The river season may be over but I appear to be busier than ever. This past week I’ve been out a few times with mixed results. A day on the canal throwing soft lures didn’t produce so much as a follow. The sky was clear, the water even clearer and there wasn’t a breath of wind. It was the perfect spring day and although I visited four different lengths it simply wasn’t to be my day.
To be fair, baring spooking a 12 inch jack pike from beneath a bit of marginal cover, I didn’t see a single sign of fish movement. Not one fish topped.
With age comes experience and I knew I was on a loser, so I packed up early, took the circuitous way home and dropped in on a few fisheries. I do like to keep in touch with the owners whenever I can and a bit of publicity does them no harm, especially after the rotten winter we have just come through.
First up was Alderfen. Unfortunately Dave had disappeared off somewhere but who should I bump into but Ian Cougil and Alan Dudhill. They were perch fishing and had enjoyed a little success. Who in their right mind would turn their noses up at a 2lb 10oz perch – especially if you caught it on maggot while trying to catch a livebait!
From there I called in at Bank End. A superbly well run fishery that offers a lot more than match-sized carp. By all accounts it has thrown up a few nice roach this winter and the carp are now running to the mid-twenties. Of course, the match lake is regularly producing ton-up bags. David McCallum was also telling me about a rather exciting fishery project he’s on with but more of that at a later date.
And finally I called to see Phil and Irene at Tyram Hall. I’ve occasionally fished the syndicate lake in the past and it’s been great to watch the place develop. They lost the biggest resident this winter, a fish topping 40lb but there are at least half a dozen thirties following on. Casper the ghost is still a prized capture and rightly so at around 35lb.
The match lakes looked in superb nick, quite unlike most commercial-type waters in that the pegs are well spaced and it’s surrounded by mature trees. Indeed, I decided a commercial break was in order and sorted out a return visit.
The match lake has an abundance of silver fish. Indeed it is solid and if the late Ray Tinkler was still around he’d be thinking he’d already died and gone to heaven. It would be right up his street because Ray loved small fish and bites. Carp, you could keep.
Most anglers target the carp using pellets to avoid the smaller bream and roach. I went in on wag and mag with a view to getting plenty of bites and maybe a few nice slabs. Alas I simply couldn’t feed off the ‘bits’. Honestly, I must have had a bite every cast but hitting them was a nightmare although that didn’t worry me at all. I missed the net with at least a dozen fish and dropped a load of skimmers due to laziness, swinging them on hooks that were too fine for their soft mouths instead of netting them.
I also landed a carp or two up to about 5lb so all-in -all I probably had 25-30lb of fish on a day that was all about pleasure. Indeed I can’t wait to get back there for a return visit. I doubt I’ll see Phil or Irene, though, as they’ll be spending the next 4 months ferrying carp anglers back and forth to the Chateau Lake in France. Sounds like they’re practically booked up for the whole of the season.
It’s Alright For Some…
Our Andaman Adventure can now be watched on YouTube, in HD if you prefer, as Stu has done a lightning quick job of editing the footage. At almost 20 minutes long I have to say he’s done a superb job although it did leave me wondering where all the bad weather footage had gone. Then I realised, he was wise enough not to get the cameras out in the pouring rain unless we were beneath cover and there was precious little of that on our boat. But watch it and you’ll get more than an idea what I meant when I told you the weather could have been better…!
Fancy A Trip In A Time Machine?
I came across a fantastic tool the other day that allows you to go back in time. Seriously. You can scoot back through time.
This isn’t my first web site. I had one ten years ago called World Of Angling. I actually thought it was dead. disappeared, kaput. Long gone and forgotten but the nature of the net is that all those noughts and ones are stored for ever, somewhere in cyberspace. Intrigued I took a journey back through time and now, so can you. Just clickon the picture and be whisked to a time before all the backstabbing and backbiting rose up and consumed angling on the Internet.
The amazing thing is that it’s practically all there and working. Articles, FAQ’s, images, the lot. Takes a few seconds to load but it’s worth it. Go on, waste an hour!
Get Your Fingers Out If You Want A Copy Of Barbel Mystique
Dr Terry Baxter’s new book Barbel Mystique has practically sold out already! I only announced its release a few weeks ago and by all accounts copies have flown off the shelves. I’m informed that there are less than 20 copies of the cloth bound edition left and just two of the leather bound.
Books As An Investment
Thelimited edition books produced by Little Egret Press are not only proving popular, they are fetching fabulous prices in the second hand market. Take these examples:
Life and Times of Bill Quinlan,by Bob Buteux (original price: £18.95) sold for £92
Spirit of the Pond, 1st edition leather by Tom O’Reilly (original price: £125) – Currently being offered on eBay with a ‘buy it now’ price of £695
Wild Rover, by Tom O’Reilly (original price: £18.95) – Currently being offered on eBay with a ‘buy it now’ price of £50
Carp Pitch, by Tom O’Reilly (original price: £18.95) – Currently being offered on eBay with a ‘buy it now’ price of £47
To browse the publisher’s catalogue, visit the LEP web site.
Fish With Tom Pickering For A Fiver
There aren’t many blokes who I’d rather have a day’s tuition with than Tom Pickering. I’ve known him a lot of years and even filmed with him. The first time we fished a match together, I was sat at home waiting for him to come and pick me up and all I could think was, ‘Bloody Hell, I’m going fishing with Tommy Pickering!’
The match was a 200 pegger on the Trent, we drew pegs 28 and thirty, or something similar, and the club angler pegged between us spanked both out backsides.
Anyway, you could share a day with Tom for as little as a fiver. As part of the ‘Big Bash’ charity fund raising Tom Has put himself up in the ‘Chances’ raffle. You pay a fiver for a ticket and the winner gets a day for two under the personal tuition of a former World Champion and current England Feeder Fishing Team that will compete in Italy this year.
Even if you’re always unlucky in raffles, every penny goes to a breast cancer charity.
Indeed, don’t take my word for it, go to the Big Bash Web Site where you’ll find instructions on how you can pay by cheque, cash, postal order or even paypal. And remember, if you download this form your contribution will be worth considerably more as the Taxman will generously refund the tax.
Don’t hang about, mind, as the winner will be drawn out at 2pm on Thursday 7th April.
If you have any other questions, need information or have positive contributions to make, give Kev a call on 07878706752
Well Worth A Listen
Music lovers might care to check out a site called the Live Music Archive. There are over 90,000 live recordings on there by acts big and small that you can listen to or download – all legally and above board. If there’s a problem with it then it’s because there are too many concerts to pick from. There’s practically an entire career record of the Greatful Dead (7,504 concert recordings!), , a couple of hundred Smashing Pumpkins sets, umpteen featuring Hayseed Dixie, Billy Bragg, David Gray and hundreds of bands you’ve never heard of. There’s some fine stuff by the late Lowell George and Little Feat and it’s well worth checking out Paul Barrere’s post-Feat acoustic stuff (Dixie Chicken, Sailin’ Shoes, Skin it Back, Willin’ and so on) with Fred Tackett.
Most can be played at the click of a button from a top of page set list, some are in high quality FLAC format and may need converting after you download should you want to stick it on an Ipod.
This week I downloaded a recent Jason Mraz concert and it’s simply superb. Fantastic quality and a great performer to boot.
One way of cutting through the maze is to use the ‘This Day In History’ feature which lists a number of recordings according to the current day’s date. Today threw up a list that included a set by Warren Zevon (Werewolf In London), recorded in 1999. Can’t be bad.
A Memorable Night
I was in Sandy, Bedfordshire on Monday evening to present a talk to the Kings Arms Angling Club and help raise a bit of much needed cash for the local Sue Ryder Homes hospice. To say it went well would be an understatement. Great facilities at the Holiday Inn, a packed room, receptive audience and a few old faces from way back when for good measure.
My talk, which to be honest is a pretty easy for me as I just play two specially edited 50 minute films and talk over some of the interesting bits, was remarkably well received – especially the outtakes and bloopers where Stu and I send ourselves up a bit during the filming of Barbel Days and Ways. As well as previously unseen underwater barbel footage there’s stuff from Canada, India, Africa and even the latest Andaman Island trip. Pretty much something for everyone.
Anyway, enough of blowing my own trumpet, it was great to bump into old Bob Church again. I’ve got enormous respect for the old feller and he really has been there and done it. For an International fly angler his coarse fish captures are remarkable. Indeed he’s just had his 50th 20lb pike – on a fly, of course. Quite a guy. And he’s still passionate about Northampton Town – real football. You can tell a supporter of lower league football because they’ll always tell you they’re in a bit of a false position in the league, playing better than their results suggest. That will probably sound familiar if you read this column on a regular basis.
The show was worth attending for Mike Green’s short but very noteworthy slide show at the beginning. Mike is a regular fishing partner of Bob’s and has been a pioneer of catching pike on the fly. He’s had no end of twenties doing it and eventually got his dream fish, a thirty, but that was eclipsed by his PB, a fish weighing 40lb 8oz that he had, yes, on a fly, from Chew Valley. Top angling!
What interested me though was the number of big perch, chub and zander he’s had on flies. Maybe the seeds of a new project have been planted in my head.
Anyway, the final sum raised during the evening is still being tallied up but it won’t be far short of £3,000. I call that a good nights work and a worthwhile use of everyone’s time. Pleasure to do it and thanks for having me lads. Perhaps I’ll join you for a day on the Ivel this year.
PS: Don’t mention the cormorants…! (in joke)
Fish N Tips
I’ve just received a press release which previews the next Fish ‘N Tips magazine contents and I have to say it’s rammed full of spunky articles that’ll get your juices flowing. Guaranteed to make you want to get your rod out and give it a waggle. Anyway – here it is:
Press Release – Fish’N’Tips Magazine – April 1st, 2011
The second issue of F’N’T hits the newsagents shelves next week and follows on the back of its sensational launch at Vince Davies Phenomenal Farnborough Flea Market. Packed full of articles to get your juices flowing it’s a read you can’t miss. This month we’ve teamed up with Kleenex Tissues to bring you a cover mounted gift no reader should be without, a packet of lanolin impregnated tissues to go with our motto, ‘We think of everything’.
Here’s what’s inside…
Get on Top While The Sun Shines. Cast off your winter kit and go for it.
Baiting strategies. Is That A Bait Rocket In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?
Double Bagging. You know you’d like to.
Stockings or a Solid Bag. Which do you Prefer?
Lubed Up And Shiny. We compare the best pole elastic lubricants.
Which Whip? This comparison is bound to please.
Head Girls. Ladies World Championship Special.
Short Pole Techniques. Where size isn’t everything.
Two Man Bivvy Erections. How quickly can you get it up?
Stripteaze. The FNT girls get lowdown and dirty with a Kryston favourite.
Picture Special: PVA or PVC? Our girls model it, you vote for which takes your fancy.
Happiness is holding your rod in your hand – our own Posh offers you some encouragement (see right)
All Our Yesterdays
Exclusive – Vintage Stuff – We dust the cobwebs off The Fish Handling Code. A real rave from the grave where we look at a flawed and ancient code of practise. It may have been done to death in every other comic but we sex it up.
Letters – including one from a Frenchie.
Happy Hookers. Your fishing girlfriend (not that many readers actually have one) could be our next Bivvy Babe Pin-up
Great Battles Of Our Time. ‘She was stuck behind a (gravel) bar but I knew if I kept the pressure on she’d soon be coming…’
One Swallow Doesn’t Make A Summer. Our thigh booted beauty waited all winter for a chance and then she blew it – A picture special you won’t want to miss.
She’s A Big Girl Now. Terry H cuddles up to his latest conquest. Old and round as his mum but he don’t care.
Cundiff Heads Down South: ‘It was quite hairy.’ Reveals the Yorkshire stud muffin.
Brasses I Have Known. Danny Fairbrass talks about the early years.
Coming Next Month:
Hooters – The only way to start a fishing match!
Tarty Flavours – Cherries and plums do it for us.
(And if you believe all this then maybe you should check today’s date…)
I could go on, but does angling really need this? I don’t think so. And as the angling demographic is rather weak on the 13 to 30-year-old age group one imagines it’s doomed to failure. Surely, for it to succeed and appeal to that target audience you need trendy, young, hip and cool writers led by a fashionista of sorts and I just don’t see that. Guys, drop the titillation and give us a brand new cutting edge fishing magazine. Surely that’s not a lot to ask?
If the best you can come up with is a bit of underwear and a re-hash of the Barbel Handling Code then it’s time to consider just how much money this little indulgence is going to cost you.
I mean, what’ll be the next spicing up ploy? Racist jokes and homophobic rants? Guest columns by Roy Chubby Brown and Jim Davidson perhaps?
In the not too distant past we’ve lost the CEMEX mag, Coarse Fisherman, Coarse Fishing, Coarse Angler, Carp Angling News and Techniques, Catchmore Carp, Midland Angler, Southern Angler and Northern Angler. I’m sure there are others. IYCF and DHP’s coarse mag are dominant because they are good. They target their core readership. They don’t try to be soft-core porn mags. Come on guys, drop the birds and concentrate on producing a brilliant mag. Angling is crying out for a good one.
The following announcement was published on the magazine’s web site today:
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:48
Despite the good response Fish‘n’Tips Magazine received at The Big One Show, online and via copy sales, the second issue has been cancelled.
Fishermen liked our fresh approach, our entertaining features and the fact that we intended to put them first; the average fisherman, rather than the sponsored angler.
However, as we struggled to get support from advertisers, which is half of the revenue stream for a magazine, we were unable to continue.
Many thanks to those advertisers & contributers who did support us, Subscribers will receive their refunds shortly.
The Fish ‘n’ Tips Team
I have to express a degree of sympathy for my old mate Steve. He posted an apology on his web site for the lack of recent blog updates, actually citing that he’d been busy working on articles for F’N’T. Indeed he promised that in his next blog he’d be putting up an argument as to why he believed it was right to support and be part of it. Steve, I think you should still make that case. It’ll be interesting to hear it in the light of events.