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Museum tribute to ‘man who changed fishing forever’


He was the man who changed fishing forever. Now Richard ‘Dick’Walker, former British carp record holder and inventor of many products still used today, is the subject of an exhibition dedicated to his immense contribution to angling.

Walker (1918 – 1985) astounded the fishing world with his capture of a 44lb carp from Redmire Pool in 1952, breaking the record by more than 13lb. It was a moment in time that caused people to think differently about the sport and which led to a boom in carp fishing that revitalised the tackle industry.

Walker’s pioneering approach inspired many people to take up angling. A prodigious writer, he was arguably the most-read fishing writer of all time. His column in Angling Times was voraciously consumed by all kinds of anglers and his books – Drop Me A Line, a collection of letters between him and fellow angler Maurice Ingham, and No Need To Lie – are now considered collectors’ items.

He invented the Arlesley Bomb, a lead weight that found its way into every angler’s tackle box, developed the bite alarm and, perhaps most famously, designed the Mark IV carp rod, which he used to catch his record carp.

But his expertise wasn’t just restricted to carp. Seen as the complete angler, he wrote about all kinds of fishing and in later years focused on trout and fly patterns.

The exhibition is in the North Herts Museum, Hitchin, Herts, where Walker was born and raised. It brings together material loaned from his family and others.

“Dick Walker is well known to anyone in the fishing world and something of a local legend,” said Councillor Keith Hoskins, Executive Member for Enterprise and Arts. “Thanks to his family this is a great exhibition that gives an insight into his life and contribution to angling, among other things.”

TV star and avid fisherman Chris Tarrant said: “The man completely changed the face of freshwater fishing; particularly for really big, hitherto uncatchable fish, like carp. Carp fishing is now a huge multi-million-pound industry in the UK and many parts of the world, but without Dick Walker’s pioneering work, it would almost certainly never have happened.” 

A spokesman at the Canal and River Trust said: “He was arguably the most influential angler, not just of the past 100 years, but of all time. He brought a scientific approach to the sport that is taken for granted now, yet in the 1950s and 1960s his approach revolutionised fishing.”

The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30 am to 4.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 3pm. Admission is free.

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