Crikey, where does the time go? You blink and another month flies past. Anyway, I’m back. Happy New Year.
I hope you all had a great ‘winter festival’ and behaved in a wholesome politically correct way, making sure at each opportunity not to upset any of our fellow countrymen with our harmless religious and pagan rites which they choose to interpret as offending their deeply held religious convictions.
Afraid I’ve no time for such delicacies. It’s not Winter Festival, it’s Christmas, the season of excess, indulgence, intoxication, present giving and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. If anyone has a problem with that then maybe they should emigrate! Christmas isn’t offensive. It’s our heritage. It’s a massive part of our culture and history, as is the stupidity of Pantomime. Or maybe that’ll upset the cross-dressers in times to come.
I see the vertically challenged were rather upset that Snow White had used 7 small children in one show to save a few bob!
I’m more than happy to indulge any of the minority groups with their own cultural festivals but I will not accept that Christmas celebrations in the UK are offensive to anyone. Same goes for the Union Flag and the Cross of St George.
I’ve visited and photographed churches, temples and tombs in China, India, Sri Lanka, America, Canada and many European countries. It has never once crossed my mind to suggest what they do over there be stopped or changed in any way. I have gay friends and attended the biggest Gay Pride march in the UK – and before anyone starts spreading rumours, no, I’ve never been tempted or confused.
Tolerance is a two-way street. Time to live and let live I say or look the other way. Seems to me we’re so afraid of racism and religious fascism that no-one seems quite sure what’s even acceptable any more.
Anyway, moving on. I was doing a bit of last minute shopping in the Meadowhall Centre just before Christmas and happened to notice the security folk had completely rid the place of the down and out brigade – you know, the ones who are skint but always seem able to afford the obligatory bottle of strong cider that they wrap in a carrier bag and a packet of fags. Mind you, there were a few unemloyed folk who slipped under the radar, most notably one Brian Laws, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley manager. He looked to be enjoying his break from football management because I reckon it’s just about the first time I’ve ever seen him smiling!
In between times I had a little dabble on the River Don at Denaby. It may look a bit grim down there but the fishing is phenomenal. Try catching from the Trent with a float and you’ll struggle after October. The Don’s in a league of its own. I had a stone of fish in just a few hours despite using up some two-week old maggots. I had a bream within 5 minutes and once the swim warmed up it was a bite almost every cast.
Fabulous, fabulous fishing.
I Appreciate It’s All Over, But…
Rather than burden the Post Office with lots of unwelcome mail I decided to create my own electronic Christmas card with a fishy theme intending to send it to everyone in my address book. Unfortunately the very first batch overloaded my Sky limit and although a few hundred of you received it, the vast majority of you didn’t. So here it is. Apologies for the delay
Keith Arthur sent me a nice greeting, too. At first I was puzzled by his choice of fish, couldn’t see the Christmas connection, and then the penny dropped. Do you reckon he calls this fish Rudolph the Red?
Nice one Keith! ;-p
Now That’s A Coincidence
Come the New Year I was esconced in Devon at Anglers Paradise. It’s a great place for a party. None of this £50 to get through the door and £10 quid a drink, providing you can fight your way to the bar. No, it’s free for residents and invited guests, most everyone makes the effort to wear fancy dress, service is excellent, Zyg kind of leaves the bar open till everyone’s had enough and you only have to stagger 50 yards back to your villa. What’s not to like about that, eh?
While I was down there I bumped into Steve Collett, the guy who won the Trent National and suffered dogs abuse from the barbel police for his fine display of angling. Match fishing has been extremely popular in this country for well over half a Century, growing massively after the last war and becoming a year-round passion since the Angling Times launched its winter league in the 1960’s whereas barbel fishing has been popular for about 5 minutes. Think it through guys…
Anyway, by one of those remarkable coincidences we both became cover stars in exactly the same week, Steve on the front of the Mail and me on the front of the Times and then bumped into each other on the side of a lake in Devon for the first time ever? Bearing in mind we were collectively about 500 miles from home the odds must be astronomical.
It hadn’t been my intention to fish seriously on this visit but the Gods were very kind. Pushing a pole out on Mystery Lake I had so may orfe, chub, tench and carp. Indeed the fish were having it so well I was catching them on a dibber set just a foot deep and we’re talking fish averaging 12oz to maybe a pound and a quarter. I’d guess I had 50lb in a single afternoon when the wind was blowing so hard it bent my brolly pole.
Before leaving home I was invited along to a little wedding blessing for recently wed Terry and Penny Croxall. After 5 days of howling winds and torrential rain the sun shone broke through on the righteous. In true madcap Zyg fashion the happy couple were netted for eternity and promised to honour and obey each other, and go fishing every day.
Cane and Able?
On New Years Day I had a short dabble on the Specimen Carp Lake. Not having any suitable tackle with me Zyg insisted I use one of his rods that he’d picked up at auction. It was a rather fetching split cane model that had been created with loving care for ‘Fennel’ Hudson of the Golden Scale Club.
The internet is the stalking ground of many an antique tackledoyen but I have to say that were I forced to fish with such a bean stick on a regular basis I would take up golf. Those who extol the virtues of cane, the delicate feel, the tweed jackets, deer stalker hats, the Tilley kettles and so on really need to get a grip. Collect these artifacts by all means. Preserve them and display them, but to use them for fishing in this day and age? Don’t be ridiculous! It’s as daft as prefering a Morris Minor over an E Class Mercedes.
Otter Kills – Not A Problem, Is It…?
It’s good to see Martin Salter working for the Angling Trust. It’ll do us no harm to have someone with his political experience in our camp but I fear for his chances of making any great progress on the real issues we face when I read some of the idiotic comments made by anglers. Can someone tell me what it is about otters that blinds so many to the plain and obvious truth?
What kind of excuse merchants can shrug their shoulders when the cream of the country’s barbel populations are wiped out in a matter of months? I nearly choked when I read someone suggesting that these fine barbel were getting old and they would have died pretty soon anyway…!
For Feck’s sake! So that’s okay then? But do they think the otters then went away? Or is it only barbel that matter? Because they’re slaughtering carp, too. And chub. And perch. In fact they are killing anything and everything that takes their fancy – quite often for no other reason than sport, or, as has been explained, teaching their young how to kill.
To those who say we should be looking at the deeper problem, the lack of fry recruitment growing though to adulthood I say, yes we should. But how far do we actually have to look? Specialist anglers showed no concern for match anglers and the big Angling Associations when river fishing imploded after cormorants began arriving here in their thousands. Cormorants only ate little fish, didn’t they? And once the roach and dace had been thinned out that would leave loads more food for the bigger specimens which in turn would grow bigger. Let the matchmen bugger off to the commercials and we’ll have the rivers, eh? We’ll even be able to pick the best stretches and run them as syndicates…
Well, chickens are finally coming home to roost. Were it not for the EA farms breeding millions of fish at our expense to feed the cormorants we’d be in an even sorrier state because we are currently witnessing a massive decline of big fish across the country, north to south, east to west. We are suddenly waking up and discovering that the past 20 years worth of spawnings have failed to grow on beyond bite-sized cormorant nuggets.
So what realistic chance do we have when fools like Dave Tipping are writing in the Anglers Mail that otters are not a problem! Who is he kidding? I’d like someone to point out this blog to Mr Tipping and then have him follow the link below.
Perhaps he’d then like to contact the Norfolk Anglers and offer to go down there and give them a lecture on how these wonderful creatures have been beneficial to them. Best leave the motor running though, Dave, because you might then be lucky enough to escape without having a large cabbage shoved up your @&$£…!
Look Dave, I appreciate you’ve a book to promote so you need to get yourself noticed but don’t do it by pissing on the hard work that Norfolk Anglers put in to create what was a fabulous fishery, first by regenerating the habitat and then by introducing fingerlings and growing them on. Many of the guys who invested decades of their lives in the project will not be around by the time it can be brought back to what it was, if indeed it that ever happens. They’ll be pushing up daisies or dribbling into their tea in some retirement home.
Otters might not be causing you a problem, but that doesn’t give you the right to tell thousands of anglers up and down the country to stop worrying. The combined effects of cormorants, the irresponsible redistribution of zander and the impact of otters is massive. Speak with fisheries staff at the EA, off the record, and listen to what they are saying. Then maybe, before you decide to spout your biased rubbish in the press, you might spare a thought for others who’s fishing is being systematically destroyed.
Swordsey’s Big Adventure
Did you read the article Lee Swords published on here this week? If you haven’t make a point of doing so. It made me chuckle and most everyone else who read it. Apparently he submitted it to a monthly paper for publication but they were a little afraid it might be too controversial. What, Swordsey? Nah!
Okay, there will be a few moaners who look for the negatives in everything and I’ll answer them with the man’s latest cartoon…
For Budding Adventurers
In the build up to my first Himalayan mahseer adventure I contacted a few experienced hands and asked for advice. One of them suggested I get hold of a copy of Jim Corbett’s Man Eaters Of Kumoan. So I did. I paid £20 for it at the NEC exhibition and some scroat promptly nicked it off the stand, so I had to buy another! Although it cost me £40 I hung on every word. It’s a sensational read but when you actually visit the Himalayas it comes alive. You begin to appreciate what these guys went through to protect villagers and the crops they raised.
It’s worth borrowing from the libraray or even purchasing. However, if you just fancy reading it you can download it in various formats by following this link. Best of all it will cost you nothing. How good is that?
If that’s whetted your appetite you can find more treasures by Corbett here.
The days of reading books on the printed page are numbered. The Kindle will do for the book what the iPod has done for the Sony Walkman. You may want to add the web site to your favourites.
Get In There Son!
A call from James Gould had me scrambling to grab the stills and video cameras. Would I mind popping down and photographing a fish? Not when they’re as big as this lump I wouldn’t. Well done sunshine on another new PB! Turning into quite a season, eh James?
Mind you, he’s probably kicking himself over the chance he missed for a real biggie. There’s a trout reservoir just up the road from here that allows limited pike fishing for a couple of days each year. I was going to be away and couldn’t make it but I tipped off James and Stu. It was short notice and they didn’t bother but I imagine they’ll be kicking themselves after reports that a 41lb 8oz fish was landed by a guy on just his third cast!
There’s Only One Way To Resolve This…
We all have our guilty secrets, I guess, but one I’m ashamed to confess is that I frequently watch the Jeremy Kyle Show. I know, it’s not something to be proud of but there’s something compelling about watching a bloke in a smart suit shouting at dumb folk wearing track suits:
‘You should have put something on the end of it then sunshine, shouldn’t you?’
‘The DNA results show…’
‘Canabis makes you paranoid, you do know that, don’t you? Look at you!’
‘With the help of Graham and the back room team we’re going to do everything we can to help you…’
‘You go left, you go right. Graham’s waiting for you backstage.’
If the Prime Minister ever needs to know how tragically the Big Society is broken then he should just sit down and watch the highlights of any given week’s worth. It’s not like these folk are thin on the ground or localised. They’re everywhere and it’s almost like Kyle has replaced the country’s Social Services on his own.
There’s a thread currently running on the Leeds and District web site that’s absolutely made for the Jeremy Kyle Show. Reminiscent of the Kyle show degenerates the guy at the centre of the storm, currently banned from Leeds waters, is offering to undertake a lie detector test:
“I have nothing to gain or lose by telling the truth given a ban has already been imposed but I firmly believe in my right to give my account of events that night. I would also like to make readers aware of the fact that I have notified delegates and the editor of Angling Times ( thank’s to their admitting the story was a inaccurate and biased account) that I am willing to fund and undergo a polygraph test and to pay a sum of money to a charity of their choice should my account of events be found untruthful.”
Take a look for yourself…
Forget the handbags, forget the ban imposed, the he said-she said, threats, counter threats and all the rest, the fundamental wrong here doesn’t involve people, it’s about what constitutes a reasonable amount of time to retain fish in a keepnet. Given that nets are legal and in common use, shouldn’t the Angling Trust be showing a bit of leadership? Promoting a keepnet code? At one extreme we have the barbel gestapo demanding barbel are never put in keepnets (but have this crazy notion a Queenford retention system – a tiny keepnet by any other name – is satisfactory) and at the other we have tench anglers thinking that keeping fish for 24 hours or more is fine.
A Date For Your Diary
Had a call from Sky Sports today inviting me to appear on Tight Lines on Friday 27th January. Really looking forward to that as I’m hoping to preview some exclusive footage from the series of DVDs that Stu and I have been working on for the past year or so. I’m not exaggerating when I say there’s some sensational stuff but you can make up your own mind when it’s broadcast.
For those who don’t have a Sky subscripton I’ll post a link that allows you to download the show free of charge and play it on your computer.
I’ll Go The Whole Wide World
So promised Wreckless Eric…
Which is a rather tenuous link to the fact that I was looking at my Google Stats the other day. How anyone actually understands the use and fineries of these masses of data is beyond me but one thing that intrigued me was how a web site like this reaches out to the whole wide world. In the past month it has attracted visitors from no less than 84 different countries which is remarkable.
The most popular being the United Kingdom (of course), but the leading nations include the United States, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Bulgaria, Sweden, Portugal, Serbia, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Croatia, Switzerland, Finland, Isle of Man, Slovenia, Jersey, Denmark, Georgia and Greece.
Amazing, eh? Surely they can’t all be spammers!
Des Is Back! – Or Is He?
Flicking through the Angling Times I noticed Des Taylor is back with a new column called The Diary Of A Countryman. I’ve known Des for a long, long time and have the highest regard for him. In years gone by he inspired me with his fishing exploits but whoever came up with the idea of turning him into the new Fred J Taylor wants shooting.
Are we to presume he no longer has the desire or the passion that had him travelling everywhere and anywhere at the drop of a hat to catch specimen fish? Has the loudmouth, campaigning, bloke’s-bloke been put out to grass? What happened to the character we loved who had an outrageous opinion on everything and was never afraid to share it?
Reading about being ‘up as fresh as a daisy on Boxing Day to watch the Droitwich Hunt’ and attending a starter course on birds of prey cuts no ice with me. It smacks of a sell-out. I want Des to write about what he does best and that’s catching fish. I don’t want to learn how to cook a rabbit, shoot a pidgeon or smoke bacon, I want to read about his angling exploits. Don’t you?
Didn’t See That One Coming…
Al Hadj Diouf reckons to have signed an 18 month contract with little old Doncaster Rovers and he’s already talking about wanting to win promotion to the Premiership. Personally I’ll settle for getting out of the bottom three if that’s okay. One step at a time.
When Diouf was pushed on his strike partner Sharp, the response was a very positive one, “Billy is the main man who does a lot for the club and I want him to stay because he’s a great player,” he said. “If you don’t watch football and you are told about Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday, you don’t know any of their players, but everyone knows the players of Doncaster Rovers.”
I’m sorry but who is Diouf trying to kid? Even I don’t recognise half the players turning out in a Rovers shirt these days as they seem to rotate every other Thursday to boot!
And how surprising the stellar signings were all unavailable for the January 2nd fixture. Of the ten outfield players who took the field against our nearest rivals Barnsley, Saunders had no choice but to play nine from Sean O’Driscoll’s original squad. And what did they do? They won, of course. With a clean sheet.
In the two previous games, featuring a cast of superstars, we shipped 7 goals. Now he’s saying Billy Sharp will probably be gone before the end of January…
Best we can hope for is that he goes to a decent team – certainly not a Leicester or an Ipswich or even Dull City. Big Sam could use him at the Hammers and he’d fit in well at Southampton having played with their manager at Scunthorpe. Failing that he should be Premiership bound. Guy’s definitely too good for us.
Oh well. If it takes relegation or even administration to get rid of Saunders I’ll take it. The bloke’s come from the Conference and that’s where he belongs. Just don’t want him around when we end up back there. Seriously I don’t even fancy us against Notts County (at home) in the cup this week with him in charge.