Obituary: Chris Ball – famed carp fisherman from New Milton
A RECORD-breaking former president of The Carp Society who entered the ‘Carp Hall of Fame’ for landing monster fish has died at the age of 77 after a short illness.
Chris Ball, from New Milton, has been described by fellow fishermen as a “giant of the sport”, a “carp angling king”, and an “angling legend”.
Following his death, The Angling Times carried an obituary on Chris in which it called him “one of the most likeable and knowledgeable individuals in angling”.
It said he was “famous for his passion for vintage fishing tackle, writing about the sport, and a masterful ability to catch carp off the surface”.
Paying tribute to him at his funeral, The Carp Society’s Derek Stritton, who was friends with Chris for 50 years, said: “As an angler Chris was exceptional, especially so with surface and floater fishing, and he caught fish wherever he went.
“As an authority angling historian, he was second to none. Be it old tackle, the history of fish, famous anglers, or lakes. I remember once a group of us debating why he hadn’t appeared on ‘Mastermind the Carp’. We will miss him greatly.”
Born in 1946 in Colwyn Bay, Chris moved with his family to Guildford, where his love of carp fishing first began. He could see Britton Pond and the carp in it from his bedroom window, and started catching them.
After leaving school he became a compositor in the print industry, eventually moving into sales. But it was his beloved hobby which brought him fame and led to him writing books, newspaper, and magazine articles. More recently he was also recording podcasts.
In the 90s he and two friends became publishers of ‘Carp Talk’ magazine, where he worked until his retirement at the age of 67. For the rest of his life, he continued to write for numerous publications and also gave talks about carp fishing.
He was married to wife Lynne, who he met at a youth club, for 54 years, with the couple marrying in 1968. They had three sons – James, Martyn, and Duncan – and three grandchildren.
Despite his love of fishing Lynne says Chris was a “devoted husband and family man.” The couple enjoyed many holidays together with a group of friends nicknamed the ‘Parrot Club’ with one trip to South Africa a particular highlight.
Remembering his dad at his funeral, son James said: “Dad was a big fish in a small pond. The best of us, someone that lit up every room he walked into. He loved everyone and everyone loved him.
“In March of 2011 he entered the carp Hall of Fame. A proud moment for a lifetime commitment to carp fishing. Dad become one of the most famous fishermen of the last 50 years.
“I swear like Doctor Dolittle, dad could talk to carp. There was almost nothing that he didn’t know about angling in the UK, especially when it came to historical lakes and carp.”
Son Duncan revealed that his dad had a “total recall on almost all the fish he had ever caught and the countless lakes he had fished”.
But he said his dad also had another hobby he enjoyed, watching the Grand Prix “which was the only sport dad loved outside of fishing”.
“We went to the British Grand Prix together back in the 80s, which was amazing,” said Duncan.
Martyn revealed that he had never shared his dad’s love of fishing but ended his funeral tribute with the words: “I will hold dear all of our memories together forever, see you on the bankside soon and as I promised him, he can try and teach me how to fish!”