Everywhere you look there are signs that autumn is approaching rapidly. Officially we’ve got another four weeks before the clocks go back but I’ve a sneaky feeling we’ll be well into winter’s transition by then if the misty mornings and fruit laden trees are anything to go by. Already there’s a tinge of brown to be seen in most trees and the downside is I’ll soon be struggling to catch fish on float tactics from the Trent. Quite why they are so damnably difficult after the first frosts I haven’t a clue but it wasn’t always that way.
I made a cracking discovery in Jollyes, a local pet store this weekend – giant hemp and tiny tares. Most tares are far too big, being almost the size of maples and chick peas. As for hemp, much of the stuff we get is minuscule, which is okay if you’re wanting to keep a shoal of barbel or carp rooting around but you don’t turn casters from pinkies, do you? Hemp and tares want to be the right size if you’re going to fish seriously for decent roach.
The trouble with tares is that they need to be cooked to perfection. Get it slightly wrong and they’re either too hard or completely mushy. Neither is much use. My old mentor, Colin Dyson used to say, “There’s only one way to prepare tares – casserole ’em!” And he was seldom wrong on any subject.
Reading Chris Evans’ biography this week, ‘It’s Not What You Think’ he points out a number of things that will happen to you and that you will have to accept. Number One is, ‘Your mentor will one day leave you to fend for yourself and you will never learn as much from anyone ever again’. How perceptive.
On the day I found myself beaming from the cover of Angling Times (again – thanks guys, you’ve been very good this year) I was back on the Trent, making the most of a beautiful day. I had 60 fish in three hours on maggot. Although feeding hemp and tares I couldn’t raise a sniff on either. It was maggot or nothing and as a result the fish tended to be on the small side, so, after much deliberation, I packed up and made the long walk back to the car so I could give a different stretch a go.
It’s always hard to leave feeding fish whatever their size when the clock is ticking away. Anyway, I was set up again within the hour in a new swim. I was into fish on the maggot in no time but I decided that as I’d made the effort I may as well don a pair of blinkers and make ’em have it on the seed – or bust!
After 10 minutes I was doubting my wisdom but sure enough the float buried and I was into my first decent roach of the day. From then on things picked up nicely and by the time I had to leave it was a bite a chuck on the tares. Ye Gods I missed some bites but the stamp of fish more than made up for it. I had the better part of 10lb of roach running 4 to 10oz appiece in the space of a couple of hours – every one a pristine example of what a roach should look like – freshly minted coins.
Mental note to self: Don’t try and photograph fish right next to the water as they’ll flip and skip back into the water at an alarming rate! And how is it they know exactly which way to jump?
It was good to back on the bank again and I’m now itching for a return visit. After all, there’s nothing quite like catching roach on the stick, is there?
Oh I Do Love To Be Beside The Seaside
I spent the whole of last week in Whitby helping look after 20 schoolkids on a residential trip. Some folk seem to think school teachers have an easy life but having witnessed all it entails in recent years I can tell you for nothing that it’s a tough job. Sue’s school combines an autistic unit which means it attracts a fair few kids with learning difficulties and where possible these are integrated into the mainstream. It’s taught me to count my blessings and be a little more tolerant and understanding, I hope. Certainly it’s helped me to see a whole lot of things differently.
The week was about as busy and hectic as you can imagine with every waking hour crammed full of activities ranging from walking on the North York Moors, a trip on the lifeboat, the science museum, a ghost walk, talent show, the Abbey, Captain Cook’s museum, Pannet Park Museum, the history of St Hilda’s, market research surveys, an open top bus ride, the Dracula experience, writing up journals and tons more. The kids don’t get a minute and neither do the support staff and it seems a far cry from when I was at school.
What I want to know is why these brilliant 10-year-old kids have to turn into little teenage monsters in the next few years!
Bowler’s ‘Seasons’ Of Goodwill
Christmas is coming and judging by the trailers for Martin Bowler’s upcoming new DVD supported by a top quality book his goose will be getting deservedly fat. Having spent four years filming ‘Catching The Impossible’ he told anyone who would listen that enough was enough. But filming can be addictive and within weeks he’d launched into a major project of his own – A Fish For All Seasons.
Without Hugh Miles this time, Martin used his own cameraman and edited the results to create a 2 disc DVD box set running 2 hours 42 mins. It is supported by a 120,000 word book in coffee table format and both will be available in November – just in time for the Christmas Market.
Just take a look at the trailer and see what a cracking job he’s done:
Although it was filmed over a two year time span, the DVDs portray an amazing angling year, season by season. I’m sure more clips will appear around the time of the release and despite the fact he’ll be eating into the potential sales of Barbel Days And Ways (again!) I will happily do a review on this site if Calm Productions will be kind enough to send me a set.
I know how hard it is to create these DVDs and folk like Martin deserve every encouragement because it’s nigh-on impossible to raise any interest with the terrestrial broadcasters and individual projects like this are the best we are ever likely to get in the UK. Unfortunately the pirates and P2P downlaod sites will rip a huge hole in his well deserved profits.
Stars With Stripes
Old Macca’s about as versatile an angler as you’ll find anywhere. An early pioneer of the Himalayan mahseer trail, no stranger to huge Nile perch, sturgeon and all manner of exotic species, he’s happy at the moment to dodge around the Ouse and Nene valleys picking off anything that takes his fancy. Yesterday he spent the afternoon on a ‘new’ pit using that good old autumn favourite, lobworms.
The result was this nice catch of perch but while the alarms of those cocooned in their bivvies remained silent, Macca hooked no less than three carp. Alas he managed to land just the one on his light gear but it just goes to show that boilies are not the only way to tempt carp, even on the hardest of waters.
Making It Look Easy
There’s an old adage about being in the right place at the right time and it’s never more true than when you go fishing. Unfortunately for Paul Tilly he’s been in the wrong place for the past few years. Shortly after a tough mahseer fishing trip withStu and I on the Nepalese border he emigrated to Canada where he’s developed into quitean accomplished fly angler happily catching carp or stalking trout in remote wilderness areas.
One regret before leaving the UK was that he’d never caught a double figure barbel. Paul was based in north Yorkshire and back then a genuine Swale double was a very rare beast indeed so when he returned home to visit friends and family it made perfect sense for him to hook up with Stu for a bit of fishing on the Dove. It took a whole two hours before he connected with this 11lb specimen.
An hour later he turned to Stu and said that he was completely shattered due to jet leg and couldn’t fish on. Would he mind if they went home?
While out shopping the other day I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen in years. He was a great club angler in the era when I was learning the ropes, a man you had to beat if you were going to win matches. ‘Do you get out much these days?’ I asked.
Apparently not. You see he’s now 78 and steadies himself with a walking stick. Once a proud and sturdy bloke, he’s now rather frail. Struggles with the banks, tendency to tread on rods, all the usual trappings of old age. He lost his wife earlier in the year, too, and to be honest he looked a broken man.
It scared the crap out of me.
I turned 60 a few weeks ago. I’m fit, strong, mentally alert and don’t feel any different to when I was 40, or 30 for that matter. In my head I’m still a kid. But one day I’ll go downhill, like we all will. Our health and agility is a gift. it’s one we should not waste. I see so many folk of a certain age who’ll tell you they’re anglers but if you press them as to when they last went there will be a long pause while they think about it.
A mate of mine was once keener than me. He practically lived for fishing. Only work prevented him from fishing all the time. Three years into retirement he hardly ever goes fishing. It’s so easy to lose the initiative and give up. Or sit glued to a computer screen reading about other folk who still do have a dabble, or pontificate on ‘the good old days’, telling anyone who’ll listen how it used to be.
These folk don’t need an umbrella because they won’t set foot outside the door if there’s the slightest threat of rain, they can go tomorrow, or the next day instead. But will they? One day that tomorrow will not come. We’re all on borrowed time. Perhaps you should think about going fishing tomorrow. Or this weekend.
But will you actually go…?
The demise of Coarse Fisherman magazine brings into sharp relief the problems faced by niche print media these days. Not only are magazines suffering from rising costs and falling circulations, fears of a double dip recession are depressing advertising spend. Others may yet follow in the future. I doubt that anglers will ever pay to view a magazine online but there are many examples of how such a magazine might be created. I’ve featured ‘Catch’ and ‘This Is Fly’ previously but here’s a whole rake of alternative magazines.
None are based in the UK and the focus does seem to be on fly fishing (where the potential advertising spend is). There’s little for the general coarse angler to pick up on other than a few nice reads but if you’re a predator angler there’s plenty on pike, walleye and perch, particularly in the area of lure fishing.
Click on the images and the magazine will open up in a new browser window. Each magazine can then be read like any normal publication by clicking on the corners to turn the pages.
Simply Fishing Magazine
Contains some rather diverse articles including bow hunting for carp and ice fishing for perch.
A fair bit for the pikers among us to digest.
Fly Fish Ontario
Does what it says on the tin. A magazine for those who like to fly fish.
One for the tackle tarts. No real fishing content just loads of tackle reviews.
ABT Tournament Angler
The rest of the world would laugh at the prizes on offer in UK matches and you can include Fish’O’Mania in that. This is match fishing on a whole other level.
US Carp Pro Magazine
The US has taken to carp fishing, albeit in a small way. Hate to tell you this but I was the first UK angler to get on US TV fishing for carp – 57 million viewers! But that’s a tale for another day. The States is stuffed with (non-indigenous) carp and here’s a magazine dedicated to the species. You may find some of the methods used to catch them are rather different.
That should keep you occupied for a while, especially if you dig into the back issues. Before those of you who have no interest in football switch off can I point out that the UK has one cracking online sports magazine that’s published weekly and is completely free.
Okay, that’s enough for now. You’ve had your bonus blog. The rest of it is for football fans in general and winding up Leeds fans in particular… 😉
Let’s Not Get Carried Away Just Yet…
Although it is still very early days I must confess the Rovers are far exceeding my cautious expectations this season. Just the one defeat so far and we came through a very tricky week with one more point than I was hoping for. Come 10.00pm on Friday evening we were soaring in the lofty position of third place in the Championship table, probably feeling the effects of vertigo, because this is the second highest position we’ve attained (however briefly) in our entire 131-year history. The previous time was when we topped the table after 7 games in 1953, 57 years ago.
But let’s not get carried away. The next couple of games appear a little daunting on paper. No-one really fancies playing QPR away from home right now as they are on fire, knocking goals in right left and centre. A goal difference of 17 after just 7 games is pretty impressive. Still, the run has to end sometime…
Then it’s Coventry away – which is bit of an unlucky ground for us – followed by Forest who are finally begining to show a bit of form. I suggested in the last blog that the table was upside down and there are already signs of some balancing out. Sheffield United’s indifferent start sees them in the bottom half of the table on 14th place yet Cardiff in third place are only 3 points better off.
Having given Leeds a bit of stick in the past few seasons I guess it’s only fair to compliment them on the job they did on us at the Keepmoat last Friday. They were coming off the back of a proper old thumping at Barnsley (welcome to the Championship!) while we cobbled together an injury hit side that looked at best a bit bedraggled. Our sweet passing game didn’t gel, either, and we were a bit toothless up front. Only when we brought on Stock and Fairhurst in the latter stages did we look in any way threatening.
Leeds surprised me in that they knocked the ball around quite well, albeit without causing much of a threat, so a goalless draw was just about right.
On a sour note I was sickened to see medics rushing to treat a Doncaster fan in the Donny crowd after he’d been attacked by a Leeds fan. It’s practically impossible to maintain segregation in these matches because thousands of Doncaster folk went glory hunting at Elland Road when Leeds were a biggish club in the 1970’s and 80’s in particular, a time when we were struggling to even survive. Consequently many Leeds fans can show utility bills at the ticket office and establish their ‘home’ status when buying tickets among the home supporters.
This makes a complete mockery of all-ticket matches and enforced segregation. I can accept that there will be neutrals at any game. I can accept work colleagues and friends who support opposing sides sitting together (peacefully), not to mention families where spouses or children might support opposing sides, I would regard that as ‘being in the care of a responsible adult’ and the home fan who takes them runs the risk of being banned should an incident occur.
However, groups of away supporters in the home end wearing their team colours and vocally supporting their team are a recipe for trouble. They should be ejected and given football banning orders. Many hundreds of Leeds fans did this at Wembley and that could have led to serious crowd trouble. They wouldn’t be brave enough to do it against Millwall or West Ham, would they?
The knock-on effect of this is that potential Doncaster fans who may only be attracted to, or maybe can only afford the ‘glamour games’, being mindful of the thuggish reputation of Leeds supporters, tend to stay away due to the risk of violence in the ‘home’ end.
I don’t care how big a club Leeds is. I don’t care how many supporters they have. We provide them with a generous allocation of 3,300 tickets and if that isn’t enough, the rest should have stayed at home and watched it on Sky TV. Funnily enough the last time I saw a live game at Elland Road was against Newcastle United. The Geordies were given just 1,700 tickets, an allocation they could have filled three times over with ease yet I didn’t notice hordes of ‘barcodes’ in the home end. I wonder why that was? Surely the Leeds fans would welcome a few thousand away fans into their home end with open arms…?
Oh, hang on, these are the fans who marauded across the Elland Road pitch to attack the Ipswich fans in the away end last time they played in the Championship. Perhaps not then.
Government Statistics for the 2009-10 season have not been released yet but Leeds record from the previous year (in League One) is not exactly one to be proud of. They topped the arrest league for their division by a country mile, almost doubling those by the other nightmare lot, Millwall, and their total made up practically a quarter of the arrests for the entire 24 club league.
Interestingly they exceeded the number of arrests at every single club in the Championship that year, too. Indeed if you take an average across all Championship clubs (including a few bad boys at Cardiff, Swansea, Forest, Derby, Bristol, Birmingham, Wendies and Blades), the Leeds arrest average was FOUR times higher.
I suppose they’ve got to be good at something even if they do lag behind their chosen rivals (we’re not regarded as rivals in any way apparently…).
Quote taken from BBC web site: “Leeds fans recorded more arrests than those of any other professional team, with the exception of Manchester United. (Though again, remember their home attendances and away support will have been higher – not that this entirely accounts for the figure of 156 arrests.) It’s interesting that the figure for Leeds has increased by 52 since the 2002/03 season, when Leeds were in the Premier League.”
And that’s why they’re not welcome in the home end. How’s about a zero tolerance policy next year? Can we rely on your support Mr Bates?
And if you’re not already bored, try searching YouTube for clips like “Leeds take Donny end at Wembley”, “You’re just a town full of Leeds Fans” and you’ll see why right thinking folks don’t want these morons in the home end.