Retro Heaven

Richard Walker an Angling Centenary

The angler Richard ‘Dick’ Walker…..

2018 marks what would have been the 100th birthday of one of angling’s greatest ambassadors, Richard ‘Dick’ Walker (1918-1985) A man who, for twenty eight years, held the record for the biggest carp caught in British waters; a 44lb beauty at the famous Redmire pool in Herefordshire.

Richard Walker brought a studied, scientific approach to the sport, he wrote countless books and was a regular contributor to the Angling Times for more than thirty years. His first angling book, Rod Building for Amateurs was followed by three of my favourites, Still Water Angling, Drop Me a Line and Walker’s Pitch, all from the 1950s.

In Drop Me a Line (1953) we find Walker exchanging letters with his soon-to-be good friend, Maurice Ingham from Lincolnshire, England. It is a beautiful book, at the start we see how the correspondence begins with Ingham assuming the student role but as the letters and years continue their friendship and angling discourse puts them on an even keel. There are warming references to each other’s private lives and the style of writing, the language used, has been all but lost today. Here you can see how the two angler’s worked at their craft and honed both their skills and the equipment they were using. The letters, which both men thankfully kept, detail carp fishing, fly fishing, new rigs, techniques and tackle in what was the golden, pioneering days of angling. Walker combined an engineer’s logic with a love for nature and ethical fish husbandry to become the only angler to appear on BBC’s Desert Island Discs and to have his obituary written in The Times of London.

Walker died aged sixty seven after a long battle with cancer, he deserved a longer run, as did fans of his work. His books are a delight and an inspiration for one to live a better life in a more gentle, polite and constructive manner.

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