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A Tribute To Bill Quinlan
"My Mate Bill"
By Bob Buteux

You will probably heard of the death of Bill Quinlan a week or so ago. All his friends new it was inevitable, for he had emphysema and only part of one of his lungs was opperating. Despite knowing this it still came as a great shock.

Although I haven't seen as much of bill since I moved away from london, we kept in touch by letters of phone, and as his condition worsened he became more and more house-bound-even the trips to his local pub stoped.
For all his suffering he never lost his sense of humour. I can't imagine what the postman thought when he delivered some of Bill's letters, and I, of course, retaliated by calling him Bill Queerun, etc. Thus this sort of banter was normal between bill and all his close mates-all of us getting alot of "stick". In the early days when we were on motorbikes they could be pulled down for a "decoke". Bill's used to be taken in bits up to his bedroom-he even polished carburettors whilst he was in bed!
It seemed that everthing he turned his hand to he did exceptionally well - proved by his fishing and also his photography. The black and white prints he produced were something really special, and how he did it with just the use of his bathroom and a wardrobe for a darkroom was beyond me.
When I first met Bill at sSouthhill Park in 1962 he was essentially a still-water angler, and I learned much from as did Jack Hilton when we all became members of the Herts Chiltern Specimen Group and his exploits with Jack a Redmire became legendary. Jack Hilton gave much credit to Bill for his own success at Redmire and their approach was very much a team effort. Although Jack became far better known in the fishing world than Bill, his angling achievements were no greater. Bill never sought the limelight and rarely reported any of his many great catches.
Carp fishing in those days traditionally finished with the first frosts, so we all used to move onto the rivers. Bill soon mastered river fishing and it wasn't long before big Chub and Barbel were coming to his net.
But I think Tench were his first love and, when in 1976 we all started fishing a pit near Staines, he in his element. This was at the time when Tench suddenly were coming out around the country at much bigger weights, and during the following years, fishing with Len Arbery, Kevin Clifford, Ron Chant and myself, Bill landed a vast number of big Tench. During one three season period alone he took 47 fish over 7lb, including 13 over 8lb and 7 over 9lb plus several hundred lesser fish. This was, perhaps, Bill's most prolific big fish period and one of his happiest. Yet My fondest memories of Bill are sitting alongside him at Southhill Park over 30 years ago, with bits of dough bibbins on his line watching for twiches. We spent so many happy hours devising ways to fool those timid Tench - he was a great mate and I shall miss him.

By Bob Buteux

 

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