedication to his wife and the unbelievable unit they are.

Tell us a secret?
I was once on a feature with Tom Felton (the actor who plays Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter). I drank a can of Coke and burped loudly, probably more than once. I found out recently that he remembers me to this day as “the belching journalist”. I wonder if he’s told that story to Emma Watson.

Tea or coffee?
Tea when fishing, coffee at work.

Favourite biscuit?
Milk chocolate digestive. But be careful! They be bad for you.

Favourite takeaway?
Chicken jalfrezi.

Funniest moment on the bank?
Derek Ritchie tying a six-foot inflatable crocodile to one of my rods when I was asleep one night, while fishing on the Essex Manor. It drifted off into the lake on the wind. Derek then put my rod back on the buzzers – it gave me a hell of a bite.

One fish you would have loved to have caught – past or present?
I fished for a few years on the tidal Thames and had many carp to 27lb but never a thirty. I would have loved to catch an unknown Thames thirty.