This has to be my longest blog ever – it’s virtually a magazine(!) But please make the most of it. I’ll be struggling for time to write another for a few weeks. Though I say so myself, this one’s a bit of a tour de force. You’ll need a cuppa and a packet of chocolate biscuits to hand if you’re going to wade through it all in one go and then follow the links! But that’s no bad thing, surely? Why not sit back, put your feet up, relax and enjoy…
I seem to be the world’s unluckiest rudd angler. I seem destined not to succeed with them and the harder I try the more I suffer. I’ve made three trips now to the Fens in search of gold. The first time it blew a hooligan and as anyone who knows the Fens will tell you it only takes a slight breeze down there to feel like a hurricane.
The second trip was a complete disaster. Every pump in the land was going full bore to shift standing water from the fields and dykes which meant the river was up, flowing hard and the colour of chocolate. Undeterred I returned for a third trip, this time in the company of Paddy Leigh who has taken some phenomenal hauls in recent seasons, like multiple catches of 3-pounders, countless twos and loads of back-up fish.
Unfortunately the sun shone bright from a cloudless sky, the water was flat calm and the fish failed yet again to play ball for either of us although I did manage a solitary decent fish. Sadly my quest for a truly big rudd is on the back burner again but one day I will get a proper big one. That’s if the cormorants don’t clean them out first. It doesn’t help that a tree not 50 yards from the water was festooned with a flock of these ugly black monsters. Not a single leaf grows on the tree they roost in. It’s dead. Scorched by the lime from their droppings. Unfortunately it’s situated in a nature conservation area…
Some of these nature ‘protectors’ have rather strange values, don’t you think? I was approached by a rather loud yapping dog which snarled and snapped at me while its owner clearly blew and blew on her dog whistle some 200 yards away. It’s amazing how the sound travels but the dog was having none of it.
In total this women had five dogs with her, not one of which was on a lead. ‘This is a nature reserve!’ She announced on her arrival. ‘You aren’t allowed to fish here.’ So I politely pointed out there were no signs to that effect and asked where was I allowed to fish.
‘You can fish there…’ She replied, pointing to a spot barely 10 yards away. ‘Sorry about the dogs, I have them with me for protection! We’ve had lots of problems with Eastern Europeans. ‘
The contradictory nature of her actions was completely lost on her. I was sitting quietly, disturbing nothing and no-one in particular whilst she was roaming around her domain with 5 wild dogs, none of which were on a lead. Just remind me, who was causing the most disruption to wildlife? After I moved to the spot indicated I continued as before whereas she returned to whence she had appeared failing to prevent her dogs from chasing after a huge flock off geese.
Doing The Kids Proud
Do we do enough to encourage juniors into the sport of angling? One man who certainly does his bit is Mark Price, owner of Stainforth Angling Centre. For the past 7 years he has organised a special match for kids. By badgering local business owners, the fishing trade, anglers, parents and anyone else he bumps into he raises enough cash to give each and every entrant a goodie containing £25 worth of fishing tackle. There are more prizes on top of this for the winners in each of 4 age categories. It’s an amazing event and last week he attracted almost 50 kids to Pine Lakes, Thorne.
Now imagine the impact if every tackle shop across the country did this…
It was a pleasure to call in and take a few pictures so as to promote his good deeds in the local press. Keep up the good work, Mark.
Up to 11: 1. Bethany Poynter 22-4; 2. Lewis Hall 21-8; 3. Luke Westacott 21-4.
Age 12 and 13: 1. Shaun Lucas 45-12; 2nd: Callum Evans 18-8; 3rd: Jay Allen 15-0.
Age 14 and 15: 1. Emily Rose 12-8; 2. Ben Green 6-10; 3. Kyle Fletcher 4-0.
Age 16 and 17: 1. Matthew York 15-0; 2. Ashley Frizzell 9-0.
I’m currently reading Subhan and I, My Adventures with the Angling Legend of India by Saad Bin Jung and let me just say if you have an ounce of adventure in your bones then you’ll love reading it as much as I am. Furthermore it can be purchased for just a tenner from Angle Books and if that isn’t the bargain of the year so far I simply don’t know what is.
I was fortunate to fish with Saad back in 2007 and there can be no doubting his love of wildlife, the mahseer in particular and the Cauvery River. I’m certain he won’t object to me quoting a few lines from his book. Here’s what he says:
‘Either you have felt the unstoppable power of a mahseer or you have not. Once you indeed have you will know for certain that you, at least, will never be God.’
‘As a life member of WASI, I could camp within the 25km radius of the forests controlled by it. It was the winter of 1990, I had blocked the site at Haira and I had specifically asked for a man called Subhan. My first meeting was not all that special. He looked at me, said ‘Salaam Sahab, you are late’, and without saying anything else, he picked up the fishing gear and discarded it with contempt. Though the raggi was on the boil, we could not fish because Subhan refused to be seen anywhere near my beautiful tackle…’
‘It was 10am, and I was still in the same place, the initial zest hugely diminished but not willing to give a quarter, I waited: rod up and taught line between my fingers. It was then that something hit me. I fell forward, the reel sang for two seconds, and the line went slack. A disgusted Subhan looked up and said, ‘Wanker!”
To have been there is to understand. Experienced Indian fishing guides, take control, even when dealing with people like Saad, who, being descended from Indian royalty and having played cricket at International standard could not come from a more different background.
Each page I turn brings back another forgotten memory from the time we spent together in 2007. The jungle, rampaging elephants, crocodiles, snakes and monkeys, the relentless heat, the hardest, most uncomfortable rocks you will ever sit on, tales around the camp fire, the night sky, the incredible bird life and, when everything looks hopeless, an adrenaline rush that only a mahseer can give.
Although I have spent many a night by the Trent, bolt rigs primed, twin rods on bite alarms pointing at the stars, it is hardly my favourite way of fishing. Indeed, it is arguably my least favourite although it is a means to an end. That it is a successful way to catch barbel is undeniable, but so is dynamite and netting. No, my favourite way of catching barbel is to stalk them from intimate rivers. Few fishing experiences can ever compare with watching a big barbel making a mistake at close range.
William Shakespeare summed up the moment perfectly in Much Ado About Nothing:
‘The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait.’
That’s barbel fishing at its most pure. Fortunately I have access to a number of rivers where it is possible to stalk barbel. My idea of a really great session is to venture out after breakfast, wander the banks seeking fish, scattering a little bait in here and there, observing how the fish react and then, as the day creeps away from me, I decide it’s time to have a chuck. Sometimes I might have a line in the water for barely ten or 20 minutes during the whole session, but it’s usually enough to catch a fish, maybe two.
Any more would be greedy. One fish is good, two is almost too many. Although sometimes I make a pig of myself and take a few more. Normally I’ll be heading home in good time for tea. Fishing does not get much sweeter than this.
I now tend to avoid the banker swims, the easy spots where I know I will catch, favouring instead the tiny nooks and crannies that require a little more skill and effort to catch what are, by national standards, quite modest fish. I’m happy if I catch one double a season doing this, although one of the rivers I fish does throw up doubles in numbers, but I seldom count these (or even weigh them!). No, for me, the passion lies with smaller fish from smaller rivers where other anglers are thin on the ground.
They do exist, you know…
I am frequently asked, ‘Where did you catch that fish from, Bob?’
Seriously, stop and think before you ask me that. Am I really going to tell you?
It’s not in my nature to deliberately tell porkies but in this instance, if I respond and say where the fish was caught maybe you should then ask yourself whether I might not be leading you up the garden path. Better still, don’t ask and you can’t possibly be offended. After all, if I really wanted everyone to know then I would have broadcast the location in the first place.
Anyway, my answer to the latest query as to where I’d caught the fish shown earlier in the blog was: ‘Here’. The arrow is pretty specific, don’t you think? How much information do folk want? Ironically I took the photo in anticipation of the question because it’s getting rather predictable of late.
Rinko Get’s Inko
One of my Dutch friends, Rinko Oosterveen who runs the Barbeel web site emailed hoping that I might put him in touch with another friend, Maurice ‘Mole’ Pledger. Rinko had seen my review of Mole’s book, While My Float’s Still Cocked, and was seriously keen to get hold of some of Mole’s artwork because it appears he’s something of a fan.
When I say fan I should perhaps say fanatic, for Rinko is in the process of having one of Mole’s paintings tattoed on his lower arm. It’s currently a work in progress and won’t be finished for a further 8 weeks but I have to say it’s coming along nicely as the photograph shows.
Talk about devotion to your fishing! Rinko signs off his mail with ‘Barbel greetings from Holland’.
The good news is I was able to put the two together and Rinko will shortly see one of his wishes come true.
For one moment there I thought I was writing a script for the ‘Our Tune’ slot with Simon Bates!
All together now, aaahhh! 😉
Get In There Jimbo!
As good an angler as my mate James Gould is he can get a bit blinkered about what he’s targeting and where he’s fishing. He’s a fish catching machine with a faulty ‘off’ switch so in recent phone calls I’ve tried to encourage him to spread his wings, to save the fish he knows about for later in the year when they’ll be bigger and the going gets tougher. Meanwhile I’ve suggested he spend these easy months targeting a more varied array of species on new venues. ‘After all, James,’ I said, ‘How many double figure barbel do you really need to catch before you say that’s enough?’
Whether he’ll take my advice is up to him but in the meantime he’s taken a short carping break and ‘the machine’ churned out this cracker of a classic mahogany common carp. A new PB common to boot. Well done that man!
Carp, Carp and More Carp
Does South Yorkshire really need another commercial fishery? Would it matter if no one ever dug another one? It seems like there’s a carp puddle on every corner these days and we have sacrificed traditional fishing in favour of a monoculture. Personally I have no issue with anyone who creates a new lake and stocks it with ornamental species but surely someone has to protect our natural fisheries from destruction.
Worsborough Reservoir on the outskirts of Barnsley is a designated nature reserve (with fishing) yet Barnsley And District Amalgamated Angling Society and Barnsley Bait Company boss Glenn Greasley are planning to stock it with 10,000 carp and create a ‘super water’. In other words carp will be stocked to an unnaturally high level at the expense of all other species.
Surely that is wrong? A nature reserve should be striving to create a balance while favouring naturally indigenous species and not sacrificing bio-diversity in favour of commercialism.
It is estimated it will cost £30,000 to stock the reservoir with 10,000 carp. So far Greasley has raised £8,000 through charity events and matches but needs another £2,000 for the angling society to match it. A further £10,000 will then be sought from the National Lottery.
“If we had our own super fishery at Worsbrough it would bring business into Barnsley,” he said. The angling society has already spent £50,000 at the 75-peg water to improve amenities, platforms and walkways.
Perhaps the key word there is ‘improve’. And stocking carp is not without its risks as my next tale reveals.
Carp Disease Confirmed in South Yorkshire
The Fish Health Inspectorate has taken over management of two outbreaks of Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) in South Yorkshire following a series of carp deaths at the Morehall and Tin Mill Dam fisheries. They are implementing bio-security measures at each site to contain and eradicate the disease.
Although the transfer risk is small the virus can be spread to other fisheries on wet nets, unhooking mats, slings and wellingtons.
The Environment Agency (03708 506 506) is calling for vigilance and is the first point of contact if you suspect an outbreak of disease in your fishery. The EA will then collect samples of fish to determine if KHV is responsible. If confirmed they will then to contact the Fish Health Inspectorate, a separate Government body responsible for controlling the most serious types of disease.
According to the EA the risks linked with introducing new fish to your fishery are high. This is because of the likelihood of new diseases being introduced.
Further information about these two outbreaks can be found on the defra.gov web site: www.defra.gov.uk/aahm/news
A Stunning Pair
Zyg’s been in touch with an update on affairs in deepest Devon. Seems the lone koi in the Specimen Tench and Orfe Lake has captivated its share of admirers but it is not one for getting caught very often but that didn’t deter Richard Holmes who had it out at 12lb 10oz plus he caught a cracking 5lb golden tench as well. Both fish were tempted with a few bits of luncheon meat float fished in the margins.
Richard caught ‘The only Koi’ in the Specimen Tench & Orfe Lake at an astonishing weight of 12lb 10oz! The 2nd time this year this fish has been out, many anglers have been trying to catch the stunner with no success. Richard float fished the margins using a big bit of Luncheon Meat to tempt the fish. He had 3 sessions from dawn till dusk in determination to catch a specimen and he certainly did that and now can boast of a new PB for a Koi, he also caught a beautiful PB 5lb Golden Tench on the same session and method.
Despite economic doom and gloom Anglers Paradise regulars keep returning and this shot shows Zyg and Zenia celebrating with a bunch of guests who have reached the milestone of an unbroken 10 years of holidays at Anglers Paradise which now entitles them to a loyalty reward of a free week’s holiday. They’ve already had a free weekend which comes after 5 consecutive years and they’re seen here wearing their 10 F’s T Shirts. the 10 F’s standing for Faithful, Fruitful, Fantastic, Friendly, Fascinating, Flamboyant, Fanatical, Funky, Fun Filled, Fishing. Pictured from right to left are Faith and Ray Hewitt, Zyg Gregorek, Zenia Gregorek, Chris, Karen and David Trethewey, Kim & Dave Hammond.
Over 40 couples have earned loyalty rewards this year which suggests Anglers Paradise is getting something right.
Weakened By Denial
Angling’s abject failure to stand up against predation by cormorants and otters has severely weakened us and will result in disastrous knock-on effects. Politically we have been unable to demonstrate that fish, other than perhaps salmon, are a resource deemed worthy of protecting. A fish is of no more consequence to the wider masses than an earthworm or a slug. It is expendable.
Angling’s politicians should have been honing their teeth and their skills in battles to defend fish against predation, fully funded and supported by us. Instead we have been undermined from within by those who are in complete denial of the fact that these two predators have impacted disastrously on both the adult and juvenile fish populations.
It should have been a simple shift in tactics to then move on to invasive species, like crayfish. We should have been strong enough to demand fully funded intervention. But we weren’t. As a tribe we’re weak. We bicker over the plainly obvious, roll over and give in too easily. We simply do not support, financially or morally, those who are appointed to represent us.
Of course, were we in good shape, like athletes who have trained for years to participate in the Olympics, we would cause great consternation among those who threaten to harness our rivers for hydro-power, but I fear we’ll lose that battle, too. After all, even if there is a will to stand and fight, how many of you have dug into your pockets to the price of a couple of packets of cigs to join the Angling Trust? No pay, no say. That’s how it works. Political battles have to be properly funded.
The Government has set targets. It wants 15% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. That’s why all those turbines blight the skyline wherever you go. Rivers are seen not as fisheries anymore but as a source of renewable energy, even though environmental damage is the inevitable consequence.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the contribution we’re talking about was significant. Do you realise that if every available site was exploited by low head hydro schemes it would contribute just 0.5% of current electric demand? But that won’t happen. The true viable figure is as low as 0.1 to 0.2% of demand. Read that again. It doesn’t say one per cent, it says one tenth of one per cent!
To put that in perspective we could use 99 watt bulbs instead of 100 watts and be ten times better off.
Of course, this has to be borne against the fact our population is growing rapidly and by 2020 we can be sure electricity demand will have increased further so the contribution in percentage terms will be even smaller.
What nonsense is it when supposedly ‘going green’ actually damages the environment? It’s preposterous, but these schemes will go ahead, even though they will affect fish migration and impact on the wider flora and fauna because we’re so weak when it comes to fighting off threats.
Those who deny that otters have slaughtered countless barbel, chub, tench, bream and carp will no doubt continue to allow their pet cats to slaughter garden songbirds, blame anything and everything but the obvious for the decline in silver fish numbers and continue to do their ‘fishing’ from the safety of a comfy chair in front of a computer keyboard.
Of course none of this matters a jot in the wider scheme of things. After all, our rivers are facing a much bigger threat. It is estimated that by 2050 the Thames basin will be extracted to death and still face a shortage of up to 2,600,000,000 litres each and every day. And that’s without factoring in climate change.
Lord help us!
Bound In Leather
I saw an interesting piece in Classic Angling Magazine suggesting that limited edition leather bound books are beginning to lose their appeal with collectors. For a while now it has been quite common for some to purchase two copies, one to keep, the other to sell on at a profit. The suggestion is that those profits are not being realised and in many cases the books are failing to even reach the original price. A salutary warning then to speculators.
Still, a leather bound edition should be a joy to own, not an investment, and if you look at it like that then you won’t go far wrong. And perhaps that’s the best way to view Dr Terry Baxter’s edition of Barbel Epiphany. I gather from Tom O’Reilly at Little Egret Press that the pre-paid copies have now been dispatched and that he still has a few left for anyone who might be interested. Of course you can get the book in a simple cloth bound for a fraction of the cost.
Talking of top quality leather bound editions, Tom recently created a genuine one-off with a rebound first edition copy of the famous book Confessions Of A Carp Fisher by B.B. It was a very special and unique binding in black goatskin, with hand painted page edges showing three water colour carp scenes. It had embossed B.B. illustrations on the front and rear covers, embossing on the spine, raised spine bands, marble paper end papers and covered slipcase and an inserted balsam poplar leaf from Pitchford’s B.B. swim at Redmire Pool. The copy was also signed and dated by the binder Tom O’Reilly.
Another Tick On The Bucket List
After several failed attempts I finally managed to get myself aloft in a hot air balloon. To be honest it’s something I’ve always really fancied and having now done it I’m now firmly of the opinion that everyone should try it – once. Rising into the clear morning air over Derbyshire as the sun broke over the horizon was pretty special. But once you’re up there, that’s about it. Yes, you get spectacular views, there’s no wind, I experienced no sense of vertigo and it’s quite warm thanks to the burners. And it’s absolutely serene and peaceful.
But after an hour you’ve pretty much been there and done that. There’s only the landing to look forward to and which can be both exciting and dramatic. After all, there’s no steering wheel or brakes on these things and they’re pretty big units if truth be told. You simply hang on tight, brace yourself and hope for the best. If you’re lucky you’ll only bounce a few times before coming to a halt. Indeed if you’re really lucky you’ll finish upright, as we did. But I’m so glad we did it.
On Track For Spring Release
Well I can finally say, hand on heart, that Caught In The Act Parts 1 & 2 will definitely be released next Spring. It’s been touch and go at times. The wet summer has created all sorts of problems surrounding the river sequences we hoped to film and threatened to delay the project a full year. High levels and coloured water might be all fine and dandy for catching barbel on bolt rigs but they are far from ideal if you want to use a float or shoot stalking sequences. Crap for underwater filming, too.
Frustratingly Parts 3 & 4 were already complete. But we’re there, and here a sneak preview of the covers although the final design could yet change.
Stu and I decided our cover shots should represent the title, Caught In The Act, therefore we needed an image of an angler fishing rather than a ‘sad man holding a fish’ type shot. It’s funny how few of these ‘big picture’ images we anglers tend to shoot when your minds are on other things. Have a look through your own photo albums. I bet there are very few panoramas. Especially ones that will wrap round the back cover as well.
Fortunately the intensive process of editing is well underway and the early rushes are nothing short of spectacular. It’s fair to say we’re pretty chuffed although there will always be things you might have done differently. Perhaps we might reshoot the odd scene but be in no doubt, what we already have is pretty special, even though I’m biased. Folk who’ve seen a few few clips tend to react along the lines of, ‘You know, watching that just makes me so desperate to go fishing’. It does me, too.
I’ll reveal more in due course when we’re ready to release a few trailers and do keep an eye open for the launch of CITA’s own Facebook page. Watch this space as they say.
On Yer Bike!
I see that over 100 cyclists were killed on our roads in 2011. The real legacy of the Olympics is that next year it’ll probably be 200 because bicycle sales are up and cycling is being promoted as good for our health!
Maybe it is, but according to RoSPA over 19,000 cyclists were injured in accidents reported to the police last year. An awful lot more casualties, including some that require hospital treatment, go unreported.
The simple message that folk need to understand is cycling can be bad for your health, not good. Cycling causes stress and unnecessary complications for those who pay to use the roads, namely motorists, and if you get knocked off your bike then let’s be honest, the statistics prove conclusively that it was likely to happen anyway so stop moaning. It’s like sticking your hand in a pan of boiling water and complaining that you were scalded.
When our dear Queen came to the throne there were just 2 million cars on the UK roads. Today that figure is over 20 million. Doesn’t take a genius to work out what the problem is, does it? Yet politicians like Boris and David encourage the use of bikes. Go figure.
Bikes and motor vehicles don’t mix in towns and cities, do they? You wouldn’t have a bike lane alongside the Monaco Grand Prix, now would you? That would be ridiculous! Nor would you have one along the M1, or the M25. Unless cyclists are separated from motorists completely there will be accidents. That’s pretty obvious. But don’t worry, I have an innovative solution – bike racks on the backs of buses. That way cyclists can travel safely (inside the bus) and still get to wear fashionable crash helmets and all that stupid lycra without harassing the very people that roads were actually created for. It means they will have their own dedicated (bus) lanes and actually contribute to the road costs by purchasing a ticket to ride. Simple, eh?
I’ll also go further. Each time there’s an accident involving a cyclist someone’s pride and joy gets dented and scratched. Well the time that all cyclists carried comprehensive insurance is long overdue, after all it’s bloody dangerous. The statistics prove that. They keep crashing into other vehicles.
Cyclists should also pass a stringent mandatory driving test, on a bike, in traffic, and they should also have to register their bikes, display identification on the front and rear and pay at least £50 road tax. They should also be scrutinised for irresponsible behaviour at junctions where traffic light cameras are present and be banned when they step out of line. Cyclists have been sponging of motorists for far too long.
And let’s be honest, if motorists weren’t required to spend half their time on the lookout for speed cameras, road humps, road signs with 50 different mesages on them, new one way streets, diversions, lane closures for the Olympics, lane closures for buses and a load of other punishable impositions then maybe they might even spot the odd cyclist who races down the pavement, weaves into and out of stationary vehicles, overtakes on the inside and shoot across red lights.
No, it’s time cyclists were given equal rights to other road users and that means equal legislation, tax, insurance, licensing, proficiency, etc. I wouldn’t even mind if they used the revenue generated from cyclists to create highways in the sky just for bikes. They could follow exactly the same routes only 10 feet above the rest of the road users. Then there would be no accidents, would there?
We all know what a pain tufties can be when you’re carp fishing. Coots ain’t much better but moorhens take the biscuit. They don’t go diving in the murky depths looking for your boilies, on no. They just land on your rod and try and nick ’em before you even cast out as can be seen in this little sequence kindly sent to me by Dave McIntyre.
I had to smile while reading Saad’s excellent mahseer book (see higher up). Each chapter begins with a Swahili saying, some a little more obscure than others but without a doubt my favourite is:
Amnyimae punda adesi, kampvnguzia mashuzi.
Which, when translated reads:
He who witholds lentils from a donkey reduces his passing of wind.
Wouldn’t Mind Some Of This…
There’s a new series on Shed called Amazon Angler featuring a guy called Steve Townson. It certainly makes a change from the same old faces in the same old places. Sounds a bit of a nutter but he comes over well as a presenter. Indeed it’s a series I’ve warmed to instantly and will look forward to seeing what he has in store. Well filmed, too. See for yourself:
Listening to Keith Arthur’s show on Talksport he mentioned a web site called animated knots. Basically it does exactly whet it says on the tin and there are loads of different knot applications, not just used by anglers but set out in categories, showing exactly how to tie the perfect knot. Simple step-by-step animated graphics make everything perfectly simple or you can watch in video format, like this:
Perhaps what is most useful is that the site suggests when to use each knot, the alternatives plus the advantages and disadvantages. Clear, simple, easy to understand. Wish everything in life was so straight forward.
That’s Me ‘Sort’-ed Then!
Apparently some bloke called Tony Rocca (and I do apologise if you’re wondering, ‘Who?’) has chosen to broadcast in some obscure corner of his beloved ‘t’interweb’ that I’m ‘a raving egomaniac’ and that he ‘cannot abide my sort’, whatever ‘sort’ that is. It’s not like I should be surprised, of course, as he’s been hurling petty insults in my direction for the better part of a decade. Sums the bloke up really.
Truth is I actually feel rather sorry for him. It is after all an unhealthy obsession to be burdened with and it’s not unreasonable to think perhaps he needs a little psychiatric help.
So what’s getting under his skin now? Well, he’s particularly annoyed that I manage two Facebook accounts, Bob Roberts and Bob Roberts Angling. Imagine how upset he’ll be to learn I actually administer on five accounts!
The bloke’s only been a Facebook user for a few weeks and perhaps he’s not yet grasped the difference between a ‘Personal Account’ and a ‘Page’. You see Facebook rules apply restrictions to Pages that don’t apply to Personal Accounts. The principal hurdle is a Page does not allow the owner to send private messages or read a newsfeed. That’s why folk like Dave Harrell has both, as does Jan Porter to name but two examples. It ain’t exactly rocket science, is it?
But hang on, isn’t this all rather rich coming from the bloke who, after being banned from the Fishing Magic forums, created more than TWENTY different alias’s in his desperation to remain part of that community?
I rarely post on web forums these days so pretty much the only way Rocca will ever read anything I write is if he actively stalks me, which he clearly does. Honestly, if he’s missed a single word I’ve written, a video clip or a picture I’ve published in the past ten years I’ll be surprised. He’ll deny that, of course, but he’ll undermine his case by spouting his tuppence about this and almost everything else I write. He even claims to have attended talks I’ve given but never once so far has he had the balls to introduce himself.
Don’t know about you but I find his attentions a little weird. Flattering, yes, in a homosexual way, but definitely weird. Surely such infatuation is the epitome of hypocrisy coming from a bloke who claims he ‘cannot abide my sort’? As for him broadcasting that I am ‘a raving egomaniac…’ then perhaps he should elaborate on how he has reached this conclusion and explain what ‘my sort’ is. It’s clearly a plural so there must be others like me. Unless it’s his idea of courtship.
What I definitely do is my job. I’m a writer, a communicator, a fishing tackle consultant. I entertain and it’s fair to say I educate. I spread the word in an entertaining manner. Otherwise you (and presumably he) wouldn’t be reading this in the first place. But if I’m a ‘sort’ then surely everyone else must be a ‘sort’, too. It seems we must all be ‘sorted’ into categories which causes me to wonder what ‘his sort’ is and exactly what he thinks he and his ‘sort’ contribute to angling?
At a guess I’d say his ‘sort’ is best summed up as the attention seekers.
I Still Get A Buzz…
Can it really be more than 25 years since I made my writing debut in Coarse Angler magazine? Since then I’ve published at least one article every single month in a variety of glossy magazines both at home and abroad, had a column in the Angling Times for a couple of years, freelanced on and off for a lot more, edited Advanced Carp Magazine for something like 5 years and had a weekly newspaper column for the past 15. On top of that there’s been books, catalogues, web sites, a blog, videos, DVDs, national radio, local radio, Sky TV, BBC, ITV plus Europe, America and Canada, not to mention countless live talks and slideshows, yet somehow I still get a buzz each time I see each new article I’ve written in print.
The day I lose feeling that I’ll pack up.
Meanwhile, you might care to look out for my diary in the latest issue of Improve Your Coarse Fishing.
Racing Up The Youtube Charts
Let’s be fair, unless your name’s Justin Bieber or you happen to have filmed cat with its head stuck in a cardboard box you’re hardly likely to achieve a million hits on Youtube. After all the average video clip is simply swallowed up like a grain of sand in the desert. Latest stats reveal a staggering 72 hours of video are uploaded every single minute of every single day. That’s over 100,000 hours of new footage to watch (or get lost in) each day.
Okay, there are lots of viewers but they spend just 15 minutes each day on average watching clips. And mostly they watch Charlie, a sneezing baby panda or Justin Bieber. The ‘Charlie’ clip is a phenomenon, watched a staggering 280 million times. But clips like these are exceptions. According to the Youtube charts I looked at you needed just over 300,000 views this past month to break into the top 30 charts. But even that is pie in the sky for an angling film, surely?
Perhaps so. But something weird happened on our Youtube channel this past month. The film we made about our trip to the Anadamans fishing for Giant Trevally appears to have gone viral. We don’t know why, or what triggered it, but the hit counter suddenly started going crazy. We’ve had over 180,000 views (worldwide) in the past few weeks. By any standards that’s pretty phenomenal. And the total is still rising daily.
Our previous Andamans film (2011) and other foreign films, shot in places like Uganda and India attracted maybe 40-45,000 views and we’re talking about over a period of up to 3 years. In stark contrast our barbel fishing clips seldom reach more than 20,000 viewers.
I’m hoping to film a tiger fish chomping on Stu’s finger next month. Surely that’ll do the trick!
Why Folk Use The Interweb (Part 573)
Oops, nearly forgot! Brian Roberts gave me the nod to include his cartoons, as and when, and I’ve been so busy (mostly writting this epic update) it almost slipped my mind.
Just click on the image if you fancy checking out his blog.
The Football Bit
I think I made me feelings quite clear about my current feelings towards my football club in the last blog but is there no end to the debacle that surrounds us?
You may recall that Sean O’Driscoll was sacked so that our beloved Chairman, John Ryan could implement a wildly extravagant gamble involving handing over the club’s transfer policy to a ‘dodgy’ agent. I say ‘dodgy’ with caution because a lot of stick has been thrown at Willy McKay in the past about bungs and bent deals but very few of the accusations were ever proved. He did however receive a suspended ban by an independent regulatory commission after being found guilty of breaching FA rules on 15 December 2008.
Under McKay we witnessed the unseemly and hasty appointment of Dean Saunders whilst O’Driscoll was sidelined on gardening leave. Meanwhile McKay brought in a parade of exotic journeymen including the likes of El Hadj Diouff and Pascal Chimbonda on short-term deals. Star footballers who were supposed to drive little old Donny towards the promised land of the Premier League. They didn’t. Doncaster were relegated. Hopelessly. Emphatically. Humiliatingly. The club is now in League One with a threadbare squad and going nowhere fast (last 2 league games resulted in defeats to the mighty Towns of Crawley and Yeovil).
At the time I wondered, ‘Is this man on drugs?’ It seems the answer to that question is, ‘Probably, yes.’
The reason I can actually say this is because McKay was recently arrested in Central London after being spotted talking on his mobile phone while driving a Mercedes on Pall Mall. Not exactly crime of the Century but it turns out that he was already banned from driving after racking up too many penalty points, but his woes didn’t end there. He was found to be in possession of Class A drugs, namely a bag of cocaine.
In court McKay admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance and was fined £6,115. He accepted a police caution for possessing Class A drugs on August 13. A further 18 months was added to his driving ban. District Judge Quentin Purdy said: “You arrogantly chose to abuse the ban by driving and you drove simply because you’d got a car. You should have known what would happen, but just so you are crystal clear, if you choose to drive a vehicle on the road during the next 18 months you will be driving while disqualified. And with your record you will almost certainly be going into custody.”
The full story behind the arrest of Joey Barton’s agent can be found here.
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Meanwhile the man we sacked has now taken over the reigns at Nottingham Forest. The team is beginning to play SOD’s trademark passing football, is unbeaten in the Championship and rated at 7/2 for promotion just a few months after he stepped into a temporary coaching role and played an integral role in steering them clear of relegation at Doncaster’s expense.
Amazingly the Donny football forums are dominated by idiots who think SOD was a crap manager, that Saunders is brilliant and we’re in better shape than ever.
You simply couldn’t make it up. Honestly. Imagine what it would be like if the thickest locals didn’t all follow Leeds!
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So, just when you think folk in Doncaster are completely bonkers the red tops are full of ‘Doncaster Pop Star Buys His Football Team’ stories. Bloody hell! Elton John took Watford from Division Four to Division One, didn’t he. Hang on to your hats folk’s this is going to be amazing. We’re going places. Maybe SOD will return, the prodigal son and all that…
So who’s splashing the cash? Who in Doncaster could afford to fund such an extravagance? Okay, Jeremy Clarkson’s from Donny, but he hates football. So’s Kevin Keegan, and Diana Rigg, but they ain’t pop stars, are they? Surely it’s beyond the reach of John Parr (St Elmo’s Fire). That only leaves Leslie Garrett who’s not exactly a pop star and I can’t see her being interested in the slightest.
Oh hang on, this is a publicity stunt, isn’t it?
Let me think, who would be so desperate for a headline like that. Think reality TV, think BGT, no, hang on, it’s coming, think X Factor.
Remember the band they manufactured from the discards, what did they decide to call them – One Direction, or something? That’s right, one of the kids was from a Donny school. Surely even he couldn’t afford to fund Donny Rovers – he’s probably a Leeds fan anyway. Or now he’s under the Syco wing it’ll be Chelski or one of the Mancs.
Prepare yourself for a fall, Mr Roberts…
Of course, I wasn’t surprised when the actual storyline read:
You know you’ve made it when you have a football team to call your own, eh? Louis Tomlinson is now the proud owner of The Three Horse Shoes team in Doncaster. It would seem Louis is properly minted now that he can afford to splash out on an entire football team. Yep, the footie team didn’t cost Louis a penny, just a round of drinks and a few football shirts for the team…
Typical. My fantasies are dashed again. But get this. He now plans to play his team against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat next month to raise a few quid for charity. Nowt wrong with that but doesn’t he realise my team is already a bloody charity! What worries me is that having been dismantled recently by the likes Crawley Town and Yeovil Town and a fixture looming against the mighty Stevenage Town, the Three Horse Shoes is potentially a banana skin. Thankfully Saunders has won a couple of games at Conference level so he might be okay against ‘the Shoes’.
Of course, they’ll probably have more fans in the ground than the home side. Nowt fresh there then, eh Leeds fans…?