Bit rushed at the moment so you’ll be relieved to hear this is one of my shorter blogs. Afraid I simply don’t have enough time just now to include everything I’ve been up to over the past week or two so maybe they’ll drop into the next one. But where shall I start?
I was booked to appear at the Tacklefest Show on the final Saturday of July which turned out to be a very pleasant outing. Held at the East of England Showground, I travelled down and shared a stand with Paul Fisk of Fisky’s Fantastic Feeders. As we swept into the grounds I looked over to the impressive hall and thought, ‘Hello, this looks nice.’
Unfortunately when we asked the security guy on the gate where we should go to unload he said follow the road as far as you can go to the final sheep pen on your left…
John Wilson was as affable as ever and he’s promised to have a word with his publisher about supplying an extract from his latest book for this site. The book extracts are proving very popular both with authors, publishers and you the reader. I’ve already got three ready to publish and several more in the pipeline. My aim is to release one a week while ever I can source them.
Mick Brown dropped into the show on a social visit and we were able to have a nice long chat. I first met Mick many years ago at an angling dinner hosted by David Hall and Shimano. It was the year, I think, that Bob Nudd had won his first World Championship. I’d travelled down with Tom Pickering and Denis White – how’s that for name dropping!
Mick and I talked about having a day together fishing for chub on lures at a lake he was fishing but for one reason or another it never came off. We’re hoping to put that right later this year, though probably not fishing for chub. Mick has a new book coming out shortly and he’ll be running an extract on here soon.
Meanwhile, when you’ve finished reading this blog, why not check out his web site.
An evening with Stu at the Yorkshire Region Barbel Society meeting proved highly enjoyable. Chris Ponsford was speaking and we joined him onstage during the second half for an impromptu Q&A session. It’s nice when things like that happen, kinda like dropping in on an unexpected jamming session.Had some really nice feedback afterwards, too.
Now That’s What I Call A Big Feeder…
An old friend was at the show and he asked what I thought about the feeder his mate had made. It was meant to be a bit of a joke but when I think back to the nasty business that followed my quote on Keith Arthur’s TV show, and I quote, ‘Most barbel anglers don’t feed enough’ – you have to wonder what they’d make of it.
The old, ‘I only use 2 kilo’s in a whole season’ (and catch f*** all!) merchants would have an apoplectic fit. Christ, their season’s allowance wouldn’t last a morning with a splodger like this!
Time For Tares
Having had so many barbel recently I felt it was time for a change. After all, how many do you really need to catch before you feel the need for a more difficult challenge? Guess that depends on your IQ. ;-p
Anyway, the challenge of catching roach is one that has enthralled me since I first began fishing rivers with my old man. I soon learned there was more to catching them than just turning up. Sometimes they can be the most frustrating of fish but once you get them going on hemp and tares you can usually overcome their caution. That’s if you can find any river roach around these days. Time was when I could catch them from any swim on the Trent.
That last paragraph prompted me to dig out my diary from the amazing summer of 1987, in my first 19 matches (18 on the Trent, 1 on the Nene) I recorded 9 wins (including 5 on the trot), 4 seconds and a couple of thirds. My worst results were a 5th and an 8th. Even that day I weighed 11lb 5oz but what made that summer so sweet was that I was fishing almost exclusively for roach, catching them on the drop mostly. I only weighed less than double figures four times during the whole run, surprisingly winning two of those four as the river had fished below par. It was simply wonderful fishing and it hardly mattered where I drew.
Today you can still catch roach but you have to be in the right swims.
Lee Swords had a few very nice fish from the tidal Trent, all over the pound mark, on scaled down barbel tactics. Hair rigged micro pellets, light lines, small hooks and a quiver tip. Good angling but not my cup of tea. I guess where roach are concerned I am too much of a traditionalist. They have to be caught on the float.
So I headed just above Nottingham to an area where I enjoyed a little success last season to see how I got on. The first trip was a bit frustrating and it looked as though I’d struggle on the second run out. The fish were there and seemed to want a moving bait. Again I was blighted by an upstream wind that stopped my stick float in its tracks, even using the long rod. You see, the flow isn’t exactly great in summer and the water is probably 8 or 9 feet deep. To get a float moving you would need a huge stick float and that would be counter productive.
The answer lay with a switch to the pole. Suddenly I went from struggling to catching, or at least getting a positive bite, every put in. Nothing massive but pristine fish in the 3 to 6oz range mostly. Great fishing in fact. I did get the odd better fish but they were exceptions. The result was a double figure net despite missing far too many bites but I must try and get back for more of this. Trouble is there are so many options open to me at the moment, so many different sweeties in the shop window…
Not Another One!
What is it they say about 10 per cent of the anglers catching 90 per cent of the fish? While many folk are making excuses for why they’re not catching barbel some seem to be making it all look simple. Stu Walker sent me another picture this week from a short daytime trip to a ‘difficult’ midlands river. It was one of four fish he caught in a few hours and weighed 13lb 10oz.
How is it some guys make catching look easy while all the ‘experts’ and know-alls struggle?
Perhaps I Was Dreaming
Can it be true? Was that really me in the second row watching a Shakespeare production? It certainly was. The RSC has been supporting a number of Open Stages around the country where local theatrical companies stage the Bard’s works with a twist. The Far Out Theatre Company had chosen to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the tiny courtyard of a local stately home, Cusworth Hall. The Twist? It was set against a backdrop of 1960’s and 70’s music with the ‘human’ cast clothed in the fashions of that era.
Honestly, with such a backdrop, an English summer’s evening and intimate setting, well, it was like walking onto a set for Midsomer Murders or Lewis.
Thoroughly entertaining night though.
More Dodgy Characters
Had an email from John Austerfield this week suggesting: Keep your eyes peeled for this dodgy looking bloke seen lurking on the Trent masquerading as a barbel angler.
Inspector Knacker of Newark Police says, “He can be recognised by his pungent smell of halibut oil, magnificent pot belly and the stuffed fish he sometimes claims to have just caught and asks you to take his photo. On no account should he be approached because he can be very crusty and has a choice repertoire of abuse”.
Don’t know about you but I reckon it’s a self take! 😉
Lough Derg Update
Looks like it was right place, wrong time when I fished with TJ on Lough Derg. Seems he organised a trip for Harry and Paul Lines from Walsall the other day. TJ was unable to fish so he arranged for local guide Kevin Grimes to take them to his pre-baited marks. The trio shared 430lb of bream in a single session. Shame they’ve managed to get some water on the camera lens.
Shame really that every angler in the UK seems to be wearing either barbel or carp blinkers and that the fabulous fishing just over the Irish Sea has fallen off everyone’s radar. I’m still mystified by those who spread tales of, ‘Aye lad, burrit ain’t what it used to be…’
Ireland is still fantastic and it has much more to offer than just the fishing.
Calamity Dave Strikes Again
Dave Loveday is a man who lives for fishing. Last year he even signed himself out of hospital to fish in my Green Un Final. He’s not what you’d call a tidy angler, indeed the contents of his tackle box are not dissimilar to the remnants of a charcoal burner but by heck he can catch fish. Unfortunately he’s a little accident prone to say the least.
A couple of years ago he failed to apply his car handbrake properly resulting in said car rolling into his swim during a match at Hayfield. In a remarkable coincidence it happened again when he was fishing at Lakeside, Ranskill. Little surprises me about Dave now and nor should it you.
In a recent Peck House AC match at Carterhall Fisheries Dave all-but had the match won with half an hour to go with a nice bag of ide taken on chopped worm. Then, as he leaned forward to net a fish, his mobile phone slipped from his shirt pocket and landed with a familiar splash – well, I’m surmising he means familiar to him. Jumping up off his seat box to retrieve the phone with his landing net a gust of wind caught under his umbrella and lifted all his gear, seat box included, Mary Poppins style into the lake.
‘What next?’ He asked in his email to me.
Dave, you really don’t want to know that, surely…
I scanned through a thread on Fishing Magic the other day about the number of bivvied up carbellers on the Trent in which something I’d written a decade ago was quoted. Sadly the age of passionate forum debate is over. These days they’re pretty sterile places where more often than not you’ll find folk who don’t actually fish a great deal but like to give the impression they do and those who want to know which bank stick is best.
Time was when you could debate issues with the likes of Jim Gibbinson, Tony Miles, Gary Knowles, Graham Marsden and so on. Genuinely experienced anglers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Unfortunately you also had a divisive and destructive element, the wreckers of this world who knew everything and their way was the only way. They succeeded in driving away the intelligent contributors.
I once knew a guy who was 6 foot 7, athletic, good looking and a bit handy with his fists. In all the time I knew him he never started a fight or tries to cause trouble. He was a placid man but would end up in some kind of bother most nights when he went out, usually with someone who was a foot shorter. Losers picked fights with him all the time, trying to look big in front of their mates or impress a girl. Today I guess they would be called chavs. Unfortunately they picked on the wrong guy.
The Internet forums are not dissimilar. Faceless, useless, attention seeking nerds are forever trying to look big and clever by putting you down. They think they’re the masters of the one-line put down, safe in their anonymity. Yeah, right. Like anyone reads what they say? Or believes it? Or even cares less.
As Sean Meeghan quipped in this thread, ‘Barbel wars ain’t what they used to be! Where’s Bob when you need him?’
What struck me was how little these folk knew about a problem they were so keen to pontificate on.
‘The Collingham stretch is unique’
Hmmm. In what way exactly?
‘The fact is that once you get much past peg 10 you won’t see that many anglers.’
Really? You should get out more!
It prompted me to dig out an old cutting from the Angling Times dated November 20th, 1996. The editorial column read:
Would you care to support Team Carp-Talk in the P Company Challenge which takes place 11th September at Catterick barracks?
Carp-Talk’s Editor Simon Crow is joined by Rob Hughes, Mick Clifford (Carp-Talk owner) plus Richard Stangroom and Rich Edwards as they embark on a ten miler in full army kit including a 35lb burgen on the Paras test course in aid of the Parachute Regiment’s Charity. They are hoping to break the Paras cut-off time of 1hour 50 minutes. This is no easy challenge and they are currently training extremely hard.
All donations are greatly appreciated, and as little as a £1 will enter your name into a draw to win a 48-hour session on Kevin Nash’s exclusive Church Lake, Essex, home to five different UK fifties.
The highest individual sponsor will get a 48-hour trip/teach-in at the exclusive Weston Park Fishery, Shropshire, accompanied by Simon Crow & Rob Hughes – courtesy of RH Fisheries.
Carp-Talk is aiming to raise over £2000 for the Parachute Regiment’s Charity. You can do your bit by visiting their charity page.
And, Stop Press, The Football Bit:
League One Cloggers Marr Beautiful Game
The media love-in that heralded Brighton’s return to the Championship in a shiny new, somewhat lob-sided idenkit stadium (I know what you’re thinking, we’ve got one, too!) was cloying to say the least. Brighton are now apparently world beaters, set to ‘do a Norwich’. Suddenly they have 20,000 season ticket holders where for the past 14 years they couldn’t muster a third of that. And how fitting that the team who played in the final game at the Goldstone Ground was there to open the American Express stadium. Better still, the team regarded by every newspaper and TV pundit, not to mention every bookie, as clear relegation favourites. Yes, we were guaranteed to turn up, roll over and ship in a bag full of goals for the expectant TV cameras beaming this game live to all corners of the world and even to my computer monitor.
But it wasn’t like that, was it? The Rovers pretty much bossed the first half with their pretty precision passing despite the comentator mentioning several times that, ‘Doncaster have 7 key players injured and unable to play in this match’. But we had Billy back. Old Sharpey was, well, as sharp as ever. He scored the first ever goal at the AMEX and should have had at least another in an opening half that silenced the, er, ‘massive’ crowd. You could only hear one set of supporters half the time and they were wearing red and white.
Brighton were reduced to moaning, complaining and appealing for anything that might give them a chance to get back in the game. Yes, there were a few mistimed tackles from both sides but it was what you might expect in an early season hyped-up encounter. There was certainly no malice but the crowd was baying for a red card. No surprise then that Lue-Lua was booked for diving. Even Brighton’s manager, Gus Poyet was banished to the stands for being a complete prick.
Brighton came out for the second half a changed team. They contested better but without causing too many problems but it was clear they had been instructed to break up the game. To stop Rovers from playing. Defenders were leaving feet in, committing fouls right left and centre. It looked as though they’d been told to rough-up the Rovers.
First Coppinger limped off, quickly followed by Tottenham’s on-loan midfielder Mason. That left us two men down in mid-field. Then came that disgraceful tackle on Sharp – from behind – no-where near the ball and even the ref admitted afterwards that had he seen it clearly Lewis Dunk would have been given a straight red. It was horrendous. On came the stretcher and we now wait for Monday’s X-Ray results but early indications suggest a broken ankle for the guy who’s scoring record with is is a goal every two games and who we just turned down over £3m.
Rovers now had a severely weakened midfield and no outlet up top. Tha camera panned across to a smiling Sam Allardyce in the stands. ‘He’ll be happy!’ Said the commentator, ‘West Ham play Doncaster next Saturday, providing they can still field a team…’
Surely things couldn’t get worse, could they?
Oh yes they could. The next guy to be stretchered off was James Hayter. Our only other consistent goal scorer. And that left us with only ten men on the pitch when in reality that was the very best Brighton should have had.
Needless to say with no way of holding up the ball in midfield or beyond and up against a numerical disadvantage we could do little more than hang on. Super-sub Will Hoskins scored a cracking equaliser in the 83rd minute. It was a good goal, fair do’s.
With full time up there was much argument on the touchline from Poyet’s assistant over the amount of added time. These South Americans do like to complain, don’t they? He wanted even more than the 7 minutes being flagged up to the fourth official.
The 7 minutes passed, but the ref had clearly decided this had to be a home win. Play on guys. Well, you’ve guessed it. Brighton eventually scored in the 98th minute. Whoopey do! The luvvies bounced up and down with glee and waved their little plastic flags but you know what? Football lost today. Thuggery won out. The end justifying the means.
If Sharpey’s out with a broken ankle and we then add Copps and Hayter to the injury list you can pretty much write our season off now.
Prior to yesterday I genuinely thought we’d finish around 14th. Till the clogging started I was firmly convinced but right now I reckon we’re heading straight for League One. Brighton? Well, from what I saw they are not going to enjoy a glittering season because they’ll come up against much better sides than us.
But surely, those kind of ugly tactics may be acceptable in Uraguay, but not in the Championship.
I’m sure Poyet will be proud of the result but I hope Lewis Dunk takes time to reflect on how he maliciously hacked down Sharp and possibly even ruined a career. I hope the team mate who walked up to him while he was being booked and patted him on the back, saying well done is feeling ashamed to call himself a professional and above all, those Brighton fans who booed him whilst he was being stretchered off want to go back to wherver they used to go on Saturdays before Brighton built them a new playground.
Some things stick in your throat, don’t they?
Oh well, it could have been worse. Leeds got beat as well!