May Lang (nee Berth-Jones) who sadly passed away recently was one of the first female coarse anglers to make a name for herself. Seen here in the 1950s at the famous Redmire Pool she was the first female angler in the UK to catch a 20lb carp, an incredible fish at the time.
More recently she gave an interview to Mark at the Traditional Fisherman’s Forum. Our thanks go to Mark (and to Nigel Evans) for allowing us to re-produce the interview below.
1. How old were you when you first went fishing and who was it with? – I was just 17
2. What was the first fish you ever caught on rod and line? – My first fish was a bleak, Caught at the Thames at Windsor.
3. Who or what got you into fishing? – Gerry Berth-Jones
4. Who did you look up to when you first got into fishing and who is it now? – Most Definitely BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford) these days Martin Bowler.
5. If you could only fish for one type of fish what would it be and why? – Tench, to me rather mystical fish, different to all others.
6. What is the best fish you have caught and what made it stand out from all the others? – It has to be my Redmire carp, it was the biggest fish I had ever caught.
7. What is your favourite method of fishing? – I love float fishing, much more exciting that waiting for a buzzer to go off !
8. What is your funniest or most frustrating angling memory? – Seeing my brand new John Wilson rod shoot off into the water, a carp snatched my bait as soon as it hit the water, Luckily my husband Ed chased after it for about 40yds casting his ledger weight over it and caught the line. The fish got off but I got my rod back, which incidentally was my birthday present for him.
9. What is you favourite angling book? – The Fisherman’s Bedside Book by B.B.
10. What are you most proud of in your angling career? – Fishing alongside so many great anglers. Very proud indeed.
11. Do you have any angling ambitions? – I would dearly love to catch a big tench. An 8 pounder is my best yet.
12. Out of all the waters you have fished in your lifetime what would you say are your top three venues? – By far the River Thames. Sowley Pond in Hampshire and Nightingales Lake in Kent.
13. Who have you most enjoyed fishing with and why? – Very difficult to say as I have fished with so many fishermen over the years, but I will settle for Jack Opie, A true gentleman. Today I love fishing with my husband Ed and my grandson Rhys.
14. Who would you most liked to have fished with but never got the chance and why? – I would like to have fished with either B.B. or Bernard Venables.
15. Out of all your fishing items what is you most prized possession and why? – My prized fishing possesions are now owned by my son Maurice or my grandson Rhys. They include my Mark IV and Mark !V Avon made by Gerry.
16. What do you find the most annoying about the modern angling scene today? – I hate to see rubbish left by fishermen and I also wish people would be quiet.
17. If you could give one piece of advice to a young angler what would it be? – Be observant, it’s amazing what you can learn by just looking at the water. Simply enjoy it.
18. What are your views on commercial fisheries? I’m not really keen on the commercial fisheries. Most anglers seem to be fixated on big carp. The carp catchers club really started something didn’t they !
19. Would you say fishing was better decades ago than it is now? – Not better, just completely different. The old ways were a lot simpler. I’ve had to update a lot of the old methods. It’s not that long ago that I’d never heard of hair rigs or boilies. The good thing is I still catch fish.
20. And finally what other activities do you enjoy besides fishing? – I love painting mostly birds and butterflies and flowers and recently fish !