What a hectic time of year this is! Since returning from Cyprus I’ve appeared on Tight Lines, spent five days in the Wye Valley, miraculously met five magazine and newspaper article deadlines, dealt with a mountain of visitor emails to the site and as I write I’m making arrangements to visit the Angling Direct store open day in Norwich this Saturday, then head over to the Thames, spend several days partying at mine and a friend’s birthday bashes and with a bit of luck I shall be doing a bit of predator fishing the following week.
Meanwhile stop pestering me with emails asking when the nexy blog is going up – I’m busy!!!
‘Come on bob get blogging lol, spoilt we were last month, and now nothing, to much fishing huh? Only joking mate!!!! Sites still the best fella, good work’ 🙂
I’m on with it Kev, but these things take time and the paid work has to take priority.
Compare the Meerkat Polaroid Dot Com
So much to write about this time, too. But let’s get one little bug bear out of the way. I am sick of reading questions on web sites from folk seeking the best polaroids. Polaroids are photographs. Instant photographs. They are not sun glasses. If you want to purchase sun glasses that enable you to see through the surface sheen on water you want some glasses with polarising lenses. Just type polarising lenses into Google and you’ll come up with 459,000 links in about 0.31 seconds.
I wear what I consider to be the finest fishing glasses available and they are made for me by a company called Optilabs. They are not cheap and I would strongly advise you NOT to buy cheap glasses. They scratch, have poorer optical quality and at worst they can actually damage your eyes.
Anyway, rant over, but just remember – it’s polarisedand NOT polaroid!
I blame the meerkats.
In The Bargain Basement
Mooching round a book shop the other day I came across a pile of John Wilson’s 60 Years An Anglerbooks. He may be the darling of Angling Times, Britain’s most famous and best loved angler, the greatest of all time, they say, but he’s still in the remaindered bin at just £4.99. No doubt it’s a bargain but as I’ve already read50 Years An Angler I bought an anthology of the late Spike Milligan’s work instead.
Salmon – By Spike Milligan (Condensed Animals, 1991)
In the River Tweed
You seem to swim
At such a speed
And really salmon
How I wish
You wouldn’t end up
On a dish
Now That’s A Session!
There’s no stopping Stu Walker at the moment. He’s so into his fishing and that’s bad news for the fish. Good job he can only get out once a week or he’d single handedly wreck the River Dove. His email read:
Was in the zone last night, perfect casting & accurate baiting paid off, first proper go on the “Big Boys Stretch”.
Red letter session 10.4, 10.10, 10.2, 10.8 and a new PB of 15lbs 11oz caught early morning stunning creature in the daylight, couple of really powerful runs, caught on a size 14 and a couple of small pellets.
Same fish as James had from differen’t swim.
I asked him, “Aren’t you bored with all that night stalking, yet?”
“That’s why I tried the new stretch.” He replied.
Watch out. He may be coming to a river near you soon.
A Pox On You Sir
Oh, before I forget. What is it with folk from Manchester – are they all slappers or plain sex maniacs? Arriving back in Manchester’s Airport Terminal there’s a huge sign up announcing free Chlamydia tests for all residents of Greater Manchester.
Just Greater Manchester…
Had to laugh when we filmed Tight Lines. It would be an understatement to say I was a little bit brown after all the fishing I’ve been doing not to mention the holiday, but they actually had to stop the filming at one point because they couldn’t get the colour balance of my face right on the screen! Fortunately I was wearing a toned down shirt. If it had been white they couldn’t have coped with the contrast!
It’s always good to catch up with Keith Arthur and there’s never a shortage of things to discuss. Unfortunately you only get to see a few snippets on TV but we generally have a right old chinwag beforehand in the office and the canteen.
I did receive a few emails suggesting Keith hogged the show and I didn’t get a chance to say much but it’s honestly not Keith’s fault. The show is very tightly scripted and those chats we have are timed to last no more than what you actually see. TV is like that. Shows are scripted and the amount of ad-libbing you can fit in is so limited. Of course it would be nice to ramble on for hours about this and that, and I’m sure most anglers would be enthralled, but TV is about the soundbite.
Keith did tell me he’d been chatting with Wayne Swinscoe about the Trent. ‘Swinno’ reckons the Embankment is fishing amazingly well for roach on hemp and tares. I could fancy some of that. Mind you, I have another stretch in mind for a spot of hemp and tare although I could be chasing shadows, I really need to get my finger out.
Out Of Control
You may be aware I used to promote rock concerts in the 1970’s and had a rather amazing time. Well, I was contacted recently by a guy called Tony Beasley who has a great passion for the era despite not being there at the time.
We chatted a few times on the phone and exchanged a few emails, filling in gaps and so on. The outcome is a fascinating book called ‘Out Of Control: Punk Rock at the Doncaster Outlook and Rotherham Windmill 1976-1978′ and it compliments the ‘Our Generation’ trilogy which also features first hand accounts from the era.
I loved Out Of Control but I have to say it’s really weird to read a book written about something you personally played a major role in creating, reading quotes by you (and about you) from a distance of some 30 years.
Honestly, it’s really, really weird.
Well worth buying though.
Meanwhile, Down On The Wye
The second 2010 ‘Wye Valley Experience’ took place last week and I had the absolute privilege of guiding and coaching another sell-out bunch of anglers. It was interesting to see that once again we had a near 50% re-booking rate which suggests we are getting something right. No more till next year I’m afraid but you’ll hear about it first on this web site.
The fishing was challenging, as it always in August, but every single guest landed a barbel on the very first day, with several making multiple catches and young Leighton Ormerod even managed a PB weighing 9lb 8oz. As the week progressed the numbers began to rack up and some cracking chub were caught, too, and even a carp!
Throughout the entire week I never heard a single moan or complaint and we were able to fit in a number of watercraft walks as well as helping individual anglers achieve personal goals, be that catching on a float, free-lining meat, floating bread and so on.
However there was one unfortunate incident that left me very concerned. It should also concern every single one of those ‘amateur’ guides who take folk fishing. One of our party fell over on Tuesday. It was an innocuous fall on a pebble beach but he fell heavily enough to break his ankle. That meant getting an ambulance onto the river bank and whisking him off to Hereford hospital.
Afterwards he had to be collected and driven back to the hotel, but no-one was insured to drive his (commercial) vehicle. He also needed taking to the hospital the following day plus we needed to insure and collect his van. The logistics and distances involved were significant. However, and bless him for this, he accepted it as a simple act of fate, despite the fact he is self employed and will not be earning for a while as a direct result. He also needed to drag his wife up to Wales from Somerset, with a friend, so he could get his van, himself and his son home.
But what if he’d decided to go down the claims route, the no win, no fee ambulance chasers? Sadly we live in a claims culture and there are folk who look to claim at any and every opportunity. How many angling guides carry accident or public liability insurance? Do any have a written safety policy? Carry out a site risk assessment? Deliver a comprehensive safety brief? And most importantly, do any guides ask their guests to sign a disclaimer document before the day commences?
Looking back I guess we’ve had at least one slipping, tripping or falling accident on every single fishing course I have run. It goes with the territory, especially on rivers. Damp grass, loose stones, excited anglers, we all fall down, don’t we? My advice to anyone who decides to set up a guiding service hoping to make a few quick bucks out of their fellow anglers is be very careful and ultimately be aware of what you are letting yourself in for.
An angler might shrug his shoulders and say it was his own stupid fault, but what if someone was to fall in a river and drown? Would his dependants be so generous? Could be your house or life savings at stake. Think about it.
Anyway, I don’t wish to dwell on the negatives, instead I’ll simply share what our guests have written about their time on the river:
“Once again I would like to thank you for all your help and tips, also the the walk and talk on river craft which was excellent I will now look at a river more confident in what I am looking for. I think your course was head and shoulders above others I have been on (four different guides). A great bunch of guys and also good company. Keep up the good work.”
“Thanks a lot for the great experience. We hope that you will run the course next year as we’ll definitely want to come again.”
You went out of your way to make us all welcome and to provide advice and assistance whenever you could. I was particularly impressed with the way you sorted out the bookings for the fishing “beats” so that all the anglers could have a good day’s fishing.”
The Wye is a wonderful river matched only by the scenery. The chub and barbel fishing was superb. I, for one, have gone home having had some great fishing and having learnt a lot. This, in no small way, is down to both you and Bob.”
“Just a quick mail to thank you, Peter and all the staff at the Caer Beris Manor Hotel for making me feel so welcome on the recent Wye Experience break. The fishing, tuition, beautiful surroundings and guiding was second to none, and the food and barbeque laid on by Peter was fantastic. Along with this the format of the break and great mix of fellow anglers made it a enjoyable break that I hope to repeat in the near future.”
It’s so nice to hear from satisfied customers especially when they come up with constructive suggestions. This bunch enjoyed the bank side barbecue so much we’re going to spend two evenings on the bank next year instead of just the one.
Footnote: The USA has 1.1 million lawyers, that’s one lawyer for ever 279 people. The UK has 1 for every 477, in France it’s 1,363 while over in Japan it’s 1 for every 5,518. Who says we don’t live in a claims culture?
Come On You Reds
Well, the football season’s back and Donny are lurching into their first injury crisis already! Still we’ve made a positive start with an opening day away win at Preston and a draw at home to Bristol City a week later (we was mugged!). Okay we dipped out of the League Cup or whatever it’s called these days along with half the other Championship teams. Bad enough the Premiership sides treat it with scorn but when the Championship clubs start fielding trialists and youth team players you have to question what’s the point of it? No one really turns up to watch either.
Poor old Leeds came down to earth with a bump on opening day losing to Derby County who are by no means what you would call a great Championship side. But why was anyone surprised?
Watching Derby carve up the Leeds defence must have given Grayson nightmares. I genuinely want to see Leeds do okay in this division. In fact I want all the Yorkshire/ Humberside teams to do well simply to perpetuate the great derby games and the boost to gates and interest this brings. We need Sheffield Wednesday back soon, too.
But Leeds are going to have a torrid time if Uncle Ken doesn’t dip his hand in his pocket soon. Loanees might achieve survival but what they’ve got right now will not get them within a mile of the play-offs as all these TV pundits and so-called footballing experts have been predicting.
I listened to both Bobby Gould and Jason Cundy giving their views on the Championship opening day fixtures. The response to Donny’s win at Preston was ‘Where did that result come from? I didn’t see that one coming!’ What!!!!
Perhaps they should watch a bit more Championship football or maybe drop in on the Championship Fan Forums because no-one round here was shocked and to be honest not many Preston fans were, either. Please note Mr Gould, Tom Finney has retired.
Donny are no longer a Conference team but at least Steve Claridge is clued up enough to recognise that. On the Football League show he said, ‘There are two things about Donny. You either enjoy playing for them ar you enjoy watching them.’ Thank you Steve. Now do us all a favour and tell your pundit mates and the programme controllers that Eddie Gray, Billy Bremner, Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter no longer play for Leeds.
And can we see some of the better Championship teams featured on the live TV games instead of Leeds, Leeds, and bl**dy Leeds because if we want to watch ‘All Out Yesterdays’ we can flip over to Dave or the History Channel!
I’ll leave you with this very short clip of Billy Sharp, the Terminator:
It was created by a young fan who’s only 16-years-old but one day would like to work in the club’s media department. If anyone’s listening, snap him up now. Imagine what he could do with a bit of training, experience and access to the raw footage.
Footnote: The clip is no longer available due to a copyright claim by the Football League. The famous tax-dodging image rights, no doubt. How pathetic. A kid, and yes, I mean a kid, does to a fantastic job in producing a piece of truly creative art combining the Terminator robotic face with streaming text calculations as Sharpey picks his spot and scores. Great sci-fi effects and a superb music selection that lasted all of about 90 seconds which promotes football in general and Doncaster Rovers specifically.
Whilst I was away on holiday I quite got into audio books. I’ve had a few on my iPod for the past year or so but never really got around to listening to them but this time I made the effort and I can tell you it was a lot easier than squinting in the sunlight trying to actually read. I’m a bit of a James Patterson fan on the quiet and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the rays whilst listening to Swimsuit.
Last weekend Sue and I sat down and watched Girl With The Dragon Tattooon Sky Box Office. We’ve got the book kicking around somewhere but so far neither of us has read it. The film is superb, despite being subtitled throughout. A real gripper with nice sub plots. I didn’t realise the book was only the first in a trilogy but imagine my surprise to find books two and three in audio format in the remaindered bookshop previously mentioned for just £4.99 each.
That will be my next project when I get a few hours to spare.
If Carlsberg Did Litter…
This drink can (Err, who wants to drink warm lager when they’re barbel fishing?) was squashed and hidden inside a fallen gate post not 30 yards from the fishery car park at Whitney Court, a prime Wye & Usk Foundation fishery. The field was full of cattle.
It would have been easier, one would think, to simply drop it in the boot of the angler’s car, but no, it had to be dumped on the riverbank.
Some of my fellow piscators leave me utterly dismayed. Take it home folks!
Bring Back The Roach
The rural French are not happy about wolves and I’m not talking about Mick McCarthy’s Black Country mob.
Wild wolves have been introduced to the Pyrenees and they’re spreading. Killing sheep as they go. Shepherds groups have fought ferocious battles with pro-wolf activists and last month the Government authorised a wolf cull in the Haute-Alpes after 30 sheep were killed. There were road blocks to protest against 17 attacks by wolves in broad daylight during June alone.
However the Government has halted plans to reintroduce more bears but the ones they’ve released so far are breeding successfully. Cubs have been spotted.
Wild boar are killing pets, destroying crops and even attacking people. That’s another species which has already been re-established in the wild here in the UK. We currently have breeding populations in Sussex, Dorset and the Forest of Dean.
It’s easy, as anglers, to forget that otters are merely the thin end of a very thick wedge. Still, one day we might yet see the re-introduction of roach…