2010 – Early December Blog

I dropped in on the River Don today at Sprotborough, just with a lure rod plus a bunch of rubber lures and spinner baits. The river above the weir is controlled by Rotherham UAF and it is stuffed with fish. The drawback is it’s deep, probably averaging 15 feet or more, but the bottom is littered with twigs, branches and other snags.

The forecasters are talking of snow tonight, an icy arctic blast but although there was a nip in the air the oak trees are still clinging to their leaves, bright gold and vivid when the sun catches them. But not for much longer I fear.

Although there are lots of skimmers running to a couple of pounds in the Don – a 4lb bream here is a real monster – roach are the main target and these tend to be mainly 1 to 4ozs although caster and hemp does sometimes sort out a few better specimens. The main approaches are chopped worm and fishmeal groundbait through a feeder for the bream or a variety of float fishing styles for the roach. These include long rod and stick float, sliding waggler, bolo or pole.

The day I was there five blokes held a knock-up match and they averaged an ounce shy of 12lb apiece. Joe Murray won it with 19lb 8oz but the previous weekend’s winning weight was even better. I hope you’re getting an idea of how well stocked the place is because these fish are getting caught in the middle of winter fishing 18 inches off the bottom. Go any deeper and you’ll be snagged up all the time.

Even the fact that an otter has taken up residence and is been seen fairly often by the matchmen doesn’t seem to worry anyone unduly as it’ll have a job munching through all the small fish. The upside is it will probably see off the mink.

With all these roach around the cogs in my mind brain kept niggling away at me. If there are so many roach and the place never gets pike fished…

Neglect and all that.

Well, I just had to have a go, didn’t I? Bearing in mind the snags I clipped on a spinner bait and started working my way upstream. “Tha’ll catch nowt on that mate!” Said a passer by. “We fish here all the time and we never have a roach chased by pike. In fact I’ve only heard of one and that was a little Jack.”

It didn’t do my confidence a deal of good but he went on to suggest a few other areas where he knew for certain that pike did show. And as I knew some of them he was pretty accurate in what he was telling me. But I still can’t help wondering. If there is no real head of pike here, could there be a proper old monster kicking around that hangs around until late afternoon waiting for the matchman’s casualties to be thrown back after the weigh-in? You never know, eh?

The otter got me to thinking about predators of the furry kind. I had an email earlier this year from a naturalist asking if I could help her locate some water voles. Unfortunately there was once a mink farm in the nearby village of Cadeby, barely a mile away. I say ‘used to be’ because a bunch of Animal Liberationists broke in and set the mink free in a protest against the fur trade. Sadly this act of kindness signed the death warrant of every vole for miles around and countless birds, too.

Mink have subsequently spread through the river corridors of South Yorkshire and now turn up everywhere. They can be quite vicious, too. A bloke fishing the Don not a million miles from the giant Meadowhall shopping complex with his 14-year-old son had a disturbing encounter only last weekend. Mark Burke was catching lots of quality dace and grayling. He’d also landed a cracking 3lb chub but was quite alarmed when a large mink ran along the riverbank directly towards him. It was big enough to send his son scampering for cover.

Clouting the mink with the end of his rod had no effect at all so he hurled a tree branch at it. That appeared to do the trick! When he got home he contacted the Environment Agency to suggest these aggressive creatures had no place on our river banks. They passed him on to Natural England but they’ve not been back in touch.

Mink are a regular sighting on the River Rother at Woodhouse Mill, too. But the trouble is the fishing on the Don around Meadowhall is free and that means no controlling body will be doing anything about this vermin problem.

Talking to a guy on the Don he told me his club had suffered with a mink problem in the past so they spent £75 on two traps. Worked a treat. Three mink were caught and dispatched in the first week and then, to quote him: “Some gypos nicked them!”

The Natives Are Restless

Sue drew my attention to a letter in the village newsletter complaining about anglers leaving litteron the banks of the River Dearne. This is the same river Dearne where anglers have been objecting to canoeists but the fishing is free so not only do we have put up with some real knobheads fishing there, we don’t have any say in their behaviour either.

Of course, not all who fish there leave litter or cause damage to property, but some do and that’s enough to have all anglers tarred with the same brush. Not all the litter is left by anglers either, as teenagers frequently have parties down there in the warmer months when it’s not uncommon to find dozens of empty cans strewn around and various items of clothing, too. This isn’t conventional anglers’ clothing but then again, who knows what the guy next to you is wearing under those waterproofs…?

But the bottom line is we get the blame for it every time, although the groundbait bags, hook packets and meat tins are definitely left by anglers. I was sorely tempted to respond, but how do you defend angling when faced with insurmountable evidence. You can’t, can you?

Yes, I could point to the fact that when plans were submitted to divert the river and open cast mine for coal through the valley with hundreds of lorries ploughing up and down our leafy lanes it was me who went on TV to defend the river. It was me who delivered the story to the angling press and put it in the headlines, but sadly all that counts for nothing when anglers show such disregard for the environment by lighting fires and leaving piles of litter on view to all and sundry to see.

I was sorely tempted to respond in the newsletter but that would simply stir the pot and invite others to add weight to the criticism. Ultimately we could and probably will lose the fishing but what a pathetic situation when I have to turn a blind eye to litter louts in order to defend angling. It’s madness.

Would You Buy A Panasonic?

We’re coming to that time of year when folk splash out on luxuries, like big electrical items. We all know how tempting the January sales are and this year we’ll be told to buy now and beat the upcoming hike in VAT, so how many folk will find that big screen plasma irresistible?

So what better time to share this cautionary tale with you.

A little while ago I bought a magnificent state of the art TV; a high definition flat screen 42″ plasma screen made by Panasonic. The manager in Richer sounds told me this was the best TV money could buy and what’s more, it comes with a 5-year guarantee. It wasn’t a difficult sale. I also splashed out on the super-dooper DVD/Tape player/recorder and a Yamaha sound system. Was I like a dog with two tails?!!!!

Well, no. Take a look at my TV screen:

Impressed by all those vertical lines? No, nor am I. And they’re progressively getting worse. But let me tell you this. Panasonic’s customer care team are even less impressive. I have been dealing with a guy called Chris Swatridge, a Customer Communications Advisor based in Bracknell.

Now this TV started deteriorating within a few months of me purchasing it. I was in no hurry to get it fixed because I had a 5-year warranty and I was doing all sorts of other stuff in the house that took a higher priority. I actually thought it was a cable issue and as I’d sunk the cables inside the wall I didn’t fancy the mess involved with channelling out plaster but things have gradually deteriorated to the point where watching the TV is not a pleasant experience, so I contacted Panasonic.

‘Sorry sir,’ Said Mr Swatridge, ‘You may have posted off your warranty but we’ve no record of it arriving so you’re not covered. It’s not our responsibility. Take the TV to a Panasonic repair centre, pay for an engineers report and we may contribute to the cost of repair. Although we may offer assistance I cannot immediately ascertain whether repair cost assistance would be appropriate on this particular occasion.’

Now I can smell a rat when it’s waived under my nose. There wasn’t a single positive affirmation in Swatridge’s reply. Lot’s of platitudes and maybes but no commitment to do anything whatsoever, only an opportunity for me to spend more money with one of Panasonic’s partners.

So I spoke with a guy at the recommended centre and let me tell you it was not going to be cheap to have it examined. In any case, he said: “I can pretty much see exactly what’s wrong. It’s an expensive repair, top side of £600.”

Apparently I’m not the first to suffer this kind of failure. When I searched the web I came up witha whole catalogue of unhappy customers who were both dissatisfied with Panasonic’s products and their customer support.

So I’ve put the ball back in Panasonic’s court. Let’s stop messing around, I said. So they’ve just ignored me. Not even so much as an acknowledgement from this Chris Swatridge, the aforementioned Panasonic Customer Communications Advisor.

I’ve sent the documents to a Sunday newspaper to see if their consumer guy is prepared to follow it up on my behalf. I shall no doubt be contacting BBC’s Watchdog programme – as you already know from my fairly regular TV appearances and DVDs, I’m pretty relaxed in front of a TV camera.

And if that doesn’t bring about a result I shall pursue a settlement in the small claims court. The cost to me will be not dissimilar to that of paying a Panasonic partner to look at the set. The cost to Panasonic will be of legal representation in a Doncaster court, possible mediation and certain damage to their reputation. After all, when, like me, you are a newspaper columnist you tend to have a few contacts who’ll run with the story…

And, of course, there’s this here blog. You are not alone in reading it. Remember those stats I published recently? 100,000 page hits in the past 4 months alone. This statement will remain here, in this blog until they at least contact me, and as you know, it comes up on the front page of Google every time. The images are tagged, too, so they should come up on any Google images search when anyone happens to type in Panasonic TV.

And I’m going to publish exactly what Panasonic’s responses are in this blog until we reach a fair and satisfactory conclusion. One would hope that Panasonic might see this as an opportunity to woo not just me but all my readers, too.

So, what’s the worst case scenario? I may end up footing the bill for a new TV (which it looks like I’ll have to do anyway) but it won’t be a Panasonic, will it? Not now, not ever. They will have lost a valuable customer for life. Potentially they may lose many more who read this blog as well.

And if they still don’t care, or don’t respond, then it tells you all you need to know about Panasonic and every product they manufacture. This is a question of trust, belief and honesty. It’s about Panasonic’s entire ethic and integrity.

Meantime I’m going to track down the Company Chairman’s address and send him a link to this blog. What he’ll make of Chris Swatridge, I don’t know. But I can tell him this. Chris Swatridge’s name will appear in this blog every time until we reach a conclusion.

And by the way, if you want to see what other folk think of Panasonic, simply follow any of these links:

Panasonic Customer Service

Panasonic Don’t Care

Panasonic – Woeful Customer Service

Panasonic Plasma TVs Suck

Panasonic Sucks

Panasonic – Consumer Affairs

YouTube – Unhappy Panasonic Customer

Forum Comments

Another Forum

Panasonic News

Panasonic Review

Panasonic Customer Service

Perhaps I didn’t explain my problem clearly to Panasonic at the outset. Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding and I am doing them an injustice. If so, it will have been all my fault, the matter will be resolved I’ll remove any mention of Panasonic from my web site.

On the other hand perhaps they simply do not care. If so you can look forward to further updates. In the meantime I will not consider purchasing any Panasonic product and I would urge you to consider very carefully whether you should, too. After all, is the quality of the screen captures I’ve shown you (above) the kind of TV image you’re looking for? I don’t think so.

Baldwin Balls It In For Big Barbel

Interesting article in Angling Times (Tues Nov 16th) written by Steve Stones featuring Severn barbel expert Lewis Baldwin. “If I’m on the river for a couple of days I think nothing of putting in 10kg of bait every 24 hours.” He said. “Over the years I’ve learnt that if you want to catch big barbel from the Severn, you need to give them plenty of bait.”

Bait, and lots of it, is the simple key to unlocking the river according to Lewis.

Last year he fed 20kg in a single session and the results speak for them self: 22 barbel, 13 bream and a dozen chub in two days. “Those fish got through more than 20kg of bait and were still having it when I packed up!”

“Luck plays a big part but on the Severn you’ll massively increase your chances if you bait heavily.” He added.

How dare he! What a heretic! But it’s strange, isn’t it, how successful anglers all seem to use a fair bit of bait. And those who struggle reckon they only use a couple of kilos over an entire season. Odd that.

Even so, I’m surprised he hasn’t been crucified. Perhaps the barbel police were all napping when that one slipped under the radar… 😉

Trent Throws Up A Cracking Brace OF Berties

The popular A1 Pits day ticket stretch of the Trent at South Muskham has thrown up a remarkable brace of barbel to the rods of 14-year-old Adam Rotherforth.

Adam’s biggest fish, a phenomenal looking specimen weighing 15lb 6oz was backed up with a ‘pup’ of 12lb 4oz. Both fish beat his previous best and came during a short evening session.

In the past Adam has often struggled to secure one of the river’s hot spots but on this occasion he found he had the whole river to himself. Near freezing temperatures didn’t exacly fill him with confidence but a tinge of colour in the water made a massive difference.

Fishing a 5oz feeder with a home made boilie hair rigged on a size 12 hook he caught the big girl on his first cast just 20 minutes ito the session. Barely 3 hours later he had the second fish for a stunning 27lb 10oz brace.

A phone call to his dad brought an end to the session. Top, top angling. Well done son!

Is Your Computer Sexist?

Seriously, try typing ‘She Invented’  into popular search engine Google…

Google responds with, Did you mean He Invented’.

Or Are You Out Of Your Tiny Mind…?

Not wishing to take any sides in the endless spats that seem to become more bitter as winter sets in, but here’s an observation that certain bloggers might just care to contemplate…

Maybe they should try fishing for chub, or grayling even. Or pike. Anything in fact that gets them out of the house. A cold day on the riverbank does wonders for the spirit when you return home.

Greetings Fellow Bloggers

I have to say that a number of fellow bloggers have been rather kind in their comments towards me of late. Steve Pope actually went as far as to give me an award on his blog. Cheers Steve, I’ll take that. And keep up the good work yourself.

Writing a blog requires passion. Not only do you open your life up to the critical gaze of others, it only works if you actually do something constructive with your life in the first place. It has to be rather more than, ‘Went fishing yesterday, caught a barbel on legered pellets’.

Catching a fish may be important (to you) yet it is merely a tiny part of angling. Let me borrow from Luke Jennings excellent Blood Knots:

“There was living proof that I could catch not just a fish, but a big fish. At the same time I knew, deep down, that nobody else much cared. The only person I had to convince was myself.”

With snow lying on the ground I suspect many bloggers will face an insurmountable challenge. Catching fish in these conditions is far from easy, impossible even. So let’s all just be a little more creative and entertaining.

And on that subject I couldn’t resist this:

Sorry, ‘in joke’!

Desert Rat

My DVD making partner Stu Walker’s job normally takes him to rather uninspiring places. He spends his time on grubby industrial installations, in factories, petrochemical plants and such like. It’s fair to say he’s never once sent me a picture of him at work before.

Till now.

Last week he flew off to do some vibration analysis in the Sahara desert and from what he tells me it can be a bit hairy out there.

“If you get hijacked just let them take your vehicle.” Was the advice proffered. “If you resist they’ll just shoot you!”

But at least there’s a code of honour:

“If they take your vehicle they always leave you a bottle of water…”

I think I’ll stick to writing.

Everybody Sing, Ay – Oh!

Why are folk getting so twitchy about the setting up of a new barbel group? It appears to be no more than a bunch of folk who don’t fit in with existing groups anyway, so what’s the problem? Let them have their fun.

Nit picking the acronym ABF because it happens to be identical to another organisation is simply petty. ABF might be a soldiers charity but it also stands for Asian Business Federation, Associated British Foods, the African Badminton Federation, Australian Baseball Federation and the American Bar Foundation for starters.

But no worries, we’ve been offered clarification. It’s not the ABF, it’s the AoBF. So there! All together now, “Everybody sing, Ay-oh!”


Hang on a minute, AOBF also stands for the Art of Beer Festival. It also stands for Aspirants of the Banishing Flame. Well, I can see the similarities there. But I’ll gamble you didn’t you know that aobfis a malicious spyware virus which uses malignant tricks to download malicious malware from the Internet? Well, Trojan GameThief.Win32.Magania.aobf opens up firewalls and gives hackers remote access to your PC. 

Any advance on AoBF?

X Factor – Now We Have A Singing Contest

From the moment it was revealed Wagner was in the bottom three viewers knew he was out. Cheryl ‘Lets Rake Over The’ Cole(s) wasn’t going to turn down her chance of revenge. No refusal to vote this week, eh Shazza? Louie would save his darling Irish Colleen, Dannii had already appealed to the viewers to vote Wagner off and there was no way even Simon could make a great deal of money out of a Brazilian lion tamer on benefits, so the entire charade of a sing-off was pointless in the extreme.

The Weasel came rank last, bottom of the pile (again). Five times the public has spoken. This time even the judges couldn’t save here with platitudes and a sham vote. She was out. But hey, no worries, after yet another makeover she’s found ‘The real me’. Again.

With Wagner gone, Simon spoke to us, straight through our screens as he swaggered back to his suite, pointing out the silly business of viewers trying to wreck the competition by voting for Wagner.“It can’t end up that the end of the show is a joke. Now we have a singing competition.”

Morally affronted he conveniently forgets that the over-25s category was tweaked to over-28s enabling Wagner to be put in the finals as a wild card entry. Of course, he’ll claim it was Louie, or a producer, but really, does he think we’re all that stupid?

You’re right Simon, ‘it can’t end up that the end of the show is a joke’. Ask any Jedward fan…

But we are stupid, aren’t we? After all we had just witnessed Rock Week. Err…, Rock Week?

I find myself disliking the obnoxious little Cher more each time I see her. An April Lavigne pop tune is not rock. Nor is Run DMC’s Aerosmith collaboration, Walk This Way. It’s just a vehicle for her pathetic attempt at rapping (oh yeah, again. How original…)

“You’re a proper little pop star. I really luv you!”

“You’ve certainly got your mojo back this week, haven’t you?”

“You’re just so, of the moment!”

“It means so much to me…”

Look, if Ozzie Osbourne recorded ‘Rock-a-bye-baby’would that mean it was then a rock song and it could be sung during Rock Week? Of course not. So how come One Direction get away with singing a ballad on the premise it was ‘rock’ because an aging Joe Cocker had recorded it.

Does it mean Rod Stewart’s crooning and schmoozing American Songbook songs are now re-categorised as rock? Does it hell. There’s a world of difference between a rock song and an old crock song.

But at last we now have a singing competition and Syco can rake in a few more millions from the ever gullible public. Afraid we have to say goodbye to Louie’s Lady next week but that’s the price we all have to pay for Syco’s domination of the charts and airwaves.

Thank God there’s Garraways Law to follow on a bitter Sunday evening.

Ice, Ice Baby

Ye Gods it’s cold outside. For many, the fishing will be on ice. Literally. The stillwaters and canals are now iced over and you don’t have to look too far to find fringes of ice on rivers. Only those brave enough to fish for pike and grayling will be venturing out although chub might still feed.

Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!

Sue and I planned to spend the weekend in Bakewell, Derbyshire, home of the Tart. She’d booked me a special treat – a ride in a hot air balloon. It’s something I’ve always fancied and was meant to be a surprise. Alas the trip was cancelled late on Friday evening due to deteriorating weather conditions. Unfortunately we were already in town by then.

Bakewell’s is picture postcard pretty but rather cold, nestling in the heart of the Peak District. How unfortunate were we that a power cut knocked off the central heating in our B&B during the night? We rose at dawn to find the kind of ice on the inside of our bedroom window that I haven’t seen since I was a nipper. Do you remember what it was like before central heating?

Outside the snow wasn’t too bad. According to reports it was all around us and causing problems for travellers but we seemed to have missed the worst of it. But never in my life have I ever seen frost quite like that which had formed on the roof of the car. It had built up in layers, trapping snow flakes until it stood nearly an inch deep. Ice crystals reaching upwards like a forest of ferns. Unbelievable.

Not surprisingly we stuck around town. The farmers market, a bit of shopping, take a few pictures, but what sights would have greeted us had we been able to fly the balloon? Sadly you’ll have to make do with this scenic I took of the river Wye (No, not the Welsh one!) which runs through the town. Pretty, eh?

Come Sunday morning it was even colder. According to the radio it had been the coldest November night on record in some parts. We decided to head home but I did take a couple of nice shots on the way back.

Football’s Coming Home 

Grimsby used to be the  only club in the league who played every single game away from home (their ground is in nearby Cleethorpes, not  Grimsby). Charlon, I believe, spent a while sharing with Palace. Bristol Rovers are currently in temporary accommodation, as are Brighton (shouldn’t that be is?). Seems fashionable because Rotherham United are homeless, too, so I was delighted to hear this week that they’ve been granted planning permission to build a new ground.

Even more delighted for the fans as they’ll soon be able to watch their team play in its home town of Rotherham again instead of at that God-awful soulless athletics stadium in one of Sheffield’s less attractive suburbs where you’ll find gentlemen’s clubs and massage parlours on every corner.

In the scale of things, teams like Rotherham (not forgetting Barnsley, and Scunthorpe) are our true rivals. Doncaster Rovers is merely a jumped up little pub team compared with giants like the two Sheffield clubs and Leeds United.

If anything it is they who have flattered us by treating us as rivals in recent years – you can tell that by the way they insist it’s our cup final each time we play them. Does that smack of denial to you? Funny how we seldom get beaten, mind…

But no, let’s be serious, Rotherham are our enemies. Barnsley likewise. Just because these smug ‘giants’ fall on hard times doesn’t mean they can muscle in on our party. We know our place and they theirs. So good luck to the Millers.

Now get that ground built and let’s see you promoted to the Championship where we can renew our rivalry, just like the old times, because we’ve no plans to drop back to your level anytime soon (fingers crossed). Indeed, the way things are shaping we seem more likely to do a Blackpool. Now wouldn’t that be a turn-up?

Don’t rule anything out just yet, threadbare squad or not!

26 thoughts on “2010 – Early December Blog

  1. Don’t know much about, Panasonic, Bob, I’ve always used Sony & Goodmans, for TV and other AV equiptment, which so far has never given up on me, yet!

    Although I couldn’t off of the top of my head think of anything the AoBF could stand for, good luck to them.

    Have you been looking in on Barbel Fatwa World very recently, Bob? It seems the good’ol B*** S*** has been making waves, so much so the Pope and his two Bishops have been banned, ouch bad news travels fast.
    Seems like cabin fever set in early this year over there.



  2. Hi Bob ( Top Blogger),

    Good stuff as always, are you in a different time zone over in Donny?!

    I know my head is often Down Under, what with the cricket and family, but over this side of the country it’s still November!

    I reckon it’s because of your magazine work, January issue out at the end of November!

    For Will, I was not banned, nor was Rich, we just gave up our membership, nothing more, nothing less.
    No big deal, plenty of other places on the web to communicate, no axe to grind with Andy Francis, I’ve always liked the guy and his namesake in Florida.

    The trouble is much of what is said and written on the Internet in relation to barbel related matters is absolute………………….do I have to say it?
    I don’t have the time or will(sorry) to engage in discussions that become pointless.

    Back to Bob’s excellent blog, I think Lewis has been reading all I’ve been writing about for years on how to get the best from the Lower Severn.
    No baited area, no barbel , unless you are extremely lucky or are fishing in one of the known holding areas.

    All the best,


  3. As funny has it was at the time, Steve, I agree, it’s all wrong, if that’s the way BFW wants to go, then that’s fine with me, like yourself I’ll not be part of it.

    Don’t worry, Steve I’m not poking, just glad yourself and a few others have seen sense and moved on away from the sinking ship Barbel Fatwa World, which used to be worth being involved with at one point in time, but alas that was many moons ago.

    However like you’ve said here and elsewhere there are plenty of other places on the big WWW.



  4. As ever an excellent read Bob,

    some very beautiful and atmospheric photography,I especially like the Derwent reflections.

    Funny you should mention Panasonic,I was considering purchasing one of their plasma screens.

    Now I am rather put off seeing your experience with their cowboy customer service,quite disappointing and as you say will and in this case has cost them a customer,I for one won’t be purchasing a Panasonic now.

    kind regards


  5. hi bob
    another good read
    correct me if i,m wrong but dont you automatically get a free 12month guarantee with the shop when you buy a new tv and anything extra you pay for unless as in your case its free, richer sounds should take some responsibility as well, go with samsung, quality gear and good customer services.
    take care

  6. Cheers everyone – keep those TV comments coming. It’s your chance to let Panasonic know what you think of their company. I will be making sure they read them.

    Re: Will: ‘Bad news travels fast’
    Yes it does, especially when its a pack of lies. Folk really ought to be a little more careful as a court action would prove to be very expensive.

    Re: BFW
    Whilst I’ve no wish to knock the hard work some folk have put into creating and running the site, there’s an imature and amateurish side to certain individuals being allowed to act out playground bully fantasies.

    I also resigned from the site after the usual suspects became upset/ envious/ bitter (or whatever) about the launch of my BD&W films. Indeed I had to threaten legal action if a post, writ in giant letters, DO NOT BUY THIS DVD, was not removed.

    I thought their indignant response to my action was somewhat unprofessional, as was allowing my resignation to be bandied around on the site as me being banned from the site.

    Now the same tactic is being used to defame others which leads me to conclude this is a tactic used or supported by the site owners because it clearly doesn’t suit them to have high profile and publicly recognised figures resigning from the site.

    One thing is certain – they are rather slow in correcting blatant and obvious lies, as we can witness in the current case of the Barbel Society Chairman and others.

    What I cannot for the life of me understand is BFW’s support and promotion of the newly formed AoBF because it has made clear it will be setting up its own rival forum. Whilst folk can post on both sites there are only so many hours in a day so it’s a rather strange and puzzling alliance, don’t you think?

    I’m also surprised that the most active BS representatives (on the web) have risen to the bait laid down by the AoBF. Any fool can see why the AoBF has been created but the instigators have every right to do what they’ve done. The dignified response would have to welcome the new group into the barbel fold, wish them luck and then completely ignore them.

    But what really pleases me is that the main trouble causers will now take their aggression into the private world of the AoBF forum where they may stir their little pots to their hearts content and no-one will really be the wiser.

    And that’s where it will fall down. They won’t have an audience, will they?

    Despite creating their own Nirvana you can bet your bottom dollar that when they have an axe to grind they’ll go looking for public forums to spout their bile. Nothing really changes, does it?

    If only these folk would expend the same amount of energy doing positive or creative things rather than attacking a small group of individuals who they have set up as some kind of enemy.

    As for attracting 100 members (you can join for as little as £1) that’s a small price to pay for access to a barbel forum, and several will have joined just to see what’s being said about them! Seriously, I nearly joined myself.


    The acid test will come if they ask for £20…

    But enough of all that. I suppose anything is a blessed relief from ‘which gloves’ or ‘best sandwich filling’ threads.

  7. Bob
    sorry to have to correct you but it is a Bakewell Pudding in Bakewell, not a tart. Try walking into a bakers and asking for a tart, they are most indictant with their reply. I know I did!


  8. Aye John, but you didn’t see the bird who was serving…! 😉

    Hang on, that’d make a cracking thread for BFW, ‘Tart or Pudding, which do you use?’

  9. Hi Bob,

    I have to say I’m a little disappointed by your views on the recent formation of the AoBF. I have no knowledge of any history that may exist between you and BFW or anyone involved within the AoBF, if any even exists. I will assume that there must be some, going by your comments.

    I have always enjoyed reading your articles and blog and although I have not yet seen the BD&W videos yet, I have seen others which have been excellent.

    Being involved with the AoBF, albeit at a low level, I know that the association has no interest in trying to big itself up or to dismiss any other groups that already exist. It was borne from a desire to offer like minded anglers the opportunity of joining a group that is democratically run, where the members have the overall say in what happens.

    It’s worthwhile pointing out that the hope is to exchange ideas, help out those that are new to the sport, to encourage and nurture where possible, enjoy social events and raise money for charity. Ultimately the association hopes to be in a position where it can put something back into angling, by supporting environmental projects that will help angling and the river systems we all so much enjoy.

    I would hate to think that any issues you may have with one or two individuals would taint your views or detract from the efforts of those within the newly formed AoBF. Members hope to make a positive influence within the angling community without the “we’re in it for the money” mentality that so insidiously pervades modern angling.

  10. Bob,
    Normally, I simply casually read your blob with some great interest whilst I have a little time on my hands.

    Today however, I was somewhat surprised to see a friend of mine mentioned in your lastest blog offering. Lewis Baldwin not only has has the indignity of having his picture defaced on your blog but he’s also been deemed a heretic too?

    What I’m struggling to understand is, the definition of a heretic is “anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle”. How can this then be backed up by others who also endorse the same methods on the Severn and other rivers with large heads of fish?

    I notice that Steve Pope has ratified this as a method he uses himself on the Severn (in his response to this blg page) and I also remember from your DVD’s and blog posts how simillar tactics are also adopted by the likes of people such as Lee Swords on the Trent too. Hardly a heretical view wouldn’t you agree, especially when you also seem to suggest that other successful Barbel anglers adopt a simillar style and approach.

    Perhaps you’d like to explain your view and opinion on this? I’m sure you’re probably trying to be a little sarcastic and suggest that this is really the way to fish rivers such as the Severn but it isn’t clear from your piece. In addition, it certainly isn’t helped by the defacing of a fellow angler who is simply talking about the method he adopts on one of his local rivers.

    Good luck with getting the TV sorted and tight lines.

  11. Bob,

    Thanks for the mention on the blog. My style of fishing on the Lower Severn might not tick everyones boxes and if the barbel police wanted to vent their opinions then so be it (it never did materialise but I was expecting it all the same). You might not like my approach but like I said everyone is entitled to their opinion and I suppose if you feel so strongly about it to write about it then I’m doing something right as my involvement in articles is obviously getting noticed.

    Steve Pope,
    As much as I would like to give you and your writing about the Severn credit for my approach I’m afraid I can’t. All credit most go to 2 friends of mine Dave Mason and Stephen Hitch for their words of advice and to the many many hours of time and effort I have spent on the river putting it into action in my own way. I can honestly say that I have never read any of your articles on the Lower Severn.

    Kind Regards

    Lewis Baldwin (Barbel Heretic) 😉

  12. Oh dear Nathan,

    I’m sorry you’re disappointed with me but you’ve made various statements and posed a number of questions in your comment so I rather hope you’re not going to be even more disappointed that I’m taking the trouble to answer them in a frank and forthright manner:

    If you read my blog you will know that I have wished the AoBF the best of luck whatever the reasons behind its inception. If you cared to read previous blogs/ posts on forums and indeed published articles I have consistently said: If you’re not happy with the Barbel Society join another or form your own.

    I’m pleased the AoBF (quote) ‘has no interest in trying to big itself up’. At least I would be were it true. Have you not noticed that various prominent members have boasted membership has reached 100 in their latest blogs, or that the same figure has been trumpeted in the BFW thread?

    Does that not count as ‘bigging up’?

    Or that these same bloggers constantly snipe at the BS auction, leadership and membership in those blogs and elsewhere. Incidently I’m reliably told that the BS currently numbers around 600 souls each paying about £20 a head to be part of it.

    If your desire was simply to join a democratically run barbel group then is there not an existing barbel group run on exactly those lines? Or are you suggesting all barbel groups are run by despots…?

    With regard to your hope that you may ‘exchange ideas, help out those that are new to the sport, to encourage and nurture where possible, enjoy social events and raise money for charity’, are you suggesting that does that not already happen elsewhere?

    ‘Ultimately…, putting back…, environmental projects…, etc’. Well, ultimately I’d like to walk on the moon but it’s not going to happen any time soon, so, with respect I concentrate on short term goals that are actually achievable within my budgetary constraints.

    By the way, how is the vote going on joining the Angling Trust going, or does the £1 joining fee not actually run to such ideals…?

    In your final paragraph you infer there is a ‘we’re in it for the money mentality insiduously pervading modern angling’. Exactly what does that mean? Surely you aren’t suggesting that certain individuals within other barbel groups have their hands in the till, are you?

    Perhaps you might care to name these insidious people who influence angling positively but are unfortunately in it for the money because I cannot think of a single one. Please do tell. Seriously, if you wish to name them (you clearly speak in the plural) I’ll run the risk of publishing their names on here and certainly will offer them the right of reply.

    On the other hand you’re probably talking out of your hat because I know of very few anglers who make anything remotely like a decent income from the sport.

    No, let’s be serious here Nathan. I think you have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick. I have not criticised the formation of the AoBF. Indeed I may test its democratic priciples today by sending off my one pound joining fee.

    I wonder how that will be received?

    Probably with the same amount of enthusiasm as this response but like I said at the beginning, you asked the questions, don’t shoot the messenger when he gives you a straight answer.

  13. Hi Paul,

    First things first, I haven’t defaced any picture of Lewis whatsoever, the picture is of another angler completely. The disguise and conversion to B&W is done deliberately to draw attention away from the angler and towards the balls of groundbait. Unfortunately my skills in Photoshop do not yet match my creative impulses or he would have been dressed in a striped shirt and a bandit mask.

    I happen to believe that (and let me quote verbaitim from numerous previous articles/ blog posts/ comments/ forum posts/ on DVD/ on TV? etc, made by me):


    My belief in that principle, borne out of hundreds of hours of underwater study and observations, has invited many criticisms from folk who only ever crawl out of the woodwork and attack folk who are, a) successful, and b) dare to use methods contrary to their own.

    In this case Lewis brought a wry smile to my face with the article and I feel it deserved a wider airing because to some extent it supports my principles (although I’m not sure late November is the appropriate time to run such an article).

    Any sarcasm was directed away from him and towards those who might have challenged him, and to those members of the mythical ‘barbel police’.

    Indeed, had anyone attacked him for holding these views then he could have relied upon me to defend him.

    Surely you can see my use of the term ‘heretic’ in the passage:

    How dare he! What a heretic! But it’s strange, isn’t it, how successful anglers all seem to use a fair bit of bait. And those who struggle reckon they only use a couple of kilos over an entire season. Odd that.

    Is me pointing out (tongue firmly in cheek) that those who hould accuse him of heresy are the ones who fail to catch much. In other words, it would not be I who would call him a heretic.

    I hope that makes things perfectly clear to you.


    Bob Roberts

  14. Seems I mis interpreted your comments Bob, my apologies and thanks for the support in the method.

    Lewis 😉

  15. No worries Lewis, I pointed Steve in the right direction a long time ago!!

    Seriously, well done, heavy baiting is the way to go on the Lower Severn and I can’t wait to get down there once again.

    All the best to you and fingers crossed that elusive monster eventually turns up!

  16. Thanks for clearing that up Bob, as I said in my reply, I thought it was sarcastic and aimed in the direction of some others but couldn’t see the reason to deface a picture of what I could only assume to be Lewis at the time.

    Apologies for causing you to raise such a lengthy reply in defence.

    Tight lines and a rather premature Merry Christmas to you and your family.


  17. “””I’m also surprised that the most active BS representatives (on the web) have risen to the bait laid down by the AoBF. Any fool can see why the AoBF has been created but the instigators have every right to do what they’ve done.”””…care to elaborate Bob.
    I have at no time made comment on a forum regarding the creation of any other group.I have,however,like you made comment when wrongs have been said and not moderated.
    Like you,or perhaps not,I along with others get the obscene emails and messages and then have to pretend that they have never existed.
    Regards and a great blog once again by the way…

  18. Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your response.

    Firstly I think there’s a big difference between bigging oneself up and actually being openly delighted with a response, that perhaps exceeded expectations. I’m sure as you are in the media and sales, there have been occasions when you too have been similarly pleased.

    As for these ‘bloggers’ you mention, I can honestly say I don’t read fishing blogs, although I do read yours occasionally, as I said. Whatever your issues are with said bloggers, it hardly merits tarring us all with the same brush.

    I have not and will not criticise other groups within the angling community, I have no reason to do so. They all have a role to play and have done some commendable work since their conception and I’m sure they will continue to do so. I hope the ABF will also go on to achieve similar results. However I am not aware of another barbel group that I can join, which is open to all and run democratically. I also think having a long term goal is fairly commonplace within any business or organisation.

    If I got the wrong end of the stick I apologise, perhaps I’m picking up the wrong vibes from your writings. I will admit to not being an avid reader, just an occasional one.

    Lastly your point re ‘in it for the money’ didn’t refer to any particular group, it was a comment that seems sadly indicative of many involved within the sport for personal gain, rather than to give something back. A sweeping statement perhaps, but one I am sure we are all too aware of, even you Bob?

    I guess I’ll have to be more careful when responding to blogs as I didn’t appreciate my response would be printed!! You live and learn as they say.

  19. Please don’t lose any sleep over it Nathan 😉 Your apology is fully accepted and is now water under the bridge.

    If a comment is meant to be personal and not for public consumption it should be forwarded using the ‘Contact Me’ tab that you’ll find at the top of every page (and at the bottom).

    Comments posted beneath my blogs (including the critical ones) are vetted when its a new poster, thereafter they appear automatically unless I have reason to ban that IP address.

    I try and allow all contradictory viewpoints to stand but reserve the right to reply should I feel its appropriate.

    Messages containing bad language or insults tend to be deleted or edited and if the author continues to be abusive the IP is blocked.

    One frequent nuisance poster had the content of his comments altered to make him look rather stupid but it only happened on a couple of occasions before he got the message.

    Please feel free to post comments in future.

    Bob Roberts

  20. “Despite creating their own Nirvana you can bet your bottom dollar that when they have an axe to grind they’ll go looking for public forums to spout their bile. Nothing really changes, does it?”

    No it doesn’t, your right there Bob, and peeking back over on BFW this afternoon it seems they’ve all quietened down over the subject now Steve, et al have left, until they decide that the next big name makes waves over there, like you say, “Now the same tactic is being used to defame others which leads me to conclude this is a tactic used or supported by the site owners because it clearly doesn’t suit them to have high profile and publicly recognised figures resigning from the site.”

    I’ve had Moderators over on BFW follow myself around on other sites, repeating the exact words I’ve wrote in posts on the other forums, your words “this is a tactic used or supported by the site owners” are absolutely correct, Bob. I won’t mention names on here it’s not worth the trouble for yourself or myself, as sad has it is, that is what they do over there.

  21. Just asked Andy and Co to cancel my membership to BFW as i’m bored with it all and have been for sometime now.

    Whilst the bullies keep on getting away with it and those that are being baited keep on being punished i’m sure more and more will jump ship to a more friendly, moderated place.

    Good blog as usual Bob


  22. I am an avid reader of your blog Bob, and i feel its the best around too. I don’t associate myself with any Barbel groups at all and i wish them all well in the future. My money goes straight to the Angling Trust as i feel it is money well spent and it supports all fisherman in the long run, not just the single species groups.
    I feel sometime soon though in the future there will be quite a lot of antagonism between the BS and ABF, the ugly head of single species angling will only suffer. I hope it doesn’t happen and they can live within each others shadow, but time will tell. That will be a the litmus test of said groups.
    Looking forward to Barnsley v Doncaster, think you have the edge with Billy up front.

    Good luck

  23. Most important things first Jon, the game this weekend is already off and in my view that’s absolutely the right decision. It’s one thing the home fans having to battle through snow and ice to get to the Keepmoat but we must not forget the Barnsley fans have to come forward through five decades to attend.

    It’ll be nice to play them on a nice spring evening under floodlights instead. As for the outcome, Dingle versus Pikey games are so unpredictable. We’ve battered them in each of the past two seasons yet were mugged by a breakaway goal each time.

    On the other hand, Oakwell is a happy hunting ground. I remember us putting out a full reserve side against their first team not too long ago and winning 5-2. It’s one of those games you shouldn’t even consider betting on.

    You’d have had to fancy us for a goal or two with a fit Bill Sharp, David Healey, James Coppinger and James Hayter up front with Steve Brooker coming off the bench to add a bit of height and muscle in the later stages.

    As for the AoBF or should I say ABF as Conrad is insisting it’s still called ;-), I have it on good authority that if certain individuals step out of line they’ll be banished from the club.

    Whether you believe that is up to you but I’m only repeating what I’m told and what’s apparently in the constitution.

    We’ll see, eh?

    It’s nice to have clubs and societies on a social and educational level. The Trust operates on a purely political and legal level so there’s plenty of room for both. The important thing to remember is we can manage perfectly well without one but I’d hate to see us without the other.

  24. Hi Bob,

    I came across your blog while researching Panasonic TV purchase and thought “why here”? Anyway read down to your bit on Panasonic and looks like you’ve had real problems.

    However, I do know there are always 2 sides to any story, so: How long did you have the TV before notifying Panasonic of the problem? Did you go back to the retailer? Wasn’t it in warranty?

    Also, I think it’s a bit harsh to publicise the guy’s name. If you have a beef it’s with the company, not the individual. As you quote above, “Small minds discuss people”. I’m sure if I search hard enough I could find complaints against every company on the planet and no-one would every buy anything…

    Anyway – good luck in getting it resolved. I assume you’ll post back if it’s a happy outcome…. 🙂

  25. Dear David (Couch Potato),

    Let me say right from the start that the retailer (Richer Sounds) could not be more brilliant about the whole situation and that they are now on the case with Panasonic from the supply chain angle. They are also pursuing the complaint with regard to the 5-year warranty advertised with the set.

    Whatever the outcome of this issue I shall be returning to Richer Sounds as a customer.

    Was the set in warranty? Absolutely yes! However, Panasonic cannot find a record of it. Ergo, they advertise the product with a 5-year warranty, sell it with a 5-year warranty, then renege on the warranty.

    Make your own mind up about Panasonic from that alone.

    Fortunately I scanned the warranty and stored it away electronically in a case a dispute like this was ever to arise at some point – always do, whatever the product.

    When the problem initially appeared it was a single pin stripe line on the screen. It was annoying but didn’t really detract from the watching experience. I actually thought this was a cable issue and didn’t really want to chop out all the plaster to get at it.

    As I was midst a long running rennovation of my property I decided to leave that for another day, you see I had the security of a 5-year warranty. However the screen has deteriorated rapidly of late to the point (did you see the screen images?) where it is now practically unwatchable.

    The repair estimate is for more than £600 plus an engineers report, let’s say £700 in total. We are not talking small potatoes here.

    Unfortunately we do not deal with companies, certainly not ones that are big enough to be London Olympic partners, we deal with individuals. Panasonic don’t communicate with me, Chris Swatridge does on their behalf, and one of the problems is, he (or she) doesn’t doesn’t do it often enough or in a timely fashion.

    The questions I pose and requests I make are not answered, therefore this makes Chris Swatridge eminently fair game for being named. The company sold me a TV with a 5-year warranty. It is Chris Swatridge who is denying me recompense through this procedure and he hasn’t acted upon a simple request – what is the email address of the company chairman, or answered the straight question, what proportion of any repair is Panasonic prepared to pay?

    These are fair questions if you have nothing to hide and there’s the small matter of a £700 bill involved (on top of the price of the TV set in the first place).

    In my book that makes him incompetent and obstructive as I have no other access to the company. He therefore IS the company.

    I’d love to post back with a happy outcome and I’d love to be thanking Chris Swatridge for his help and assistance as a valued member of the Customer Care team.

    Sadly he’s not making that possible, yet…