2011 – Another Early July Blog

I fished my little river again yesterday. And blanked. That might seem to you like I had a tough day but I had anything but. I had a fascinating day and had I really wanted to I could have caught fish from certain swims, but I didn’t really want to. Does that sound a bit mad? I guess so. Let me explain.

The river is now at peak clarity. By that, I don’t mean crystal clear, I mean you can don a pair of polarising glasses and the water’s not even there. Visibility is astonishing which puts the fish at an advantage. They are pretty much aware of you long before you see them and they can see every item of your tackle. If that wasn’t a recipe for tricky fishing then you’ve not experienced the weed here. I don’t mean the streamer weed. That’s no problem. It’s the drifting filamentous stuff which is coming down constantly at all depths and ranges from little bits of wispy stuff to great bowling rafts of the stuff. Even back leading with your rod tip pressed on the river bed is no answer.

Things won’t improve until after we have a proper flush and even then it won’t stop. No, it’s torture, and that’s why I was the only angler on the river again. Many have tried but they’ve all given up.

I began the day perched in a tree, watching how a lone barbel reacted to a little feed. One became two and eventually I had pulled in four barbel and a chub. I’ve noticed a significant drop in the chub numbers this year. That’s bad because the once prolific bream population has all but disappeared, too. The photo shows a barbel feeding. It was taken in the shade so it’s a bit dark. The white spots you see in the are bubbles on the surface. That gives you an idea of the depth and clarity.

I now know where the shoal lives. I know they’ll come away from cover to feed and when the time’s right I’ll be able to catch them and it won’t be where I photographed them.

I spent much of my time looking, observing patiently, introducing a bit of hemp, pellets and casters into areas I’ve never previously caught from, hoping to find new fish. Each new season is an adventure. The popular swims of the previous year are often devoid of fish. Either they’ve wised up or the feature that held them has changed, or in the worst cases, removed altogether.

Every now and then my persistence pays off and I discover a new swim, completely unfished and that’s a huge buzz. Size of fish isn’t everything.

Further downstream I worked another swim. Again it began with one barbel and two chub in residence. After an hour it was 6 barbel, at least as many chub and a lone bream. These fish were less inclined to leave cover but this was mid-day. I decided to position a bait and take one but can you believe my luck. Three canoes appeared, stupid great things decorated like they were taking part in a gala.

‘Have you caught owt, mate?’ Shouted one of them, presumably thinking I’d be happy to engage him in polite conversation.

‘He won’t do now.’ Chipped in his mate, ‘Not now we’ve f****d his swim!’

 I later asked an EA guy what the legality of canoeing on this river was. He seemed to think it was perfectly allowable. I’ll still speak with the club secretary though. Surely it can’t be right.

So, with a heavy heart I abandoned the swim and went looking for fresh fields. I visited a swim that gave me four barbel less than two weeks ago. There was no-one at home, even after I fed it. Not a chub, nothing.

Eventually I found what I was looking for. A tiny sign. Was that the edge of a fin poking out from beneath that raft of vegetation? The only way to find out is to dropper in some bait. Not too much mind. Sure enough, half an hour later I had four barbel rooting underneath the streamer weed. And what fish they were. You can only really tell how big when you have one on the bank but I’ll swear I had two doubles in the swim. These were seriously big barbel for such a tiny river, much longer than anything else I’ve seen this year, or last for that matter. But how could I get a bait to them?

I had a small channel in which to cast, maybe a foot wide, no more. Getting the lead into it was tricky, but do-able. Getting the long hook link to land in it another. But I got there. The plop of the lead cleared everything out of the swim bit I knew they’d return. And then a lump of weed caught my line and dragged the lead round in an arc, snagging the hookbait in the streamer weed. Bugger! I would need a bigger lead to stand any chance of holding.

On with a 4oz lead. By now the fish had ventured back out. Cautiously at first and then, as they grew confident, began ripping up the gravel. I swung the heavier lead out, doing my utmost to land it gently. I might just as well have thrown a hand grenade. Everything scattered and dived deep into cover, but at least the lead enabled me to hold in position for longer.

But not for long enough. Long before the fish returned my lead was swept out of the feeding zone, the hook masked by filamentous weed. This was a near impossible task to begin with but I’m guessing the EA had decided to do some weed cutting in the upper reaches because the volume of weed increased significantly. Great rafts of the stuff began floating down on the surface and from that point it was game over completely. Time to head home.

 Before I did depart I dropped into a banker swim to get rid of my remaining hemp and casters. Within two minutes I had a shoal of chub and three barel feeding ravenously not 2 feet out from the near bank. So easily catchable I didn’t even bother. What’s the point if it isn’t a challenge?

And I didn’t mention that I discovered a shoal of bream. Only 8 fish, but what fish. Great big thick set lumps. Honestly I thought they were carp at first. A good half of them had what appeared to be stab marks on their backs. No cormorant alive could eat one of these but something had tried.

Oh well. Here’s to the next trip.

The Madness Of King Swords

Okay, let’s lighten the mood with a peek inside the mind which baffles modern science. Lee Swords, fresh from his delightful essay on bream, Somalis and other eccentricities, has written to me with his perspective on carp and modern carping. Don’t worry, I’ve already banged off an email begging him to send me the full article. I think we all enjoyed the last one so much it would be criminal not to share the rest.

What a book his ramblings would make. Possibly un-PC, maybe libelous and probably unprintable. But that didn’t stop the likes of Rushdie, did it?

Here’s a snapshot from Lee Swords’ take on carp…

The porn stars of the aquatic world, more magazine cover shots and center spreads than any other species of freshwater coarse fish plus more DVD’s, more video tape and more gear sold specifically to land them than all other species knocked into one…

So how come I have never had a twenty?

Quite simple really… I don’t like sloppy seconds.

Why the hell would I want to devote a serious chunk of my life trying to catch the fishy equivalent of the village bike? The average carp has lips that have seen more puncture wounds than a staff nurse in the haematology department of a large hospital.

If carp were human almost all the pretty ones would be dating Premier league footballers and selling stories via Max Clifford to the Sunday newspapers, scandalous exposes of sordid spit roasting sessions on the banks of the River Nene with Polish Internationals.

The majority of the rest would be mooching around disused reed beds and unseen gravel bars looking for a bit of passing trade, age and hard work having dulled their once good looks they would be like the old-timers that hang around the Neepsend area of Sheffield after dark.

Imagine the scenario if you will…

A crooked and in parts almost lipless grin quickly spread across the face of the battle scarred old hag known affectionately as “The Bucket”. She has just caught sight of her next John (angler) nervously sneaking around the corner of the lake, she gently lifts herself away from the silt covered bed and gives the rest of the girls a knowing wink.

Wanting to give her downstairs a quick fettling she flashes to the surface and gently rolls, flicking her ventral fins as she does. Personal hygiene is a must in the this game, there are few things in life as off-putting to the punter as arriving on a trick with an unruly and unkempt nest of leeches firmly attached to your lady bits, the very least a professional should do in this type of situation is either keep them whipped off or ensure that they are arranged in some form of aesthetically pleasing order.

The John stops dead in his tracks as he catches his first glimpse of her brassy flanks breaking the surface in the moody red light of the dusky twilight…

Aaaaggghhh!!!! Give us more you bugger!

Footnote: The Legend has replied. He says: ‘I will crack on with it… I love Pledgers style of art; it is beautiful in the extreme but at the same time so very simplistic… I have a backlog of  cartoons to work through. I am currently working on a group of anthropomorphised Lybian/Barbel rebels protesting the oppression they feel under the iron paw of the Axis of Evil, also known as the the “Otterman Empire”.’

Deep Joy. It’s coming folks. Like me, I expect you can’t wait!

Reflect On This

I know from studying the Google Stats that this blog is what most visitors to the site read first. The second most popular read are articles relating to barbel. Not all of you read everything I publish and if you are one of those individuals, then please make sure you make time to read the extract from Chris Turnbull’s book, Reflections.

It’s a fantastic book, beautifully illustrated and charts some amazing captures. The extract covers the capture of five very big barbel from the River Wensum and the paintings are sensational. Don’t miss it.

Fishing On A Plate

I don’t mind supporting those who make and sell fishing tackle, bait or write books about angling, make DVDs, etc, but I’m not normally one for publicising non-fishing related commercial projects on this site, especially ones that deliberately target anglers with the sole intention of making money out of them but in this instance I’ll make an exception because whoever responds to this offer is asking to be fleeced.

 Personalised number plates have always amused me. I don’t really get it if I’m honest, any more than I understand the wearing of bling, facial tattoos and body piercings. Okay, BOB13Y or KEV1N might be easier to remember than a random set of numbers and letters, or, some might say it’s a cry for attention. But I rather suspect having a fishing related number plate is tantamount to inviting folk to break into your vehicle because there might be some expensive fishing tackle just asking to be nicked. Or maybe I’m just paranoid.

If you fancy owning the number plates AN61LER and AN61LNG then all you need to do is contact Kevin Brewer on 07768503340 or via email at k13rew@hotmail.co.uk

Got The Badge

You know when you’ve arrived in this game. I’ve got the t-shirts (Bob The Fish) and now I’ve got the badges. It is such an honour to be bestowed with not just one but the full set of three. Take a look at these beauties – the gudgeon, perch and carp. You cannot buy them, they can only be given. Each is designed by MJP himself and I’m assured that if I wear them they will not just bring luck, but personal bests will certainly follow. I am enamelled, or should that say enamoured. No, I was right first time.

Eat your hearts out, suckers!

Doing It The French Way

Mentioning ‘Mole’, He apparently likes the site enough to have sent me a few photographic images which I’m more than happy to share with you. His passion is for close-up work of the wildlife around our fisheries and that suits me down to the ground. But first, let me share with you an image he shot while on a beetle hunting trip in France.

Picture the scene, a classic little Provence-type French town in the middle of nowhere. Mole stops to buy bread and cheese. His eye wanders to a long line of well-behaved little school children, standing by the village fountain. A couple of teachers looking after them. Fishing rods are being waved around; a couple of little made up garden cane jobbies, and one proper fishing rod. Thinking they were just dibbling little plastic floats for the hell of it, he didn’t take too much notice. Then as he watched, he could see some anxious moments, so decided to walk over and see what was going on.

As he approached, he realised that there were indeed some fish inside the confines of the fountain. Thinking these were maybe little tiny goldfish, he smiled to himself quietly, thinking how nice it was for little children this age to be learning the rudimentaries of fishing, and how lovely it must be for them to be spending the morning in this way.

 He imagined, had it been himself standing in line, how excited he would have been waiting for his turn at holding one of the little rods. As he neared, he smiled at one of the teachers and asked if I could take a couple of photos. And then he happened to glance in the water where a mad trout of about a pound and a half was careening about like it was in a pinball machine, obviously hooked by one of the kids who was almost being launched into the air by this mad thing.

One of the lady teachers then grabbed the trout, which had by now ended up flapping down the street, and wrapped it in a plastic bag. If this wasn’t bad enough, Mole thought at this point she’d maybe put it back for some other kid to try his luck with, but she started beating the crap out of the poor thing against the stone steps, after which she unceremoniously shoved it into the kid’s hands.

Hmmm. Imagine that happening in the UK.

No. Really. Don’t even go there. Suspensions, sackings, tribunals, trauma, compensation, careers destroyed. Lawyers getting richer.

In France they’d just say, ‘There you go dear. That’s where real food comes from… Bon appetite!’

And There’s More…

Again, courtesy of Maurice J Pledger, we have a trio of images to enjoy. Kind of a blog feature within a blog if you like, devoted to the wildlife and natural history of this sceptred isle.

 The first is a simple shot of three mallard ducklings.

The next is rather unusual. It’s a female Orb-Web Spider argiope bruennichiin her web. Apparently he sees them in darkest Hertfordshire near his local, very tiny pond.

 And finally, something to curdle your blood. It’s a huge signal crayfish, common in many parts of the UK but fortunately rare in these parts

 Nice work mate. I’m looking forward to devoting a corner of the site to your images in future blogs.

Barbel Record Smashed At Winthorpe, …Again!

I was on the Trent the other afternoon when a bloke opposite said to his mate in the loudest ever theatrical whisper, ‘Have you heard the barbel record’s gone? Bloke’s had one weighing 24lb 1oz from Winthorpe Rack, but he’s keeping it quiet.’

The following morning I has a call from Angling Times, ‘We’ve been told about a huge barbel off the Trent, Bob. Have you heard any whispers?’

‘Oh, you mean the 24-1 from Winthorpe?’

‘Err, yes, that’s the one. Apparently it was caught by the bloke who had the 22 last year.’

‘Probably weighed it on the same imaginary scales!’ I scoffed.

Honestly, I’m surprised these folks don’t report unicorn sightings, and minators because they surely exist in their own little fantasy worlds.

The Trent is rammed with anglers but it isn’t paved with 20lb barbel. It’s not even paved with 15lb barbel. If only folk would wake up to the fact that the volume of big barbel reported from the Trent boils down to umpteen re-captures of the same few fish and that a 12-pounder is still a monster. At least we might get a bit of realism.

On the other hand the fantasy merchants ain’t going to stop now. How about this report: ‘Can’t say too much on it as the guy wants to remain anonimous all i can say it was part of a three big fish catch in the same session two high teens and the 20lb 12oz Barbel, one of our bailiffs has seen the photos and it was huge with massive belly. He /we don’t want the area bombed out as it would be if it was advertised.’

Strange how they keep secrets round Newark way, isn’t it? And is it me or are twenties now the new doubles?

As for this year’s 24, we’re talking a female fish, presumably, that will be at its lowest weight and poorest condition of the season, which means come the back end it will weigh nearer 30lb. The Trent has done a 19, I believe that, and I do think that a few fish have pushed over 17lb – not many mind – at their peak weights. So how come the barbel record stood for half a Century at 14lb 6oz before being thrown out as dubious and future captures over 13lb 12oz invited to be considered for the record.

 Now we’re talking fish of twice that weight. And the mythical captor, who’s probably half man, half horse, has a horn growing out of his forehead and sports golden testicles, never wants to be named, has no track record of success, doesn’t want to share the pictures (if they exist) and goodness knows what scales he uses. And each time the fishery controllers come out with some excuse like, ‘If we revealed where the fish was caught the place would be rammed and we don’t want that.’

Aye, and I’m reliably informed that TESCo don’t want to increase their profits, either.

Sorry folks, I’d so love to be proved wrong, and I would happily apologise personally to the captor if I’m wrong, but come on, there’s a rather distinctive smell of bullshit surrounding every one of these (not) claimed captures.

And The Winner Is?

In the last blog I published a picture of Andy D with a chub that he caught from the River Dearne at Harlington on opening day and I allowed the you lot to speculate how big he reckoned it was. It’s the kind of dilema that must face the guys who work on the news desks of the Times and the Mail every week. Is it or isn’t it? The camera never lies and all that.

We filmed a guy at Swarkstone a couple of years ago who had just caught a nice winter barbel. We just happened to be passing by and thought why not. The guy, who regards himself as experienced, weighed it in front of us and proclaimed, ‘It’s a scraper double. That means I’ve had a double in every month of the open season!’

I looked at Stu, who looked at me with a look of surprise on his face. I shook my head while Stu just blinked, trying to keep a straight face, but we both kept our council. We even congratulated him, but back at the car Stu aked, ‘Did you see what he did?’

‘Yeah, he never took off the weight of the sling.’ And we had the whole process on video. The setting to zero without the sling, the pointer going round the dial, the lot. Just shows everyone makes mistakes now and then. Or, if you’re feeling cynical, how many of the doubles we hear about are just big eights and nines.

My favourite exaggeration tale happened while fishing at Fiskerton a few years back. The guy on the next peg landed a nice barbel. Easily a double, he reckoned. I tactfully offered to weigh it and it was an eight. Two hours later he came round for a chat and had obviously forgotten it was me who weighed the fish because he recounted the tale of the double he’d caught that evening, weighed and everything. I reckon that by the time he was retelling the tale back in Chesterfield it would have grown another couple of pounds and that he would actually believe what he was saying was the truth.

Well, no-one suggested that this chub weighed 24-1 (on the Winthorpe Scale) but your estimates did range from a cautious 1lb 4oz to a speculative 8lb 3oz, although some of you might have had your tongues firmly pressed in your cheeks, I don’t know.

According to the captor, Andy D, it weighed 6lb 4oz and ‘gave a belta scrap’. So as far as I’m concerned that’s what it weighed. Presumably a river record.

Not many folk came even close to the claimed weight but ‘Jerry’ was bang on the money. Perhaps he knows Andy or maybe they own the same set of weighing scales. If so, he’s disqualified!

That’s How You Struggle?

Stu emailed me to say he was struggling to catch much. I’d maybe have felt slightly sympathetic had he not sent me a picture of the chub he’d caught earlier that morning.

I appreciate it weighed an awful lot less than Andy’s chub but I ask you, isn’t this the kind of struggling we’d all like a bit of?

Mind you, imagine what Stu might of caught from the Dearne. The chub there run much bigger! 😉

This Is How You Struggle

I nipped down to the Trent again on Monday and the forecast was for the hottest day in five years. They weren’t wrong. It was baking and I didn’t even bother to take a single photograph which gives you a better idea of what I caught. In previous years I’ve tended to abandon the twin lightning conductor, sit back and read a book, allow the daft buggers to hook themselves style of fishing. It’s very effective, of that there’s no doubt, but it’s not a lot of fun in my eyes. I’d sooner catch less but do it in my own way using a bit of skill.

Float fishing for barbel has given me a lot of fun and excitement over the past few seasons but for some reason I am struggling to catch so much as a single one so far this year. It’s uncanny because I know there are barbel in the area as they’re practically throwing themselves onto bolt rigs, but can I hell as like even hook one on float gear? Others I know who usually give it a go are also struggling. It’s as if it’s a case of static bait or nothing.

Even slowing the bait down to a near, and occasionally dead stop, isn’t working. Nor is switching the bait from maggot, to caster, to pellets. I appreciate that the river is painfully low and extremely clear, but it shouldn’t be this hard, should it?

The wind has proved a bit tricky, too. Especially when we’ve had those down and in winds that require you to constantly mend your line. Indeed I gave up in the end and tried a different stretch. And that’s where I bent forwards, my phone slipped out of the top pocket of my chesties and plopped into the water. Fortunately it’s due for renewal but right now I ain’t got anyone’s numbers so don’t expect me to call you anytime soon.

But Not On Every Trip…

I’m conscious that you might be thinking I never catch anything. That’s not quite true. In fact I’d rather you didn’t start going soft and perhaps feeling sorry for me. I am catching, just not telling you everything, that’s all.

Mind you, I think the fish have started feeling a bit of pity. I actually caught a half blind barbel last week. It was a case of not knowing who felt sorriest for whom! You’d never tell it was partially sighted from the fight or the condition it was in, mind. I’m not a fan of giving fish names but henceforth this chappie shall be named Blind Pugh.

Oh, and I did have a rather splendid looking fish to go with it. Not a monster by any means but a glorious looking wild river specimen. One of four that came in the space of about half an hour.


Fancy Saying Hello?

Anyone who is likely to be at a loose end in the Midlands on Saturday 23rd July will be more than welcome to come along and say hello to me at the Tacklefest show. In the past it’s been a 2-day outdoor show but this year it is heading indoors to the East Of England Showground and will be the biggest Indoor fishing event of the whole summer.

I’ll be sharing the stage with Improve Your Coarse Fishing editor Kevin Green and John Wilson and if you are intrigued enough to get a sneak preview of some of the stuff that Stu Walker and I have been filming then don’t miss my show which will feature lots of previously unseen footage and tips.

As well as a web site the show also has its own Facebook page.

Applying Logic To An Illogical Situation

What happens when a protected species no longer needs protecting? Or maybe I should put that another way, how do we remove a species from the protected list? If a species is endangered, let’s say the otter, or the cormorant, then I’m all for offering a degree of protection. We should at least give it a chance, but I don’t think we should take liberties and meddle with nature by re-introducing stuff willy-nilly. After all, would you really like to wake up to find a woolly mammoth munching its way through your flower beds, or a sabre-tooth tiger lurking behind your potting shed, or packs of wolves hunting down school children? Maybe grizzly bears picking off the odd wino or homeless person might prove acceptable?

As for bringing back velociraptors and the like? I think we can forget that.

Species become extinct for a reason. Usually it’s because environmental circumstances have changed. Its food source has dried up (they’ve eaten it), or lack of habitat, climate change and so on. Often we’re the cause, take the passenger pigeon and buffalo, for example, but nowadays, for some odd reason, we feel duty bound to step in and try to do something about the situation. A bit of meddling.

But surely, if we afford certain groups of birds or animals total protection from predation it has to be with an end game in sight. Like going to war in jungles and desert countries. Surely someone decides the measures by which you agree that you’ve achieved your goals at the outset and you then stop the protection when the objective has been reached? Protection doesn’t mean forever, does it? And if by protecting one species we then wipe out several others through our meddling interference, then surely that is completely unacceptable?

If there are more than 20,000 cormorants over-wintering on UK inland waterways, how on earth can you deem it to be an endangered species? Twenty, yes, twenty thousand, inland – well, for crying out loud! At what point do we say enough’s enough? 200,000? 2 million? There has to be an acceptable limit, surely?

Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Earth has evolved over millions of years. Our own little island was once part of a far greater land mass. It has been a hot and steamy jungle and it has endured ice ages. The variety of extinct species that have disappeared over the millennia would fill a telephone directory. But now we have folk saying that’s okay, it’s history, but we must do everything we can to preserve a certain warped snapshot. Now is the new tomorrow. Creature ‘A’ may not even have existed 5,000 years ago but it must be saved today, even if it is at the expense of creature ‘B’. And that’s what I find difficult to come to terms with. It’s genocide on one hand but worse still, it’s playing God on the other. We’re meddling with something we don’t appear to understand and we’re doing it randomly.

It’s like a game show, Simon Cowell saying, ‘Alright, what are you going to do for us tonight? You’re going to kill fish. Okay, let’s see what you’ve got…’

Amanda Holden, ‘Oooohhh, isn’t he cuddly? I love the fur and the sleek moves. I bet you’re very popular with the lady otters.’

Michael McIntyre, ‘ That’s amazing. I cannot believe you took on a creature that’s much bigger than yourself and simply ripped its throat out. It’s a yes from me!’

Simon Cowell:‘Well done Tarka, that’s three yesses!’

The otter has been saved. The pigmy cormorant has presumably been saved along with the sub species that gained protection by mistake. Both have flourished at the expense of other creatures. So, come on, when do we say fine, enough’s enough, let’s now have another little tinker to see if we can get the balance looking a little more acceptable?

No-one seems to give a shit that the roach is rapidly becoming an endangered species and I include anglers in that. Anglers have become blinkered in recent times. Carp, pike and barbel are the demi Gods of the fishing Universe. All else is a nuisance at best. Thankfully there are a few warriors left who can see beyond the mono culture but they’re facing an uphill battle.

Adam Price and Trevor Harrop front the Avon Roach Project in Hampshire, which aims to reinstate a self-sustaining population of roach to the Avon and attempt to halt the decline that has persisted over the last three decades. Unfortunately it’s a bit like King Canute trying to order the tide not to come in. But at least they’re giving it a go.

Recently they’ve helped to form a coalition of interested parties who have a cohesive drive to do something about the biggest threat to our roach and indeed all other inland fish species, a foreign invasive species of cormorant named carbo sinensis. Please note. This is not the pigmy cormorant for which the original legislation was meant to protect and it is certainly not the common UK sea bird – that’s the phalacrocorax carbo carbo

It is staggering to think that we now have 23,000 of these unwanted European birds wintering in the UK, each eating a kilo of fish per day with total immunity. Do the sums. It’s a massive, quite staggering amount of fish that is being eaten. And don’t give me that bull about applying for licenses. That’s horseshit, I’m afraid, but currently it’s all we’ve got.

In January 2011 Defra announced a forthcoming review of the cormorant licensing system. So The Avon Project is pleading for your help in lobbying the environment Minister, Richard Benyon, to have carbo sinensis placed on the General Licence, providing river keepers and fishery owners, with an effective way of protecting their assets. Even if you care nothing for roach, you need to act. When the roach have gone it’ll be goodnight to all the future generations of barbel, carp and pike because 23,000 cormorants will find something else to eat, mark my words and it won’t be a MacDonalds burger.

You can help the Avon Project by signing their on-line petition at or by visiting the web site at and following the cormorant link.

An Absolute Star

Tom Pickering and I go back a long way and I have the utmost admiration for both his abilities as an angler and as an engaging public speaker. His live talks are dynamite stuff and I’ve seen plenty of them, so I’m guessing his new TV show, Absolute Match Fishing will be an ‘absoute’ winner, too.

Not quite sure about the name, but I guess they’d have been in all sorts of problems had they tried to call it Total Match Fishing, so Absolute it will be.

You can find out more about this new TV programme by visiting Preston Innovation’s web site.

And One Who Should Be

A few years ago I was sent a copy of a book by a guy called John Andrews called ‘For All Those Who Are Left Behind’. I found it enchanting, one of the best fishing books I have ever read and if you liked Blood Knots you’ll love this. I then went on to meet him and found him much quieter than I expected, but charming. I won’t embarass John by going on about his past, which has been interesting to say the very least, but for now I’ll allow you to discover his blog.

And A Terse Verse To Close The Show (Ladies Please Look Away)

Old Rig Hopper has sent me another verse. ‘I’m not sure if this Poem is ‘PC’ enough for publication but i hope it amuses you though….’ He wrote. Err no, it’s probably not, but what the hell. I shall simply redirect the death threats to his Facebook account. 😉


She is driving me Barmy, I am at my wits end,

I reckon she’s losing the plot.

Her tempers are fierce and her moods have no trend,

And I’m struggling to deal with the way that she’s got.

She gives me no warning of what is in store,

And erupts at the drop of a hat.

I’ve stopped trying to find out what is wrong anymore,

Why she finds fault in this and in that.

My once gentle darling is now snapping and snarling,

And all that I do is still wrong.

Being caring and loving, reassuring and giving,

Brings even more spite from her tongue.

This female behaviour that causes such stress,

That in men would be labelled ‘Quite Mad’,

Has no rhyming or reason but when it’s in season,

PMT wears us blokes down a tad.

Who else would she pick on to let it all out,

When the pressure builds up to her starting.

Well I’ve had enough; I’m not taking her ‘Stuff’,

So for 3 days and 4 nights I’ve gone Carping.

Rob Bettridge


5 thoughts on “2011 – Another Early July Blog

  1. I was opposite you and Stu when a chap comes down and asks me to take a picture of a “double” he’s just caught. He weighed it in front of me in a great big wringing wet carp net on a knackered old spring balance. It went 9lb 8oz!

    The same chap had posted on the club forum the week before about a 13 and a 10 he’d had from the same swim.

    Why kid yourself? I just don’t get it!

  2. nice read again bob, never met andy d or visited the dearne, complete guess i,m afraid, i may do the lottery this week if my lucks in 🙂
    something i,m curious about, this trent barbel lets say it was packed full of spawn when it was caught, what would a fish that big weigh minus the spawn? do they carry enough spawn to dramatically increase weight like 5 or 6lb?

  3. Bit of fun with Andy, really. Hope he’s not offended… 😉 I’m sure he won’t be but if he wants a set of scales I’ve an old set kicking around somewhere that he can have.

    Regarding ‘record’ fish, national coarse fish records tend to creep up in ounces, not pounds and I don’t believe for one moment that a healthy barbel would carry 6lb of spawn. One also has to consider that the only two times this barbel has been caught (no one else catches it on a very busy stretch of the Trent and there have been no reports of a fish increasing through 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23lbs) is by the very same angler. That’s a huge coincidence to say the least.

    Perhaps his only witness was a passing alien from Mars and he didn’t want to be held to ridicule…?

    There are some tremendous fish in the Trent. Not hundreds of them but one or two fantastic individuals that are like needles in haystacks. It is such a pity we are not celebrating them for what they are rather than being subjected to wildly exagerated claims about their sizes.

    Like I say, I’d love dearly to be proved wrong. But show me the pictures of a fish weighed properly and read accurately on calibrated scales, indpendantly witnessed and I’ll believe it.

    There are a lot of competent anglers fishing the Trent. There is no magic bullet, no sure fire way of just targeting big fish, you have to wade through the schoolies to catch the big girls, therefore the guy who catches most often catches the biggest, but not always.

    However, those who catch most will take a bigger proportion of the intermediate fish, the 13s, 14s, 15s and 16s. So how come they never seem to catch the 18s and 19s? That’s what makes the guy who catches twenties, two years running, at a time of the season when the fish are at their lowest weights, rather difficult to accept.

    But it doesn’t stop people from dreaming and the more often inflated weights are published the more prevalent it becomes for anglers who guestimate weights to over-egg the pudding.

    A guy I know caught a ridiculous amount of barbel on opening day. It wasn’t until he netted his 34th fish that he had his first ‘double’. yet some folks seem to catch a double every other time the bite alarm goes off.

    Kind of makes you think, eh?