Greetings everyone! I struggled to get out on the bank for most of this week needing to catch up on a backlog of writing. Anyway, I’m back on top on that score at least. Friday saw me heading down to Lakeside Fisheries, near Ranskill. The owners have been good friends for at least 15 years and it’s always a pleasure to drop in.
It struck me that I hadn’t been there since shooting a winter ide feature with Lloyd Rodgers from Improve Your Coarse Fishing and the scary thing is, I think it was the winter before last, not last winter as I’d imagined. Lakeside has a cracking match lake that produces 100lb catches of silver fish when it’s on-song. There’s a large fly-only trout lake, a couple of strip ponds and a specimen carp lake.
The carp lake is ringed with bivvies in the better weather but there’s usually a bit of space at this time of year, especially during the week, so I asked if I might have a dabble for roach. Like most carp waters, there are plenty of other fish that no-one fishes for and I knew that I’d be able to set out my stall to catch a bag of pristine roach. Fish that had never seen a hook before and what a pleasure it was to catch them with not a singe missing scale or split fin. In fact I’ll have to try and get back for another visit before the weather warms up.
Meanwhile, over on the match lake, folk were bagging up on big ide, chub and bream. I’ll have some of that soon, too.
If you fancy fishing at Lakeside you can visit the web site or call 01777 818524 for more details.
Did You Buy A License?
I told you last month, this is a final reminder, your Rod License was due for renewal on 1st April. I have mine on a standing order – just saves so much hassle. Sort it out!
Coaching Schools – Still A Few Places Left
I spoke with Peter Smith at Cear Beris this week to see how the ‘schools’ were filling up. Seems the response so far has been excellent, but there are still a few places left if you’re interested. Essentially you get four days fishing, with tuition as required, on different stretches of the River Wye – all exclusivebeats. The days will differ significantly as we target bothchub areas and barbel areas. It’s a full-board inclusive package and the food is remarkably good. Each evening there will be films and coaching sessions, tips, rig suggestions for the following day and hopefully the odd guest speaker.
The price four a four night stay including full board, fishing and coaching by yours truly is £459. Should you wish to bring along a non-fishing partner (sharing your room) then the price plummets to just £299. I repeat, this price includes your room, meals, fishing AND coaching. there are no extras other than your bar bill.
A single day on the bank with the likes of Matt Hayes or Bob James costs more than this!
Two courses are scheduled for the coming summer:
Sunday 27th June – Thursday 1st July 2010.
Sunday 8th August – Thursday 13th July 2010.
By the way, on the subject of Bob James, I gather he underwent a kidney transplant operation quite recently and everything has gone well. I sincerely wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.
I’m already getting a steady trickle of enquiries regarding the next instalment in the Barbel Days And Ways series and one imagines that’s got a lot to do with it now being the closed season. Folk are starting to get a bit twitchy as the weather picks up.
Well, filming and post editing is complete, the master disks are currently at the pressing plant and we’re expecting to take delivery of stocks very soon. Because we shot so much good footage last year we are releasing two DVDs (Volumes 3 and 4) simultaneously at the beginning of May. Prices have been held at £14.99 again despite rising production and distribution costs.
An initial announcement on availability will be made by email to existing customers.
An announcement will follow on this web site and we’ll also release a couple of video trailers to tease you with.
If you want to meet Stu and myself we’re taking a stand at the Barbel Society Conferenceon Sunday 9th May at the Hinckley Island Hotel Hinckley, Leicestershire (Sat Nav LE10 3JA), where you can come along and pick up a copy personally
Chapmans Open Weekend
I was on Daiwa duty at the weekend, attending the Chapman’s Tackle Open Weekend, at Hessle, near Hull. These guys certainly know how to pull a crowd as hundreds of customers came through the shop in a steady old procession. Not surprising when you consider the line-up of guests they had assembled.
The picture shows Kevin Clifford talking to Shaun Harrison and Archie Braddock while behind him you’ll spot John Wilson. Jan Porter was there, out the back Will Raison was demonstrating poles, further down the shop was Martin Ford and Graham Slaughter, and i could go on and on. I was only there for one of the three days but on others you’d have found Brian Skoyles, Julian Cundiff, Nev Fickling and so on.
The list of ‘celebrities’ in attendance would have matched that which you would have had to go to the NEC to meet a few years ago. The difference being that folk didn’t feel they had to hang around all day after spending a fortune to park their car and get into the show, so it was dead easy to get one-on-one time with anyone you wanted to talk with.
It was good to see old Jan Porter again. I’d not seen him since the previous open day in the same shop. Apparently he’s got his eye on a new car. In camou, of course…
What A Nice Problem
I spent a fruitful day at the Straight Mile Fishery near Brampton this week fishing for roach. It’s a commercial with the emphasis on the club match and pleasure angler. It’s rare for John (the owner) to run an open and although it’s not completely unusual for 100lb to be weighed-in during matches, the chances are the net will be made up of big chub in the three to 5lb range.
The ‘Mile has plenty of carp and they do run to double figures but the sheer volume of silver fish is what makes up the bread-and-butter fishing. In winter it’s a fantastic roach venue and you can catch twenty, thirty or even 40lb of roach using just the top two sections of pole. John likes to keep his baits simple, too, so he restricts them to maggot, caster, corn, worms and luncheon meat – that’s right, no pellets!
Last time I was here it was bitterly cold, this time it was persisting down with rain all day. But it didn’t bother the fish. And here’s the problem – there are too many fish! The roach have bred prolifically and you struggle to get through the small stuff. Oh to spend a day here using hemp and tares!
I persevered with a caster line just off the rushes and this produced a string of roach between 4 and 8oz or so. Lovely fishing. Just to round off the day I hooked a fish that stretched the elastic to its limit. Small carp, I thought. No, a chub, I reckoned. And then it rolled and I saw a flash of red. Surely it wasn’t a massive roach? I’d had them to 1lb 8oz on a previous visit.
And then I realised it was a small barbel. It was fit as a lop and in mint condition. No missing scales or split fins and no mouth damage. John said, “You should see the original stockings, someone caught a double last year…”
I’ve had a few stillwater barbel in recent years and I’ve yet to catch one that wasn’t in prime condition. Does make you think…
You can contact the fishery on 07771 995331 or 01909 561663
Ticket Renewal Dilemma
You know, for the past 10 years or so I’ve religiously bought a Pride Of Derby ticket. When I first joined the club Pride Lake was included in the ticket and it was a decent runs carp water but as the fish have grown and become more desirable that lake can now only be fished if you pay something like £200 a year. Bearing in mind I would only fish there a couple of times a season at most I simply couldn’t justify it.
Then we lost Olvers Lake to the carpers, too…
But I continued to pay my £50. Last year I bought a Pride ticket and didn’t use it once. Oh well, I thought, I’ll make the effort next year. But now I hear they’ve given up their two stretches on the Dove so I face a real dilemma over whether it’s worth retaining my membership. Chances are I’ll probably only fish there on three or 4 occasions next season at most and that leads me to muse, is it really worth it? Prices are held this season but are set to rise again soon; the number of quality waters available to me on the regular ticket are falling.
What to do, eh?
The 15 mile stretch of roadworks on the M1 between me and the Pride Waters put me off last year if I’m being perfectly honest and they will still be there this year. My income fell dramatically when I retired but I don’t qualify for an OAP ticket. Ironically, when I do reach pension age my income will increase while my ticket costs will fall.
Do I hang in there, or do I call it quits?
Answers on a postcard, please!
I was very disappointed to learn that the EA or probably BWB in this case have conducted a campaign of abstract vandalism along the New Junction Canal. The Junkie is a pretty bleak and featureless water at the best of times. It’s dead straight, wide by your average canal standards, probably averaging at least 25 metres across and down the track it’s usually 7 feet or more. Occasionally much more. But it does hold some nice perch and chub. Both species certainly exceed 4lb.
Here and there you find the odd bush hanging over the water and in the scale of things has no impact on boats whatsoever but these bushes do provide shelter for some specimen fish and foliage to lay eggs on. So what have they done? Chopped the bloody lot down. Well done guys. How bleeding inconsiderate!
How Will The Olympics Go Down?
But let’s lighten the mood slightly. Has anyone noticed that the London 2012 Olympic logo looks like Lisa Simpson giving someone a blow job…?
Bet that logo will never seem the same again, will it?
Do you think our churches would draw bigger crowds if they weren’t quite so stuffy? Or if they adverised themselves a little better? Maybe if they started grabbing peoples attention with signs like the one below, they might see a few more bums on seats…
The Pros and Cons Od Livebaiting
Birmingham Angling Association’s decision to ban all livebaiting on their waters has not gone down well with West Midlands predator anglers. Many feel it’s a rule invented by match anglers and made in ignorance of specialist anglers.
I can see the reason behind the ban. In the face of predation by mink, otter and cormorant the club is trying to protect its dwindling silver fish stocks. But what exactly do pike, perch, zander, eels and big chub for that matter, eat?
They eat fish. And what’s more, just because there’s no angler’s livebait to eat a predator doesn’t decide not to bother eating. It just goes ahead and eats a fish anyway. These predatory species will eat fish whether the BAA bans livebaiting or not. When a pike angler inadvertently kills a livebait and throws it back in the river it gets eaten at some point, thereby saving the life of another fish.
The number of pikers is very small in comparison with the size of the river and many use deadbaits anyway. But there are days when only a live will do.
Unfortunately the move to ban livebaiting opens up other avenues for those who wish to attack angling. They see this as a chink in the armour. Perhaps the BAA should have just embarked on a poster campaign saying it’s cruel and predator anglers are bad for the sport.
Hey, I’ll even help them. Here’s a couple of pictures to kick off your campaign with!
Time To Pimp My Ride
You know, when I fished with Des Taylor at Anglers Paradise recently he asked me what car I was driving these days.
“A van,” I said.
“Nivver!” He sneered. “I never had you down as a white van man.”
Well, it got me to thinking, and it occurs to me that maybe I should pimp my ride. If you happen to see this little beauty rolling up to your favourite stretch of river, get ready boys, because I’m a gonna fill-it-in like a good un! First stop the Loddon and when that’s f****d I’m heading off to the Kennet and Pats Stream.
All Quiet On The Western Front
Strange isn’t it, ever since I laid down the challenge to Steve Pope’s best mate to produce evidence of one single instance where I had said or written that ‘All barbel anglers should fill it in’ there’s been a rather profound silence. Not one jot of evidence to back up his claims and no apology either.
Graham Elliott obviously knows he got it badly wrong and while he was quick enough to spread malice around the Internet he’s been rather slow in responding to the truth test.
Actually I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it had I not read an interesting fact this morning. Did you know the brain of a Neanderthal man was actually bigger than ours? I don’t think that actually follows in every case, but in some cases you do have to wonder what lies between their ears.
Piece of pie, sir?
Proust would have put it rather more eloquently, no doubt, Remembrance Of Pies Past…, maybe?
Memory Failing You?
I’ll gamble you didn’t know that the word “lethologica” describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want. Unfortunately if someone can’t remember the word they want, what’s the chances of them remembering one like lethologica?
Or the words, “Sorry…, I made a rather dreadful mistake”.
Bob The Wordsmith
You know I get accused of being a wordsmith occasionally and I’m flattered because that’s exactly what I am.
I’m not a proper writer or even a trained journalist. I’m a bloke who left school when he was 15-years-old and tried hard to make a go of things. When it comes to writing I just craft the words. I’ll go back time and time again to change a word here, an inflection there, until I’m happy it has the appropriate impact and just feels right.
When compared against true literary genius I’m the local painter and decorator along side a Van Gough or Constable. Let’s face it, they ain’t going to be quoting my works in 400 years time, are they?
Well, apart from my works of fiction, no doubt.
It’s just my luck that a leading columnist writing in the year 2525 version of Angling Times will be reeling off the phrase, ‘All barbel anglers should pile it in’ and attributing it to me, hopefully refering to me as ‘the late, great, and wouldn’t suffer fools gladly, icon’ or something like that. You see, once you’re dead you’re always more famous and more successful than you ever were when you lived.
Here’s an interesting fact: It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 years old around the time the King James version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word in is shake and the by some miraculous coincidence, the 46th word from the end is spear.
Irrefutable proof, you might say, that some folk really do have too much time on their hands. On the other hand, who’s ever going to check? It could just be another lie – like, ‘All barbel anglers should pile it in’ .
We’ll move off the subject of crap with one final remarkable fact. Are you aware that dentists have recommended all toothbrushes should be kept at least 6 feet away from your toilet to avoid contamination by airborne particles that result from the flush. Yeuuukkk!
Otters – Grrr….!!!!
I reckon fish need otters like chickens need foxes. Honestly, I don’t think the possibility of culling in the future is completely out of the window on cute and cuddly grounds as Bambi is getting culled all the time.
I saw a piece on TV only this morning where deer had been encroaching on people’s gardens near Southampton. It only takes the odd deer to raid a herbaceous border or to nibble some lupin belonging to the man in suburbia for him to start demanding that someone takes action.
What we desperately need is urban otters catching prized koi in ornamental ponds and leaving half-eaten rotting carcasses on the nation’s patios and renewable hardwood decking. Until that time comes around, here’s a playlist with an otter theme. Some of the tracks are a bit naff, but they may amuse you.
One or two are rather good though…
Pub Team’s Champagne Still On Ice
I know this is mostly a fishing blog but it wouldn’t be the same without my usual discourse on football, would it?
The chances of us (Doncaster Rovers) mounting any real challenge for a place in the play-offs evaporated this week in the space of two home games at the Keepmoat (thankfully). Sheffield United turned up on Saturday and had it been a boxing match the ref would have stopped it before half time. We absolutely pummelled them and that was despite dropping our leading goalscorer, Billy Sharp.
Theoretically we could have played Sharp as he’s on a season-long loan from the Blades, however Rovers’ manager Sean O’Driscollchose to rest him as a mark of respect to the Blades. Well, they only nicked an equaliser 3 minutes from time and good luck to them. Maybe they can now make that last play-off spot but it’s doubtful. A draw was a bad result for both teams really.
Three days later we’re up against the Barcodes in front of a practically sell-out crowd and it has to be said, even without our two most creative midfielders, Stock and Coppinger, we were the better side for long periods, but, like all good teams do they stole in for the goal that mattered by capitalising on a mistake.
Two great performances and only one point to show for it. Football can be a cruel game but a thread on a football forum cheered me up no end. It was titled, ‘Shock Result – Millionaires Beat Pub Team’.
Good luck to Newcastle, too, they gambled on retaining a squad of Premiership side on Premiership wages and it’s paid off handsomely. Their wage bill is something like 7 times what ours is but we shall just sit back and reflect on the fact that despite selling our best two players in the summer we still managed to reach our goal of safety with nearly ten games left. What a season!
But before we leave the topic of Newcastle United’s comfortable stroll back to the Premier League let’s take Hitler’s view of the recent past. Be warned, it does contain strong language:
Oh dear. I bet that’s upset a few, even if it is old news!
Dingles away on Saturday. Now that’s a match that really matters. They mugged us at our place after we gave them a complete battering and we’ll never hear the last of it if this one goes tits up.
Anyway, if you’ve a few minutes to spare have a look at this little YouTube clip about our pub team (having a laugh) set to the Queen hit, One Vision. From the brink of obscurity to the Championship in sound and vision. What struck me was not just the quality of the goals this season but the number of players who’ve scored them. Easy to forget that when all the current attention seems to be thrust onto Sharpey. Make sure you click it onto full screen mind to get the full effect.
And I guess I can’t resist using this quote from the Donny lad who didn’t make the grade with us because he was too small. Ladies and Gentleman I give you the words of Kevin Keegan:
“They’ve done it in real style by playing the game the way I think it should be played with very good management. I’m proud today, when people ask me which team I support, I answer Doncaster.”
He might not be the tallest guy in the world but he knows his stuff about football.
Oh, Go On Then – Let’s Rub It In!
No love lost there then and as much as we enjoy teasing the Sheffield ‘giants’, this is our real derby game. You could argue a similar status for Rotherham but sadly they’ve slipped beneath our radar of late and are currently squatting in that God forsaken athletics bowl in the Sheffield Suburbs. Come on Millers, get your act together, we miss you! If Scunny can do it, surely you can.
Anyway, Barnsley fans really do like to dwell on the old ‘Just Like Watching Brazil’ days, don’t they? And to be fair, Mark Robbins has certainly turned their season round after it began with them among the favourites for relegation, but for all the bravado of their fans it’s very much smoke and mirrors. How on earth they’ve come away with results in some of their fixtures this year has been down to finishing and finishing alone. It ain’t pretty football but they score crucial goals.
Their visit to the Keepmoat this year was a typical example. How they didn’t ship three or four goals is a mystery but they weathered the storm resolutely to break away and nick a late winner. Talk about a mugging. Robbins’ team talk after the match would have been priceless, “Look guys, wipe those tears from your eyes and try to stop laughing for a minute, I want to be serious, you were crap today!”
Anyway, after a tiring week the old hoops turned up at Oakwelland exacted revenge. Creative midfielder James Coppinger was left out against the Barcodes on Tuesday night – his home town to boot – because of a virus. Well, he managed to get fit for Saturday and crowned his 250th appearance for us with the winning goal against Barnsley. How sweet and that’s four wins and two draws in the last seven away fixtures now.
The daft thing is, with 6 games left and still 6 points adrift, this talk of play-offs won’t go away – Leicester and Swansea (on level points with Cardiff) are allegedly wobbling – and we play the Swans on the last day of the season. Leicester and Swansea both play Cardiff over Easter and they can’t all win. Cardiff also go to Forest.
The teams ahead of us will meet each other on no less than six occasions before the fat lady sings although we face Blackpool, who are only 4 points behind Leicester and West Brom (at home). Mind you, Blackpool have to go to Newcastle, as do Forest, and on it goes.
A fascinating month lies ahead but get real you folks in Donny. It ain’t gonna happen as I’m going to be out of the country for a while and we always lose big games when I’m on my jollies, so good luck you Seasiders. It’s yours for the taking, if you beat Forest, Newcastle and Donny.
I do hope we don’t get to Wembley. It simply wouldn’t be fair on the thousands of (glory hunting!) Leeds fans who live in Donny. That would simply be torture for them if we were to pitch up at Wembley again.
For now we’re the highest placed Yorkshire club in the entire Football League. Who’d have believed that was remotely possible back in the very recent Conference days. And before anyone says, what about Hull? They’re out on two counts:
1. They’re in Humberside and,
2. They’re in the Premiership, not the Football League.
Leeds fans take note!
Of course they probably prefer to hark back to the good old days, eh?
Back then it was black and white telly, Saturday afternoon tag wrestling, World of Sport, BBC Grandstand, Kes on the pictures, Viv Nicholson (Spend, Spend, Spend) blowing her pools win, wagon wheels the size of dinner plates, long shorts, leather footballs, Northampton Town, Oxford United and Wimbledon in the First Division, Billy Bremner with his proud collection of consolation runners-up medals and all that?
I even remember that famous ‘We wuz robbed!’ ‘offside’ West Brom goal…
And excuses like gypsy curses. Of course we shouldn’t ignore pitch invasions and having Elland Road closed for four games due to crowd violence, either.
Last (or should I say start…) Of The Summer Wine – ing?
So, what of Leeds? After defeats at Southampton, Millwall in midweek and then at Norwich on Saturday and with a match to come at Swindon next Saturday they are in serious danger of spending yet another season in the Third Division, no doubt still boasting to anyone who’ll listen that they are everyone’s cup final.
It certainly goes to show why Champions medals aren’t hand out in January, doesn’t it?
Will they bottle it again? Surely they can’t! Pull yourself together and at least start putting in a decent shift Beckford – you don’t quit for another month yet!
Snow On The Way?
I note that the cricket season started last Monday (March 29th) – May as well prepare for snow this week!