In Pursuit Of The Largest by Terry Hearn

One of the benefits of promising Anglers' Net that I would do some book reviews is the fact that I now have an excuse to re-read all my books (not that I need an excuse!)…and what a pleasure it was to read In Pursuit Of The Largest once again.

Before I go into detail reviewing the book, I would just like to point out how remarkable Terry’s achievements are. Despite still being in his twenties, Terry has captured eight English carp over forty pounds, a truly amazing feat. I have never met Terry and can only dream of fishing the waters and catching the fish he does, but through his book I feel so much closer to fishing those waters and catching that elusive forty.

The book concentrates on story-telling more than technical information. However, in telling his stories of how he caught his monsters, Terry deals with plenty of methods and baits that you can pick up on and incorporate into your own fishing. You can normally gather as much rig and bait advice as you need from the weekly or monthly carp specialist magazines or even Anglers' Net, so I like my carp fishing books to be more of a story anyway. If a book is too technical etc., you can find that it develops an out of date feel to it much quicker.

Terry Hearn - In Pursuit Of The LargestThe book starts with Terry’s first attempts at Yateley. He misses out his formative years, as there wasn’t enough room as he had all those big carp captures to write about. The book details Terry’s early encounters at Yateley, followed by him amassing an incredible forty Yateley carp before capturing his first thirty, the Slate Grey from the Copse lake.

After his initial success things start to snowball as Terry accumulates an amazing haul of huge Yateley carp as he captures Bazil from the North lake and several others from the Car Park lake.

Terry moves on to another venue, and I’ll leave you to read the story for yourself, before he returns to the Car Park lake to capture the famous Heather the Leather before moving on to yet another Yateley water and conquers the Pads lake.

Once Terry spreads his wings to journey away from Yateley, he doesn’t lower his sights. No, he goes on to recount his capture of the then Bristish record carp! The perfect Mary at 55lb 13oz from Wraysbury. His phenomenal success just goes on and on as he captures two absolutely gorgeous whackers from The Brook in Kent.

It’s a relief to read about Terry’s struggle to succeed at Dinton, it almost makes the guy human!

Before I re-read the book I had an impression in my mind that the guest chapters were a bit weak and detracted from the rest of the book. However, on re-reading them I can safely say that they’re fine, although a couple are on the short side or perhaps not as well written as the rest of the book. I particularly enjoyed the chapters from Paul Forward and Lewis Read. I was gripped by Lewis’s story as his time to capture the biggie slowly ran out. Although, I’m sure I’m not spoiling the story but letting you know he triumphs just in time.

There are only a couple of criticisms that I can raise that is in the Rig Talk chapter Terry doesn’t detail his bait ingredients. I know he mentions his favourite chocolate malt flavoured birdfood boilies and his deadly monster pursuit baits but we mere mortals want to emulate Terry and if he gave us the precise details of flavours and their inclusion levels we could get a bit closer.

There are only a few rigs mentioned but as Terry only uses a few simple rigs then that is to be expected. Perhaps a little more detail wouldn’t go amiss and now Terry has developed his own range of accessories through the ESP range he might be in a better position to reveal all. Terry always seems to pin down his mainline out of harms way to prevent spooking carp. I know it’s obvious why but perhaps maybe he could have revealed why he is so insistent on the practice, has he seen just to many carp spooking?

Terry seems to equate much of his success with location. As long as he has a good bait and a good rig then he seems satisfied on the tackle front, if the fish aren’t in the vicinity or likely to appear soon then he isn’t going to catch anything so he spends his time looking for the fish (i.e. working at his fishing). I was so impressed with his dedication to succeed that I have bookmarked a few comments that I picked as I read along to share with you so that you can get a feel for his meticulous approach that I’m now trying to emulate in my fishing.

"It didn’t take too long for me to get into the swing of things on the Car Park lake. I soon made myself a regular route round the lake which, unless I was already on fish, I made sure to walk at least twice a day, stopping to climb to climb the tress overlooking the best looking areas. Most of these trees looked like they hadn’t been climbed for years, making it necessary to tunnel my way through the bramble bushes in order to get to them."

"With the aid of a face mask, it was now possible to see the bottom in up to ten feet of water."

"I wasn’t sure whether it was a fish or not and so I descended the tree, took off my shoes, socks and jogging bottoms and started to wade through the reedbed for a better look."

The fact that this guy is prepared to strip off and wade in to look at something that might not even be a fish shows his commitment to the pursuit of specimen fish!

Throughout the book, Terry recounts his stories with great precision and clarity. It is easy to picture the scene and feel as though you’re part of the background to Terry’s captures. This is Terry’s first book and I’m sure it will become an absolute classic. In time, I’m sure it will be rated up there with the best. And I can’t wait to read his second book; I believe Terry’s out on the banks now trying (and no doubt succeeding) to catch a few more monsters to write about!

There are a few humorous line drawings to amuse you along the way and the book is unsurprisingly packed with quality photos of HUGE fish.

I loved reading every single word of it and it made me feel as though I was part of the big carp scene and could catch a record beater even though I never fish the big carp waters and there aren’t that many big fish up north! I’m in absolute awe of Terry’s achievements. He’s the Alan Shearer of the fishing world and is (if not already) becoming an angling icon that youngsters look up to.

Perhaps In Pursuit Of The Largest is more suited to the modern day carp angler, who is boilie, buzzer, bolt rig and bivvy oriented and who has a knowledge of the circuit waters, than to your Chris Yates type carp angler, but nevertheless the book is a fantastic read for all.

I was truly gripped by both Terry’s knowledge and passion for carp fishing and by the way he expressed his captures. I have now decided to add wanting to spend a days fishing with Terry Hearn, so I can witness the master in action, to my list of ambitions of playing for Preston North End (that’s well and truly gone), running the London Marathon and owning a house with a lake. In fact, spending a days fishing with Terry will probably be the easiest of the four to achieve, however hard it is!

And being so influenced by Terry’s methods of concentrating on location and pinpoint bait placement I spent most of my next session up a tree doing my monkey impressions while observing the carp’s behaviour below. I even bagged a common using the Terry Hearn Stiff Rig but that’s another story and probably another review………

Available from Bountyhunter Publications, 55 Broadhurst, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 9XA. Order Hotline 01252 373658 or 01582 453263. Priced £21.95 plus £2.50 P&P. (Total £24.45) Please mention Anglers' Net if you decide to buy this great book.

Tight lines,

Martin Salisbury

PS If you haven’t realised by reading my review, I absolutely loved this book, buy it now!

17th May 2000