2012 – Early December Blog

As promised, here’s the rapid fire follow-up to the late Movember blog. Afraid it’s another long one – over 6,000 words, but the pace is relentless and it’s jam packed with clips, links and features that will keep you amused for a while. So, no more ado. Get comfortable, relax and just enjoy it. Consider it as an early Christmas present from me.

Sorry, before you do that, can I suggest that you make a mental note to find enough time to watch the film I have tagged onto the end, it’s called ‘End Of The River’ and even if you skim through the blog or get bored, please, please, please make sure you watch it. It’s about what can happen to a river when a small hydro power station is built. Many thanks to John Austerfield for highlighting this one.

Floody Hell!

Thirty years ago Colin Dyson wrote an editorial in Coarse Angler magazine that struck a chord with me. It was all about adrive to increase productive farmland by draining peat moors. Herringbone grips had been dug to take away water and these grips, that were originally just the width of a spade were now so badly eroded you could drive a jeep in them.

The consequence of this simple practise was that water no longer held up in the peat, which previously acted like a sponge. Instead it flushed away immediately at great speed causing massive erosion and the local effects were visible in the heather which was now dying off.

The impact on anglers was equally dramatic. Heavy rains didn’t hit rivers like the Trent anything like as dramatically as they do today. The river rose much more slowly, taking 3 days to peak and the run-off would be slowed down, too. What we get now is a shower followed by an immediate blip in levels. If the shower turns into a prolonged spell of rain we get flooding, and it can take less than 24 hours.

The EA hasn’t helped by creating trapezoidal drainage channels everywhere. A practise so widespread through the 1970’s it is hard to find a natural river any more. Of course these are designed for one purpose, to get water from A to B as quickly as possible. Only the height of the flood bank determines if or where any flooding will occur. Of course it’s imperative that all trees, bushes and vegetation are removed in case they impede the flow. Unfortunately they’ve not thought this through properly. Once you get the water from A to B, what do you do with it? There’s no apparent mechanism to get the water from B to C and that’s pretty stupid, not to say catastrophic for those who live in its path.

Water meadows have pretty much been eradicated; either drained for farming or concreted over. Building on flood plains is downright ridiculous and begging for trouble. So the Government intervene, and then you know you’re in REAL trouble. The last thing you want is a meddling politician. So schemes are implimented to protect areas prone to flooding, the consequence of which is the water is simply going to turn up somewhere else. It doesn’t vanish down some giant plughole, so places that haven’t flooded in 500 years become flood prone to the consequences.

But can we possible reverse the damage done? I somehow doubt it.

So we head for the pits and puddles or we learn to fish in floods. Last week I was out and about with Mike Townsend on the Trent. Boy was it high. To be honest I had few intentions of fishing anyway. I drove, Mike set up one rod and we decided we’d share it. ‘You go first!’ I suggested to Mike. Fishing 6oz feeders and regularly reeling in to clear leaves off the line ain’t my idea of fun. But on the second length we fished he actually had a bite! Indeed he hooked a fish. And lost it…

‘First time I’ve ever lost a fish in the top of a tree!’ He quipped. ‘Your turn now.’

‘Err…, no, you’re alright. You stick at it until you actually catch one.’ I insisted.

The height of the river was crazy. Water was coming around behind us and running into the river creating the equivalent of a small weir. On the opposite bank it was already flowing over the top and rapidly filling up a large gravel pit. On one of my favourite lengths you couldn’t get within half a mile of the river.

Fortunately the rain’s stopped. Levels are settling down again and it’ll be just our luck to have frosts before the week’s out. But there should still be a window of opportunity to catch if you don’t mind getting your gear lathered in mud.

Worth A Look?

A couple of sites for you to have a ponder over, both launched by mates but with no interference from me. They’ve gone it alone and ploughed their own furrow although they know full well I’ll help (if possible) should they get stuck. Mike Townsend has had a web site up and running for a little while now. He’s not what you would call a prolific writer but stuff appears now and then. If you’re a roach fanatic then it’s probably essential reading. Click on either of the images and have look anyway…

One To Watch

I’ve been on at Lee to write a regular blog for ages. You’ll appreciate I have been more than happy to host some of his humorous and pretty outrageous articles on here as a way of encouragement but he’s finally gone and taken the plunge. Good timing, too, with the winter almost upon us – give him something to do. At the moment Lee’s working hard to populate the site with content. It’s a tough ask when you start out but it is a bit addictive so I’m sure he’ll be immersed in the creative process for a while.

The scary thing is, will he keep the fishing site about fishing and leave out some of the polotical ranting we’re familiar with on his Facebook page. I hope so. It would be a shame to spoil a potentially innovative fishing site.

A third member of the DVSG, Tim Ridge has one, too, and I had great hopes for this one but he’s not updated it lately. Come on Tim. Finger out. Hope everything’s well at home…, health okay, etc.

Matt Brown seemed to lose interest around 2007, which was a shame because he led the way with lots of photographic content.

And then there’s Martin, our own dear Womble. Martin has two web sites. A fishing one and a humourous one. The latter is best regarded as adults only or Parental Guidance at the very least. It is certainly not somewhere you should go if you’re easily offended!

Join Us – If You Dare

Not surprisingly there are still places available on our trip to Zambia next June. I’d expect nothing less, really, because it’s not exactly cheap, but if you want to fish for something pretty special in a truly remote location, in total comfort and safety then it’ll cost you. It’ll cost us, too. We’re not in it to make money, just trying to find a way to charter a private 10-seater plane from Johannesburg to the middle-of-nowhere.

If you fancy joining us then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Use the Contact Me button above if you want more details but I suggest you don’t hang around if you are serious about coming. Someone will want to come, of that I’m pretty sure.

Are You Ready To Join The Dark Side Yet?

Barbel aren’t the only species that feeds well in the dark, most predators do. I guess everyone’s aware that zander take dead and live baits in the dark but how about lure fishing for them? Would you have the bottle to tackle a river, for instance the Trent, in the dark – with lures?

And how about if I suggested you restrict yourself to using little rubber shads that make very little in the way of noise or vibration? It’s something I’ve started to dabble with after catching my first Trent zed a couple of years back on a rubber shad fished well after dark. Stu challenged me to catch something for the video camera so I sorted out the permissions and down to the tidal we went. It was pitch black when we got there and chucking down with rain. The river was all wrong, too, but we still decided to give it a go.

An hour in it looked like I was getting no-where until a little pluck gave me the chance to set the single jig hook and a 5lb zed came thrashing straight to the surface. Fortunately I managed not to swear on camera when it threw the hook but it was a great chance missed. So I persevered until I thought I’d snagged the bottom. Then, as I wound down the bottom moved. Clearly whatever it was had just opened and closed its mouth as the bait passed by its nose and simply sat there.

It certainly came to life as I drew it closer to the bank and my initial disappointment that it wasn’t a zander turned to joy because catching a pike in the dark (on film) was always going to be a tougher ask than a zander. Unfortunately, for me, the filming process requires Stu to shine a very bright light in my face and casting anything like accurately when you cannot see is pretty tricky in itself but playing this fish was mental because I was completely blinded and reluctant to move my feet in case I slipped on the treacherous muddy bank or stepped straight into the river. Try netting a pike with your eyes closed sometime and see what I mean!

As you can see above the pike took a small Eco rubber lure mounted on a jig head. Unfortunately the Trent is bank high as I write and I desperately need the river levels to fall so we can drop back and finish off the piece. I must say though that the neuromast system pike use to detect prey movements in the dark is remarkable.

And Pike Don’t Just Grab Lures In The Dark

Our fellow foreign adventurer James Gould is a bit of a pike fanatic but even we thought he was a bit obsessive when he decided to spend Friday night pike fishing in the rain rather than cuddling up to Emma. It was the kind of night you wouldn’t turn a dog out but he’d got the itch and when you’ve got an itch it has to be scratched.

Would you believe he was actually reading Alan Dudhill’s article on night fishing for pike published on this very web site on his mobile phone when something grabbed his dead bait. The result was this proper old lump of a pike. Just goes to show that determination plus effort equals results when fishing a heavily pressured water. Top angling old son and a big credit also goes to Stu for turning out at 11-o’-clock at night to take the pictures.

Well Worth A Read

I have to say I’m impressed with the way the PAC run their affairs and it’s forward thinking of them to make their PAC magazine available online to all and sundry. If you are going to try and influence non members, to encourage everyone to adopt your principles and beliefs then you perhaps have to share your thoughts and open doors to those who wouldn’t normally join the club in a million years.

The PAC campaign to change mindsets on care, handling and returning alive have been exemplary and they clearly recognise that the folk they need to educate are not their members. Making your principle communication tool available for free online is an outstanding way to reach your goals. How much better is that than a secret society? Others could learn from this.

Czech Mate

I see the Czech Republic has removed cormorants from the list of birds being afforded special protection on the grounds that they are no longer endangered. How come they can do this and we can’t. Time for a bit of action methinks…

Rinko’s Living Canvas

Although the weather has been quite favourable for catching barbel it’s been a fair while since I caught one, probably because I haven’t bothered to try. I can appreciate some folk are quite happy to concentrate on one species to the exclusion of all others but frankly it’s not my cup of tea. I like to mix and match and tend to have had my fill of barbel fishing long before the summer’s over. I know I’m heading for the buffers when I feed swims, watch fish move in over my bait and then start getting picky. If I can’t see a fish that takes my fancy I don’t even bother casting in.

Good job everyone’s not like me. Some folk are so passionate it could be interpreted as borderline lunacy. Take my Dutch mate Rinko. He runs the excellent barbeel web site over in Holland. Through my web site Rinko discovered Maurice Pledger (Mole to his mates). Mole is a fabulously talented artist who loves his fishing. You’ll see some fine examples of his paintings in our upcoming Caught In The Act DVDs but that’s under wraps for now. I’ll reveal all soon.

Anyway Rinko fell in love with one of Mole’s paintings. Not surprisingly it’s a barbel. Now you or I might try and buy a print or perhaps push the boat out and invest in the original. Not Rinko, he’s had Mole’s barbel tattooed onto his forearm. You’re not going to tell me this didn’t hurt.

If you want to read the story of Rinko’s tattoo then click on the image and you see exactly how it was created.

Oooh, What A Picture!

I pride myself on taking decent photographs for my magazine work and indeed this blog but occasionally it all goes a bit Pete Tong. This past week or so when I’ve managed to perpetrate a whole series of photo cock-ups of which this ghostly zander shot is perhaps the pick of the bunch…

My main downfall seems to be when I need to use flash. Oh well, I at least managed one reasonable shot of it although even that one has the lower lobe of its tail cropped. Never mind, I guess I’ll just have to go back and catch another one. Or three maybe.

Strange session though. I had pretty much constant activity for an hour during which I caught this fish, landed a nice pike and pulled out of two others, one of which felt like a proper good ‘un. Either side of that hour I never raised so much as a single bleep on the Delkim.

Zandergate – The Plot Deepens

Remember the Fox Rage Page I told you about in the last blog? An email from ‘Marlow The Younger’ (MTY) tells me  the offending zander video has been ripped and reposted on Youtube. I’d find it for sure if I did a search for zandergate, so I did and came up with:

Big Boobs – Yes Asian Girls Have Big Tits Too. I know its hard to believe but sexy asian girls have big tits / boobs too !! These asian babes have …

Obviously that wasn’t the zandergate I was looking for and I was initially left pondering whether I’d been set up by MTY in the same manner I might expect from ‘Marlow The Elder’ (MTE) or indeed Billy Makin. MTE can be a proper wind-up merchant. But not this time, although the Zander Society might need to review its membership list because it could easily have gained an unexpected boost from folk hoping for something more exotic than a sander lucioperca.

Anyway, I dug deeper and came up with the clip. Make up your own mind. It looks pretty dead to me but if you want to be sure take a close look at the fish’s eye right at the end of the clip. My only question is why would the guy do it? He’s not someone trying to make a name for himself. He’s already one of, if not the best known zander angler in Germany. It beggars belief…

No lesser angler than BertusRozemeijer has thrown in his two-penneth with a comment posted beneath the clip that reads:

‘I have been thinking a long time to react or not. I cannot recall how many zanders I have caught, but for sure tens of thousands. I do not know, why an angler, any angler, would fake a catch to impress others. This zander is dead. It’s not a bit dead, it looks to me, and I am sure of it, that this fish is dead for several hours, maybe even over a day! We can speculate about the why, but for sure I ask him as we meet.’

Love to be a fly on the wall when that encounter takes place.

And mentioning scoundrels, I thought the EA was seeking an early court hearing over the ‘Passionate’ angler who was caught shooting a magazine feature on the River Wye in the closed season. That one’s gone rather quiet, don’t you think? Surely it’s not going to be swept under the carpet. Must have a word with my mole and find out…

Well Worth A Read

As promised last time, a few more books that I’m reading at the moment. You’d be more than happy to find either in your Christmas stocking, I’m sure:

Angling Encounters edited by Bob Buteux and Tony Meers is a delightful escape from the sheer brain churning of the two books above. It’s compilation of tales by the good and the great of angling. It’s great reading for a winter’s evening or the perfect bedside companion, assuming of course that Keira Knightly’s busy. I’m hoping to publish an extract from Encounters shortly. Kieth Elliott’s review headline in Classic Angling describes it as, ‘A refreshing change from fat blokes droning on about carp…’ Sums it up in a sentence!

Available from Harper Fine Angling Books.

This almost slipped under my radar. Terry Theobald’s A Year On The Water charts his progress over the course of a year as he targets different species through the seasonal changes. I got a feeling from reading ‘A Year’ that there’s a great book to come from Terry, but this isn’t it. That’s not to say this is a bad book, it’s not, but there’s another book with more technical and tactical content plus in-depth stories waiting to emerge. I hope so because I’ll be in the queue for it. Terry’s Year On The Water is a diary, a chapter for each month, and it’s written in the style of an angling blog as he juggles between work, family and fishing. Nice pictures and some cracking fish.

Available from Calm Productions.

Jack’s Perfect Stocking Filler

I make no apologise for plugging the Brian Roberts’ Jack’s Pike cartoons which first appeared in Pike Blog. What he has brought to angling is unique and very funny. Brian’s cartoons brighten’s up any day and remind us all, I hope, that fishing really isn’t a matter of life and death. It isn’t even serious if you think about it. To make fishing a serious business, to obsess about weights, rules, who’s doing what or what they’re not, is an obsession bordering on madness.

No, fishing is what we do for fun. It’s a hobby. It is to be enjoyed and this series of books never fails to remind me of that.

I’m currently on postman watch, waiting for my copy to fall through the letter box. In an ideal world I’d save it for a special treat on Christmas morning. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen. I don’t have the patience so I’ll tear open the wrapper and devour it straight away.

Go on. Treat someone to the perfect fisherman’s gift.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

Jack’s Pike – Volume 3

Work, wives, chores… Nothing is going to get in the way of that monster pike! Jack and Bob are back and this time it’s serious. Meet some old friends and prepare for some skiving, excuses and an extraordinary amount of time on the riverbank…

Featuring comic strips 201-300.

Available from Lulu. Black & White – £5.49 +p&p. Glorious Colour – £13.99 +p&p.

Extracts from the book (more cartoons) can be found on this site in the books section.

Seeking Shadows Is Now Available

You’ll never hear the CEO of Waitrose telling you how good Tesco’s new store is but I like to think we fishing film makers are a little different. I’m genuinely pleased that Martin Bowler has now finished and released his latest project. Indeed I plan to sit down and watch it once I’ve got my DVD player fixed.

I know from first hand experience just how much time and effort Martin and Jacko must have put into this film and take my hat off to them. This trailer certainly looks the business. It’d make a fine Christmas gift, I’m sure.


Caught In The Act Update

Last week Stu and I met up with Keith Elliott, editor and owner of the fabulous Classic Angling magazine, to record the narration for parts one and two of the CITA project. Stu’s got a bit of work to do overlaying the vocal tracks and adjusting the timings slightly but that’s it, volumes one and two are in the can. Of course that doesn’t mean Stu won’t twiddle and fiddle away as he always does but the truth is, it’s job done! Two-and-a-half years in the making and we’ve finally finished. I can barely believe it. In fact I won’t until I get to sit down and watch it through from start to finish on a 42 inch TV screen.

Of course you my dear friends will have to wait until spring to watch it but it doesn’t half feel good to have one great big monkey off our backs (only one more to go). In 20 years of making videos, DVDs and TV programmes I’ve never been involved with anything to compare with CITA. That’s neither a big-headed boast or a pile of bull***t. It’s an honest appraisal of something I’ve extremely proud to be associated with. You’ll see…

Of course it would have been rude not to demonstrate my skills on the pinball machine in Keith’s study. Reaching the same stage with parts three and four now seems perfectly do-able. Suddenly the world’s a brighter place despite the gloomy weather outside. Hang on, the sun’s come out. Hurray!

Pinky’s Bloke Will Be A Little Less Perky After This…

According to the Urban Dictionary a hypocrite is someone who complains about something but does exactly the same thing themselves. For example:

‘I hate people that complain about other people, they’re SO annoying!’

An alternative explanation offers:

‘A self-absorbed, arrogant prick who constantly pisses and moans about other people doing something wrong, yet engages in such behavior anyway. Probably someone who has a really ugly girlfriend named Pinky.’

I rather like the last one, but why am I raising this? Well I noticed a comment on a web forum the other day posted by someone who simply wanted everyone to know he’d just launched himself into the world of blogging. I suspect the negative responses he received were quite the opposite of what he was hoping for. Indeed several were rather jaundiced but one post in particular summed up the hypocrisy in forum posting to a tee.

This fellow responded with:

‘I just cant get my head round all this self obsessed blogging business with its fans and followers. I was brought up in a time and place where a craving for attention was considered bad form to the point of vulgarity and a diary was something you kept for your own enjoyment and not for public consumption. I’m not sure about the cult of facebook and some peoples obsession with posting every tedious detail of their sad little lives either.’

Don’t know about you but however bad or boring this new blog is I tend to think his terse put-down of the author is a bit rich, especially coming from a bloke who has already posted around 400 times on the same forum and also posts frequently on a number of others. Is this in itself not a perfect example of ‘craving for attention’? Is he really so concerned about ‘bad form to the point of vulgarity’ when he posts in such an undignified manner? Or indeed is he really in any position to comment on people’s ‘obsession with tedious detail’? And what exactly makes him so well qualified to pontificate on other anglers’ ‘sad little lives’?

Of course, it’s all from behind the mask of a pseudonym. Methinks this man personifies hypocrisy, don’t you?

Then again, if he can’t get his head around blogging I’m wasting my time because he won’t see this retort. So how come I’d gamble my last farthing that he won’t miss this post? Tricky one for him to respond to, eh? Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t, although someone so quick to direct stinging criticisms towards a novice will surely recognise this as fair play and not be in the least bit offended. What’s good for the goose being perfectly good for the gander.

So let’s deal with his concerns about Facebook. Only a few weeks ago the membership of Facebook passed an unbelievable milestone. It now has more than ONE BILLION members worldwide. That is not a ‘cult’, it is a worldwide phenomenon. Facebook is free, it’s voluntary and not one of those members was forced to join, nor are they obliged to post anything. They can leave at any time. To suggest then, that one billion folk have ‘sad little lives’ is something of a sweeping generalisation to my way of thinking. Could the truth lie in my guess that this guy actually has a rather sad life of his own into which he seeks to shine a little comfort by ridiculing others?

If so, I have to confess he does it rather badly.

But enough of him, what about the poor bloke who was castigated for being a ‘self obsessed blogger’. Is his crime so heinous that he should be publicly ridiculed? I hardly think so.

For anyone who cannot get their head around blogging let me try and help. Publishing a diary is not a new phenomenon. Books have been with us for more than 5,000 years (since 3400BC) and many, many thousands of these have been diaries and biographies. Indeed, was the Bible itself not a biography of sorts? Some of the greatest works in literature have been diaries.

Diary columns and editorials have been a regular feature in newspapers and magazines for as long as we’ve had printing presses. The first newspaper ever published appeared way back in 59BC. I doubt it had a diary column but I’ll gamble that the oldest surviving newspaper in the world, one that is still being published today and first launched in 1645, has featured more than its share of diaries.

Blogging merely brings diary writing up to date. What our forum poster fails to grasp is we don’t live in the 19th Century any more. The world is a more open place. When someone publishes a public diary (or blog) they are allowing others to peek into their lives. The rest of us are by nature inquisitive. Folk love gossip and news. Unfortunately much of what is found in both blogs and forum posts is frequently written so badly you wonder how these folk sign for their dole money because surely, no-one would actually employ them?

Nevertheless these people are throwing themselves into a creative process that is quite addictive. They become enthused by communication and, through perseverance and practise, their skills generally improve. Surely that has to be applauded rather than made the subject of spiteful and destructive criticism?

I fully appreciate how much effort some of these bloggers put into their pages and by comparing latest posts with archived one’s it’s easy to measure how their writing and photography skills have developed. They become more creative, more expressive and interesting. More to the point it is where the next generation of angling writers will emerge. Blogging is the creative gene pool where budding enthusiasts hone their skills. And Lord knows, angling needs to nurture new talent because if we are to rely on the likes of this forum poster for our future education and entertainment then heaven help us.

Perhaps blogging is to writing what the pub circuit once was to upcoming live bands. You paid your dues playing to three men and a dog on a wet Wednesday night. You earned bugger all but you honed your performing skills till you were ready for the club and college circuit, then headed to London and if you were the cream of the crop, you might just land that recording deal and get to see your name in lights. And that doesn’t give you any right to heckle the bands that don’t make it. At least bthey tried.

Unfortunately few if any of these bloggers will ever earn a crust from their efforts. It’s not a ‘proper job’. And like so many thousands of bands and troubadors down the decades they’ll not see much return even if they do become ‘famous’.

But I will say this. The most amateurish blogger is at least having a go. He’s clearly trying to be creative rather than sitting on his backside heckling and spouting jaundiced bile. Give me a blogger over a hypocrite any day. Especially over one who probably has an ugly girlfriend called Pinky!

Footnote: It is estimated there are in excess of 400 million English language blogs on the Internet and one in 3 users of the Internet visits or read blogs. A staggering 394 million visitors read WordPress blogs alone last month. Wow! Pretty conclusive proof that the poor knob jockey who ‘can’t get his head around it’ is way out of step with the majority of Internet users. I’m so pleased that fishing forums have enabled him to engage with a few like-minded brothers on these long winter evenings. Isn’t that sweet? It just goes to show, if you search hard enough and for long enough you can find anything on the Internet. It doesn’t matter how dull or dreary a hypocrite you might be, you can still find folk who are prepared to tolerate your jaundiced opinions. 

Putting The Wye In Perspective

As much as I love the River Wye it tickles me that a lot of folk regard it as a ‘big’ river. This photograph taken not far from Luggsmouth shows a 45 foot dutch barge that got into difficulty heading up the river. I suppose it puts the scale into perspective. On the Trent we regard 60′ canal long boats as a minor disturbance and don’t normally even reel in when they pass. The Whittaker tankers and the huge gravel barges would span the Wye and not even get wet. What’s more they would run aground every few yards.

No wonder Wye anglers complain about canoes. They’ve never seen real boats.

It’s All Over Now

No, not an obscure tribute to the Rolling Stones milestone of 50 years in the business. Afraid this is something far more current, or ‘on-point’ if I want to stoop to the dreadful vernacular of Tulisa and her fellow X Factor judges. It’s the fishing on India’s Cauvery River that’s over. Finished. Kaput. No more. 

I am so pleased that Stu and I found ourselves in a position to fish India’s Cauvery River a few years back. We travelled there at a very difficult time as the 100-year-old water dispute between the city and the farmers was at boiling point. It was so bad the police made 3,000 arrests just to diffuse a potentially explosive situation.

As it was the river was all but prevented from flowing by blocking off the upstream dam and then it was released as a raging torrent. The fishing as a consequence was dire. But we caught. Not many and it was far from easy. In fact make that downright bloody difficult. I wish we’d appreciated at the time just how lucky we were because the chance of returning to fish there has now gone.

Fishing has been banned on the Cauvery River by the Government and that’s bad news for the mahseer. Protected by the fishing camps these fish will now be poached, trapped, caught using set lines and maybe even blown up with dynamite. The the average Indian villager a mahseer represents a damn good meal.

The politicians will wrangle, the forestry commission will obfuscate and the people will say it’s the will of God, or something like that. But all hunting is banned and the FC says fishing counts as hunting. By the time this is resolved it’ll probably be too late anyway. Meanwhile here’s Ade Kidell sharing a taste of what you missed:

Goes to show how politics and fishing simply don’t mix.

Game For Anything? Matt’s Emulsion Is No Substitute For Gloss

I have to say the second episode of Wild Fisherman Norway left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed. What did you think?

Twenty minutes in and Matt’s already delivered his professionally Brummie routine, done the Judith Chalmers tour of a copper mine, explained how Norway put it’s North Sea oil  revenue to good effect, did a passable Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall impression by heating a sausage on a stick over an open fire – ‘I eat a lot of hot dog sausages but I like to indulge  myself with a little with English mustard’, he reveals – drinks melted snow water from a puddle and demonstrates for the second show in a row how Norwegians boil coffee in a kettle. I thought for a moment that it was another flashback to the previous episode but I was mistaken.

‘Yes, yes, yes…,’ I hear you asking impatiently, ‘But what had he caught?’

And there’s the rub. Bugger all. It’s pretty desperate stuff and there certainly isn’t an hour’s worth of fishing content. Sometime you have to accept these things and make a half-hour show, or do what Stu and I do when things don’t go to plan. You ditch the lot and go back again.

Not sure what dedicated game anglers will make of it, after all, I’m presuming that’s who this series is appealing to because last week he was trolling for lake trout, this week it’s wild brown trout, next week I’m assuming it’ll be salmon and more trout, or maybe char, or grayling. The coarse fish featured so far, caught by Mick Brown in episode one, were all accidental captures on lures intended for trout but by golly they were needed.

So, having failed to set the world alight on a river full of massive brown trout Mattster rounds off episode two belly boating on a lake catching tiddler trout on the ‘drey fley’. Honestly, I’ve used bigger livebaits for perch.

Matt’s a good TV presenter, of that there’s no doubt. You cannot fault the scenery and the whole package is reasonably well filmed. But an hour-long angling programme that fails to deliver fish is nothing more than a disappointing indulgence. Time for Matt to get back to his roots before it’s too late.

End Of The River

I’m guessing the title pays homage to End Of The Line, the most chilling film ever made about the rape of our seas. End Of The River is a film every angler needs to watch. It shows what could happen to our rivers if the landslide of applications to create thousands of small hydro power stations right across the UK is allowed to go unchallenged. 

Twenty-six thousand potential sites have been identified by the Environment Agency as suitable for a hydro installations. The Government is pumping subsidies into firms eager to join the gold rush. One body stands in their way – the Angling Trust’s Fish Legal department. They have just won the first landmark ruling over the proposed development of a station on the Trent at Sawley (see the last blog).

If you genuinely care about the future of our rivers and you are not prepared to stump up a few pounds to be a member then I’m sorry, you are a hypocrite. Don’t sit on the fence a moment longer. Join, or simply make a donation – it will neither kill you or leave you bankrupt. Press for your angling club to join, too. Please support the only body that can fight for our angling future. You know it makes sense. You’ve everything to gain and very little to lose.

The Footie Bit

You don’t want to hear about Doncaster Rovers and their 8 wins in 10 games. Boring, negative football, tribal triumphalism, endless soundbites from the gobshite manager who, we must not forget, was completely out of his depth in the Championship and steered us to relegation last season. Apparently he now has the 3rd highest budget in a godforsaken dire league (behind Sheffield United and Swindon, I’m guessing) and more than double the budget of half the other teams. Anything much less than the current league position would be back-to-back dire failures in my eyes. 

So let’s ignore Donny and enjoy another humourous football blog,  Stress and Pie. It’s a site where the mighty Forest (yes Leeds fans, they actually were once Champions of Europe) play teams like Wolverhampton Wonderbra and Miserablebugger, Charlton Arthritic and Black Poo. If you actually enjoy the beautiful game then make sure you watch the video clips. The S&P writing is not exactly wet your pants hilarity but it’s certainly projects a different slant on football.

The videos are cleverly crafted and edited and I’m sure the Fields Of Gold one is a must for anyone of a certain age (Unless you’re a Leeds fan that is).

Perhaps you are a fan of an alternative footie web site. If so feel free to pass on your link in the comments below or, if you’re shy, by contacting me via the ‘Contact’ button. If I like it I’ll give it a plug over the winter.

Well, there you go. That’s it for another blog. Should be plenty to chew on in this little lot. See you next time


6 thoughts on “2012 – Early December Blog

  1. Hi Bob
    Good read again, the second show of Matt’s series was dissapointing to say the least. Let’s hope it gets better and he catches a fish.
    Nige K

    • Like you Nige, I’m willing him to catch. It’s not me having some kind of pop at Matt, in fact quite the reverse. I want him to be successful and make brilliant fishing programmes for TV – preferably about coarse fishing. Other than K**** adverts and some daft Geordie yee-haa plonker of an actor what else is there for us? There’s precious little fishing on TV as it is and no fresh mainstream coarse angling. There’s no new Wilson stuff and it appears no MH coarse angling any more unless you count the endless repeats. Either TV’s lost the plot or he has! We deserve better.

  2. Bob,

    The comment ” It’s not a bit dead, it looks to me, and I am sure of it, that this fish is dead for several hours,”It could be a Germanic Monty Python ;-0

  3. Hello Bob, another nice blog, I must admit I rather look forward to finding that you’ve published another new one.
    “The most amateurish blogger is at least having a go. He’s clearly trying to be creative rather than sitting on his backside heckling and spouting jaundiced bile. Give me a blogger over a hypocrite any day.”

    Very well said and I agree with you 100% but isn’t that a reflection of human nature?
    It’s always easier to sit back and criticise the efforts of others than to get up and make the effort to improve the lot of others?
    I feel to make the effort and see the fruits of your labour is enough but to see others also enjoy the fruits of your labour really does make any effort very worthwhile, and to the knockers, well b*ll*cks!

  4. Flooding isn’t the only consequence of fast water run-off from peat areas and farmland.As the water is no longer retained in the upper layers of soil,a prolonged dry period throws up the problem of crop damage due to “drought’ conditions. I well remember the arguments about this drainage system at the time,but it seems that water engineers don’t inhabit the same world as people with common sense!