2010 – Almost February Blog

Last Gasp Scribblings…

Sorry folks, not a lot of fishing in this offering. Quite frankly I’ve been too busy and even if I wasn’t, it would be difficult to find the inspiration while the stillwaters are so cold and the rivers high and coloured. But it won’t last and I’ll be out there strutting my rods as soon as I’m back from Africa.

All Packed And Ready To Go…?

Stu and James are like little kids. Their rucksacks have been packed and unpacked more times than they can count. Me? Well, I ain’t even spooled the reels yet. As for packing I can’t see that getting done till the last minute.

I’ve had three columns to write this week without thinking about my blog. But we’ll get there.

I’ll let you know how we get on, provided we get back in one piece, that is.

Macca’s Latest Masterpiece

Old Macca’s obviously been unable to go piking and he’s lacking inspiration to draw so he’s turned his hand to making a snowman. Now I don’t know about you but I reckon this is the spitting image of Allan Parbery, owner of Mistral Baits.

Unless you can think of anyone else it looks like.

Hang on, there’s definitely a passing resemblance to Greg Whitehead, don’t you think?


Trent Angler’s Night Out

Don’t forget that night out in Sawley next month you Trent lads. All details can be found in my last blog. It’ll be an entertaining night for sure and it’s nice to see we’re getting a lot of support from the crew over at Barbel Adventures

Reels On Wheels 

I first met Nick Rowe several years ago at an Anglers Paradise netting session. Nick’s a wheelchair angler who has a lot more drive and energy than I have. He getson with things and one of his main projects is Reels On Wheels.

The primary aim of ‘Reels’ is to help and encourage disabled and less able anglers to get back into fishing, aiming to get as many people as possible to take up fishing as a recreational, outdoor activity. It also advises fisheries on how to make access possible for all because often it doesn’t take much to make this possible.

A few years ago I fished a match to raise awareness of the problems anglers with disabilities face. Part of the deal was we all had to fish from a wheelchair, not just when we were in our swims, but for the whole day. That meant carrying your own tackle to the lake and setting up without leaving the chair. I can tell you, it wasn’t easy.

Suddenly you realise that everything we take for granted is a whole lot more difficult. I know Mel Wilde at Octoplus does quite a bit on the quiet to help disabled anglers and he’s an under sung hero on that score, making it much easier for a lot of anglers who fish from a chair.

I think I finished second in the match but the outcome was irrelevant.

If I get a chance I’ll dig out some pictures of Dave Harrell and Tom Pickering dressed up as maggots! This was at Evesham and in aid of the same charity.

Here you go.

And look who’s behind Harry… 

It’s Keefy Arfur! 

Anyway, cutting to the chase, I regard it as a great honour to be a patron of Reels On Wheels. If you want to learn more about this organisation go to the web site or check out the little video below.

Gone But Not Forgotten

January’s tax return time. Yes, some of us have to pay tax on what little we scrape out of angling and woe betide us if we don’t declare it. I hate paperwork so I get an accountant to help, but at least it keeps folk off my back.

Anyway, I pulled up at the lights outside the Gaumont. Well, youngsters probably know it as the Odeon but it’ll always be the Gaumont to me. Bugger me if they ain’t knocked it down. It’s gone! I shall remember the back row fondly and I’ll also recall seeing live bands there. I was too young to see the Beatles and Stones, but I did promote a Stranglers gig there once. It could have been a disaster, mind, when Jean Jaques Burnelgot a bit upset with the way a bouncer was shoving punters around. He only jumps off the stage to give him a kicking!

Visions of newspaper headlines ran through my mind, Riot at Concert – Promoter Arrested, Faces Bill For Thousands…

Fortunately things settled down quickly.

Sorry if I’m bouncing around but it also reminded me of a day spent coaching a bunch of anglers from Frome on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal above Vason’s Bridge. They were due to fish a National on there and they sat around me as I demonstrated each tactic they had to master.

Without any warning the Power Station on the far bank suddenly blew up amid a deafening roar! When the dust settled it had gone – completely demolished. I wasn’t alone in wondering whether I’d left a skid mark, I can tell you!

Now This Is A Classy Angling Site

Check out this web site when you get a chance. Okay, it’s mostly fly fishing but the imagery will take your breath away. The photographic content puts any of the magazines I read to shame.

Is Angling A Sport?

It’s a debate that has raged forever: Is angling a pastime or a sport? How do you define a sport? Well, perhaps the ultimate decider was revealed on Celebrity Big Brother this week when Irvana Trump declared, “I don’t like to do any sport that I can’t do in high heels (darling).”

Kind of settles most arguments, don’t you think?

Well Done You Rams!

I suppose I must congratulate Derby County on their narrow win over the Rovers last weekend in the FA Cup. Sounds like we didn’t play too well and then ran out of steam late on, bearing in mind, of course, we had played a tough cup game in midweek on a very heavy pitch at Brentford.

I’m tempted to say we’re not playing well but the last minute goal that Derby scored was the first we’ve conceded in open play for eight games. The two other goals we’ve conceded during the run were both penalties, one in the 87th minute, the other in time added on. Sounds like Sean O’Driscoll needs to focus on the players stamina and concentration.

On the other hand, if Billy Sharp was still knocking the goals in it wouldn’t matter. Mind you, six wins in seven games prior to the Derby game suggests this is no time to panic. So, prior to tonight’s tough game with ‘Boro we’re comfortably mid-table and games in hand on most of those around us.

Half a season to go yet, mind. I said it weeks ago, we could still go down, and we could just as easily reach the play-offs. It’s a crazy league.

What On Earth Was That?

Obviously I wrote the last paragraph prior to Tuesday’s fixtures. What a crazy night. Cardiff scoring six away from home, QPR shipping five and then there’s a little problem we call the Rovers defence.

We are still the only team in the Championship to not have conceded a goal in the opening 15 minutes of a game all season. Indeed for half an hour we looked the team most likely to score and then it all went wrong as we collapsed 1-4 to a Middlesborough team that has been completely out of form belied the performance, but we shipped a goal in the last minute of each half, would you believe?

Yes, I suppose you would.

For whatever reason five key players, Stock, Sheils, Oster, Hayter and Shackel were left out of the team and rumours are circulating about a fight in town last Saturday night… That’s all we need. In fact with Woods out, too, we were without our entire midfield but no excuses. We move on.

A Cure For Cabin Fever

The Internet’s interactive fishing sites have been in meltdown of late. So much nastiness flying around one simply has to hope for a break in the weather for it all to pass but I fear some wounds are so deep there’s little to do but amputate the limb.

The plain fact is, we should all go fishing more and obsess less. Trouble is, it ain’t so easy to turn the other cheek when you’re constantly being sniped at, is it?

How To End Barbel Rows?

Please don’t ask how or why I found this site but I spotted an unusual thread on the forum of a body building site. It asks:

“How can I bend over for barbel rows?”

Forget knocking folks heads together, I’m sure if you were bent over for starting a barbel row rather than having threads deleted of locked – well make up the rest yourself…

No Oscar This Time Round Then…

Whilst touching on Barbel Wars it would appear Barbel Fishing Worldhad to steer through a bit of choppy water recently and despite the sanitised ‘we’re no longer going to take any nonsense’ stance, I appear to have been at the centre of getting the first thread deleted and another one locked under the new regime, despite not being a member nor having any intention of posting on there.

It all started when Dave Burr emailed to ask if I minded him posting a short film that effectively took the Mickey out of me. I said, ‘Go ahead, feel free, I really don’t mind.’ Oddly the link was posted/ thread started by Chris Pearson, but there you go.

The film is a bit slow to load but, in short, it suggests one man can save the world and (in this case) that’s me. Basically, if you want to try it out you just go here and stick in the photograph of anyone you like, the person’s head then appears throughout the film on billboards and so on. Obviously it was my head on this version.

If you’re struggling to find the connection, it’s because I bollocked those who turned the Angling Trust poll into yet another dreary barbel war…

Anyway the thread started off in a genial, more or less good humoured fashion until poor old Steve Roffeyfell into the trap of thinking he was chatting with sensible adults and posted a picture taken by Peter Smith at his 60thbirthday party. It showed me with my (now) wife in suitable 60’s fancy dress. Andy Davies immediately pulled the whole thread and I thought he’d gone completely over the top, but I was wrong. Turns out he was dead right to pull it. Unfortunately he was too slow. Rocca had already stolen it.

When Dave Burr asked, ‘Where’s the thread gone?’ in a second thread, the usual suspects, Rocca, Elliott, Joyce, Kimmins, etc, piled in. End result? Mike Hodgkiss asking, “What’s all this about Bob that fires people up?” Followed by a ‘confused’ smiley and the thread gets locked.

Sadly, the photograph was then tampered with in Photoshop, my wife was insulted, a charity became upset, the owner of the image was upset, I received so many supportive calls, emails and messages, while Rocca petulantly refused to remove the doctored image from his blog.

As I write, the image has been removed, but he still has to have the last word:


“I cant work out which bit of “I dont care” he doesnt understand.

Bob, if you have a problem I suggest you take it up with me, not go running around behind the scenes like a big girls blouse, I wouldnt be worried in the slightest I assure you.

The Nets a very big place, who knows when said picture might pop up again.”


So there you are, he’s threatening to use the image again. Nice man. But I’ve said my piece, for now, although Sue’s two lads may want a word in his ear…

Just goes to show though, doesn’t it? I wish BFW all the luck in the world with the re-launch but there’s no point in giving the tower block a lick of paint if the residents don’t change.

Where’s The Playlist Gone?

If you’re wondering (then you must be sad!) I really haven’t got time this week to dig out the tracks. I’ve recently been making a poor fist of learning to play the guitar – as and when I can find time – and after a lot of pain and frustration I’ve reached a stage where I can actually strum the intros to, or choruses from, quite a few songs so it seemed a nice idea to create a playlist using them. The list includes Radiohead, Floyd, Counting Crows, Green Day, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Zep, Oasis, Beatles and Eagles, oh and Deep Purple, which ain’t bad really for a novice.

Maybe next time.

Meantime have a play on this. You can create your own noise:

The Widget below is dead easy to understand, you just press any combination of buttons you fancy. The red button stops things when it begins to drive you nuts…

And finally, just to lighten the mood, anyone fancy a little quiz…?

Let’s test your Beatles knowledge.


The very word Barbel Society appears to inflame passions that are totally disproportional to the size and, let’s face it, importance of the organisation. Here’s a club comprising a few hundred members who target one species of fish. They conduct their own meetings and communicate with their own paid up members (which anyone can become should they wish to), yet it would appear half the world wants to complain about it.

Why is that?

There are alternative societies for those who are unhappy with the Barbel Society, each offering a different constitution, yet we get constant bickering between those who are either ex-members, or never-will-be members, and those who steer the ship.

We hear all sorts of allegations about what is and what is not said at meetings, in emails and by telephone. There’s talk of moles and spies. But you know what, no-one comes up with a constructive alternative way forward. Everything is negative. It’s all aimed at destruction. There is no campaign for change. There is no mandate to follow. There is, well, nothing. Just hot air.

I’d love to see those who have an axe to grind actually take some positive steps. Show us what they would like to do – no, make that intend to do. Or are they simply going to spout rubbish and cry ‘foul’ every five minutes forever?

And on the flip side of the coin I’d like to see the Barbel Society be more open, to have a mission statement telling me where it’s going, what it’s goals and ambitions are in the next ten years. I want to chart that progress and celebrate its success. I’d like to see it representing the species, not the committee. I’d like to see it become more embracing of other fish and those who fish for them, to recognise that other disciplines also catch barbel. That one man’s obsession is another man’s livebait, or a few points in a team competition. That other species are equally important.

And then I might rejoin.

But we can all dream.

3 thoughts on “2010 – Almost February Blog

  1. Wishing you well with your trip to Uganda. I hope it is both successful and safe! I’m sure they’ll be plenty of interesting material appearing as a result. One big bonus should be an eclectic selection of East African music to liven up your playlists….not liking Dizzy Rascal…and to think we both have booked the Sex Pistols in our past!!

    Joyous to see minimal reference to local difficulties amongst those who fish for barbel.

    It is, however, distressing to read about the doctored photograph. Using or abusing another’s family in pursuit of whatever personal disagreement has been festering is cheap; and reflects on the lack of any moral standards of those who choose to do so. (And before there’s the usual chirrup about Bob’s toadies…I am on good terms with a couple of people who would struggle to give Bob the time of day.. but…would never stoop that low. I don’t know why they feel like that, it’s their business and I make my own mind up.)

    So have a good trip. Make sure all you catch is fish, don’t get between a hippo and water…and no there is no market for Crocodile Days and Ways…David Attenborough’s got that market stitched up!

  2. Good blog Bob, have a good trip, BUT it’s the buffalo you need to watch carefully.

    As for your postscript, I can’t answer all your questions because I’ve been asking them myself for some years.

    What I can tell you is that part about “embracing of other fish and those who fish for them” is happening on the 9th May for starters.(Plug)

  3. Thanks for the warning Fred. As if we ain’t got enough to watch out for!

    No problems with plugging the May Show but it is a little premature. I shall have no issues in you plugging it properly nearer the time, either.

    Indeed, it’s no skin off my nose to publish your press release if you let me have it around the beginning of May.

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