The Trent beckons tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be heading above Nottingham and fishing for roach but can’t say for certain just yet as it has bucketed down in these parts over the past couple of days. Fingers crossed it’s been isolated heavy showers rather than persistent downpours over a wide area. Saying that the EA River Line shows the Trent was already up a foot at 6pm. Guess I’ll have to get up ten minutes early tomorrow and check again. That’s the beauty of having a three-hourly update on-line. You can check the trend and also investigate the tributary levels. At least it gives you half a chance even if you don’t know what the colour’s like. One thing’s for sure, I’ll have a pretty decent idea what I’ll be doing before I leave home and that makes life a whole lot easier.
I was out on the little old river again yesterday, wandering around with just a rod and a net. I was less than chuffed to realise I’d set off without my Optilabs POLARISING specs (and no, I don’t get paid for publicising them!) so had to make do with my driving glasses but if truth be told I could see the river bed in most places without specs, the river was crystal clear. At least it was until it took on a slight tinge and rafts of debris came floating down. Surely the EA aren’t weed cutting again at this time of year?
I’d taken with me a simple choice of bait, some corn bread and a some meatballs in tomato sauce. On reflection I might have done better with a bit of spam and a plain white loaf but you have to try new things, eh?
I’d rather hoped that the kids had gone back to school but not in this area they hadn’t. It was getting on towards lunchtime when I arrived, the sun shone nicely but the fish were ultra cautious. Yes I raised a chub here and there but the bread was a bit stale and the tomato sauce was apparently not to their liking today, so it was more a case of observation.
What was patently clear was how aware of me the fish were, even when I didn’t cast a line. I could creep up on a fish, keeping low, camou gear, the lot, but each time they would gently drift out of the swim.
After an hour the floating weed was becoming somewhat mental. Presenting a clean bait was near impossible so I decided to head on upstream and see what was occuring.
I soon discovered that there was no weed problem whatsoever just 3 miles upstream. However the fish were even more cautious. In one swim I stood and watched 5 good chub and three barbel from behind a tree. But not for long. They knew I was there and it wasn’t long before they melted away.
I jumped back in the van and moved on. Spotting a car next to the river I jammed on the anchors, reversed up and drove down the track where I chatted with a couple of guys who were about to start fishing for carp on the adjacent pit. Now I assumed they were syndicate members because they clearly knew its history and had fished there regularly. Anyway, whilst we talked I spotted a mid-to-upper double figure carp in the river behind them. Turns out there were two, a common and a mirror and these guys hadn’t seen them. Cheekily I asked them if I might have a cast at it to which they said, ‘Go ahead, feel free…’ as they wandered off and left me to it.
And that’s when the irate bloke in a range rover turned up!
“Do you know this is private land?”
I’d not even wet a line – honest!
But he was cool about it. Mind you I don’t think the confrontation with the other two went quite as smoothly…
So I moved on again. Twice. I saw a few fish and was able to watch two shoals of bream at very close quarters that have probably never seen a hook or an angler’s bait before. Certainly they showed complete disdain towards mine. But I’d gone there simply to shoot some library shots and that objective was achieved successfully.
Ideal Accessory For Billy No-Mates
On the subject of self-take photographs I discovered on upgrading my camera that the super-dooper body doesn’t have an infra red receiver and that means my Canon remote shutter release is worthless. Typical, eh? So what’s to do. I checked online for Canon’s answer – they’re bound to have a gizzmo – and sure enough they did for about £300. Bloody hell, I bet they don’t sell many of them!
So I searched around and after discounting some tacky Chinese gizmos I came up with the Hahnel Giga T Pro at £69.99 – not exactly cheap but a whacking saving on the Canon equivalent. Having owned it for a month or two I have to say it’s absolutely brilliant. Unlike the little fob I had for my previous camera which was simply a shutter button, the Giga T Pro allows me to programme it so I can take multiple shots at timed intervals and the camera re-focusses each time. You can set up the camera quite some way away, too, if you’re wanting to get scenics of yourself or even close-up wildlife shots.
Already I wouldn’t be without it. You can find further information here.
It’s Free! So Where’s The Bloody Catch?
Regular readers of the blog will know I’ve championed the cause of Catch magazine. If you’ve not seen it before then follow the link and indulge yourself. It’s a stunningly beautiful, free, online fishing magazine. Okay, it features aspirational fishing, and mostly fly fishing at that, but the photography is breathtaking, the film clips as good as anything you will see including Hugh Miles’ stuff. It’s seriously good stuff. So why would anyone complain?
Well, I detected a little frisson of discontent on one particular forum. Indeed Mr Paul Boote appears to be less than chuffed with someone posting to highlight the Catch site, going so far as to describe it as fishing porn, adding in a rather sneering tone:
“Very nice, I suppose, for those who haven’t done the real thing, but pretty tedious and obvious on-the-make Del Boy flogging for anyone who did a bit of the stuff before all the newly arrived happy snappers and film boys did. Nowadays, anyone with any sense just finds somewhere without any of this stuff or these people, then does a bit of quiet fishing. You know, like we all used to…….”
Not surprisingly his comment attracted a little flak.
“Paul – bit of a cynical post. NOT everyone has actually ‘done it’, as you put it…..and some of the photography is pretty good. I appreciate, however, you’re trying to keep your posts count ticking along….”
Suggestions that he was being egotistical drew a pained retort from Boote:
“Paul Boote: always a safe bet to have an online dump on.”
Clearly he saw himself as a victim rather than the aggressor in this debate but it didn’t save him from the next post:
“You love placing yourself on a soapbox pedestal, so expect rotten fruit to be thrown….”
Then we learn his outburst was for our own good:
“SOMEONE has to stick their head above the scaredy cat parapet and blast those peddlers away.”
Snorted Boote, a defence that very obviously fell on stony ground.
“Paul, you have a very valid point but Mr self appointed “Chairman” Boote maybe its the way in which you dismiss these “peddlers” that leads to the common assumption of you being egotistical and self-righteous.”
Back came his response.
“Tedious barracking. Carry on Knocking; it is, after all, wot the much-oppressed by something or somebody British do best.”
But isn’t that what started it all in the first place, Boote knocking Catch?
Just a typical day in Forum World, I guess, but the plain fact of the matter is Catch is a wonderful publication and it’s completely free. How on earth can you take issue with that? Beats me.
Stop Press: The thread starter ain’t pleased…
“Paul, please do me a huge favour and take your sour faced, stuck up inane **** elsewhere. I started a thread which is non-political, does not harm anyone and up you pop with your ****. Bugger off!!!!!!! “
Talk about deja vu – it’s almost like the old days. Only the names have changed.
Or have they…?
No Flies On These Guys Either
Perhaps it’s also worth noting that the new (on-line and free) issue of This Is Flyis also available if you’d like to take a peep. ‘Fly’ is harder edged than catch, very hip, arty and you get a musical mixtape thrown in, as well. Bet Boote used to like these songs before everyone else did. Now they’re old hat and no-where near as good as when he listened to them… 😉
You know, I first read about mahseer in library books when I was barely out of short pants. It never occurred to me that one day I might visit such remote destinations as Chukka or Pancheshwar. To a working class family such places were way beyond our reach, so much so it wasn’t even a dream to go there. Exotic fishing adventures never even came up on the radar.
To this day my mother has never owned a passport (she’s 90), nor did my stepfather. Okay, my birth father travelled but he did so serving in the Merchant Nay, the Royal Navy and as a trawler man. Somehow I think running the gauntlet of submarines or fishing the Dogger Bank in winter was slightly different to poncing around with rod in hand and a television crew in tow.
Today the World is a much smaller place. The working man is richer than ever, even the unemployed run cars and air travel has never been cheaper, but for most the exotic fishing destination is maybe a once in a lifetime fantasy.
Paul was one of a privileged few, able to enjoy the best of it while the fishing was still pretty amazing. He also advertised and promoted his indulgence through books, magazine articles and on TV so having earned a few bob from his involvement it seems churlish and petty to criticise those who wish no more than to give others a chance to share in what were once his own dreams.
A lot of people were impressed by Boote and Bailey’s filmed adventure in the Himalayan foothills. I still have a copy of the film he made with John Bailey for Compass TV, mahseer fishing on the Ganges, although I never dreamed that one day I would stand right in their footsteps.
The two B’s were an inspiration (not sure about the tight shorts and rather camp, “Oooh Paul!” cries, mind) so Paul, please don’t taint what’s left of your reputation with these sanctimonious outbursts on Internet forums. Learn to internalise, even if you are feeling bitter.
You weren’t the first to fish those stations. You weren’t the first to catch mahseer and you were quite happy to profit from it. Let it go. Graciously.
Sorry Folks, The Trent’s A No-Go
In recent weeks I’ve had a fair few emails from anglers asking if I will take them fishing on the Trent. Okay, the majority ask how much I will charge but the bottom line is I’ve really no desire to do it. My personal fishing time is precious to me, even if I’m only knocking out a few pastie carp, catching a few bits on the stick float or simply walking the banks.
To make a coaching venture financially viable, what with expenses and income tax, I would have to charge the kind of rates you would expect to pay a decent self-employed joiner, or a plumber and we all know they don’t come cheap.
Even if folk are willing to pay these rates I still have to say no. You see, the Trent fishing is generally controlled by clubs and that means you need specific permission from those clubs to conduct a business on their water and they would be foolish not to charge a high premium for facilitating the coaching.
You then have to consider the feelings of the regulars who already fish those stretches. Do they really want me to start reserving the best areas so my guests can fish the top pegs? Do they want me advertising the areas they fish to clients and their friends? Because you can be pretty certain that if you put someone in a hot swim on a day ticket fishery they’re sure as hell going to return with their mates.
When I first fished seriously for barbel on the Trent it was a much quieter place than it is today. You saw very few ‘serious’ anglers. Now you’ll find bivvies and shelters everywhere, twin rods pointing at the sky. Barbel are the new carp in the Trent valley.
I just don’t need the hassle it would involve, so sorry, this gun’s not for hire on the Trent.
Yes, I’ve run a few coaching sessions on the Wye over the past 4 years but that’s a very different ball game. I am allowed to rent whole beats exclusively with the full consent of the owners. These beats are comparatively lightly fished and there are no regulars as such.
No, coaching on the Trent would be incredibly selfish and quite unfair to the regulars. Indeed the only way it could possibly work would be if a pro-active but club was struggling for members and encouraged me to do so on their water as a way of raising short-term revenue, profile and expanding their long-term membership.
And that’s unlikely to happen.
Rooney – What A Pillock!
I don’t see why we should be surprised by the ‘Rooney Beds Yet Another Hooker’ scandal that emerged in the News Of The World this week. After all, he’s got plenty of previous. Still it might take the cheating Pakistan cricketers off the back pages for a day or two.
Apparently he’s been bedding a 21-year-old escort called Jennifer Thompson behind pregnant wife Colleen’s back but we shouldn’t really be that surprised, should we? He was scandalised back in 2004 for bedding a string of prostitutes including one or two right old hags if the newspaper reports were anything to go by. He’s just gone back to his old habits, that’s all.
And how apt that when John Terry was disgraced earlier this year and stripped of the England captaincy after a sex scandal, Roo was selected as the fans’ choice in a newspaper poll to take over the captaincy…
But how long has this story been brewing? When did Colleen find out? And did it have any bearing on Rooney’s woeful performances in the World Cup?
I guess we’ll never know with any certainty but it could have been worse. Take this story for instance. The emphasis is on ‘story’ and then there’s the date but as for the oft used phrase, ‘you couldn’t make it up’, I think it’s safe to say they did!
One thing’s for sure, it’s gonna cost him a lot more than the £1,000 a pop he was paying for a bit of nookie. Goodbye mock-Tudor mansion, goodbye sponsors, goodbye integrity and get ready for the megabucks divorce settlement.
If the allegation that he tipped a hotel porter £200 just to fetch a packet of fags after he’d shagged the tart is true, well, he’ll get what he deserves – flash git!
Macca’s At It Again
There’s no flies on Dave McIntyre when it comes to popping out barbel on the Great Ouse. He’s been back after a little break and had this fine trio of doubles.
Not a bad night’s work, eh? But like Stu on the Dove, he’s been enjoying more success after dark than in daylight.
Now Try To Imagine A Line Dancing Bob Nudd…
Forgive me if you’ve seen it already but this short video clip made me chuckle.
Imagine Bob James, Mick Brown and Bob Nudd line dancing and then throw in Kevin Wilmot dressed as a cowgirl…
Unfortunately I can’t embed it so you’ll have to click the image and then press play when the new window opens.
Two Things Related To Fish (If a little tenuous in a ‘fishing’ blog)
The case is thought to have cost around £20,000 but what makes it more preposterous is that this was a ‘sting’ set up by Trafford Council trading standards officers. Not surprisingly the sentences were quashed on appeal.
It’s folk like you and me who foot the bill for these whims, you know.
Rooney’s marriage might be on the rocks but one partnership that is still going as strong as ever is Mr Fish and Mrs Chips who celebrate their 150th anniversary this year. The very first union of these culinary delights might have taken place in the Whitechapel district of London when a man called Malin opened the very first fish and chip shop but the official blue plaque resides in Oldham on the site of the old Tommyfield Market.
How odd that two identical yet revolutionary ideas should materialise at opposite ends of the country at exactly the same time. Fried fish was around in Whitechapel during the times of Oliver Twist (circa 1838) and the Belgians claim to have invented fried chips in 1628 but it took an absolute stroke of genius to marry the two together.
Will DVDs Bite The Dust?
Since launching the first Barbel Days And Ways DVD I’ve come to appreciate how the industry has changed in the 18 years since I made my very first (very crap) video. Back then there was no Internet as such, few folk owned a computer and there was no such thing as illegal downloading.
The last time I Googled the stats it seems at least ten times more people have downloaded our DVDs illegally than bought them. Throw in the reports we had of counterfeit copies being sold on market stalls and at car boot sales, second hand copies trading on Ebay, mates sharing copies, etc, and you begin to wonder if its worthwhile bothering making them in the first place.
It’s not a problem limited to angling DVDs though. DVD sales overall have fallen 40% in recent years but it’s concerning to hear the media rental giant Blockbuster is teetering on the brink of collapse and is expected to file for bankruptcy in the US soon. The company has lost $1.1bn since 2008 and the share price has fallen from near $10 in 2007 to around 7 cents today.
With so many company sponsored and funded angling DVDs now being given away on tackle shop counters or as free gifts in magazines there’s little incentive to buy them anymore. Expect to see the bigger companies adding more and more video content to their web sites, clips on You Tube and Vimeo. Expect to see the toehold of Tight lines and Fish’O’Mania on Sky strengthening, and then there’s the other free to view content on digital channels not to mention the pay-per-view model in online tv.
Of course, so many of these rely on back catalogue material and endless repetition. Good as Wilson’s programmes were I think we’ve seen quite enough of the 25-year-old stuff. HD quality it isn’t although thankfully it was shot in colour! Any older and it might have been in black and white.
Sadly the future for DVD makers is grim which is not good news in the long term for anglers. There’s no indication that TV will ever provide funding for future films in the Passion for Angling vein and there’s very little likelihood of anyone financing a project privately when the very best output struggles for acceptance. To do so would be an indulgence or plain vanity.
Hay fever drives me nuts at certain times of the year. I can pretty much guarantee a bout of hay fever every time the rapeseed crops come into bloom but I also get a second bout when the farmers start harvesting. In between times I might get all the symptoms of a streaming cold when certain pollens abound.
It’s something I seem to have no control over but three sneezes in rapid succession is all it takes to give me a whole day of misery. I can go to bed feeling dreadful after a day of snuffling yet wake the next morning as if the previous day was a dream. It’s a weird allergy and I wonder if I wouldn’t be better off spending some time having tests done to find out what triggers me off.
Dynamite Lures Rapala
News that Rapala has bought Dynamite Baits for a whacking £5.3m came as a bit of a bombshell this week, especially when someone spreads a rumour round the trade every other month that Dynamite is about to go bust. Certainly it’s one in the eye for the doom and gloom merchants.
Seems Rapala is keen to break into the UK and European carp market so it will be interesting to see how the brand develops and how this fits in with the aspirations of the 72 bait consultants currently named on the Dynamite web site. After all, it might not suit Rapala to supply these anglers with bait if they are promoting competitors’ tackle items. Such is the problem for top anglers as companies leverage their brand names into new areas of the market.
As a simple example, when Rapala launch a range of carp rigs and other accessories how will that sit with, say, Terry Hearn who is heavily involved with the ESP brand, as is Martin Bowler, or Mick Brown who is linked to Fox and again, so is Ian Welch. There are numerous other examples I could have selected but I’m sure you get the picture.
It used to be you could use Daiwa rods, Mitchell reels, a Brennan and Hickman seatbox, Pete Warren Stick Floats, Bayer Perlon Line, Mustad hooks, Halkon Hunt clothing and so on with no fear of treading on your sponsor’s toes but it gets trickier by the season.
Of course, for 99 per cent of anglers it won’t make a blind bit of difference but it is getting a little harder for those who blatantly plug products for cash in their articles. There’ll be a big fall-out sometime in the near future, you watch.
Don’t Trust This Trust
Back in my March blog I related a tale about me being asked to leave a lake that I was pike fishing by a warden of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. I knew full well that I was ‘guesting’ and to be truthful it hadn’t been my intention to fish there at all. Unfortunately the track leading down to the adjacent river I was wanted to fish was closed for repairs. Heavy machinery hired by the same Trust blocked the way and left me at a loose end.
I had actually looked at the lake a few weeks earlier, mainly because a couple of kids in their early teens were fishing there. I even challenged them about whether they were allowed on there or not and they told me that they often fished there and the rangers never bothered them. Sounded like an invite to me, so I had a dabble. It’s not like I was mugging a pensioner or stealing a loaf of bread. I was fishing on a bit of water that no-one hold the fishing rights to.
Anyway, I’d been set up all of about ten minutes when a warden did happen along and told me I’d have to move. There was no fuss, in fact I had a run while he was there and he even offered to photograph the fish for me. He gave me his card and the contact details for the local PAC organiser who had been trying for a while to gain access to the water and the ranger even suggested ways of how this might be brought about.
The bloke was about as fair as you could possibly ask and appeared to be pro-angling. To him, controlled fishing would be miles better than intermittent poaching by folk who might leave litter, cause vandalism or turn violent. Alas, he hinted, his lords and masters were not quite so positive about matters angling.
However an email arrived from the said PAC organiser this week highlighting an emerging problem. The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has banned angling at 65 of its 66 sites. Attenborough Gravels is now the only site that allows angling and this is restricted to less than 60 per cent of the site.
The stance has incensed pikers so much that a campaign of deliberate ‘poaching’ is being advocated, “break out the cammo gear and stalking rods and start planning a few covert missions” is the message. Not quite sure how comfortable I feel with that but the current stance of the NWT is completely anti-angling and it looks like the PAC are bracing themselves for a use-it-or-lose-it battle…
At the moment they are suggesting anglers pack up and leave, if asked in a polite and respectful manner, but very slowly so as to take up as much of the rangers’ time as possible.
Caution is the watchword at present as the Angling Trust is negotiating with the NWT but if that fails I can see troubled waters ahead. But it does beg many questions. Who are these guardians of the gravel pits? Who appointed them and who gave them the power to ban angling? Where did the money come from to purchase those vast tracts of land throughout the Trent Valley? Who funds their jobs? Who are they accountable to? What complaints procedure exists if you feel they’re acting beyond their mandate? Is there a wildlife ombudsman? Why can the general public exercise their dogs unleashed in these areas when the mere act of angling is perceived as a threat to the flora and fauna?
So many questions and so many little Hitlers who seem to have it in for thee and me.
Sign Of The Times
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph I’m hoping to catch some roach this week providing the forecast rain doesn’t ruin the river. Mind you, if it does I can always catch a few barbel, I suppose. I’ve been threatening to have a go on hemp and tares all summer and I know just the spot I fancy. It might turn out to be pants but it’s a pretty place to fish so it won’t really matter too much if I catch next to nowt.
In preparation I popped into my nearest tackle shop and asked for some tares. The guys behind the counter looked at each other and shook their heads, “Eh lad, we don’t get much call for them these days…”
The next shop I called in was a ‘chain’ store. They didn’t have any either. “We don’t get any call for ’em these days. Hang on, we’ll ring round the other branches for you and get some sent over.”
Five minutes later: “Sorry Bob, nobody’s got any.”
He went on to tell me that they no longer stocked a single stick float as there’s no demand for them these days. What’s the world coming to? Good service, I have to say, but bloody frustrating all the same. So I was on my way again.
To cut a long story short I did find some eventually after driving round in circles for a good hour but what a palaver.
Let’s hope it was worth it.
If you admire the work of Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, The Beach, 24 Hours Later, A Life Less Ordinary, etc) then check out this preview trailer of his upcoming film 127 Hours.
It tells the true tale of Aron Ralston who amputated his own arm after 5 days of trying to free it from behind a boulder. Gruesome as it sounds, the film is already being tipped for an oscar.
Click on the full screen icon (bottom right) to get the full effect and turn up the volume. Heart stopping stuff.
Book Launch – At The Water’s Edge
It’s a bit premature, I know, but Martin James’ new book, At the Water’s Edge, will be launched on 26th October to coincide with his 73rd birthday and I’m really looking forward to reading it.
Covering waters as varied as the Avon and the Amazon, via tarpon and bone fish in the Caribbean and barbel on the Ribble it promises to be a travelogue, a country file, a biography and much more including black and white images from the 1960s and 70s of the mysterious Redmire Pool where Richard Walker caught his then record 44lb carp. Guest chapters have been contributed by Gary Newman, Len Arbery, Trevor Bross, Mick Holgate, Martin Salisbury, Phil Chun, Will Carter and Scott Richmond.
I’ll tell you how to get hold of a copy nearer the release date.
Goodbye Coarse Fisherman
Recently we lost Northern Angler and Midland Angler. Now I’m hearing the September issue of Coarse Fisherman magazine (on sale now) will be the final issue. Well, at least I made it onto the final front cover. Hey, perhaps it’s my fault – no doubt someone will blame me!
I’ve written a piece for just about every issue since 2004 and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with everyone there. Whether the staff will transfer to the other areas of Metrocrest I really don’t know at this stage. Some of us will bemoan the loss of a decent fishing magazine but to others it was a livelihood, it paid the bills.
The difference between readers and staff might be compared to the difference between bacon and eggs. The hen is involved in making breakfast whereas the pig is fully committed to it! Some of the folk who worked there might miss the magazine a damn site more than we do. Let’s hope they find alternative employment soon.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the various contributors. Perhaps we’ll see a knock-on effect in other magazines. It’s clearly a great opportunity for CF’s rivals to pick up a few top quality writers. I always read Bailey or Graham Marsden first, then I’d check to see if Gary Knowles or Mick Wood had submitted anything. The rest I’d get around to at sometime during the month, mostly on the bog!
Thanks Simon, Stu and Colleen. It’s been a privilege working with you. Good luck.
I’ll finish with a blatant plug for my old mate Martin Womble’s ‘alternative’ site. Martin has two blogs, believe it or not, one dedicated to fishing (Another Average Angler) and this one, Another Idiot On Line. Now before you go clicking the second link, do be warned it’s not for the narrow minded, the feint hearted or the easily offended. But it is funny!