So much to share and so little time. Afraid I’m racing to cram this blog in between fishing sessions and mountains of work. So much for a leisurely retirement. A commission to write a piece for Advanced Pole Fishing set me thinking about how much time I spend pole fishing compared to, say, 25 years ago when I regularly match fished. And then I realised I’d set up a pole on every one of my last six trips…
Make that 7 after this morning’s trip.
I spent a lovely afternoon at Alderfen Fisheries, not fishing on the Specimen Lake which produces 2lb rudd, 8lb tench and double figure bream, but fishing the Match Lake which I’d say has more tench and bream than carp. Or maybe it’s how I fish that attracts them.
Well, I filled my boots, as usual, but a strong cross wind had me making more than the normal amount of miscasts resulting in a fair few tangles, missed bites, dropped fish, you name it.
“Well, you’ve had a lot of practise.” Came his reply.
Be warned, don’t go to Alderfen unless you can take the banter. Check out the web site for details of tickets and rules.
I’ve even had a couple of trips to the Stainforth and Keadby Canal which always fishes well for bream throughout May.
I fished with Bag ‘Em Soffits on the hook over their soft feed pellets and although I would have caught a lot more fish had I switched around with the hook baits I was happy enough to tempt a slab every half hour.
After all, how many do you want to catch?
Bank Holiday Monday saw me at Lindholme Fisheries where I was running the semi final of a competition I organise through a local paper to promote club match fishing. The field was made up of anglers who had all won a qualifying match and I had nearly 200 anglers taking part. Not bad when the fishery’s open match failed to attract a field of 20.
At £50 a section, £400 to the winner down to £100 for tenth place, no-one went home unhappy, well except those who had to fish facing the wind when the hailstones came bouncing down. That happened on several occasions and it wasn’t pleasant.
Just a quick question. When did you ever hear of a club match that paid out over £200 to the 6th placed angler?
I’ll report the match separately when I get a chance.
Not a lot happening on the Internet forums just now but if you fancy reading a decent blog, try this one.
And I suppose it wouldn’t be a Bob blog without a new Bob T-shirt….
Old Man And The Ceramic Sailfish
You probably won’t remember but a couple of blog’s ago I recommended Ernest Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea as being a cracking little read. I used the softback cover of the book to illustrate the piece but when I visited Grand Cayman recently I spotted several excellent ceramic images that illustrate just how folk fished for marlin (as described in the book) when a marlin was a meal and sport fishing wasn’t even on the radar.
That’s right, they used hand lines and rowing boats.
Makes those boring TV programmes where rich folk troll around in very expensive boats with outriggers, fighting chairs and every gadget known to man all seem a bit tame, eh?
DVD UPDATE – VOLUMES 3&4 ARE AVAILABLE NOW!!!!!
The third and fourth volumes of Barbel days And Ways went on sale this week and I have to say pre-orders from existing customers took us a little by surprise considering there had been no pre-publicity nor a single review. Orders were placed on blind faith and satisfaction with the previous DVDs.
Well, all pre-orders were dispatched on Tuesday, as promised and by Wednesday night the first comment appeared on a the Barbel Adventures forum. It read:
If any one of you think for one moment that you know it all about Barbel fishing, then think again, because these last two DVD’s will open up your mind and give you sleepless nights thinking about new ideas and will they work and put more fish in your waiting landing net than you have managed in previous years. As I have said previously, I have caught numerous Barbel over the years but if these DVD’s had been about 10 years earlier then I am sure my catch rate would have doubled.
He said a lot more besides, all positive stuff, too. Thank you sir.
If you want to purchase any of our DVDs or simply watch the trailers, click here.
Dynamite Is Blown Up Out Of All Proportion
There are some sad folk around you know. They’re so desperate to meddle in other folks’ lives I suspect they forget to have one themselves. Over on BFW there’s a thread running to umpteen pages that seems to be little more than a veiled character assassination. The debate centres around three elements. Dynamite Baits, stillwater barbel and Steve Pope. Arguably you could throw in the closed season because that’s the time of year when these arguments prevail.
The logic(?) runs like this. Once upon a time (was it really 15 years ago?), someone called Billy Makin stocked a lake at Makins Fisheries with a few barbel – the origin of which was somewhat dubious – however, Makin no longer has any connection with the fishery. However the Dynamite Baits logo can be found on the Fishery’s web site home page indicating a commercial connection between the bait company and the fishery. And of course, Steve Pope is known to fish with Dynamite Baits on occasion and that is clearly an unforgivable sin.
Now you can add any number of knobs and whistles to this thread, but that’s what it boils down to.
So what are we actually saying here? Should all anglers who like to catch barbel boycott Dynamite products? Should barbel anglers form a picket line outside the front gate of Makins until Dynamite end their association with the fishery? Should Steve Pope refuse to use Dynamite Baits, and if so, why? And who’s going to orchestrate this protest?
The Dynamite link above will take you to the Team Dynamite page on the company’s web site where you’ll find an array of notable anglers who endorse and use Dynamite products; anglers like Terry Hearn, Frank Warwick, Jim Shelley, Nick Helleur, Martin Bowler, Ian Welch, Mick Brown, Paul Garner, Tony Gibson, Adrian Eves, Mark Pollard, Steve Ringer and countless others both in the UK and from around the world. If you look hard enough you’ll also find Steve Pope…
Are we supposed to damn all these fine anglers including one who has held the barbel record, not once, but twice because it is alleged that some barbel were stocked in there 15 years ago by someone who has no connection with the place whatsoever?
And do you know what? I’ll gamble that Dynamite Baits doesn’t actually make pellets on their farm in Leicestershire. I’ll gamble they’re bought in by the lorry load from a supplier like Skrettins and re-bagged/ repackaged/ call it what you will. So do we then go back to source and picket Skrettins?
Hang on a minute, who else do Skrettins supply?
That’s right, just about everyone else in the trade.
Steve’s profile mentions an association with Free Spirit. Are you lot going to throw away your Seeker rods in a fit of moral outrage?
Now I was at Lindholme on Monday, or should I say Garbolino Lindholme. That fishery contains barbel so perhaps we all have to boycott Garbolino. What about Daiwa Hallcroft? Shimano Fellindre? Etc, etc, etc. Where do you draw the line? What is the real agenda?
The Makins web site claims that Lake One now contains barbel to 12lb and if that’s the case then surely it’s an argument that completely destroys the premiss that barbel can’t survive for long in stillwaters, or in heavily stocked waters or anywhere there are lots of carp? If these fish, reputedly stolen from rivers in the first place, are still going strong they must be, what, 20-years-old?
Or are we attacking a company and an individual over fish that don’t actually exist in a fishery where the man who introduced the non-existent fish sold up and moved on at least 5 years ago, which in turn was before Dynamite Baits had any involvement?
Of course, we all know what the agenda really is. It’s a cheap and nasty way of trying to undermine the integrity of an individual in a way we only ever see on the Internet forums. Frankly it’s cowardice personified.
Now I am well aware that Steve’s unelected role as Barbel Society Chairman upsets a lot of folk and I’m not being indiscreet if I say that he and I have spoken about it privately on more than one occasion.
I’ve said frequently that he’s served the role well but it’s probably time to move on. Fred Crouch could be given an honorary role, Steve could be rewarded for his endeavours with the figurehead President role and new blood should then be brought in at the sharp end to do the hard work and finish, once and for all, the sniping and back biting.
But when all the dust settles, is there anyone out there who has the determination and passion required to take on the Chairman’s role? Who is prepared to shake up the whole organisation, introduce a new constitution and drive it forwards? Who is prepared to recognise that the angling world has moved on since the inception of the Society? Will recognise that some of the edicts the Society has issued over the years are plain wrong? Then make the necessary changes which will be very unpopular in some quarters, and then put themselves up for election whenever the mob is unhappy?
Steve’s had a good innings though even he must realise there comes a time when, for the best interests of all concerned, and for democracy, you stand aside or you stand for election. It doesn’t mean he’s done a bad job or his association with the Society and the people in it has to end. In fact he can do pretty much exactly what he does now. He can support the new man.
Unfortunately if he doesn’t do something soon then the bad feelings will grow, the distrust will be magnified until at some point the Society rips itself apart and is no more. And that would be a crying shame. Steve could step aside at the Conference this very weekend, on his own terms. He could announce his exit strategy, propose changes to the constitution and usher in a new dawn whilst still being part and parcel of the overall procedings.
But he won’t, pride won’t let him. He doesn’t want to give in to folk that he probably regards as idiots, and multi-page destructive threads will continue to feed the fantasies of those jackals who are so desperate to bring him, and ultimately the Society down. It’s not pleasant. It’s not even rational and it’s driven by the ill-informed.
Nevertheless, it’s time for change. Time to show true leadership and to put the cause before the self. Give it up Steve, leave constructively, with dignity, on your terms, and then enjoy your retirement.
Here’s a date for your diary.
Climax Tackle Open Day
The 7th annual Climax Tackle open day takes place next weekend and if you’re in the market for bargain tackle then Dronfield’s the place to head for. Just print off the voucher and it will entitle you to 10% discount on almost every item in the shop provided you turn up in person to use it. The voucher can be used from Friday 21st May through to Sunday 23rd.
Please note that the voucher is valid on the dates specified only and must be used in store. It cannot be exchanged for cash and certain specified sale price products are excluded from voucher use. It does not apply to Internet sales.
If you happen to go along on Saturday 22nd you’ll be in for a real treat. In addition to the 10% off you’ll be able to tuck in to free hamburgers, beer, wine and soft drinks, plus the staff will be handing out goody bags. That was NOT a misprint. You don’t have to spend a penny in the store to be plied with FREE food and drinks.
If that alone isn’t enough to tempt you, how about the chance you’ll get to meet up with and pick the brains of the day’s special guests – 4 times World Champion Bob Nudd and Jan Porter.
The shop is situated on Stubley Hollow, Dronfield, between Chesterfield and Sheffield (post code for Sat Navs – S18 1PP) or telephone 01246 291155 Carp Department (press option 1). Alternatively 01246 412233 Match & General Department (press option 2)
A Musical Interlude
Despite the fact that one sad individual complains because I dare write about anything other than fishing in this blog (so he can f*** right off then! :-o) regular readers will know I love to share my passion for music and seeing as I didn’t include a playlist last time out I’m goingto share a very special one with you this time.
Here is a random collection of tracks by one of my favourite bands, Dishwalla. If you’re short of time and only listen to one track, just click on Angels and Devils or maybe Candleburn and I’ll guarantee if you do you’ll want to hear more.
It’s said that the band’s name comes from a Hindi word that means, person who provides cable television – okay, right!!!
The band has a page on Myspace and has released five albums.
Just as an aside, the band’s Opaline album features artwork by Michael Godard. Now I doubt many of you would have a clue who he is but would you believe that he’s the biggest selling artist in America? Then again you’ve probably never heard of Vladimir Tretchikoff either and he happens to have sold more prints of his Chinese Lady than any other artist has in the world (if that makes sense).
Familiar with it…?
Anyway, back to the subject of Godard. Godard’s a bit of a legend, you might say. The forward in his book was penned by Ozzie Osbourne (Sharon, more like!) and he’s carved out a niche with zany prints, many of which are based on themes of martinis, gambling and fruit (olives in particular but he’s got a certain penchant for strawberries, too) and pool sharks.
And his wife is certainly someone who could make you go weak at the knees…
But I digress, mainly because I’m trying to get far enough down the page to squeeze in a couple of images. Godard lives the rock lifestyle now, that’s for sure but don’t dismiss his works at the first glance. There’s definitely truck loads of sardonic humour in every piece. Take his flying aces as a simple introduction:
Oh well, must press on. But just in case you’re interested…
I watched the Wednesday versus Palace game on Sunday and as dramatic climaxes to a season goes it certainly hit all the right notes, but it wasn’t hard to see why Wednesday finished third bottom of the Championship. Forget the sinew straining effort, the blood and guts commitment and passionate desire, they were simply lackingin any kind of class. As exhilarating as it was at times we were treated to a hundred minutes or so of huffing, puffing and hoofball. Football is played on grass, lads. You create space and pass the ball around.
Although Palace weren’t much better, at least they had a bit of organisation. And let’s face it, they were only in that perilous position because of a 10 points deduction having gone into administration half way through the season (better than half way through your final game, eh Leeds?).
Folk should also remember that the Wednesdays pulled off four wins in Irvine’s first 4 games when he took over from Brian Laws – classic new manager syndrome – without which they’d have been relegated weeks ago. And lest you’ve not realised, Brian Laws has achieved an ignominious double this season by managing two clubs that were both relegated!
But back to Sunday. It’s a sorry old state of affairs at Hillsborugh but I’d love to see them bounce straight back up because local derbies like the two games against the Owls are one of the elements that have added spice to the Championship for us. And we’ll be needing those six points next season to survive.
Unfortunately they could easily be staring administration in the face themselves now…
Come August little old Doncaster Rovers will be playing in a higher league than Sheffield Wednesday for the first time – not just in my lifetime but for the first time ever. A draw away to Swansea on Sunday saw us finish in our highest ever league position in the overall football structure (32nd). We’ll be attracting glory hunters at this rate!
News From The Lower Leagues
As Leeds do everything within their power to screw up promotion again – losing their penultimate game while Millwall failed to capitalise for the umpteenth time – it’s good to see their lovely fans have arrived prematurely on the Championship web forums announcing to the Doncaster fans that ‘our’ cup final is back on again next year. Is there any wonder folk treat them with contempt?
But surely it’s a bit premature to be celebrating promotion? Especially if you consider Leeds have lost SEVEN of their last 10 League One games. But they’ll pull through, I’m sure, because the boot is now on the other foot. So listen up Leeds fans, Bristol Rovers is YOUR cup final and if you raise your game enough you could even win and cover yourselves in glory.
On the other hand, there’s every chance Bristol, with nothing to play for, will simply turn up, go through the motions, sacrifice the 3 points and then head off on their summer break. After all, they probably remember what happened last time Leeds had a disappointing result in their final game. Hundreds of rampaging fans chasing down the pitch to get at the Ipswich fans. They wouldn’t want that, now would they?
And let’s not forget that final day at Bournemouth, either, when Leeds actually won the game, and the league title and still rioted…
Bristol wouldn’t want to get caught up in anything like that, so perhaps they’ll do everyone a favour and roll over. Come on Leeds, you can do it; destiny is in your own hands, just 4 wins out of 11 and you can become legends, have an open-topped bus ride through the city and everything.
Of course, we’ll never hear the last of it on the Championship forums, will we? And you watch them go rubbing Sheffield Wednesday’s noses in it as they head back to where they believe they belong, rubbing shoulders with the Wigans and Boltons.
Hey guys, learn a lesson from history – don’t do it again- show some clasand dignity for a change.
And I’ll close with a nod to another club with a great history that has fallen on hard times, gone into admin and been deducted points, but their fans have impressed me. Crystal Palace supporters have started a fund to raise enough cash to pay-off the club’s £16,000 St John’s Ambulance debt. They’ve already raised half the outstanding amount. Perhaps that shabby Mr Bates might like to dip his hand in his pocket and kick off the second half…
Here’s the link
The Flip Side Of The Coin…
The Premier League is a wonderful product but it’s as far removed from the grass roots of real football as you can get. Football is the ballet of the working man, not the prawn sarnie brigade and the lower down the pyramid you go the more it means to folk. Rod Hutchinson is a Grimsby fan for his sins. He’ll be going through hell right now as his team teeter on the brink of dropping out of League Two into the Conference.
It’s hard to feel too sorry for Man U fans who live in Somerset when they don’t win the Premiership or for Man City’s oil sheiks, should they not qualify for the Champions League because real pain andhardship is the preserve of followers of proper grass roots football. Take this post by a Grimsby Town fan on their message board:
Now I’m as optimistic as anyone when it comes to this t**t of a football club, but after this afternoon’s latest capitulation it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee – we’re f****d. Down. Goners. Non-league. To be honest I didn’t know how it would affect me, it’s not like it hasn’t been coming, but tonight I just feel absolutely deflated. Absolutely f***ing devastated.
I can’t get away from these emotions, I just want the whole world to just f*** off and leave me alone. To help me come to terms with this whole mess, I’ve decided to compile a list of everyone and everything I want to f*** off most of all.
For starters, work can f*** off. If they think I’m going to be there on Monday morning they’vegot another thing coming. No way am I goingin to spend time dealing with c***s that I can barely stand beingwith when I’m in a good mood, let alone this crushing feeling of anger, frustration and outright metaphorical-kicked-in-the-bollocks-ness.
Plastic Premier League fans can f*** off. I just spoke to my Manchester United supporting neighbour (who incidentally, has been to Old Trafford before – twice) about Town’s predicament. You know what he said? “I know how you feel; it’s like when we failed to win a trophy in ‘95”.
NO IT F***ING WELL IS NOT!
He no longer has a face.
The girlfriend can definitely f*** off. Her best attempt at consolation – “I don’t know why you’re bothered; you knew they were s**t anyway”. Yes love, but they’re MY s**t team. They’ve been MINE for pretty much as long as I’ve been able to wipe my own a***, and they’ll be MINE for as long as I’m alive (or at least, until I’m no longer able to wipe my own a***). Truth is, watching my team win does things for me that no woman can. If push comes to shove and I’m horny, I can always have a w**k.
Barrow can f*** off. I’ve been all over the country and beyond to watch my team, but frankly I just don’t have the stomach to visit any town which makes Scunthorpe look like f***ing St. Tropez.
Dad, you can f*** off. This is your fault. Your idea. You introduced me to this shower of s**t. “Come with me to Blundell Park”, you said, “Come and support the boys”. What could I do? I was f***ing four, what choice did I have? Why not get me hooked on Heroin whilst you were at it? I could havegone with mum shopping for bras and knickers at British Home Stores, but no, you knew best.
Granted, I’d have probably grown up a homosexual but surely even being simultaneously buggered two guys named Seth and Quentin couldn’t hurt like this.
Seeing as we’re on the subject of homosexuality, Gok Wan can f*** off. No particular reason, I just plain don’t like the annoying, goggle-eyed c**t.
The F.A. can f*** off. Not for supplying us, week-in, week-out, with inept referee after inept referee, but for imposing sensible financial rules on all clubs in League Two. How many clubs in this division have been into administration this season? Not one. How many points deducted? Not one. How the f*** else are we supposed to avoid relegation – footballing merit? We didn’t have to last season, so why spoil the fun now?
The World Cup can f*** off – I don’t care anymore.
My local pizza shop can fúck off. I ordered a 12” Pepperoni over an hour ago, and where the fúck is it? Are they trying to f***ingfly it to me or something?
Sky Sports can f*** off. Nothing personal, but there’ll be little need for me next season with no Town to be found anywhere. Ooh, Bolton versus Wolves, LIVE. I think I’ll pass…
The radio can f*** off. On my way home from the match, whilst driving down the M180, I caught three completely separate stations playing ‘Down’ by Jay Sean at the exact same f**ing time. The song’s the best part of a year old, how the f*** does that happen by coincidence!?
My nan’s old lucky Buddha that used to sit in her front room can f*** off. When I was a kid I held it in my hands and wished for Town to be in the Premier League. I meant the proper one you fat c**t, not the one occupied by Histon, Eastbourne and for f***k’s sake, Ebbsfleet, wherever that is.
Tonight can f*** off. I’ve had enough of trying to cope with my emotions; the time has come for oblivion. I haven’t kept any booze in the house since an occasion known only as ‘That Night’ by myself and the missus, but suffice to say that the toilet duck and luminous blue mouthwash are looking like stronger propositions by the minute.
Most of all though, the last 10 years can f*** off. In that time I’ve watched my team fall from the top of the Championship into non-league nothingness. We’ve gone from one great big f*** up to the next without even coming up for air, and today is just the big, f*** off cherry on top.
One thing I’m sure of though is that we WILL be back. When it comes down to it, a football club is basically just a set of supporters, and frankly what I’ve learned in the last few years is that this one has some of the best. We’ve had to put up with some s**t, haven’t we boys, but in spite of all of that the future is still bright – it’s f**king black and white.
Grimsby ‘til I die…”
Crikey, all that grief and they’ve still got a chance of staying up on the final day!
Doesn’t your heart bleed for those poor old Liverpool fans who will have to make do with competing in the Europa League next season?