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Bucks (North) Specimen Hunters Group

This group was set up by Charles Kirkham in 1965 after advertising for members in the local press.  He was fortunate enough to have Dick Walker and Fred J Taylor living locally.

The group went on to become one of the founding members of the NASG in 1965

Charles has written a potted history of the group for this website below

                                         Bucks Specimen Group


          A brief history of the development and evolution of the group



The Bucks Specimen Group was formed by myself in the middle 1960’s inspired by the general growth in the Specimen Hunting movement and the desire to improve on the size of the fish caught.  This was an exciting period when Dick Walker, Fred J Taylor and Peter Stone, to name a few were in their heyday and regularly publishing articles describing their exploits .  We had a wide interest in all species, even including the then lesser well know ones such as Catfish.


The Group were fortunate to be situated in an area which contained several well known big fish waters, including several which had been popularised by Dick Walker and Fred J Taylor amongst others, at the time.  Indeed this subsequently resulted in my being able to fish with the “stars” on several occasions, mainly on the Upper Ouse, staying overnight in Dick’s famous fishing hut.  It was also thanks to Fred Taylor that I caught my first Barbel on their syndicated stretch of the Kennet near Theale. 


When first formed we were a small group of young anglers who were geographically focussed on the area around North Bucks but as the group expanded so did our coverage. Our name was soon changed from the “North Bucks Specimen Group” to the “Bucks Specimen Group” and we became one of the founding affiliated groups in the nascent N A S G.  The Group was formed to share knowledge and test theories and new techniques; we experimented with “Secchis disks”, we published a monthly newsletter which included original material from Dick and Fred as well as contributions from the general membership. 

This was the time of the “Dick Walker Trilby” , camouflaged parachute smock, pigeon shooters mask, Polaroid glasses and, at night, ex WD tank suits!  All were de rigueur uniform for the specimen hunter! 


Our fishing principally centred on Wotton Lakes, the Upper Great Ouse, Claydon Brook, Claydon Lakes. Rackley Hills and other little known lakes close to Buckingham and Brackley which we thought provided great promise for Big Carp.   Weren’t all  water potential Redmire

Pools to us Specimen Hunters?

Shortly after we became the “Bucks Specimen Group” I was fortunate to be able to negotiate a lease of the fishing rights on a short stretch of the Claydon Brook  near to the well known Twins stretch, for the Group.

 As the group matured we tended to fish farther afield thus the Hants Avon, Kennet, Thames and Tring reservoirs were added to our list of regular venues.

Transport was initially something of a problem since none of us had a car therefore our fishing tended to be focussed on those waters local to where we lived.    Slowly as our experience and knowledge built and catches improved, some of our best being Chub to 61/2 lbs; Barbel

12 lbs; Catfish 24lbs; Carp 23lbs; Bream 10lbs 4ozs ; Dace 1lbs 1oz; Pike 24lbs and Roach 2lbs 5ozs.


Sadly as the Group matured it started to die effectively in the mid seventies due to the original members themselves maturing and relocating, due to personal reasons and as a result of  progressively focussing on other activities away from fishing.  Several of the Group members chose increasingly to fish alone and as such their commitment to the Group diminished significantly.  This demise being further accelerated by the absence of new members. 


Our membership included Dick W as Patron and Fred J as President , both having very kindly accepted our invitation to join us, together with Jim Gibbinson and Ken Thorpe  and several lesser known individuals,  who played significant roles, such as Michael Brassett, Brian Leonard and Keith Murday.    Some of the members (in addition to our well known members!) wrote articles for the angling press and were involved in the early development of deadbaiting for chub and the catching of Barbel from the Ouse long before it was known, for certain, of the existence of Barbel generally in the Ouse and in particular the Newport Pagnell area.  Indeed the existence of Barbel in the Ouse at all was the subject of some speculation at the time.  I remember vividly, writing an article for Fishing magazine and being asked by the Assistant Editor if he could fish with me in a likely weirpool  for Barbel along with photographs before it was published.  Alas the Barbel that day evaded us!


Rather more esoteric at the time was the search, at the time, for the identity of the “Ouse Monsters”!  A subject of some particular interest to Dick Walker who even wrote a short article for the Group Newsletter on this subject speculating as to the identity of the species involved,




Charles Kirkham

June 2012