You know, I’m getting rather lazy. Either that or I’m getting too busy. Finding time to blog is difficult at the moment as I’ve been dashing here, there and everywhere. At least the site’s back up and functioning perfectly well again, however the technical genius who set it up, Mark reckons it’s begining to look a little ‘tired’. Probably ready for a redesign and relaunch, he says, so that means another whole bunch of work! What do you think? Is it time for a lick of paint? let me know.
I suppose the reason I’m doing less blogging is that I’m doing more fishing, or to put it more accurately, more filming. Our Caught In The Act project is coming along in leaps and bounds but we cannot ignore that the end of the river season is only a matter of days away. Either we capture the winter footage now, or the whole project slips back a year. Fortunately the winter filming has gone better than the summer stuff which is pretty amazing, all things considered.
We were up on the Swale when the recent snow arived – deliberately I might add. How mad are we to drive 70 miles each way in the hope of getting stuck in a snow storm? Sure enough we were already filming when the first flakes drifted down and we were still there until Stu looked like the Abominable Snowman, white from head to toe, but what made it truly amazing was he caught over 30 chub to order.
When you create a film it’s fair to say a little trickery is involved. You might take a shot of one bite, cut it into the start of an action sequence, take a third clip of a different fish hitting the landing net, a fourth on the mat, etc. Sometimes you need to catch 4 similar sized fish to create the perfect sequence and avoid stressing the fish. I hate it when someone catches a fish on film and the presenter keeps it out of the water for far too long as he (always a he, eh?) describes the fact that it’s got two eyes, scales, fins and its a bit slimy. Talk about stating the bleeding obvious. Then they’ll preach about fish care!
Continuity is always the issue. Difficult enough if light values are constantly changing but damn near impossible when snow is falling. Once the snow starts falling and settling every single cut has to flow in sequential order otherwise the end product will look pretty stupid.
Then again, it’s not always plain sailing. When error mesages like this one pop up on the screen I think even the camera is telling you it’s time to go home!
Perhaps the trip I enjoyed above all the others this month was to the River Eden in Cumbria catching grayling. What a fantastic looking river. Great scenery, great fishing and footage to die for. We fished in bright sunshine, albeit barely above zero all day but our timing proved to be perfect. Had we planned to go 24 hours later then we’d never have got there as roads over the Pennines were closed due to sheet ice and multiple road traffic accidents.
Chris Bowman guided us and what a cracking bloke he is. He does some amazing work getting kids on the right track and out of crime through Borderlines, runs a fishery, is a member of the Institute of Fishery Management and a PAA coach. If ever you want to catch a grayling (or trout, or salmon) just swallow your pride and get in touch with him. UK anglers seem reluctant to use guides. They know it all. Just listen to them on internet forums.
Well let me tell you that I’ve used guides all over the world. Cost isn’t an issue – most work for very reasonable rates – but they’ll save you so much time and effort by putting you on fish using the right methods every time. Life’s too short to ignore good guides. Without help I might have had to drive over to Cumbria about ten times to find the right stretches and even then it would have been subject to river levels on the day. Using a good guide can actually save you a lot of money, not to mention wasted time and effort.
I hoped I might get a few decent grayling out of the trip. Anything over a pound would have satisfied me. After just one hour Stu announced we had enough footage in the can to call it a wrap. I had been catching almost every put in, fish averaging 12oz to a pound. ‘Let’s try and catch a big one now!’ Suggested Stu. So we adjourned to a different stretch where the fish are thin on the ground but run bigger.
I had to wait for last knockings but sure enough I graced my net with a new PB. That wasn’t before I lost an even bigger lump right at the net. What can I say? An amazing day. Oh, and the fish shown here is as near as damn it exactly half the size of the biggest one I caught!
Chris Bowman provides a reasonably priced coaching and guiding service and can be contacted on 01228 674519 or his mobile, 0771 416 8939.
Valentines weekend seemed like a reasonable excuse to pop down to Devon with my better half. She loves the atmosphere at Anglers Paradise and so do I. And it would be rude not to wet a line, wouldn’t it? The complex had fished its nuts off during the week with Mike Brewer catching carp of 18lb, 22lb, 25lb and 32lb 8oz just fishing day sessions.
I always used to have a dabble for the Main Lake carp in February as it really is one of the best times of year to catch them but these days I tend to get side-tracked by the big orfe. It’s crazy, they fight like paper bags but somehow it’s more about tricking one into taking the bait and actually hitting the bite than epic battles.
But it wouldn’t do if we all thought and fished the same way, would it?
Saying that, I gave up on the orfe after catching half a dozen and retired to the Easy Access Lake where I did target a carp. Nothing huge but this chunky little specimen was almost as wide as it was deep.
Oh well. I was due to drive the 300 miles home on Sunday, snatch a few hours kip and then head up to Cumbria the following day but a text from Stu said forget the Eden – it had risen sharply and coloured up. Fingers crossed for next week then. Fortunately that gave me a chance to knock off my newspaper column and do some sorting out.
We planned to fit in a quick filming session on Wednesday and I needed to get permission to fish on a private bit of river. It’s not exactly a special river, indeed until a year ago I hadn’t ever had a chub over 4lb from there, but it’s close to my heart and I like it. The only reason for going private is that we’d be undisturbed. Indeed the fishing is more prolific a few miles downstream on a ‘free’ stretch but we’d probably be interrupted every five minutes by dog walkers and sky-liners so I’ll bite the bullet and take less fish.
James Gould, who will be joining Stu and I again on our upcoming adveture in the Andaman Islands, made it two front covers in a matter of months when he graced the Anglers Mail last week. Jammy git! I’ve never had the Mail cover but with a bit of luck I might just make the front cover of Improve in a few weeks time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
James has been targeting perch in recent weeks and despite struggling at times he’s been catching enough to keep his enthusiasm brimming. Ironically it was after watching the clip from Caught In The Act on Sky’s Tight Lines that he actually bothered to turn out that fateful Saturday. He wasn’t going to bother because it was so cold and frosty but just watching the footage he’d played his part in fired up his enthusiasm and he certainly produced the goods in the shape of 3 perch for 10lbs. Top angling and what a cracking picture.
Oh, and I was featured on Tight Lines again last week whjen Jeremy Wade was the studio guest. Obviously they showed lots of clips and images from his globetrotting River Monsters series but in between times they dropped footage from our last trip to Uganda. It’s available as a free podcast download if you go to the Sky Web Site and select the Feb 11th show.
Whilst at Anglers Paradise I mulled over an idea with the owner Zyg Gregorek, ‘Why don’t you host an out-of-season bloggers weekend, Zyg? You could perhaps let folk stay in the accomodation at a reduced rate, organise some kind of social event, say an optional species hunt against the clock on the Sunday and lay on a barbecue afterwards. The various bloggers would get to know each other in the bar, swap ideas, help each other out on the techie side of blogging and generally have a whale of a time. Indeed, if anyone fancied it they could stay on for a few extra days or even the whole week and who knows, it could become an annual social event for the blogging community…’
Blow me he not only said yes, he said let’s organise it for next month and promptly came up with the weekend of the 24th March and onwards. I was hoping to run it in the Autumn so typically I’m not around for this first date but I said, ‘I know just the man who might pull this together for you – Jeff Hatt, the bloke who writes the Idler’s Quest blog’. He’s well respected and would, I’m sure, like to tick a few different species boxes.
And that’s as far as we’ve got so far. But who fancies being part of an Association Of Angling Bloggers? Open to all bloggers, whatever their discipline or favoured species… I reckon a get together over a long weekend would be great fun. Is anyone up for it? Trust me, it won’t cost a fortune. Let’s just say I’ve sealed a deal for ridiculously cheap rates based on groups of bloggers sharing villas that I obviously cannot publicise here. The idea is to get it off the ground rather than mug anyone.
If you’re a blogger and fancy being part of a blogging community or association then drop me an email sharpish, or Jeff. Use the ‘contact me’ button if you don’t already have my email address. Meantime, Anglers Paradise chas its own little syndicate called the 5Cs – which stands for Crazy, Cunning, Crafty Carp Catchers. What we need is to come up with a 5Bs or near as. 3Bs would be too easy… Suggestions on a post card.
Book Him Dano…!
Changing tack completely I’ve been rather busy on the book front trying to catch up with several new angling books not to mention wading through a bunch of Christmas present (non-angling) books but I’m slowly working my way through them all.
One that tickled me was John Martin’s, Where Kingfishers Play. I met John many years ago at a Barbel Society meeting and I reviewed his very first book, It Started With A Perch. He’s now written half a dozen and mostly they’re like a blog in book form as he travels around aiming to catch every species known to man. Turning to page 5 of his latest offering gave me a big smile though, there’s a picture of him and me together, taken on that first meeting!
A quick Google suggests it’s pretty widely available although you can order it here or you can write to him direct at Martin’s Nest, 9 Gravel Pits Close, Bredon, Glos, GL20 7QL or give him a call on 01684 772970.
Jerry Hammond’s Catching Memories is a first class read for all budding carp anglers and experts alike. This likeable guy makes catching big carp look so easy and if you want evidence of that then check out his DVD, The Compulsive Angler. Boy does he catch some proper old lumps!
The folk at Fishing Booksender are keeping busy, too. David Griffiths has sent me advance notice of two book signing sessions at The Land’s End Pub, Twyford, Nr Reading, RG10 0UE. Start times for both will be 12 o’clock.
On Saturday 24th March 2012 – ‘It’s a Long Old Road’ is launched, a tribute to well known Kent angler Steve Edwards who sadly died last year. Compiled by Craig Lyons, foreword by John Carver and edited by Mike Starkey. The list of contributors is as long with many of them household names from the world of carp fishing and most of them will be attending to sign copies of this amazing book. A mixture of belly laughs and tears apparently. All profits go to the Macmillan Cancer Trust so maybe, if you buy just one book this year…
The publisher also wishes to confirm that however many copies of ‘It’s a Long Old Road’ are purchased they will be signed by the contributors free of charge although donations to the MacMillan Cancer Trust will be gratefully received on the day.
On Saturday 14th April 2012 it’s the turn of “Angling” with Dave Steuart, a series of articles written by Dave Steuart for Angling magazine between1967 and 1977. Read it and you’ll learn how far ahead of his time Dave was, not only with the rods he made but with rigs and methods he used to tremendous success. Today’s anglers have much to thank him for.
When you consider he was only able to fish on one day per week plus holidays it makes this even more remarkable. The articles are packed with valuable tips and ideas on how to read the many waters he fished that still stand the test of time. He is a master at long-trotting with a centrepin reel and his prolific catches of barbel, chub, carp and pike would be difficult to surpass even with our latter day knowledge and tackle. What also comes across in the book is Dave’s impish sense of humour. A number of well known anglers are, at times, heckled in the book…
To learn more about these titles please visit our Pre-Orders page at Fishing Booksender or alternatively reserve your copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dave Griffiths on 05601 972040.
When I have a spare moment I’m currently reading Alan Tomkins’ Magic In The Water as well as the Perchfisher’s new tome – which is absolutely stunning, by the way. I’ll get around to doing some reviews in due course but the season end is looming fast and I really need to be out on the bank as much as possible until then.
I gather Harper Fine Angling Books is also working on several new books, for 2012 and 2013. First up is ‘Angling Encounters’ by Bob Buteax and Tony Meers. It should be released sometime this spring or early summer 2012. With 30 very experienced, and well-known angling contributors, this book is sure to be one that will entertain, amuse, inspire and even perhaps shock a little, with tales that are all a little out of the ordinary…
From Bob Buteaux’s forword: “It’s inevitable that, as an angler, some time or another, something unusual is going to happen, when spending such a lot of time close to the water’s edge. But the stories within this book go so much further than that, and tell of the really odd, very amusing and even weird tales while out fishing…”
Next up in September 2012 will be ‘Piking, Here And There’ by Phil Wakeford. This book tells, in great detail, of a life spent in the passionate pursuit of a favourite species.
From the foreword by John Watson: “Phil is not an attritional piker: he’s an innovative one, a thinker with a deep understanding of his sport, and there is much in the text to which I can personally relate, as I am sure will others. There is also a great deal to learn: nothing more so than the old adage which states that one only gets out of something whatever one puts in. The author has contributed more than his fair share, and has been suitably rewarded. It will be a fascinating insight into what is required to become one of the most successful pike anglers of all time, but also an inspiring one, that will fully merit its place alongside those firm favourites that give such joy to the angler.”
And looking slightly further ahead there’s ‘Tinca Tinca’ by The Tenchfishers which promises to be a large and very detailed tome. Currently being written and collated by the Tenchfishers it will be designed and produced by Harper Fine Angling Books for release in the spring of 2013. If you enjoyed the Perchfisher’s recent book, then this is also one not to be missed! It has been some time since an angling book devoted solely to tench, was released and this very comprehensive volume by the many experienced members of the Tenchfishers will admirably fill that void.
As for football…
I’m currently trying to ignore the football but it’s very difficult. We still have that f***wit Saunders in charge which irritates the hell out of me. I still don’t understand what qualifications he has for the job beyond three years experience in the Conference and he’s a mate of Willie McKay.
Three games after he took over as manager we were outside of the relegation places thanks to the efforts of the ‘crap’ players he inherrited. Since then he’s signed umpteen so-called world class players, like twice African footballer of the year, Diouf, Chimbonda, Babayoko, Fortune and, oh why am I bothering – loads of em – mercenaries looking for one last paycheck.
Any media pundit who watches the team seems to say they don’t look like a team bottom of the table outfit but that’s exactly were we are. Rock bottom. We’ve sold Billy Sharp to Southampton for a song. We are hopelesly incompetent away from home – witness the capitulation at Elland Road on Saturday after leading 2-0, although Leeds did score their winner in the 112th minute!!! Even Fergie would be chuckling at that…
We’ve shipped 6 more goals in less than a week and I’m afraid this man has no answers. He is not the right man for the job (and never was) and I simply refuse to clutch at the straw that Portsmouth have been docked 10 points. It’s us that needs to collect 10 points unless two more sides are going to go into administration and I reckon there’s a chance of us doing that sometime soon. After all the gates have slumped to a pitiful 8,000 under Saunders. Well done old son. Brilliant! Destination Conference?
Tell you what, I was offered free corporate tickets for the Elland Road game. No, I didn’t go and no, I won’t be going to watch my team again till the clown Saunders walks away. Unfortunately by then we’ll probably be in deep s*** before that happens.
Meanwhile SOD has begun to work his magic at Forset where he’s doing a bit of coaching. They crept out of the bottom three on Saturday and good luck to them.