Tributes paid to Hitchin angler who landed world’s heaviest carp

Pete Thomas

Pete Thomas - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to an angler whose legendary exploits have passed into fishing folklore.

The funeral of carp fishing expert Pete Thomas, one of the founders of Blueharts Hockey Club, was held on Tuesday.

Mr Thomas, who was 90, is best remembered for the part he played in landing what was then the world’s heaviest recorded carp in September 1952.

The 44lb whopper named Clarissa excited such interest that she was given a new home at London Zoo.

The Hitchin-born angling legend’s daughter Jane Gainsford told the Comet: “I am very proud of my father. He was a very modest man.

“Dad was always a shy person, who shunned publicity, but he did make friends very easily.

“He flew Corsairs for the Fleet Air Arm at the end of the Second World War but afterwards he decided to take up something safer.

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“He was a keen fisherman, so he and a chap called Dick Walker and a few others founded a carp catching club. Our whole family knows the story of Clarissa – or Ravioli as Dick Walker used to say after the food they’d been eating on the day they caught her.

“Their small band of anglers had heard tales of an extremely large carp in Redmire Pool in Herefordshire and decided to capture it.

“My father was at Dick’s side on the fateful morning when he landed the 44lb carp. My father wielded the landing net to capture Clarissa.

“Dad regularly fished at local places like Arlesey Lake before it was filled in, and Bearton pond. He also helped found Blueharts Hockey Club.”

Blueharts chairman Alan Middleditch added: “He’ll be sadly missed by all associated with Blueharts.

“He was a very modest man, a quiet man who was hugely respected by everyone – without his contribution there would be no Blueharts.

“He started the club when there was rationing. He used to get petrol vouchers for away games.

“He scored two goals in Blueharts first-ever match in a 4-3 defeat against Bedford at St George’s. He was rightly nominated as Bluehart of the Century.”