2011 – Mid February Blog

Looks like Yorkshire river anglers can look forward to some excellent chub fishing on the Swale in a year or two as there appears to be loads of 2-3lb chub around right now. Bit of a nightmare if you’re after something a bit bigger but certainly the long term prospects are promising. What’s especially nice to see is that they’re in absolute mint condition, too, probably because there are far fewer anglers on the river than there used to be and those that are seem to have a fixation with barbel.

We were filming again last week in what looked like perfect conditions but the only feeding fish appeared to be these new schoolies. Mind you that was probably a good thing as I had a mare of a session in which I practically ran out of feeders. Do you ever have one of those sessions where you fear for every cast? I jumped around from swim to swim getting hung up on all manner of hidden snags. I even lost one feeder whilst playing a chub.

Mid-fight everything locked up solid and I presumed the chub had dived into a snag. I could tell the fish was still attached as it would keep pulling back but eventually I had to concede defeat and pull for a break. What I didn’t expect was for the feeder link to snap or that I would go on to land the fish.

Eventually I had to give that particular swim up. The fish were there in numbers but after snagging up half a dozen times in different parts of the swim I had little choice but to move on. Heaven knows it’s bad enough losing feeders but my conscience kept telling me that to hook a fish in the snags would be suicidal and frankly unfair of the fish so I gave up and moved on.

We’re due back again for a rematch but the current high water levels mean chubbing’s pretty much off the menu for a while.

Time’s Running Out Folks

Can you believe the river season will be over in just four weeks?

I find this time of year incredibly frustrating. It’s been pretty tough going through December and January and just when we get a break in the weather the bloomin’ season goes and wraps up. How frustrating is that? I simply cannot see the benefit of a closed season that starts in March, can you?

I accept that certain species do spawn early, pike for example, but pikers are happy enough to target them in stillwaters during this period so why should I forgo my chub and barbel for their sake? It’s not like I catch loads of pike on flake or paste, is it?

We already have species specific closed seasons for game fish, and they swim in exactly the same rivers as coarse fish, so why can’t we have species specific shut downs for all the main species. Perhaps even going as far as location specific to protect spawning grounds? For example, why not shut down a full half mile below every weir between 1st May and 1st July to give recovering fish a break?

We all know that would makes sense, don’t we?

The management of our rivers is a sham. They are pillaged by predators to the point where, without man’s intervention to replace piscine stocks, many would be practically fishless. We’re not exactly helping by tipping the balance away from silver fish towards barbel at a frightening rate and the number of alien species that have been deliberately spread is a disgrace. Ide, carp, catfish and zander to name but three.

Ron’s Rather Excited – And Who Can Blame Him?

Ron Clay rang today about his forthcoming trip. He’ll be carping in South Africa, then a bit of eel fishing in New Zealand before landing up in Australia. I do hope they’re aware of what they’ve let themselves in for! Should be an amazing trip for the old boy.

He’s also buzzing about a new book project on Ray Web that he’s taking up the keyboard for. I hope I can generate half as much excitement when I reach his age.

Location, Location, Location

I published an article on here about the difficulties of perch location in the local canal network recently but the same problems can also be applied to pike. The canals do hold some very good pike but they are somewhat localised and there are a lot less of them than perch. I’d say catching a big canal pike, by that I mean twenty plus is a huge challenge. The location of certain fish is known, that’s for sure, but swimming in the miles of unexploited canals are undiscovered monsters, that’s for sure.

Most pikers will be found targeting the known hot spots but for those who are brave enough to go off-piste, who are prepared to suffer endless boring blanks, then there are definitely rewards to be had. Only this week I learned of a brace of twenties, taken from an area that seldom sees many pikers.

It takes great dedication to deliver those kind of results and I’m not sure I’m inclined to do it, but I take my hat off to those who have the balls.

Cartoon Head

One of my local fishing clubs religiously sends me their match results for publication. I love reading them because they’ve more characters than the Chinese alphabet. There’s Banger and Muzzer, Sludger and Nicko, ‘Gay’ Goring and even a guy called Cartoon Head. The antics and leg pulls they get up to are hilarious, but everyone laughs along because there’s an invisible line they never cross.

It’s about taking the Mickey without getting personal or bitter. Practically everyone in the club has an affectionate nickname. But ‘Gay’ Goring isn’t gay, at least no-one’s aware he is. The nickname was forged three or four decades ago when he won a big open match in the Fens and the Angling Times banner headline christened him ‘Gay’. Back in those days the word had a different connotation, but it stuck all the same.

But this is in stark contrast to a cartoon that was spread and gossiped about in the darker corners of the Internet. Search the web for Xtranormal and you’ll discover a site that enables you to create your own cartoons. ‘If you can type you can make movies’ goes the hook line.

Well, search back through my archives and you’ll find a couple of cartoons that I created back in 2009. One was a leg pull of Des Taylor appearing with Keith Arthur on Tight Lines plugging SBS Baits. It certainly wasn’t malicious and the two characters involved remain good friends to this day.

However, the cartoon which caused a bit of a stir was a particularly nasty attack on Danny Fairbrass and refered to him ‘grooming’ youngsters. I’ve worked with Danny many times at junior events and you’ll not find a more dedicated and generous participant. He brings goodie bags worth a small fortune for every kid and delivers great instructional lessons.

Not surprisingly it was pulled. Whether legal action was taken or not is irrelevant. It was a malicious attack and only twisted individuals, presumably consumed by jealousy, could have found it funny. It crossed the line.

Sadly it’s inevitable that we’ll see more of these cartoons appearing on fishing web sites and I’ll be very surprised if I don’t feature in a few. A fellow blogger felt the same when we spoke earlier this week. His view was similar to mine, if they’re genuinely funny, then fine. That’s quite flattering really. But if they’re defamatory I will simply resort to legal action. Angling doesn’t need playground stuff that’s perpetrated by the ignorant.

Macca’s Only Had Another…

Dave MacIntyre emailed me yesterday with news that he’s had another twenty, right on last knockings. The man certainly has a knack with pike. And barbel…

Don’t you just hate him!

Brace Yourself

A brace of twenty pound pike is one thing but a brace of 4lb perch, from a South Yorkshire stillwater… Is that really possible? One of my contacts assures me that it most definitely happened just last week, from a small commercial fishery. Seriously. These fish were weighed and verified.

But what are the chances of repeating that feat now the water temperatures are on the rise and Mr Carp will be on the lookout for every worm he can find…?

Chewing The Cud

I see Cudmore’s new predator pool is grabbing the headlines with the introduction of a record shaking perch that has been moved across from one of the fishery’s match pools. Apparently it, like many others up and down the country, has never been caught by the match and pleasure lads, most probably because, as the apex predator, it has grown to giant proportions on a diet of fish alone.

I’m not sure what rules will apply when the predator lake opens but if livebaits are allowed then its a fair bet the fish will soon get caught and I’m intrigued to see the reaction to what will very probably be a new British Rod Caught Record. I’m sure the paper that gets the exclusive will splash it across the front page. I’m equally sure the Internet crowd will be up in arms, poo-pooing the capture, ‘shooting fish in a barrel, you’d never get me fishing there,’ and all the usual gubbins.

It’ll still be a record though. Unlike the Joke Lodge catfish…

The thing is, many of those ‘Ouse’ fish came from a tiny side stream. The argument that they swam up there out of the Ouse is as tenuous as this fish having grown on in the pool next door. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the Ouse perch or those who catch them, but so many of our headline fish come from known waters that are far from wild and in some cases aren’t exactly massive.

If you can afford the ticket then you’re in with a half chance of catching one.

This record shaking perch isn’t exactly all that different, is it? And there are another 40 specimen stripeys in there…

Cudmore Fisheries’ new Predator Pool has been stocked with pike, catfish and perch and plans to open in mid-February. For more information, contact Cudmore on 01782 680919.

Look Who’s On Facebook!

I hate to admit it but I’ve finally succumbed to the lure of Facebook. Yep, you can finally now find me on the world’s largest social networking site. I said to myself, if an old gun like Steve Pope can do it, then so can I!

A week in and I’ve suddenly got 300 friends. Not that I have a clue what I’m doing on there. But every ten minutes there’s another new message vying for my attention.

As for what happens when I’m away I really don’t know, but for now I’ll just go with the flow.

What I do find it useful for is announcing when I publish a new article on this web site, which just lately has been about four times a week! I do hope you’re enjoying my efforts.

Meanwhile, Somewhere In A Parallel Universe…

Hey, cracking fish mate. New PB? Fantastic! Great to see you’ve shared it with everyone on Farcebook. Any chance I might I use it in my weekly paper column?

Err, sorry, but no.


It’s a no publicity water.

Eh? But the shot’s taken in the dark. The background is pitch black. It could have been caught anywhere…

No. I’d rather you didn’t all the same.

I don’t have to name the venue, it’ll be a plug for the Barbel Society and you can celebrate your success… And you’ve already stuck it up on Farcebook.

Err, no thanks.


* * * * * * * * * * * *

Now I may be puzzled, but how do you think the fish feel about this?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Hey, Boris! Can I use your picture ?

Go ahead, no one ever asks me anyway. They just take them – all the time. I’m getting sick of it you know. Flash…! flash…! flash…! Always in the dark. Near bloody blinds me it does. Then they spin me round and blind the other eye!

Me and me mates have been talking, you know. We should have image rights, like them footballers and Cheryl Cole. They should pay us a fee every time they use our pictures. It’s only right you know. In fact I’ve heard some of my cousins up at H*******d are going to insist on a complete publicity ban and will refuse to be photographed when they get caught…

What do you mean, don’t be stupid? There’s some right clowns out there you know. Just see how you’d like it, being dragged out of the water when you’re minding your own business, having a munch, scales and fins all over the place! I’d only just finished having a quick one last summer when someone did it. You could see me muffin top and everything. Where’s the dignity in that?

I think you’re taking this far too seriously girlfriend…

New Kids On The Block

This week a couple of budding film makers contacted me asking for advice. It struck me how weird it is that when you get a message from Joe Public you really have no idea who they are, how old they are, what life experiences they’ve had or anything else. Everything is done in blind faith, set against a backdrop where we recognise all manner of predators stalk the Internet to get their jollies.

So I followed their link  with caution and made a warming discovery. My proteges were absolutely genuine and still at school. Nothing more hazardous than a pair of absolutely mad-keen anglers. I flicked through the films they had posted on Youtube and wrote back offering as much encouragement as I could muster in a single email. They’ve already mastered the basic filming skills, using a tripod for starters and it turns out they’re doing their own editing.

Okay, it’s not quite Passion For Angling (yet) but I will keep an eye on their channel in the coming months to see how they get on with the suggestions I’ve made so far. Today it’s a couple of kids playing at making films but it’s really up to them where they and their counterparts take things tomorrow.

It’s only really in the past few years that domestic camcorders have been widely available at an affordable price, yet of such high quality to produce results that are actually suitable for TV broadcast. The availability of cheap, effective, user-friendly editing software simply adds to the accessibility.

When I made my first videos the cost of editing was horrendous and involved hiring an editing suite that was kitted out like the cockpit of a spaceship. Today you can do it on a laptop and the whole package sets you back less than one hour of studio time used to cost.

High quality film making is readily within reach of anyone these days, providing they have the determination and dedication to harness their creativity.  What will set a certain few apart is genuine talent. I suspect the next five years will reveal some surprising and remarkable films. What is really exciting is that it won’t be Sky or the BBC who makes these films, it will be the kids who are just playing at it today, broadcasting on Youtube and Vimeo.

Yes there will be some right old rubbish to sift through but I can see one or two gems coming through and it’ll be a new, young, enthusiastic generation driving the revolution. I can see parallels with the punk movement. EMI, Sony and the rest were happy to regurgitate stuff by middle aged rockers, the Paul McCartneys, Stones, Who, Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, Elton John (hang on, what’s changed!) and ignore the new generation. It’s pretty similar in angling today. How does a budding young writer break into, say, Angling Times? It’s practically impossible.

The solution is DIY. Where in the Seventies it was fanzines and making your own records, now it’s web sites and Youtube. The paradigm shift hasn’t quite happened yet, but it just might be round the corner, you know…

Wikipedia – It’s All Genuine Info, Isn’t It?

The tilers arrived to embellish our new kitchen. One was a Leeds United fan, from Doncaster of course…

Anyway we had a good bit of banter over the football but I had to laugh when he began to tell us that Becchio had been a star of the great Barcelona first team but gave them up to play for Leeds.

“No he didn’t!” Chipped in his mate, “You got him from a second division club…”

No way would he have it. Turns out he was absolutely certain because he’d read it on Wikipedia.

“You know that Wikipedia is full of rubbish, don’t you?” I told him.

“You are kidding, aren’t you? I thought it was all true! Honestly, I didn’t realise…”

Leeds fans, eh?

Just in case you too are still in any doubt, here are the 25 Biggest Blunders In Wikipedia History

Make That 26…

On the subject of blunders and falsehoods my attention was drawn to a thread on one of the angling forums. According to one poster:

‘I believe that Bob Roberts has been filming barbel behaviour under tidal conditions. First rushes indicate that the barbel do not flip direction with the tidal flow but take a position perpendicular to the flow, changing 180 degrees when the flow changes.’

That’s news to me! I’ve never done ANY underwater filming on the tidal Trent. Perhaps he read it on Wikipedia.

Local Boy Doesn’t Make Good

On the other hand, Donny folk will still be cringing if  they’re watching this week’s Come Dine With Me. Five vain individuals from Donny competing to see who can look the biggest prat for a chance to win the ‘massive’ £1,000 prize.

It’s like Fish’O’Mania. One winner, the rest go home empty handed. But in this programme all go home red faced. And none of them did the folk of Doncaster any favours. No wonder the Dingle fans call us Pikeys!

And would you believe one of the contestants lives just across the road from me…

What a plonker!

Blogging Along…

I see Monty (Jason Speck) has decided to take a break from blogging. Shame really as his stuff can be quite entertaining (if only for the West Ham update!)   🙁

Perhaps he’ll be back when the weather improves.  I do hope so.

It’s funny, I see lots of blogs kick off with good intentions only to fizzle out around this time of year when the fishing’s been a bit tougher. Or maybe their mates rib them over their apparent lack of success. You see, the trouble with writing an honest blog is you have little choice but to share your lows as well as highs and, unless you have access to great waters or a lot of time on your hands, the ratio of success to failure ends up being rather less spectacular than you had imagined it might be.

Or it turns out that you fish the same few pegs all the time and what you actually do, rather than what you thought you did, is quite a different story. And there’s a risk that others will recognise some of your favourite pegs, although that hardly matters if you catch nowt, unless they are your only pegs…

Not everyone realises this, I guess, but to write a genuinely interesting blog requires a lot of effort and commitment. You end up wasting loads of fishing time just taking pictures and of course these need storing, tweaking, cropping and so on. Before you know it your fishing suffers, or you simply run out of ideas.

All it takes then is throw in a bit of bad weather, or family commitments, and so on, and you can easily hit the wall.

My advice to anyone contemplating a blog is don’t get too ambitious. Walk before you run, and maybe aim to publish once a fortnight or even once a month. Use the amount of fishing sessions you do to pace the output and don’t feel you have to write a thousand words when you’ve caught nowt, unless you are a skilled wordsmith. Sometimes less is more and there’s only so much padding you can get away with by using Youtube clips. If you’re using a clip just for the sake of it, or as a veiled insult aimed at a third party, then it’s probably a bad idea anyway.

I wonder who’ll be the next to throw in the towel?

How’s Your Concentration?

Let’s end with a smile. Well, at least if you’re a bloke. Most women will try this little test and nod sagely, a slight enigmatic smile on their fully aware faces…

How often have you spent an hour staring at a motionless float with nothing happening, yet the second you are distracted and look away it goes under? Loads of times, I’ll bet. Well, Dave McIntyre sent me this little test called Concentration Test For Men.

Give it a go. See how good your concentration really is. Click here to play.

But only once, okay?

Right, that’s me done. I’m off fishing! Anyone fancy joining me?

10 thoughts on “2011 – Mid February Blog

  1. Agree with you Bob regarding the blogging advice,it’s spot on.

    I Also cannot believe there is so little time left of the river season,the hiatus will be upon us all too soon and as usual I am guessing the weather will break at around the same time too.

  2. Hi Bob,

    You are not wrong regarding blogging.

    I’ve been busy writing articles that won’t see the light of day for another month or two and couple that to getting out fishing, lots going on with regard to BS business and loads of important family stuff, sorting out lots of guiding bookings that are six months away and fishing starts to become a full time job!

    Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy it but there is no doubt its hard work and once you commit to updating a blog on a fortnightly basis you find yourself stuck to the infernal screen!

    Like you I have loads of stuff from years gone by that I know will be of interest but it’s so time consuming but it will happen just at a pace that I can control rather than the other way around!

    All the best,

    Love your new site layout, excellent.


  3. Cheers you two.

    Thanks for the comments on the new layout. Glad you like it but it’s still not functioning quite how it should. Those infernal thumbs refuse to appear on the front page. But one day soon they will.

    Decorators finished off today – whoopee! Just need to pick up curtains from the dry cleaners and things will be pretty much back to normal at home. It’s been a very long three weeks, I can tell you, but it’s worth it.

    Except for the garage – that’s a complete tip but it’ll be returned to its role as tackle workshop again shortly.


  4. Hi Bob

    As allways a really another entertaining blog, I have been testing my concentration levels quite a bit with the link you posted!

    Have I missed something? Have you said what the latest DVD’s you are filming are going to be about or is everything still under wraps?



    • Hi Matt

      The new DVDs will cover most of the main UK species. There will be a couple of barbel sequences but we feel there’s more opportunity to be creative if we spread our wings.

      Things going quite well so far but we’ve no intentions of rushing. We want it to be something special, if possible.



  5. Sorry Bob but I just can’t resist, a couple of interesting footie results tonight!

    I was there when we last played AC Milan, looking good once again.

    As for the other game……………………………………..

    All the best,


  6. We’re in a disastrous run of results right now – something like one win in 8 or 9 games and even that was down to an own goal by a Burnley defender.

    Unfortunately we’ve more than half a side missing through injury and unlike those teams who benefit from the obscene billions they get from TV revenue, we dont have four players for every position. In fact we can’t even fill the bench on matchday at the moment.

    Forget about us loaning a Tottenham hero, or 45 grand a week Bullard. Teams like Donny can’t even afford to run a reserve side, you know.

    A low punch old son. Shame on you.

    But we’ll grit our teeth and wait until Harry goes to prison for tax evasion and boy, how we’ll laugh then…!

    From a relegation struggle to Champions League contenders in 18 months is surely not enough for you to ignore 48 years of mediocrity, now is it? And let’s not forget you’re only playing in the Runners-up Cup these days. It is not the European Champions Cup or you wouldn’t be there, now would you?

    Remind us again who was Prime Minister when you last won the league…

    Gladstone? Disraelly? Pitt the elder?

    Now go away and let me sulk.

    Enjoy it while it lasts.

    As for us, we’re far enough clear of Preston, Scunthorpe and the mighty Blades to ride out this storm. Even in freefall we’ll beat the drop this season. By next season we might have a first team to field again. I hope. No excuses but eight genuine first choice players were missing last night.

    At 5-0 down three-quarters of the ground were chanting the manager’s name. Not many teams or managers could manage that.

    Win or lose it’s Rovers till we die. It’s in the blood and never goes away. You don’t choose to follow Donny, you are born to do it. We don’t have glory hunters or fans in Manchester and London, or Rotterdam, or Hong Kong, not unless they were born Doncastrians and moved away. We don’t want an oil sheik to take us over, either. We are what we are and proud to be so.

    The downside is sometimes we get a thumping by teams who are prepared to spend more than they can safely afford to do so. And like any yo-yo, life has its ups and downs.

    Those in the town who are weak willed and lack character, loyalty and moral fibre have always followed Leeds or the Mancs, or one of the Sheffield clubs. I pity them. They don’t belong there, do they? They’re just gormless benefactors, too stupid to put their money to better use.

    But every candy store has its window lickers…

    However, each to his own.

  7. Old saggy chops banged up.Now that is a fine thought to keep me going through out the day,the truth will out in the end.;-)

  8. Great win for Spurs the other night against a fading, over-the-hill mafia mob but last night I was treated to one of the finest displays of pure football I’ve ever been priviledged to witnessed.

    What skill and artistry. The ref played 10 seconds of time added on at the end of the first half. Had the ball actually gone out of play other than for the Barca goal?

    And what a great comeback, against the odds, by Arsenal, to set up another enthralling return match.

    I imagine Brian Clough was up in heaven watching that with a beaming smile on his face. True artistry, fatastic closing down by Barca, exquisite pasing and movement by both sides and an enthralling climax.

    All-in-all a great game and one that shows what all teams must aspire to. Especially Donny! 🙂