Richard Walker (angler)

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This article deals with Richard Stuart Walker, English angler. For other Richard Walkers, see: Richard Walker (disambiguation).
Richard Stuart Walker with the record carp
Walker's birthplace at 32 Fishponds Road in Hitchin

Richard Stuart Walker (29 May 1918 – 2 August 1985) was an English angler.

Walker was one of the first anglers to apply scientific thought to angling and wrote many books on the sport. He also wrote for the angling press, most notably for the Angling Times, Trout & Salmon[1] and Fly Dressers' Guild Newsletter[2]. He held the record for a carp in the UK for 28 years with a fish of 44 pounds (20 kg) caught at Redmire pool in Herefordshire.[3]


Walker was born at 32 Fishponds Road in Hitchin, Hertfordshire in 1918; he lived there until 1928. His father was a professional soldier and his mother an employee of the Post Office. He started fishing at an early age, being taught by his grandfather in Hertford. He was educated at the Friends' School in Saffron Walden and St Christopher School in Letchworth. He went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, but his studies were interrupted by the Second World War, during which he worked for the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.[4]

After the war he joined Lloyds and Co, manufacturers of high quality grass cutting machinery as technical director.

His inventions included the electronic bite alarm and the arlesey bomb weight, and he was instrumental in the development of the carbon-fibre fishing rod. Considered by many to be one of the best fishermen of the twentieth century, his books are now collector's items. One of his personally handmade Mark IV carp split cane rods is worth some thousands of pounds.

He lived by the River Ivel in Biggleswade from 1978 until his death in 1985 after a long battle with cancer. A biography by Professor Barrie Rickards was published in 2007[5].

A blue plaque was unveiled on his birthplace in June 2011.[6]

Walker's record carp[edit]

On 13 September 1952, Walker landed the then record carp at Redmire Pool[7] which weighed 44 lbs. After the fish's capture he decided to contact London Zoo to verify its weight. After collection the fish was transported to the zoo's aquarium and put on public display. Walker had named the carp Ravioli but the fish was renamed Clarissa. Walker's record held to 1980[8] when it was beaten by Chris Yates' 51 lb 8 oz fish[9]

The current BRFC recognized record currently stands at 68 lb 1 oz held by Dean Fletcher caught in 2016[10]

Fly fishing[edit]

Walker was also an innovative fly angler fishing chalk streams, small stillwaters and reservoirs[11]. With the opening of Grafham Water in 1966 Walker concentrated his efforts in addressing the new problems[12] faced at what was at that time the largest man-made stillwater in England. As a result he was instrumental in the design of many reservoir fly patterns including Walker's Midge Pupa, the Chomper[13], Longhorns[14], Mayfly Nymph, Red Sedge, Dambuster[15], Polystickle[16], Mrs Palmer, and Sweeney Todd[17]. In August 1969 he began a series of regular monthly articles in Trout & Salmon[18] on new fly patterns entitled Modern Fly Dressings which were subsequently collated into Fly Dressing Innovations[19] and Dick Walker's Modern Fly Dressings[20]. His later years, which were marred by ill health, were spent fishing smaller stillwaters[21].

Published works[edit]

  • The Book of the Flemish Giant Rabbit, Idle (c1947) [n 1]
  • Stillwater Angling, David & Charles (1953)
  • Walker's Pitch, Angling Times/Allen & Unwin (1959)
  • Kapitale Fische Reiche Beute (Walker's Pitch)
  • How Fish Feed: Facts on how, when and where, Angling Times (1959)
  • Rod Building for Amateurs, Angling Times (1963)
  • Carp Fishing, Angling Times (1963)
  • No Need to Lie, Angling Times/Allen & Unwin (1964)
  • Fly Dressing Innovations, Ernest Benn (1974)
  • Successful Angling, Stanley Paul & Co (1977)
  • Pesca Deportiva (Successful Angling in Spanish)
  • Dick Walker's Trout Fishing on Rivers and Stillwaters, Swan Hill Press (1977)
  • The Shell Book of Angling (Editor), David & Charles (1979)
  • Dick Walker's Modern Fly Dressings, Ernest Benn (1980)
  • Dick Walker's Angling, Angling Times (1980)
  • Catching Fish, David & Charles (1981)
  • Dick Walker's Coarse Fishing, Patrick Stephens (1983)
  • The Best of Dick Walker's Coarse Fishing, David & Charles (1988)
  • The Carp Catchers' Club, Medlar Press (1998)
  • Drop Me a Line: Being Letters Exchanged on Trout and Coarse Fishing, H F & G Witherby (1989)
  • The Stone Walker Letters 1956 - 1983, The Medlar Press (2006)
  • Spin Me a Line: Fishing for Fun with Dick Walker, Little Egret Press (2007)
  • Walker's Pitch II, Little Egret Press (2008)
  • Be My Guest, Peter Maskell Publishing (2010)

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Published under the name of Stuart Walker
  1. ^ Trout & Salmon magazine April 1970 issue page 21
  2. ^ Fly Dressers Guild Newsletter October 1979 issue
  3. ^ Keith Elliott. "Angling:Holy waters of Redmire". The Independent. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Richard Walker: Biography of an Angling Legend by Barrie Rickards, Medlar Press (2007)
  6. ^ [1] 'Angling legend Dick Walker is honoured with a blue plaque' Biggleswade Chronicle 2 June 2011
  7. ^ The Fisherman's Bedside Book edited by 'BB' (Denys Watkins-Pitchford), The Boydell Press (1945) paperback edition pages 161-165
  8. ^ "Richard Walker". Canal & River Trust. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  9. ^ Keith Elliott (16 November 1997). "Angling:Carping on about size". The Independent. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  10. ^ Richard Stewart (25 April 2018). "The British Record:A Timeline". CARPology. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  11. ^ Dick Walker's Fly Fishing on Rivers and Stillwaters edited by Peter Maskell, Swan Hill Press (1997) Preface
  12. ^ Still Water Fly-Fishing by T C Ivens, Andre Deutsch (1952) revised and enlarged third 1970 edition chapter 16 ‘Grafham: a new reservoir with new conditions and new problems’
  13. ^ Reservoir and Lake Flies by John Veniard, A & C Black (1970) page 111/112
  14. ^ The Super Flies of Still Water by John Goddard, A & C Black (1977) pages 57/59
  15. ^ Bob Church's Guide to Trout Flies by Bob Church, Crowood Press (1987) page 100
  16. ^ Reservoir Trout Flies by Adrian V W Freer, Crowood Press (2010) page 143
  17. ^ Lures for Game, Coarse and Sea Fishing by Taff Price, A & C Black (1972) page 96
  18. ^ Trout & Salmon magazine August 1969 issue page 15
  19. ^ Fly Dressing innovations by Richard Walker, Ernest Benn Ltd (1974)
  20. ^ Dick Walker's Modern Fly Dressings by Richard Walker, Ernest Benn Ltd (1980)
  21. ^ Stillwater Flies how and when to fish them by John Goddard, A & C Black (1982) page 193

External links[edit]