2010 – Mid-January Blog

Get Out There And Give It A Go!

In the last blog I showed it was quite possible to catch fish in these arctic conditions providing you are determined enough. Either that or you’re completely bonkers! But seriously, you really can go fishing in what appear to be terrible conditions and face one of angling’s toughest challenges but always remember – no fish is worth risking your life over. If you are going to brave the weather then take a few simple precautions.

Many commercial fisheries will have smashed the ice on their lakes and although it won’t be the most exciting days fishing you’ll ever have these heavily stocked waters will still produce – especially if you find where the fish are shoaled because fish do tend to shoal up tight in cold weather. Surprisingly you can catch carp on bread popped up several feet from the bottom which sounds weird but it’s just a case of the fish finding the warmest band of water.

We’re going to face major problems this winter unless there’s a dramatic upturn in temperatures. Back in that terrible winter of 1963 whole lakes were wiped out after being iced-over for a prolonged period. Shallow weedy waters are most at risk because rotting vegetation deoxygenates the water which may cause massive fish kills.

The up side is we’ll be seeing a lot less cormorants next year with a bit of luck. Unfortunately we’ll be seeing less herons, grebes and kingfishers, too. Perhaps this is what we’ve been waiting for on the cormorant front. The Government did us no favours so Mother Nature is lending us a big hand. If thousands of cormorants perish it won’t be a bad thing and if we then get a good spawning season with no flash floods after the fry hatch then wild river fish stocks might see a resurgence.

Unfortunately barbel will be pretty inactive right now making them easy prey for otters.

I’m sure lots of anglers are suffering a severe dose of cabin fever but now the roads are fairly clear there’s no reason why you can’t go fishing. Small rivers would be my choice but most rivers will start to produce a few fish as they acclimatise to the cold. Just and take your time getting there and back safely.

Typical baits like maggots, casters and worms are a waste of time in severe conditions but a pinch of flake is invariably a winner. Try feeding tiny pinches of liquidised bread and offering punched flake on the hook beneath a stick float. It may sound odd but roach and chub will frequently intercept a moving bait while they ignore a static, legered bait.

Bites tend to come in the first couple of trots down or not at all. Consequently you should keep on the move, spending no more than ten minutes in each swim. Chub and roach are prime targets but if you aren’t fussy, game fish like trout and grayling will feed in any temperatures. And yes, I did say grayling is a game fish. Coarse fish don’t have adipose fins, do they?

With today’s modern angling clothing there’s no excuse for feeling cold. Last time I went out I removed my gloves half way through the day because my hands were as warm as toast.

If you fancy giving fishing in the snow here are 12 top tips:

1. Check your brakes, fluids and fuel before setting out and always carry a shovel in the car

2. Take hot drinks in at least two flasks just in case one breaks

3. Wear layered, thermal clothing that’s not too tight

4. Always wear a hat – you lose most of your body heat through the top of your head

5. Insulated wellies or ‘moon boots’ will keep your feet warm in the coldest temperatures. Alternatively wear a good pair of waterproof hiking boots

6. Keep away from the water’s edge – that platform of snow might be sat on a clump of grass hanging over fresh air and water

7. Plan short sessions so you never get too cold

8. If you do get cold and start feeling sleepy, pack in straight away and get yourself back to the car – it could be hypothermia!

9. Take the minimum amount of tackle, stay mobile and keep trying different swims. The fish will be shoaled up and you have to find them – they will not come to you. Moving around helps keep you warm

10. Carry two towels and make sure you keep your hands dry

11. Bread is the number one cold water bait – take liquidised feed and punched flake for the hook

12. If you’re not enjoying it, pack up and go home

It may all sound extreme but it’s no dafter than taking your dog for a walk in the snow, sledging or skiing in the Alps. It’ll clear away the cobwebs and you’ll feel brilliantly refreshed when you eventually get home. Trust me, a hot toddy, drunk while sitting by a roaring fire afterwards, reflecting on the day you’ve just enjoyed will taste like Ambrosia, nectar of the Gods.

Go on, give it a go.

The Good Old Days

I well remember the winter of 1963 that is mentioned at least 15 times in every news bulletin at the moment because I actually went fishing – once. Keith Gale was a mate and his family owned Gale’s tackle shop in Bentley. It was Keith’s idea that we went to fish the Torne, near Crowle, in the snow.

At 14-years-old Keith was slightly older and more experienced than me, plus, living in a tackle shop meant he got lots of information. You also should consider that clothing wasn’t anything like what we have today, but we wrapped up with two pairs of jeans, multiple layers of T-shirts and jumpers and an anorak. This was the time before moon boots were invented so you had un-insulated wellies – the coldest footwear ever invented.

To reach the Torne meant catching a bus to Doncaster and then a train to Crowle. The river was only about a mile away so a brisk walk soon had us on the banks. Unfortunately we hadn’t thought the plan through very well because the river was frozen solid. Indeed we walked across it!

However, we had a long time to wait for our train back so we walked and walked until we found a road bridge and guess what? The river was ice free for a few yards beneath it and that’s where we fished.

I’d love to tell you we caught a few fish but the chances of that were slim to say the least, but at least we gave it our best shot.

Can you imagine two kids doing what we did today?

Barbel Wars – The Site!

Before I launch into my long winded and probably ill-considered response to the goadings of ‘Fred the Beard’ (see further down the blog) I have to give credit where it’s due and take my hat off to the creative talents behind BFAMW as they’ve has excelled themselves by providing the world with its very own dedicated Barbel Wars web site.

Sheer bloody genius and not before time!

There is absolutely no reason why every other site should be clogged up with the cock measuring that goes on in the name of barbel by the same (limited) bunch of argumentative tossers! If only the moderators on every other web site/ forum would agree to divert their barbel wars traffic straight to this single collecting point the Internet would be a much nicer place, don’t you think?

But, you know what, when a bunch of reprobates like the BFAMWers give up on you, going so far as to set up a site just for you, it’s maybe time to call it a day with all the back biting once and for all.

The UK’s Biggest Rod Caught Fish

Have you any clue as to what the biggest fish ever caught from the British Isles is? Well, if you thought it was that 100lb catfish from Joke Lodge, think again. You’re miles out. You see, depending on who you believe the biggest fish caught on rod and line from these fair isles weighed either 851lb or 852lb which is about as heavy as a small car.

“What?” You may ask in astonishment.

Well, it’s true. Back in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s it was possible to catch monster blue fin tuna off the Yorkshire coast and Scarborough was at the epicentre of big game fishing. Huge tuna followed the shoals of herring inshore where big game anglers would catch them from tiny rowing boats.

Alas the herring and tuna shoals of the North Sea have been trawled almost to extinction and it’s doubtful they’ll ever recover.

Back then Scarborough’s Grand Hotel played host to David Niven, Errol Flynn and Lord Rothschild, to name but three of the luminaries who were drawn to Yorkshire by these amazing monsters.

The debate over which fish was heavier caused massive controversy, one side claiming the rope used to hoist the 852-pounder onto the scales was wet countered by claims that the rope use to hoist the 851-pounder was thicker. However you look at it, these were giants.

You can witness the fish and hear the story first hand from folk who were actually present by clicking ‘Play’ below. The Tuna piece starts about 7 minutes in if you want to go straight to it.

Be warned though. If you like your field sports you could be hooked into the channel for many hours but it beats watching the soaps.

By all acounts the shifting path of the gulf stream has brought Tuna back to our shores and a number of massive specimens have been landed off the coast of Donegal, Ireland, recently. In true Irish logic, you’re not actually allowed to fish for them so they have to be caught ‘by accident’…

January’s Playlist

As usual, an amusing little selection of tunes (complete with hidden messages!) for your delectation…

Reminder: Trent Anglers’ Night Out

Just another reminder that Stu Walker and I will be giving a talk at a Trent Anglers’ Night Out on 26th Feb 2010 at The Old Chandlery Cafe, Sawley Marina, Long Eaton (NG10 3AE for Sat Nav owners) – kicking off at 7.30pm.

Our show will feature us providing a running commentary to two unique 45 minute film-based presentations that cover barbel feeding behaviour, their reactions to tackle, rigs, baits, PVA, outtakes, cartoons, rock ‘n roll, gladiators, the Internet, Hitler, keepnets and will include lots of preciously unseen footage from both home and abroad. Hopefully we’ll have some brand new footage from our expedition to Uganda.

We’ll wrap the evening up with a Q&A session and just for good measure there’s an opportunity to see the cased barbel with which FWK Wallis (of Wallis casting fame) claimed the UK barbel record. The fish, landed in 1937 from the Royalty Fishery’s famous Railway Pool, weighed 14lb 6oz.

Tickets cost £10 and this includes an excellent buffet.

A charity raffle will be held in aid of Help for Heroes.

Advance tickets are available from Fishing Synergy, 469 Tamworth Rd, Sawley, Long Eaton, NG10 3GR. Tel: 0115 9722 525

Cutting Edge

We escaped the snow for a couple of day by way of a luxury spa break with some friends. On the journey I espied an advertising hoarding, on a trailer, in a farmers field. It announced, ‘PRECISION HAIR CUTS’.

I don’t know about you but I wasn’t aware that you could get an imprecise haircut, so what exactly is a precision one? Do they use lasers? Does it involve clamping your head in some kind of vice first so you can’t move? Or maybe it involves a scientific calculation based on hair length to diameter ratios.

Precision Haircutting reminds me of Monty Python’s Parrot sketch…

CUSTOMER        Hello, I wish to register a complaint… Hello? Miss?

HAIRDRESSER    What do you mean, miss?

CUSTOMER        Oh, I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint.

HAIRDRESSER    Sorry, we’re closing for lunch.

CUSTOMER        Never mind that my lad, I wish to make a complain about this haircut what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

HAIRDRESSER    Oh yes, the precision job. What’s wrong with it?

CUSTOMER        I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. It’s imprecise, that’s what wrong with it.

HAIRDRESSER    No, no it needs a bit of laquer, look!

CUSTOMER        Look my lad, I know an imprecise haircut when I see one and I’m looking at one right now.

HAIRDRESSER    No, no sir, it’s not imprecise. It’s un-laquered…

Winter Leagues? Don’t Make Me Laugh!

Do you remember when match anglers used to fish in winter leagues before the whole shebang became known as the Angling Times Team Championship? Credit where it’s due, the old Angling Times practically created winter league fishing. Match fishing used to be pretty much a summer and autumn sport before some bright spark came up with an idea for holding team matches through the colder months; matches that rewarded every angler for what they caught, no matter how little, by contributing to the overall catch of their team, be that by points or weight.

And then everyone went soft. ‘Winter’ leagues started earlier and earlier until the point where some of them were over by October. I remember when the Christmas edition of the Times would run two pages showing the league standings of each division. Nowadays it would be simply old news. Pretty much all the matches are over and done with long before Christmas.

But I’ve heard it all now. Saints captian Derek Bennett is calling for the semi final, due to be fished on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal in March, to be put back to May because it will be a more pleasant experience for the anglers. He doesn’t fancy trekking over from Liverpool and scratching for a few perch if it’s a bit nippy.

Derek, none of us is getting any younger but come on! Or could it be he thinks Saints stand a better chance of making the final when it’s warmer…?

Crisis? What Crisis?

Sue is forever threatening to buy me a stick so I can wave it at the TV when I get angry. Can’t imagine where she gets the idea I’m ever upset with the dipsticks who appear on the idiot box but there is a degree of truth in what she says – ‘You’re turning into your mum. She talks to the TV!’

And she’s right (to a point), only I shout at it, presumably like Jeremy Clarkson does. But tell me, am I the only person in the country who gets wound up by the news presenters who all seem to be paid up members of the Harbingers Of Doom Society?

Tonight the focus was on the weather, surprise, surprise. Three days in and it’s getting worse they claim. There’s no salt, no schools, gas and electric is running out, black ice is causing road traffic accidents and hospitals can’t cope with folk who keep falling over. And here’s a woman who’s central heating is broken down and she only had a gas fire to keep her council house warm.

How many of us spent every winter with nothing but a coal fire to huddle round? Who remembers frost patterns on the inside of their bedroom windows in a morning and who can recall frozen cream sticking up an inch from the top of milk bottles?

This ain’t the ice age but folk are treating it like a national disaster. The main roads are all clear now and the only accidents they could show on the box were clearly caused by excess speed. On a normal day folk get killed in high speed crashes and they ain’t happening, are they? All but emergency operations have been cancelled by the hospitals so surely there should be extra staff available to man A&E.

Friends who are self-employed haven’t missed a day at work since the snow arrived. Supermarket staff who only get paid if they turn in have managed, too. Those who’s wages come out of our taxes haven’t. Kinda tells us something, doesn’t it? And of course, everyone complains if the bus drivers, the train drivers, the ambulance drivers and the gritter lorry men decide to stay in bed, don’t they? And if it’s so desperate out there how come the TV news presenter never fails to get into work every day? I guess the show must go on.

And how come, when it’s impossible to go to work, these same folk can go out to make snowmen or break limbs while sledging?

Clearly TV news presenters are desperate to turn every fall of snow into a crisis instead of promoting the positives. What happened to the good old British bulldog spirit? Why are they sympathising with moaners and folk who claim they can’t get to work instead of praising those who just get on with life?

Alas we’ve bred successive generations of shirkers who prefer to sit on their backsides playing with computers and X Boxes; an ASBO generation who hang around street corners drinking cheap alcohol, swearing and fighting. This lot would never win a war if there was another. No standards, no discipline.

Whew! I feel better for that little gripe. But while I’m shaking the stick…

Freddie’s Facts – (A tale of subterfuge and evasion…)

I’m sure you appreciate that I occasionally have to delete some of the comments (posted by visitors) at the foot of my web pages on the basis they’re rude, crude, or put there by those who are desperate for attention. Others get deleted because thay are libelous or confrontational towards third parties and it’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that this is a blog, not a forum.

Following my comments in the ‘Happy New Year’ blog regarding the wholly unnecessary hijacking of the Angling Trust poll on BFW, Fred Bonney (Barbel Society Communications Panel Chairman) left an indignant comment accusing me of fact bending. Here’s what he posted:

“It’s not the FACTS that concern me Bob, it’s your interpretation of FACTS

Statements like the following, are hardly knowledgeable FACT they give the impression that membership has fallen from sky high to ground zero!

“True, the membership numbers are falling like an anvil dropped from a Tiger Moth and yes, it will probably all end in tears.”

Journalistic licence perhaps is the excuse? Damaging information I would say

” BS membership fluctuations……..” is a far more factual statement statement to make.

Don’t you agree?


Steve Pope added a post just 13 minutes later stating, “Fred was right” and that I, “Was a little wide of the mark on this sort of detail.”

I removed both posts, not because I wanted to prevent them airing their views, but because the flames of another barbel war were being fanned and counter comments by those who wanted to have a pop at Messrs Pope and Bonney began appearing before I even had time to read Fred and Steve’s responses and they were less than respectful.

In fairness, I removed them all – both pro and anti – because it’s not my desire to wage some kind of crusade against these individuals or indeed the Barbel Society but I stand firmly behind what I said about the hijacking of the Angling Trust poll and the rebuke I dished out in the last blog was both measured and fair.

Indeed, the reason I’m dragging it up again is simply to answer Fred Bonney’s question posted on this (my) site. He poses a question so I’m damned if I don’t reply and damned if I do. Well done Fred!

I’ll be damned then.

But before I get down to business, I’d like to ask a simple question of Fred: How can speculation on BS membership numbers be considered as damaging information? What is damaged and how? What’s the big secret all of a sudden? Is someone trying to hide something? I’m sorry Fred, but I cannot grasp this damaging information claim. It’s nonsense.

So back to the real point; to date I’ve seen no sign of remorse by anyone involved in wrecking the Angling Trust thread presumably because they believe their precious barbel clubs are far more important than the Angling Trust. And there’s the rub. The EA sold how many licenses last year? A leaked document suggests 1.4 million.

I doubt very much that the Barbel Society, the Barbel Study Group and the Barbel Specialists combined could muster a thousand members between them. In other words it was a few militant individuals from within what are in effect minority groups (that in total don’t even represent one tenth of one per cent of angling license buyers) who misguidedly believe their petty arguments with each other count for more than the Angling Trust. Each and every one of those involved should feel ashamed of their actions, but they wont. These people simple don’t care.

How selfish is that?

I did allow an earlier response from Fred on the blog post to stand. It read:

“Glad to hear it Bob, too many fact benders out there. You included going by the the above report.

….numbers falling like anvils dropped…… where on earth could you have possibly got that information?

Just remember if you wrote of a business like that, you would be in all kinds of trouble.”

Another question from Fred, although Fred clearly indicates he doesn’t see the Barbel Society as a business. Which is fair enough, but when it suits him, ie: on the ‘Christmas Card’ thread over of BFAMW he tells everyone, ‘We don’t need members from here either thank you, we are just ensuring our “business” is not affected’. Make up your mind Fred, it either is or is not a business.

But skipping over that, exactly what kind of trouble could I be in? And where did I get my information from?

None is the answer to the first question and, err…, Steve Pope, as it happens, to the second.

Fred was clearly hurt by the words: membership numbers falling like an anvil from a Tiger Moth.

Well, I can reveal that, at it’s peak, the Society had ‘about’ 1,400 members. The exact date or number hasn’t been revealed but as far as I’m aware the figure is not disputed. At it’s low point, prior to the recruitment drive, I’m told the figure reached (about) 600 although once again the data revealed is not specific. On the one hand Tony Rocca is adamant that the low point was 475 souls. On the other Steve Pope says, “Like in any other organisation, there are fluctuations and the mean figure is probably about 800.”  Adding he’s, “Confident that, with the measures he plans to implement, the membership can be pushed up towards a thousand.”

Good answer. If you’re a politician. “I just wish everyone would concentrate on the fantastic work we’re doing in the Reseasch and Conservation field. That’s the success story.” Added Steve

Maybe he should tell that to Fred who’s more interested in prolonging the dicussion on numbers and FACTS. So let’s do a proportional exercise.

Let’s imagine Manchester United, who are currently averaging 74,866 spectators at home games, see a fall in attendance to the mid-30 thousands. Could that fairly be described as ‘falling like an anvil from a Tiger Moth’ ? Few would disagree even if the resulting crowd would be welcomed at, say, Bolton Wanderers and let’s be accurate, no-one except Fred used the term, ‘fallen to ground zero’.

What it would be is a cause for serious concern and the board would want to know why they were falling and those overseeing the decline would have to question their performances.

Like it or not, everything is about proportionality, something that Fred fails (or refuses) to accept.

I did speak with Steve and he promised to supply the actual membership statistics for the past decade, stating they’re pretty much a matter of public record anyway, having been covered in an article he wrote for the Barbel Society web site and in various annual accounts. If I do receive them then rest assured I’ll present them here.

However, rather than beating his chest all over the Internet and then hiding behind subterfuge and innuendo, wouldn’t it be better all round if the Barbel Society Communications Panel Chairman, Mr Fred Bonney, simply issued a statement cataloging the actual membership figures once and for all, year-on-year, thereby putting an end to all the speculation and innuendo by those he seems to be permanently at odds with. Indeed he only needs to verify the table at the foot of this blog and fill in the gaps.

Let’s be perfectly honest, it was his flouncing and posturing on the Angling Trust Poll thread that led to questions being raised about membership numbers in the first place and not by me I must add. Anyone with half a brain would have kept clear of that debate.

Revealing the audited figures would surely nullify any further speculation, it would be game over, but I have to say, looking out at the snow from this study window, the ‘hell freezing over first’ option has stolen a big march…

Perhaps I may borrow from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, must be the truth. It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognise… etc.”

In other words, ‘No Shit Sherlock!’

The Barbel Society Communications Panel Chairman is quick to suggest we don’t know the FACTS yet appears to be afraid of revealing them himself. Why doesn’t he seize the high ground? After all, what possible harm would it do? Unless he’s hiding something I’m not even looking for.

Of course this suggestion assumes he actually knows the figures…

Now please, Fred, no more questions. You’ve had enough exposure on this site already. Take it off-line if you must and PM me.

For those who haven’t yet lost the will to live, a summary of all the available statistics is in the footnote appended to this blog plus a link to the resource notes.

Poll Mania

Having re-read the entire Angling Trust cum Barbel war thread I’m left feeling rather sad because despite all the aggressive points scoring that went on, not only was there no winner but each of the protagonists appeared to be causing more damage to their own organisations than anyone else’s.

So let’s have a little poll of our own…



Meet The New Boss, He’s The Same As The Old Boss…

If you thought you were getting away without a mention of the ‘F’ word, think again. I wasn’t going to mention football seeing as the Rovers haven’t played a game since before Christmas thanks to the new ice age but the chilling news that Burnley had approached our manager for their vacancy has left me feeling rather queasy. Not because they approached him, he is after all a bloody miracle worker, but the fact that he’d gone for an interview and the two clubs were supposedly discussing compensation.

Anyway it all fell through. Can you believe the Claret and Blue Clowns have appointed Laws? I mean he’s just been sacked by a massive club like Sheffield Wednesday because they’re in the bottom three of the Championship! Not prepared to pay Donny compensation it would seem, so instead of going to Old Trafford on Saturday Sean O’Driscoll will be at the Keepmoat scheming against Watford. Ice permitting.

O’Driscoll has restructured this club from top to bottom on a budget of twopence. Our record signing is just £300,000 and this season we’ve already sold two players for seven figure sums. Another will go soon, too. In return he has a job for life – he’s the new Dario Grady (Crewe legend for you armchair Man U and Chelsea fans).

The joke is we’re now widely regarded as the Arsenal of the Championship by opposing fans who appreciate the way we knock the ball around and entertain. I’ve never seen anything like it in 50 years of watching Donny but the dream is fading. His head has been turned. Sooner (probably) rather than later, another club will like what they see. A club that’s prepared to give him time to change the fabric, to lay foundations, on a proper budget and he’ll be gone.

It’s like you come home from school to learn your mum’s run away with the coal man. Or your sister likes Chelsea.

I could create a special playlist for the occasion that might include, Stop Crying Your Heart Out – Oasis, and Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who. But I won’t. I’ll save it for when he does go.

Do spare a thought for the poor folk of Lancashire who are now flooded out because 20,000 folk in Burnley are crying and 30,000 in Bolton are pissing themselves. I hope you both get relegated now.

At Last – Griff Gets Some Grief

Griff Rhys Jones didn’t exactly endear himself to the UK’s angling fraternity when his views on canoe access were broadcast in the BBC programme Rivers so you’ll forgive my wry smile when I learned he’d been dropped as frontman for the BBC flagship heritage series Restoration on the grounds of being too expensive. Too bloody stupid, more like!

Nice to learn that he’s actually been replaced by three ‘experts’ in the field who actually know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately he’s been retained to work on the Rivers project which he clearly knows even less about.

It was interesting to hear that Accidental Angler frontman, Charles Rangeley Wilson claims to have pitched the idea for Rivers to the BBC some time ago but was replaced as frontman by a ‘famous name’ (Jones) instead.


The news came out on the same day we learned that Jonathon ‘Woss’ will not have his £18m contwact wenewed. How sad – not! That’s our license money they’re squandering on these folk.

And Finally (well nearly) – All You’ll Ever Need To Be A Forum Participant 

Having studied the behaviour of folk on web forums it is clear that few ever behave as they would in ‘real’ life, so why no go the whole hog and register as someone else (hang on, doesn’t Tony do that all the time?).

In future I’m going to be Arnold Schwarzenegger which means I can use any one of the generated sounds below for my posts, and you know what, honestly, there’s a statement here to suit every situation you’ll ever need in a forum debate.

Each is short and snappy (again like Tony) but these are straight to the point. Not something you could ever accuse me of then!

You know, I particularly like the third column. Just click any box to hear a classic Arnie line. Best of all, apart from the top two soundbites the rest could have been created with angling forums specifically in mind…


In the absence of receiving any information to the contrary, here are the claimed BS membership details that are currently in the public domain. In case anyone wishes to check I have made the source documents (written by Steve Pope in articles for Barbel Fisher) available here:

Barbel Society Membership Figures 1995 – 2009

1995 – 200 plus

1996 – 500 plus

1997 – 1000 plus

1998 – 1000 plus (and looking forward towards 1500)

1999 – 1200

2000 – No figures disclosed

2001 – ‘Around’ 1200

2002 – No figures disclosed except a comment that membership ‘remained stable’

2003 – No figures disclosed

2004 – No figures disclosed (but described as a year of tightening belts)

2005 – No figures disclosed

2006 – No figures disclosed

2007 – No figures disclosed

2008 – No figures disclosed

2009 – “My post is as good as its going to get with regard to membership details, I could quite easily go to the end of my garden in a freezing cold studio and dig them out but I’m not doing that to satisfy a topical whim. The membership today stands around the 800 mark, that is a massive increase from when we started or a big fall from our peak or an expected fall from our mean. You can spin that whatever way you wish but those are the facts.” (Steve Pope)

Here endeth today’s sermon.

39 thoughts on “2010 – Mid-January Blog

  1. Oh dear,
    Bob I thought we were going to see some real figures that could be verified is this it????

    Regarding BS membership numbers, just done the sums in regard to income from memberships figures included in Barbel Fisher No 27 and they don’t add up. The BS runs a MS Access database and numbers where a member does not re-join remains unused, and that’s a fact. So it is quite easy to give a false impression of numbers and massage them,if one wanted to. The BS financial year runs from January to December.

    Barbel Fisher 27 claims that the BS had 608 members on the database at the end of season 2007/2008 and then claims it rose to 913 by March 2009 these are quoted as official figures.Of course with no real information being revealed by Stever Pope hard to varify.

    It was interesting reading Steve’s article, a bit pathetic of him to mention he is not on my Christmas list however!


  2. Bob i’ve a question for you since you decided to add my name to your poll of votes! what makes you think that i am some sort of ambassador of the BS? 🙂

    I have only met the BS guys once at one of their regional meetings & can tell you Fred is a very different person in reality compared to what goes on, on the internet. 🙂

  3. The names in the poll are those who posted most frequently on (and wrecked) the Angling Trust thread with their bickering.

    In doing so none of you did the Barbel Society (or any other group) any favours…

    How Fred behaves in your company is irrelevant to this case. I can only respond to the questions Fred has posed to me on the Internet. As I said in the blog – damned if I do respond, damned if I don’t.

    PS: The poll’s a bit of fun…! 😉

  4. Thats alright, Bob. 😉

    Busy on my blog nowadays, its abit about me my fishing & other stuff.



  5. Bob,
    You say the names in the poll are those who posted most frequently on (and wrecked) the Angling Trust thread with their bickering. Well just a dang minute, that thread had 15469 views and 461 posts (NONE FORM ME) so I am amazed and amused to find that I am placed at number three on the leader board. I think you may have had a “Senior Moment” there Bob!

    How could you possible place me above Fred Bonney and Steve Pope? Communications Panel Chairman don’t make me laugh my sides are sore, he is probably the one person who has turned most people off joining the BS.

    Steve Pope has done just as much damage to the BS by attacking nearly every other aspect and branch of angling over the years.

    I think you will find that Rich Frampton high jacked the thread in post 105 and continued to do so from then on, and a lot of his posts were personal attacks so in essence he should be top of the Bob pops I think.

    Still as you say it is only a laugh and as I can see the fun side of it, shame some of the other pollsters are unable to do the same.

    Kind regards

    PS hurry up with the next edition of D&W please.

  6. Morning Ray,

    Like you say, it’s a bit of fun, but just for the record the names are not in any kind of order and Steve’s name is included.

    As is Osama Bin Laden’s.

    The next two BD&W DVDs will be released, as planned, in May 2010 but I’m not sure we’re ever likely to make any more. Folk have no appreciation of how much work is involved and there’s no sign of me trading in my white van for a BMW X5 on the strength of the perceived ‘profits’!

    Now if you could spend jealousy…

  7. I do enjoy your blog Bob… roll on the warmer months when theres abit more to read about your fishing adventures.

  8. Hi Bob…

    I feel quite priveleged to be leading the way on the poll as it somewhat indicates that the fluctuations in membership figures that the Barbel Society goes through continuously, may well correspond to certain high profile, respected and influential anglers ‘leaving’ and the ‘re-joining’, then leaving again over the years.

    It could be interperated that the above anglers ‘draw’ new and old original members into, but also ‘take away’ from the BS, as their views on certain issues and subjects are more respected.

    Speaking as a BS founder member back in 1995 and as mentioned earlier on BFW, the BS was ‘at first’ a combination of representives from The Barbel Study Group, Barbel Catchers Club and ex members of The Association of Barbel Enthusiasts plus a few others. Once formed, the BS was to open its doors to cater for all barbel anglers throughout the UK.

    A constitution was written and committee set up with Andy Orme as Chairman. Andy Orme was soon removed from the chair by a ‘coup’ of ‘friendly’ committee members, to which then Steve Pope was co-opted into the Chair by his mates.

    Certain things in the original constitution were removed and changed regarding voting in of committee members so without consultation or to the knowledge of some of the founder members of the BS.

    In reality, the BS was ‘hijacked’ by Steve Pope and his friends.

    The 3 year policy in the original constitution of voting in the committee and chairman by the ‘membership’ was removed.

    Some members, like myself saw what was going on and showed distaste and somewhat withdrew our support.

    Sorry Bob, but the Chairman and committee should have been replaced or re-elected by the ‘membership’ and not themselves, after every 3 years and it has never happened.

    One thing that Steve Pope needs to answer above anything else is…

    Why has Steve been sitting in the BS Chair for 15 years ‘UNELECTED’ and cannot be removed as no voting is allowed by the membership on any issue!

    Many Thanks…


  9. Hey, don’t flatter yourself just yet Ray, it looks like you’re running neck and neck with Mr Bonney!

    I just checked and he was ahead of you by 43 to 42 which ain’t bad to say the poll’s only been online for a few hours. 😉

    At least you’re both way ahead of Mr Osama Bin Laden, but I think he probably voted for himself anyway!

    In all fairness, Ray, you’ve expressed your views quite eloquently on the Barbel Society here and I’ll allow ONE response from the Society. Then all future posts on that topic will be deleted. You guys really need to talk to each other as it’s the only way harmony can be reached.

    I appreciate some folk are unlikely to ever see eye-to-eye in matters pertaining to barbel which is a bit sad, but there we go. I just wish everyone would give the Angling Trust the respect and support it needs to take angling forwards.

    If anyone wishes to debate barbel politics specifically then the link in the blog to the Barbel Wars site would seem to be be the perfect place rather than here.

  10. Hi Bob,

    Just one response and here it is.

    The figures you are missing can be picked up from the next article which will be published in due course.

    A few too many widgets this time!

    Have a really good holiday and pass on my best to Stu.



  11. You can’t say fairer than that Steve.

    Hopefully when the figures appear everyone will be suitably underwhelmed/ overwhelmed, they’ll have nothing left to argue about, the whole episode can be put to bed and forgotten and maybe then everyone can get back to going fishing again…

    As for the widgets, I’m guessing your tongue’s firmly in your cheek!

    Killer widgets already lined up for the next blog.

    Clearly I’m as fed up as the next guy with the snow and suffering a mild dose of cabin fever. The Internet will be a busy place until the weather breaks.

  12. Bob,

    I totally agree about some not understanding the amount of work and dedication it requires to make quality DVD’s like Day and Ways (seen some pathetic examples on youtube) perhaps The Laird of Hazleford would like to try but I won’t hold me breath or buy one if he did!

    I have to agree with Ray Walton’s stance on the way things went after Andy Orme was a victim of a coup de gras. I still have my copy of the original constitution being a founder member myself ( I did ask to be removed from the list) I am sure you know why so no more to said on that account.

    Shame Steve could not respond to Ray, but I am not surprised as I don’t think he could.

    There are some strange folk out ther in internet land I have got 11 votes and I didn’t even post on the Angling Trust topic, must be Fred voting several times me thinks.

    Keep up the good work Bob as this is the only good place now BFW has become a nanny state.

    Kind regards


    PS I am fully expecting to be underwhelmed with more spin and figures.

  13. Hi Bob,

    That poll is amazing, figures can’t lie now, can they?!

    I’m getting a bit of a complex about how many visit your site, it is incredible!

    All the best,


  14. Bob,

    Is that right I have had 500 votes for not placing a comment on the Angling Trust thread on BFW?


    Steve, just try answering the questions for a change without any spin. You were the one who said you would provide Bob with accurate membership numbers let us see the real ones then.

    To avoid looking rather foolish why don’t you try the ones from the database, not from some article placed in BF which is open to dispute. I rather think Ray Walton has you bang to rights, hence the flipant comments you have made since his post.


  15. Right guys, behave now.

    Two posts removed to stop this escalating into a slanging match. Please don’t make me have to remove more – I’m trying to get some work done!

    Steve’s clearly said he’ll publish the figures requested in his next article. I’m happy with that.

    The poll was a bit of fun. By all means enjoy it but don’t try and read too much into it. I’ll say it one more time. This is not the place to rake over old Barbel Society issues.

    Go to the Barbel Wars forum if you wish to do that, please:


    PS: Ray Wood has received 624 votes in the past 24 hours alone. Who was it who said I told pork pies about hits…?

  16. Hi Bob,

    It’s been more than a few years and tons of water has gone under the bridge since we sat on the banks of Summer Bay on Horseshoe Lake and discussed the future of the Carp Society and it’s membership, it would seem some things in specimen fishing will never change, but not to worry, it’s only fishing!

    I must say I enjoy your site and your blogs, a man after my own heart, you say what you think and are prepared to NOT take any old ‘bullshine’we are offered, we seem to be a fading breed!

    If ever your after something a little different from the ‘norm’ I’m very much into Mullet fishing these days and will be found loitering about Weymouth and Poole harbours, work and the Mrs permiting.

    Keep the site going and good luck when you’re out and about.


  17. “I feel quite priveleged to be leading the way on the poll…”

    Ray Walton

    They say 24 hours is a long time in politics and I’m sorry to have to break the news that Ray’s fallen way behind in the polls.

    Old Woody has amassed over a thousand votes now after a day when the site received in excess of 1700 visits – a staggering number when you consider it was only a bit of fun in the first place.

    Just goes to show that folk do actually care passionately (one way or the other) about the Barbel Society and there’s a huge audience to be tapped into if they ever got it right…

    Food for thought.


  18. Bob,

    If after 15 years they still can’t get it right I doubt they ever will.

    They need a new PR man for sure one who actually knows and has people skills and not just one liner’s to counter any genuine criticism.

    If Fred and Co are up for it let’s take to the Barbel Wars zone were we can get at the truth, but as
    “Bones” would say “its truth Jim but not as we know it”.

    I am honoured to see that my vote tally is going off the “Richter Scale” could just be they are running scared of what I might say next.



  19. I now feel bitterley disappointed that i have dropped down from the leader board. Obviously, Steve still loves me more than his old mate Ray from London! I am sure Steve and the poodle have sore fingers from relentlessly logging in and out for the last 48hours with multiple voting inclines for Ray. It must seem pretty easy to manipulate figures from various sources. I just wonder if i would receive my original BS membership number 18 if i rejoined as i did a while back?

    I trust there would be no problem with re-joining as i am a Qualified Level 2 coach which would be a bonus and save money to the BS.

    Best Regards…

    The Other Ray

  20. Bobs poll question was…
    “Who is causing most damage to the Barbel Society through their posting on Internet Forums”?

    As Steve and Richard have not refuted that damage has/is being caused,and accept the fact, it would be interesting to know the reasoning ‘why’ and to ‘whom’ in particular!

    If you believe that by exposing and criticising certain individuals who make untrue and distorted statements to deceive others via the Internet,(including private member forums)to where others state an alternative view to the contrary, then that is only damaging to the perpetrators who set out to deceive and hide the truths in the first place. These are the ones who are causing the damage to their own members interests in Society with their own personal goals and agendas.

    I am sure Bob would love to be a ‘Trisha’ in this matter if he had time, and would pose some really pointed questions to get to the truths, and expose the 15 year self and co-opted heirachy for what it really is!

    Bob allows voting for its members, but yourself and Steve don’t…The question is why?

    …I think we all know the answer!

    Best Regards…

    The Other Ray

  21. Ray Walton,

    A question for you with no strings.

    Are you chairman of the Barbel Specialists Group?

    How long is your tenure?

    Were you voted in?

  22. Afternoon Bob,

    I hope you will allow a little licence here as I would like to respond to getting so many votes for apparently do so much harm to the BS.

    In my 64 plus years I have learnt that only the truth can hurt, lies are soon found out and can be responded to and if the lies are of a nature that is either libel of slanderous they can be dealt with in a court of law.

    Over the years I have criticised the BS for not holding elections per the Bs constitution so no lie there then only the truth.

    I have also criticised Steve Pope for holding onto a position he has never been elected to or ever stood for re-election so again no lies there.

    Way back I criticised the way the BS present there accounts to the membership because they did not contain enough information as some parts of the accounts were bulked together. I still have a copy of the letter I sent to Gordon Scot who was the secretary at that time and I have his written reply.

    I have stated that no one can change things as change is not allowed, there are many good men who have sat on the BS committee who will back this statement up so again no lies there.

    I have criticised Fred Bonney for having no people skills or PR qualifications to do the job he holds as communications officer, I am not alone in this assumption so again I don’t think I have lied there.

    I have further criticised the BS for not publishing audited accounts for their R&C fund that has over the years amassed some 25K and only makes reference to this money fleetingly at the AGM. In my opinion and it is only that this is totally unacceptable that the membership is not told in full where the money they have provided has gone and disclosed to them in full.

    I have not posted on any internet site since May of 2009 save for a couple of post on your blog and two posts on BFW most recently.I had not posted on that sight for around 8 years. So to say I am doing the most damage to the BS is quite remarkable. The fact is really that telling the truth is what hurts the BS and if you stick to telling the truth it will always out weigh the lies and spin (the Labour party is a fine example of this fact)

    So there you have it Bob, I have over the years stuck to what I see as being wrong with the BS, I have told no lies only the truth and given my opinions on that truth. So it is not really me hurting the BS it is the TRUTH that has caused so much damage to it and it will continue to do so.

    Kind regards


    PS: I just knew Steve would ask about elections seems hypocrisy knows no bounds!

  23. Steve…

    What do you mean by no strings? We are not all puppets on a string that you operate, but being the nice and honest person that I am, I will co-operate with your request.

    The answers to you questions are of course ‘Yes’ to both!

    The Barbel Specialists Committee elections and other relevant business will again take place in May, with a membership vote, as usual.

    Your own false BS tenure and position (3 years) ‘should’ have expired in 1999, but should never have been allowed in the first place as it was a scandalous manoeuvre of personal co-opting, without the memberships knowledge, consent or vote by the membership.

    It should be a priority for you at this moment in time to state how many of the BS committee have ever been elected by the membership and not co-opted by yourself and friends over the past 15 years of your tenure!

    Perhaps you could kindly answer this and the questions posed in the earlier post … with Bob’s and Trisha’s permission of course!

    The Other Honest Ray

  24. Ray Walton,

    What I meant by no strings was nothing devious, you know the sort of thing Ray, carrying a tape recorder in one’s pocket when chatting to people, trying to catch them out, that sort of thing, I’m sure you understand.

    Three questions Ray, not two.

    You were present when the BS constitution was agreed, if you didn’t fully understand it then, that is your problem, not mine.

    I’ll remind you of the time not long ago when you said to me that you were just like me, the figurehead, and I said no Ray, I’m not a bit like you I’m a chairman who actually works extremely hard every single day for the past fifteen years on behalf of those who join the Barbel Society.

    You on the other hand as a founder member of the BS have barely given one day to assist something you attended at its formation, and yet you talk as though your words should be listened to.

    My respect for you went long ago, take this tip, stop concerning yourself with what the BS does and try and fulfill your role as chairman for your group.

    It entalis a lot more than what you realise or understand.

    No more on here from me, I know Bob will appreciate the traffic but I don’t really think this is what he set up his blog for.


  25. Bob,

    With your permission I must pick up on Steve Pope’s last post and his obvious innuendo aimed at Ray Walton. I sense some sort of accusation is contained within his post regarding tape recorders and suck.

    Why not tell it as it is Steve, if you are accusing Ray of something just say it and make your accusation. I suspect however you will not have the courage to do so, a bit like when you accused me of posting on Fishingmagic under a pseudonym. You lacked the courage to accuse me yourself so instead fed your lies to a third party for him to accuse me.

    You and your unelected committee went even further when the same person accused me of passing information from the BS private Forum to Bob Roberts. You protected him and his mates when you had been provided with proof that I did not pass anything to Bob Robert’s. You had Bob’s personal assurance that he got this information elsewhere and my own word that I was not responsible. You ignored us both and that says quite a lot about you as a person who appears to want to ignore the truth.

    Steve I will say this publicly you are a coward, if you thought I was posting on FM under an assumed name you should have had the courage to accuse me and not use a third party for your smear campaign.

    If Bob chooses to remove my post fair enough, it is after all his site, but it is time people like Rich Frampton to open their eyes and see you for what you are.

    Yours with no respect

    Ray Wood

  26. There were no lies told in the above, no puppets sheep manikins or marionettes were hurt in its making.

    What’s up Rich don’t you like a bit of truth? Why wait at your PC waiting for someone to post Rich and are on liners the best you can do? You are out of your depth in this, you know nothing of the BS history and each time you post just shows up your naivety and how easily led you are.



  27. Ray…

    I hope that Bob’s poll isn’t worrying you too much and that you aren’t taking the angling communities assessment of your actions to heart.It must be difficult I know but you’ll get over it.

    I am going to leave this now because I am sure that Bob would rather have comments regarding his blog on here rather than this stuff.

    Once again…chin up.As they say…some fame is better than no fame.



  28. Steve…

    ANSWER THE QUESTIONS posed above and stop wriggling away like a slippery eel thats ready to have his head chopped off!

    Steve Pope Quote:
    “You were present when the BS constitution was agreed, if you didn’t fully understand it then, that is your problem, not mine”.

    Both Rays were there and agreed the constitution, however it was changed to your personal requirments and agenda when Andy Orme was pushed out and you crawled into his position without anybody seeing until it was too late! Hence, we and others have been objecting ever since that day and that is why you do not have support from more intellegent and knowledgeable sources.

    Steve Pope Quote:
    “I’ll remind you of the time not long ago when you said to me that you were just like me, the figurehead, and I said no Ray, I’m not a bit like you I’m a chairman who actually works extremely hard every single day for the past fifteen years on behalf of those who join the Barbel Society”.

    Steve… Now that is utter bull and a complete lie like most of your statements. Do you still have the tape recording! For your information, I never wanted to be ‘Chairman’ but was asked to take the position at our second meeting by the general members and to which I reluctantly accepted. Witnesses available!

    If I did step down or was replaced, it would not bother me one bit, as I know that the ‘ELECTED’ committee and membership have the knowledge and experience to continue going forward with the Barbel Specialists.

    You truly ‘ignore’ or have ‘unwittingly’ forgotton as to ‘why’ the Barbel Specialists was formed!

    Steve Pope Quote:
    “You on the other hand as a founder member of the BS have barely given one day to assist something you attended at its formation, and yet you talk as though your words should be listened to”

    You cannot stop lying can you Steve!

    You well know that i have given numerous talks and slideshows at Barbel Society regional meetings and at BS Conferences. Also you fail to mention that i have also attended Barbel Society Junior Days in the past to help out at Beauchamps Court and Bransford.(pictures on your BS website)Plus, you have rung me up on numerous occassions asking my views and support on certain subjects to which i have always co-operated. As you also know, i attended last years Barbel Society Conference with the BSG River Records along with and others at the request of the BS.

    I was also asked and re-joined the BS a couple of times and given my support to the Barbel Society when ‘new blood’ has been added the Committee, to which change for the better was forecast. Again, those good new committee members with good skills and intentions were ‘blanked and ousted’ also, and therfore ‘no change’ from the stagnant Steve Pope Society.

    Lastly, I would love for Bob and Stu to further their great video career with a ‘Live TV or Internet based fishing chat and debate show(like Springer or Maury etc) with rampant guests!
    Swim Wild..Swim Free… to Barbel Wars on TV

  29. Rich…Are you playing ‘Follow The Leader’, as usual?

    You should get Steve to take your dog lead off for once!

    Really Rich, Steve should have got you to post something ‘constructive’ from his archive, like Ray said.

    Sorry to everyone for stating the truth..

    Best Regards..

    The Other Nice Ray

  30. Right Gents. Enough…!

    I think the battle lines have been drawn and it’s difficult to see how you’ll ever see eye to eye or that there can possibly be an amicable resolution.

    This has now devolved into point scoring so maybe it’s time to call a halt to hostilities. I wish I could sit you all around a table and mediate because as I see it, despite the harsh words, you all have the same underpinning beliefs and share a love for the same hard fighting fish.

    Unfortunately if I did adopt the Jeremy Kyle role I unfortunately don’t have a ‘Graham’ who can offer ongoing counselling.

    If you guys ever want to meet up on neutral ground to discuss/ debaite your grievances I will offer to referee it, but only if there are strict ground rules, agreed in advance, that you will all adhere to, plus an agenda and declared objectives. Meetings must have a purpose and not exist for their own sake.

    At the moment none of you are doing anything to promote or enhance the groups you represent and as much as many will find it fun to look in on your bickering (and as good a boost to my site stats as it will bring), please, let’s take this off-line?

    I can supply you with each other’s email addresses if you wish, although I suspect you already have them.

    Bob Roberts

  31. Last comment Bob just for Rich Frampton as he has made a number of posts on the Private forum where I am unable to answer.


    Bob’s poll does not worry me in the least; in fact I take heart in the fact that you and others fear not only what I have to say but what Ray Walton has to say also.

    If you want to insult me fine but at least have the courage to do it openly where I can reply.

    As for fame I was famous the day I was born, it had something to do with being born in 1945 in the East End of London and in an area around the Royal Docks that suffered heavily during the blitz.


    Ray Wood

  32. Right folks, I’ll let that be the final comment after which it really must end.

    There are plenty of places to air your differences including the aforementioned Barbel Wars forum.

    One thing’s for sure, plans to run a similar poll next time called, ‘Who’s doing the most damage to the Angling Trust’ have been shelved…!

  33. Bob, can we find something else to talk about? This is getting a bit boring?

    Lets have a row about the best live band or debut album. Worst new tackle innovation
    Best fishing series
    Worst fashion item
    Best foreign fishing destination
    Greatest bloke movie……..ANYTHING!!