2010 – Early July Blog

By heck it’s been a busy week or so since the last blog. Where on earth does the time go. Still the fish have been kind to me, the sun has shone and there are many more adventures lining up in my diary so things will remain interesting for a long time to come yet.

Mind you, I received quite a shock the other night. With literally an hour to kill I popped down my local river and blanked! The river looked in fantastic trim but of Bertie The Barbel there was not a sign. I did get the obligatory chub raps which I studiously ignored on the basis that the last thing I wanted to do was hook one as there’s precious little time for things to calm down when you’re up against the clock.

Even the old heron sat watching me from his perch on the fence appeared to be willing me to go home.

Perhaps I’d have done a lot better had I sat quietly and concentrated on just the one swim but like the fool I sometimes am I fished like a headless chicken running around baiting, and fishing, three swims in that hour. You see, normally the river is rammed out with anglers but tonight I had it all to myself and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

Oh well, there’s always next time.

I spotted a plant I’ve not noticed on the banks before and I’m guessing it’s a giant hogweed, the very mention of which takes me back to the days when Peter Gabriel fronted Genesis…

Folk of a certain age will be thinking, ‘Aye, they don’t make ’em like that anymore…’ With a wistful sigh, whereas there’ll be the younger folk thanking their lucky stars it’s true!

Despite the crowds keeping away this season – thank you FIFA – the volume of litter is beginning to accumulate. This was one swim and I haven’t tampered with the evidence in any way. They’re all crisp packets of one description or another and there was other rubbish strewn around out of shot. Have these folk got an addiction to potato snacks?

So, the allotted hour came and despite stretching it out for an extra five minutes I gave up defeated. This time anyway. If only it was always as pleasant to fish here because I can literally see my house from the riverbank. Normally it’s a nightmare and I’ve been avoiding the place for the past few years.

It’s free fishing unfortunately and you get exactly what you pay for.

Does look fabulous though, providing you don’t look too closely…

Is This Your hook?

In the picture you will see two hooks. One is a size 16 hook and it is mine. I’ve just landed a double figure barbel on it, the second in an hour and one of 14 barbel landed inside 6 hours, all on the float. I did lose a few, too, but you’re bound to suffer the odd hook pull with small hooks but with the right rod and reel combination break-offs are very rare.

Anyway, when went to unhook it there was another hook lodged in its mouth – this one.

It looks to be at least a size 6 and it’s attached to some heavy duty coated braid. How do you lose barbel on gear like that? I reckon I could anchor a decent sized boat with one of those!

The Trent has been on fire since the season opened and not just in the swims I’ve happened to fish. Me old mucker Lee Swords had a blinding opening day catch that included a chub over 6lb and a barbel over 13lb. That’s good fishing in anyone’s book.

But let’s not forget that Swordsey’s probably the least famous person in his household. Not only is Tina a bit of a kick boxing champion on the quiet, young Olivia is probably now the Trent zander record holder (under, err…, better be careful, we know how touchy young ladies can be about their ages – let’s say under-14’s age group) with this little cracker taken in the middle of a bright and sunny day. Check out that nail polish folks!

On the downside I overheard the Collingham bailiff bemoaning the amount of rubbish that was left by day ticket anglers fishing below the weir during opening week. If the idiots keep this up I can see ‘members only’ signs being erected in the future. Surely, litter and cans weigh less when you’ve consumed the contents?

Please, take it home guys.

I also heard him telling how various folk had been catching really well. The common denominator being, ‘They were all using maggots and a bit of hemp’. Seriously, if you’re not considering using maggots in the opening weeks there’s something wrong with you. The fish have just had three months and more of eating nothing but naturals. Why do you think they’ll immediately switch on to pellets? This is the transition period and if you want to stay ahead, wear your thinking caps.

I also had an email from a mate of mine who’s kinda blown the myth that there are no barbel left in the Great Ouse. He’s had 3 doubles to 15lb 3oz in two sessions and lost another.

Update: Just had another email from Mac – he’s now had 7 good doubles from the Great Ouse (one repeat capture) although he’s a bit concerned for the future having found one half-eaten barbel carcass and seen no less than six otters on his latest visit. Apparently they were off to Macdonalds for a cheeseburger and a Macflurry…

DVD partner Stu (Walker) continues to knock out a few impressive specimens on the Dove but he’s adopted the rather strenuous approach of roving and baiting multiple swims after dark. Afraid I can’t compete with that kind of enthusiasm but you can’t fault his results.

I hope your start has been equally successful.

Gervase Phinn

With England on TV in a 3.30pm kick-off I decided against going fishing today (my arm was aching anyway!). Instead I popped down to the local library where Gervase Phinn was giving a talk to some of the kids from Sue’s school. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Gervase he’s the school inspector equivalent of a James Herriot’s vet character. A comic writer with enormous warmth and wit based mainly around children and schools. He’s very funny, too.

I’ve watched him perform previously in a theatre but this was a very different performance and you simply have to take your hat off to his professionalism. If there’s anyone out there who one day hopes to give slide shows to angling clubs, societies and so on, the best thing you can do is go and watch a real pro at work.

No props, no slides, no gimmicks, Phinn simply held the audience in the palm of his hand. he was inspirational and educational, engaging every person in the room. He didn’t have to brag or show off. He didn’t stutter and mumble, filling in with umms and errs. He simply did an outstanding professional job and I’ll gamble that every one of those children was inspired and will remember his performance for a long time.

Meanwhile, Somewhere In The Trent Valley

Nearly forgot to mention it – sidetracked I’m afraid. My second trip of the season to the Trent was rather a memorable one. I got there around 9.30am and set up two float rods. My intention was to fish, first for chub and then hopefully catch a barbel or two on the same method.

What a difference a few days makes, mind. The river had dropped a good two feet, gone clear and with a red hot sun scorching down from a clear blue sky I couldn’t help but think a tough day might lie ahead.

Well, the chub fed instantly. No problems there, although they were a smaller stamp than the ones I’d caught on the previous trip. That had me thinking, was it a mistake to have fished a different area? I’d gone with this particular swim in mind because you can only really fish it when the water levels are low as the rocks extend out into the river a good way but maybe it just holds smaller chub.

I’d also decided to feed hemp on the float line this time to encourage barbel – last time I was positively trying to avoid them. Rather unsuccessfully as it happens.

Loose feeding hemp with the maggots saw me hook into around ten chub and an occasional barbel but as soon as I began using a bait dropper on the same line the chub bites dried up. Each time the float went under it would be because a barbel had taken my maggots.

Once the barbel were clearly feeding in my swim I switched to the heavier set-up and that meant I could give the barbel some proper Teddy and muscle them out but they soon wised up to the stronger gear. After half an hour without a fish a scaled back down to the lighter rod and bingo, I was in again.

By early afternoon the numbers were racking up and I was also attracting one or two better samples, too. Two of the better fish would have made double figures, without a doubt, one of them with quite a bit to spare. I did have a few hair raising battles that didn’t come from the biggest fish, instead they came from foulhooked fish. One 4lb tiddler set off upstream at such a rate of knots that I was absolutely convinced I’d hooked a carp.

By 4pm I’d had enough. 14 barbel ought to be enough for anyone. The fish were still there to be caught and I had enough bait to fish through the evening but there comes a point when you’ve simply had enough. How some folk fish for two and three days solid I’ve no idea. Nor am I quite sure why they have to fish in the dark.

Sometimes I think we actually teach barbel to feed at night by regularly turning up at the noddy hour and filling it in. It’s perhaps like the commercial fisheries where you can turn up at 3pm and catch immediately in front of the platforms where the spare bait gets thrown in at the end of matches.

I’ve also caught big carp on specialist fisheries just off the margin beneath the rod tips because this is where boilies get thrown away as anglers change their baits. It’s learned behaviour.

Up To My Neck In It?

I spent a fascinating if frustrating day on a small river this week.  I chose a different stretch to the one I usually fish, partly for a change and partly because it’s a lot more challenging, certainly the barbel are thin on the ground down there.

I have an Infinity rod permanently set up for this small venue matched with my treasured Adcock Stanton. The new Adcocks can be personalised to your taste and as you can see in the pictures I had it finished in bronze and if you flip it over there’s a barbel engraved on the back next to my name. It’s loaded with braid which, once you’ve got used to it, is perfect for fishing in tight situations.

I was pleased to find I had the entire river to myself – who needs syndicates, eh? Mind you, it’s probably not prolific enough to attract those kind of predators.

Having baited three or four swims it was a case of waiting to see if anything might pop its head out and sure enough I found myself a barbel in one of them. It was a case of chub only in the others. It’s a swim I’ve not had a barbel from in the past and most folk would probably walk straight by it, but there are fish there. It’s tucked right under the bank and I’m talking just 18 inches out from the margin.

I had a tiny gap between a raft of weed and an overhanging bush to lay my rig and it was important to make sure it didn’t fall over the trailing ranunculus and ruin the presentation but thankfully I could lower it in and see exactly where my bait fell. There’s nothing quite like sitting within a few feet of your quarry, is there?

Well, sure enough, the tip hooped round and – damn! – I had hooked a chub. For a few seconds I thought it was a barbel but no, old chevin had just ruined the best part of an hour’s work.

I rebaited, I waited, and I waited. And then I spotted what I was looking for. One cagey barbel had returned. then two. Not big fish but that doesn’t matter. You don’t come here for big fish. And then I noticed the weed. It began with the odd clump floating by, gradually worsening until rafts of the stuff were floating down on the current. Somewhere upstream the weedcutting boat was doing its worst in the name of flood prevention.

To have hooked a barbel with these rafts floating downstream would have been completely unfair on the fish because it would have been swallowed up in a mountain of debris and I doubt even my tackle could have hauled that lot in. No, these fish would wait for another day. Time to move on. I jumped in the van and headed several miles upstream in the hope I could leapfrog the cutter.

The new stretch I looked at was perfect from a floating weed perspective, but where was the water? Cutting the weeds had dropped the levels by a good foot and it looked for all intents and purposes like I could walk across it in most places. I could see every pebble on the bottom. Still, it would concentrate the fish. The downside being they’d be as nervous as anything.

It didn’t take long to find a few fish. After a while you can almost work out which kind of gravel is attractive to barbel and which isn’t. I took a wild guess, droppered in some bait and three fish appeared out of nowhere.

Leaving them to settle I went and picked out another swim and stupidly, having knowingly tied a quick, but slightly dodgy knot to the bait dropper only seconds earlier, deposited it on the river bed – with no line attached. Doh! But at least I could see the dropper and so I decided to wade out to retrieve it. After all, the water was only 18 inches deep…

So in I went. And it wasn’t 18 inches deep. What to do now? Well, it was off with me pants and try again.  Well, the water was pleasantly warm, even when it reached the old dangly bits. When I put my foot on the dropper it was above my waist – and I’m tall, you know. Not like some of the short-arsed detractors who’ll be reading this looking for faults to nit-pick!

The problem then was, how to pick it up. My net was some distance away in the car so I shuffled it onto the top of my toes, feet together, and then began trying to make short hops in the water as I made my way back to the bank. I’m glad no-one was watching me because I must have looked a right idiot.

Of course the water coloured up and I had to negotiate the trailing fronds of weeds, so much so I could no longer see my feet. Nor could I see that the bait dropper It hought I was balancing on my toes was actually a large pebble. The dropper itself had found a new home, hidden from sight.

So what was I to do now? There’s no way I was giving up that easily. Not now I was soaked. So I did some impromptu swim clearance – and still I couldn’t see it. So I did some more and then waited for the water to clear. Eventually I spotted it, waded out and then went in head first to retrieve it. So don’t you dare try and make out I’m not a Yorkshireman!

Then comes the fun bit. Dressed only in a pair of Calvins I still had to get through a wall of nettles before scrambling up the bank. Crazy, isn’t it. And I could have a new one for nothing in the time it takes to write an email or make a phone call. What it does highlight is that a bait dropper is without doubt the most important bit of kit I carry when I go barbel fishing.

At least when I went back to the first swim I was able to catch a barbel without too much difficulty. What’s more it was from a swim that no other angler had fished this season because the vegetation was chest high and untouched.

I decided then to retire to a more secluded stretch of river where my laundry could be laid out to dry…

What I find amazing is that water can look so deceptively shallow and this is post weed cutting when the water level drops a good foot.

The swim I settled into was stuffed with fish. And I mean stuffed. Trouble is at least 20 of them were chub – chub with a taste for my baits. I could plainly see some nice barbel but the chub would beat them to my hookbait time and again while I sat there refusing to strike. Mostly the chub would manage to throw the hook by shaking their heads violently although even that would un-nerve the barbel. But I sorted them in the end and caught another couple of barbel before moving on.

Even small rivers change with the seasons and it’s worth looking for new swims, especially at the start of a season. Several swims that had been bankers in the past were devoid of fish but a new one held great promise. I’d not seen a barbel in it before but as I studied the gravel and the available cover I kept telling myself it had to contain fish. The only way to find out is to give them some bait.

I was just about to launch the dropper when a tail appeared from the back of some vegetation. Then two. I’d found a new swim. So I treated myself to a couple of nice fish before calling it a day.

You can’t beat this kind of fishing. It’ll never be as prolific as fishing the Trent, either in numbers of fish or size, but it’s as enthralling as specialist fishing gets.

Blogging – Who Needs A New Barbel Wars?

I realise time flies when you’re having fun but is it really eight years since I was generally blamed for instigating the great Barbel War skirmishes? Even the conflict in Europe didn’t last that long!

It’s been fascinating to watch how folk have switched sides during the intervening years. Those who once defended the Barbel Society are now climbing over themselves to attack it. Even those who were sworn allies appear to at each others throats. It’s all a bit sad really, not to mention hypocritical.

I suppose I did get embroiled in a few keyboard skirmishes at the time and I had my own personal resons for that. You may well accuse me of starting them but that would be rather unfair in my view. most of the time I was defending myself from a team of trouble makers who, like some unholy trinity, would post in sequence within minutes of any post I made seeking to rubbish and censor my views. This in turn proved irresistable to a few hangers on and the rest is history, or at least that’s where it belongs.

But for a time it was really nasty.

In mitigation I would say I wrote several hard-hitting articles that were extremely objective and any fair minded individual would recognise they posed questions to which there have never been any satisfactory answers.

Answers that those who attacked me are now asking for.

It’s maybe time for me to dig them out again and see exactly what has changed or indeed if I feel, with hindsight, I overstepped the mark. I’ll maybe do that when I get a spare moment but with the World Cup and a fishing season in full swing that’s unlikely in the immediate future.

It was a different era on the Internet forums back then. More like the wild west with all sorts of cowboys and gunslingers keen to show off. It was very, very childish. In the end I think every site simply got fed up with it and booted out the trouble causers, or at least moderated them into submission.

One thing’s for sure, the various barbel spats that did go on, and on…, and on…, and on…, are still being raked over nearly a decade later. It has done and is still doing barbel angling and barbel anglers absolutely no good whatsoever. Today the self-same participants are still waging sordid little battles, mainly through obscure forums and comments in, and at the foot of, each others’ angling blogs.

‘You need to take more water with it…,’ Suggests one post to Fred Bonney. And now I understand he’s banned from posting comments beneath Tony’s drivel.

Mind you, sometimes you have to laugh. Especially when old Fred starts appealing for information as to whether the old Silverfox, a former trolly dolly by all acounts, is maybe confused about his gender assignment! ‘Is he a woofter?’ would have made a better headline though!

Dear me guys, steady on!

Let me get this straight, Silverfox and Twotone are now best-ist buddies and they both hate Fred because he picks his nose, and anyway, Fred is Steve’s best mate who in turn is a guiding buddy of the Silverfox but dislikes the Monotone who in turn probably envies Steve’s good looks and physical stature, and Seepee won’t play unless he can bat first and Fred threw my cap on the bike shed roof.

I’m sure it’ll go on for ever…

Just shows who misses barbel wars most, eh?

If you’d have asked me 12 months ago what I thought about blogs I’d have told you they were a brilliant form of communication and self expression. They are the epitome of what every poster on Internet forums is asking for when they complain about the current angling press: ‘Why can’t we have new writers? Why can’t we have a change from how to tie a granny knot and unashamed advertorials?’

Blogging was and still could be an answer. Alas some of the folk who are blogging have begun to use them as battlefields. Now a bit of spice is all grist to the mill as far as I’m concerned and if some short-arsed jerk wants to have the odd pop at me in his blog than I will thank him for the advertising. But when slurs, anger and bile becomes the entire content and raison detre for these blogs and the only comments you make on other bloggers are negative, what’s the point?

That’s not a blog, it’s character assassination and morally wrong. It shows that individual up for what he is (and they are all ‘he’, aren’t they?) and also tells me there’s something not quite right with the feller.

Frankly I’m rather dismayed at what’s going on at the moment although I really shouldn’t be surprised. These same individuals have been at it for as long as I’ve been aware of their existence and I’ve no doubt it went on before that in their private lives.

To a man I feel they must be failures in some way or other. Unhappy with their lot in life and unable to celebrate the skills, artistry, and talents of others or to muster enough of their own to occupy their minds.

It’s a fact of life that wackos attract other wackos and then their warped perspectives become the norm. They ultimately begin to believe what they say is right, that what they do and say, and how they say it, is acceptable. Too many of their close friends just shrug their shoulders and shake their heads at what is plainly unacceptable.

Blogging may not be the new rock and roll but it’s certainly an enjoyable way to express your creative talents, not just in fishing but in every single walk of life. In June 2010 WordPress alone was hosting no less than 11.4 million  blogs. That’s a pretty impressive figure whichever way you look at it.

I’m sure many others out there would love to blog but in the same way that Fishing Magic gets about 9,000 visits each day out of which maybe 20 people have enough nerve to contribute something, and even then they’ll do it under a pseudonym. The majority of folk would think twice about exposing themselves to the bitterness that festers in these quarters I’ve highlighted.

So, we get the same old faces trying to appear important by rubbishing the efforts of others. And so what if a blog comprises 365 photos of each day’s breakfast plate for the past year? Who is anyone to judge whether that’s deserving of their spite. We’re talking about folk who demand some kind of privacy in every walk of their own lives, hiding behind nicknames, imposing secrecy rules on fisheries, even going so far as writing to tackle manufacturers and asking that consultancy contracts are terminated (I kid you not!) but then want to attack others for doing what they simply enjoy. It’s disengenious to say the least.

It’s a shame you can’t apply for on-line ASBOs!

What I will say to these folk is we know you can moan, defame, insult, provoke and all the rest of your negative attributes, better than anyone, so why don’t you show us what you are capable of doing creatively? Do something positive for a change and if you can’t do that, why not just leave the rest who are trying to entertain (mostly themselves) alone?

So why do they do it?

Of course, Bob the Fish always has an answer…

Are You Serious? 

Now I’m not sure whether someone is being a bit mischievous over on BFW because there have been a number of recent threads that I’m pretty certain fall into the wind-up category. For example – ‘What Suntan Cream?’ Amazingly when I looked it had already run to three pages and was still going strong.

However, I really do think this next guy was extracting the old proverbial. He fishes a river with dull browny gravel and asks, ‘What colour braid should I fish…?’

Now come on!

Have you tried pink?

Blue, maybe?

Matt Hayes red?

Surely the clue’s in the question… Dull, browny gravel…?

First Cut Is The Deepest

Well the budget held a few surprises, didn’t it? After weeks of warnings that our belts would have to be tightened the penny finally dropped and folk suddenly started complaining when they realised that the cuts would affect them.

“They should tax the rich, tax the banks, tax the fat cats, not us. I’m poor!”

“How am I going to manage on my benefits?”

Well, you’re a little bit poorer now, which I accept is tough. Get used to it.

When a public sector worker asked the Prime Minister if the pay freeze actually meant a pay cut she seemed genuinely shocked by his answer. Yes, that’s what cuts mean.

The rich already pay more tax than anyone else. The poor take more in benefits.

We cannot sustain final salary pension schemes for ever. Get used to it or save more.

We’re now expected to work longer. And why not? Folk used to leave school at 14 and start work immediately. Kids don’t leave education until they’re in their twenties now and they want to retire early…

It’s too easy to get state benefits. Since when did half the country qualify for incapacity benefits? It’s too easy to gain immigration to the UK, especially for EU economic migrants – we’re full up. Someone has to pay for them.

And someone has to say, ‘No more, pull up the drawbridge.’

The reservoirs were built to retain water for 50 million people, not 70 million. Likewise the roads, the railways, the hospitals. There’s a simple equation in here somewhere, 70 into 50 doesn’t go. And as a consequence we’ve all got to pay more, me included. I’m a pensioner but I choose to top up my income from freelance work. If I get skint I’ll clean windows or do odd jobs.

For most of my life I’ve done the equivalent of at least two jobs. I have never had a day out of work since I started (aged 16) and I have consistently been a net contributor. I ain’t complaining. This country has been spending more than it earned for far too long now and that which you borrow eventually has to be paid back, unless you’re Leeds United.

But I just wish the politicians would stop trying to dress everything up by blaming someone else. How many times do we have to hear the excuse, ‘We’re just putting right what was done under 13 years of the Labour Government’.

Ian Duncan Smith was on the BBC Breakfast show this morning and speaking about raising the retirement age. He first blamed it on Labour (yawn) and then had the audacity to say, “It’s not punishing the old by making them work for longer, it’s giving them an opportunity to use the skills they’ve accumulated…”

One in five people in this country is a pensioner apparently and as the number of pensioners increases we need to generate more income from those in work to pay for it. Err, didn’t I pay into the system for 40-odd years as an investment, building up my retirement pot? Is he saying that’s been spent now and it was all a sham? And of course, it was mostly under a Labour Government…

Digging Through The Past

Analysing my daily Google stats I can tell which areas of my site have proved most popular in the past month, what pages folk land on and which pages they seek out. Now it would appear the blog is where almost everyone heads for and the number of visitors is increasing all the time. More than half of the site visitors return regularly and that’s quite a lot of readers. What I don’t really understand is why I get lots of encouraging emails, calls and conversations with folk saying they’d love to see it published weekly, or at least more often, when they’ve never read the older blogs.

Click on the blog tab at the top of the page and you’ll find a wealth of old blogs to read. Really, a lot of them aren’t that time sensitive.

Come On England!

Like many of you I will be glued to the TV on Sunday afternoon hoping against all hope that we can pull of a victory against the old foe. It doesn’t look good, does it? But the old Hun ain’t all that good. Maybe we can rise to the occasion and maybe Rooney can play somewhere near his potential because he’s been bloomin’ useless so far.

By the way, this is the best interpretation I’ve seen of that howler by Green which has left us with the cruelest possible run to the final. Or to the plane – whichever you think is more appropriate.

This Week

This week I’ve mostly been listening to Sleepy Sun’s new album Fever. It compliments the first one, Embrace nicely. If you like 60’s acid rock you’re in for a real treat.

I smiled when Julian Cudiff defended going to watch Europe in concert recently (in the latest issue of Coarse Fisherman) by saying I once promoted the Scorpions!

By heck, so I did.

I also promoted Whitesnake, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Dire Straits, Ultravox, Motorhead, Judas Priest and a host of others for my sins but let me say here and now that I also promoted Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and Shaking Stevens, so my taste wasn’t infalible and if Julian thinks he can use me as an excuse for going to see the Nolans I will have to draw the line somewhere!


Shock Jock

According to the latest statistics Scotland is the biggest user (by percentage of population) of coke in the world. The survey was carried out by asking people in the street. It came as a shock to me because I thought their National drink was Irn Bru…

Boom, boom!

Product Of The Month

It was a pleasant surprise to see our latest DVDs -Barbel Days And Ways Volumes 3 and 4 feature as Product Of The Month in Coarse Fisherman magazine. When we released the first two DVDs it’s fair to say we put a lot of effort into marketting and promotion and we reaped the publicity rewards but this time it’s been a case of letting the brand sell itself.

We learned an imense amount about film making from the first two and that experience has enabled us to take the latest two DVDs to a higher level altogether. Though I say it myself, I know they are very, very good and I still see magazine articles written by ‘experts’ who have got things completely wrong and the tactics they’re promoting are seriously flawed.

It just goes to show that those who ‘think’ they know the answers might not be quite so cute as they profess. My own fishing has changed dramatically since the project began because I quickly realised that I too was making some serious tactical mistakes.

Doesn’t matter how clever you think you are, you might want to watch these films and learn.

Blowing My Own Vuvazela!

And whilst I’m blowing my own trumpet, you might have noticed my mug was on the front cover of Angling Times – again. Old Greg came down to join me on the Trent on opening morning and was there to take a few snaps while I plugged away on the stick float.

Nice one son – thank you!

Good Evening Norwich!

If you live in the Norwich area and would like to say hello, maybe ask a few questions about the DVDs, or anything else for that matter, I’m hoping to spend a day in the Angling Direct Store representing Daiwa on Saturday 31st July. Please feel free to drop by and say hello if you’re in the area. Contrary to what some would have you believe I don’t have two heads and I don’t actually bite, although I am prepared to make exceptions in a couple of extreme cases!

Ouch! That Hurts

The phone rang this morning while I was wrapping up this marathon blog, “Bob, it’s Fisky, I’m outside your house in the car, put the

So we put the world to rights over a cuppa and shook our heads at some of the daft stuff that’s going on at the moment (You are joking! What do you mean that’s not his real surname…? Wonder which country he’ll be supporting on Sunday! And such like).

“Come here,” I said, standing by the living room window, “You see over there, where those white buildings are? They’re cricket dressing rooms and half way between here and there is a barbel river, fancy a look?”

Five minutes later we’re climbing the stile next to the river when I took an almighty tumble, spraining my ankle in the process. I’m sat here right now with it swaddled in two flight socks trying to keep the swelling down and I’ve a four hour drive ahead of me tomorrow. Doh! That’s just what I needed.

I have to say the river banks were a disgrace. The volume of litter has multiplied in the space of just a few days, cans and bottles were strewn everywhere and even a fire was still smouldering. This is the very river about which someone on the Internet forums was complaining loudly about canoes being given access quite recently. I’m sorry, but if anyone’s access should be denied then it’s the anglers. Canoeists dont deposit Animal hook packets, nor Korum packaging. Nor do they leave opened meat tins and corn tins and mountains of other crap.  

Sometimes anglers are their own worst enemies.

Last post

Ooh, and there’s another blog to add to your watch list. This one’s actually about fishing…

Till the next time then…

Tight Lines.

22 thoughts on “2010 – Early July Blog

  1. Oi Bob, yer calendar’s broke. Its still June, or is Yorkshire in a different time zone? πŸ™‚

  2. Compared to your part of Wales πŸ˜‰ I’d say yes, probably!

    As I’ll be out fishing for the rest of the month I’d be in danger of making this the longest blog since War and Peace if I didn’t press the publish button today, mentioning which, you’ve been on the warpath a bit, ain’t cha…?

    It’s all getting too bitter for my tastes. Time to reel a few necks in methinks.

    Post in anger, repent at leisure, but the damage is already done…

  3. Repent? what for?

    I’m all for the quiet life Bob, I just react to scurrilous remarks from someone who should know better. The crap he came out with afterwards was pathetic.

    Then Old Fred started to froth at the mouth and talk about legal issues. I gather the sanction he is settling for is to ban two of your old mates from the barbel society – wow, that’ll learn ’em.

    Its all bollocks and doesn’t mount to a hill o’ beans in the long run. If they leave me out of it I’ll just go about my business.

    On a personal note (and I know you can edit this part of the message out should you want to). If you think that I’ve over stepped the mark and you don’t want me to come up to your Wye weekend, I totally understand. I don’t want to cause any friction should any of those attending be BS members or whatever.


  4. Hi Bob
    fished the stick on the Trent yesterday 8 Chub and 10 Barbel in 4 hrs – great sport

    many thanks for the help
    hope to see you soon


  5. Following on from your comments I see Tony Rocca is endearing himself to any visitors to his blog. Apparently he has asked the question…..”Does Rich Frampton really lick Popeys a**e clean?”!!!

    I suppose that is the standard that one might find in the minority of blogs (thank God!!) written by those with, at best, a basic grasp of English and common decency.

    Doesn’t it simply reinforce your comments regarding this sorry individual??

    The Barbel Society would be, indeed, a better place without such individuals within its ranks. If Mr Rocca is so disillusioned with it then maybe he will not renew his membership. Here’s hoping!!

    A very unimpressed Rich Frampton.

  6. Bob,

    I can assure you those questions posed recently on BFW, are the life blood of angling forums. And God willing they will remain that way.


    Monty D

  7. Thanks for all your advice again Bob.

    Just managed after a second bite, the finish!

    Phew how do you do it?

    Your band promotion work, were you based in London?

    I used to get on quite well with the owner(Brian Mason) of the London Astoria. I let him basement space for his club in Queen Street Cardiff, never did get a bung of a free ticket to any of his gigs.


    Have a good trip

  8. Rich, I struggle comprehend the behaviour and motivations of certain individuals lately but nothing really surprises me these days.

    Monty – I’m not knocking less experienced folk who ask genuine questions on angling to which they do not know the answers but some of these questions of late have bordered on the ‘he must be kidding – is it a wind-up?’ level.

    Or is that what you mean is the lifeblood. Those who are having fun by teasing and taunting the inmates!

    Fred – I never intend these blogs to go on for so long – frankly 6,000 words and 30 pictures is ridiculous, but the individual parts are short and precise, and each time I sit down another email arrives that provokes an idea, or I hear something on TV, the radio, a line in a book, a song, or whatever.

    But it keeps my brain ticking over and I defy anyone to say (with sincerity) it’s not entertaining! If nothing else it entertains me…

    Guess I’m just an old story teller at heart.

    RE: the music, no, I promoted all my gigs at various venues across South Yourkshire but of course it opened doors in all corners of the country enabling me to get into most venues or gigs via the guest lists.

    You’ll find more info in this article:



  9. Bob,

    I’m pretty sure 90% of the questions posed are not “Wind Ups”.Some of the questions are so daft,it seems to be people posting,just for posting sakes.Well that is what the Bard of Bridgenorth and I reckon.But your right about less experienced anglers regarding questions.T

    Perhaps the BS could have a “basics” section on there forum,for non-members to ask questions.Fred,Popey,Reading,Berridge could provide the expert responses?

    Anyway I’m not getting any work done posting on here and need to get away from the office,by 13.00 to get home for the football.


  10. It’ll be there Monty.
    Not certain that I will be of any use though, I shall be sitting in the corner somewhere mumbling to myself…cue usual comments :o)

  11. Bob,
    Why are you bragging about your height………

    Tbh I can live with live with you bragging about your writing skills, fishing skills or anything else which has been achieved through hard graft and hours of study but what did you do to reach your great height? Is there somewhere you went to study being tall? Can you get a university degree in tallness?

    Height, (like nationality or even being a Yorkshire man), is nothing more than an accident of birth.
    If you inherit a tall gene from one of your parents and if they have the wherewithal to keep you well nourished through your childhood and if you manage to remain fairly fit and healthy through those early years then you will probably reach your full height potential. It has nothing to do with skill.

    You need to let this drop Bob, the average height for a man in this country is 5’9″…….If you apply a little logic and some basic maths it soon becomes clear that if you’re 6’1″ or above you are just as much a statistical freak as the bloke who is 5’5″……At least the little bloke can buy clothes off the shelf and not have to resort to specialist shops like ‘Big & Tall’.

    Adrian, (5’6 1/2″ slightly below average)

    Edit: It’s just occurred to me that it has been suggested you have unusually long head. It could be said that if you had what is considered to be a ‘normal’ cannon ball shaped head you’d be around 5’9″, which would make you the average height for a British man.

  12. Hi Bob,

    Interesting blog. On the point of litter, I also occassionally fish that local river of yours and was appalled when I went down last Saturday. In about the same place as your picture of the litter was a big pile of rubbish including a camp chair and loads of beer cans that had been set on fire and was still smoking mid afternoon. Such a shame as it is such a nice river! Also saw 4 lads with tackle from a certain community that made me concerned over future stock levls!

    Moved on to there after an early morning session on the Don was ruined by two idiots deciding that going out in a canoe and anchoring right in front! To think that I drive back to South Yorkshire most weekends away from the likes of the Great Ouse… I must be mad!

    Anyway, Saturday’s situation was a rarity… so I’ll be back. Well done on your season so far, it’s going better than mine!

  13. Yes, Rich, I saw the campfire and the burning chair, too, and that’s not to mention the lager bottles and cans strewn all over. You know, I’d not shed a tear if fishing was banned on this stretch of river completely – let the canoeists have it!

    Perhaps then we’d give some folk a wake-up call as this popular walking area gives the general public a very bad perception of angling and anglers in general.

    I simply don’t wish to be tarred with the same brush.

  14. Hi Adrian,

    Well, do we need further evidence that short men have a greater propensity to develop a chip on their shoulder…?

    Unfortunately you miss the point entirely. My comments are not directed to ALL short-arses, just one in particular and bless him, he knows who he is and so does everyone else with the occasional exception. Like you.

    As for ‘Big & Tall’, I guess you’ll always have a ready supply of clothes available from Mothercare. πŸ˜‰

  15. Hi Bob,

    Just wanted to thank you for your link you put on your blog!! I’m well chuffed. Been getting Emails all week about it.

    I have added a link to your fantastic site, which unfortunately meant I had too many links. Goodbye BFW!



  16. I see there is a mention of Bob having a long head….

    That would be a possible indicator of him belonging to the Iberian Peninsular 1 genome that spawned the Celts.

    He most probably has a bone crest at the back of his skull as well.

    The IP1 blood group intermixed with the larger brained Neanderthaal more than other blood types hence the larger skull…and larger brain.

    So all in all it looks like Bob has a fair chunk of Celt in him

    Just like me :O)

  17. Bob just a comment about your (our)local river. Those lot aren’t anglers they are animals! Even worse is the fact that the bad weather doesn’t put them off so they are around all season, well actually all year as the close season does not exist in oik world. They are not content with wrecking just that part of the river they are now spreading their wings a few miles upstream. I think that they may be breeding in those tents. Talk about the shallow end of the gene pool. It is such a shame, it really is.

    I’m going to stay away this season I think, time was you could nip down for some peace and quiet at night, instead you find the Lambrini girls having a barbie (take that both ways as either could be true).

    For the record I am ashamed that I got involved in Barbel Wars IV. Like Dave I’d just had enough of the whole thing and wanted to lay my cards on the table and have done with it once and for all. I’ll try not to get all frothy at the mouth again. So pointless the lot of it.

    Since my last email I seem to have regained my enthusiasm albeit in a much less blinkered way than last season.


  18. Hi Conrad,

    I’m genuinely pleased to see you’re blogging again.

    Perhaps I should confess to reading it regularly but never leave a comment on the grounds that it would simply invite those whose lives appear to revolve around spite, bile and bitterness to kick off on your site as well.

    You don’t deserve that.

    The River Dearne situation saddens me. It is a very bad advertisment for angling and anglers. I guess I had the best of that river 20 years ago before the barbel arrived.

    Take a tip from me regarding what was clearly a case of burn-out. Catching lots of barbel by laying traps and mugging them in the dark is a million miles away from proper fishing. Have a change – both in methods and species – you’ll rekindle that spirit in no time.

    I’m off fishing in an hour or so and I haven’t a clue how I’m going to fish, or what for, but it won’t be with two radio aerials pointing skywards. Done that twice this season and I’m bored with it already…

    Take care.


  19. Good points well made. You’ll be pleased to know that I had my rod’s parallel to the bank on my last two outings and that I shall be touch legering using one rod on my next trip on a totally new venue where I have no clue where the ‘hot’ swims are.

    We both fished the Dearne back then, a bit lower down and usually with a pole for bream, chub and dace. It was very pleasant.

    I still enjoy fishing at night for the solitude that it often brings. Besides I’m rubbish and need all the help I can get!