2013 – Bumper Christmas Blog – Part One

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‘Bob Roberts, you’re a lazy, good for nothing pillock! Why are you keeping us waiting? Where’s the June blog?!!!!’ 

Judging by the number of messages I was getting a good many of you were not just thinking that, you were clearly voicing your opinions. But when June became July, and August became September I clearly needed to get my act in order.

Calendar

Truth is my life’s been a bit chaotic, even by my own shambolic standards. But I’m not complaining. These are indeed the best of times. However, moving house is a tiresome job but when you find yourself cut off from the world by the incompetence of Sky and BT Open World then the reality of how we’ve come to rely on the Internet hits home like a sledgehammer.

Sold

No internet means no access to bank accounts, bills, statements, services, and a million other things. Running a business that relies on the transfer of digital information means you’re up s**t creek. I tried a dongle but 20 minutes to load 2 pages ruled that out. No, it was the public library or the good nature of friends. What I and they didn’t expect was that I would have no access to the Internet from October till December. What a nightmare!

writers-block

I actually began writing this blog in August and the intention was to pick out a few highlights from early summer. Sitting down to finish the blog brought home to me that Summer had flown and we’re tumbling headlong towards the shortest day and then it’s the depths of winter.

Oh well, perhaps it’s a good time to look back at some of the enjoyable moments of the past 6 months*.

* I doubt it will surprise anyone but once I started writing I was on a roll and the blog grew like Topsy’s nose. When it sailed past 5,000 words I had little choice but to split it, so, you can have two blogs for the price of one. Just watch out for the second installment of Bob’s Bumper Blog at Christmas – it’ll be released in a day or two!

Carping On

It seems a lifetime ago but when the sun chased away the clouds I did a little carping. Not your bivvies and bolt rig mularkey, nah, just a bit of stalking. Had a few crackers, too, including this nice two-tone fish from Alderfen Fisheries.

Two ToneIt fell to a mixer presented quite close in. I had bigger fish elsewhere but this image reminds me of exactly what late spring fishing is about. Blue skies, vibrant colours, shorts and sun glasses.

When A Dog Thinks It’s A Frog

It was good to catch up and fish with Mistral Baits boss Allan Parbery again. I really enjoy his company but we seldom have chance to fish together these days, more’s the pity. He fished for carp and scored with a cracking common. I fished for tench and had some belters. In between we supped a lot of coffee and scoffed bacon sandwiches and muffins. Not exactly tea and tiffin but there you go. That’s Mr Yates’ territory.

Allan Common Carp

Had to laugh though. Allan now has a dog. It’s a long legged Jack Russell-type mutt that’s as mad as a bag of frogs. You daren’t cast when it’s around or it launches itself into the lake, hell bent on retrieving your feeder. Funniest thing though was when I was playing a tench. The dog decided to help by swimming after it…

tench

Needless to say there’s no way in the world that a dog can swim as fast as a tench, nor can it change direction quite so dramatically.

Eel

As I was in the area I stayed on for an extra night and switched venues to the Nene Valley Fisheries complex. Jason Clarke is a long way from his Salford roots but he’s making a fair fist of running this brilliant venue comprising 6 lakes. In all there’s 130 acres of water to go at and the potential makes me sick. Why don’t we have lakes like this in Yorkshire?

It’s already done a 38lb common, a 37 mirror, bream to 16lb, tench to 13lb, 3lb crucians, huge roach, pike to 28lb and just for a bit of variety there are zander, eels, chub, great big hybrids, even a 9lb barbel that came in from the Nene on last winter’s floods. The rules are sensible and it’s great for stalking. For more info just give Jason a call on 07786 851721.

A Legend In My Own Backyard…

My biggest claim to fame in May was to be splashed across the front page of the Rotherham Advertiser Angling Supplement which was rather nice. You can read the whole 12-page magazine HERE or by clicking on the image below. It will open up in PDF format:

Keep It Angling

More regional publications ought to do something like this at the start of the fishing season. It just takes one bright spark to propose the idea to their local paper and stress just how many of their existing readers go fishing and the one-off advertising opportunities.

Showtime

Must say I had a fabulous time at the Barbel Society Show. So many old faces to catch up with, so many new ones to make an aquaintance with.

Giant Fisky Feeder

Highlight for me had to be seeing how well Dave Mason is doing. He’s a long way from full recovery but he’s fighting back and totally determined. Stick at it mate. Better still he managed to get back out on the bank in opening week. The kind of thing we all take for granted and really shouldn’t do.

Show Talk

The BS launched its new book at the show and I have to say it’s a cracking read. There’s an extract HERE.

The Pope And I

As ever, the show was about people and having fun and we had plenty of that.

Bob + Des

Sadly the same few still do everything they can to criticise and denegrate the Society, even though they’ve launched their own faltering alternative. Guess some folk can never really be happy.

Great Expectations

A new river season always brings optimism. I wonder though, for how many has that optimism already evapourated? How many barbel and chub have been slaughtered by otters over the past 6 months? How many of you are struggling  because the fish you are hoping to catch no longer exist? It’s a chilling thought. What has happened on the Bristol Avon, the Great Ouse, the Wensum, Evenlode and elsewhere is coming to a river near you, quite soon.

OExBarbFB

I kicked off on a small river that has largely been unaffected by otters, at least so far. Unfortunately the do-gooders have built otter holts and I’m told that, as if by magic, otters have immediately taken up residence.

Of course no-one breeds otters in captivity for release into the wild, do they?

Didn’t think so. This is just the ‘natural’ way of things.

Such a shame for this river, though. It’s not the kind of place where you go to catch whoppers, or lots of fish. It’s just a bit of escapism. Somewhere I can stalk fish in relatively clear water. If I wanted to catch a big fish to order I’d be on the Dove. If I wanted lots I’d be on the Trent but if I want peace and tranquility, where the experience counts more than the result, then this is where you’ll find me.

Didn’t take me long to open my score on opening morning and I added to it as the day progressed. I could have caught more but I didn’t need to. I caught just enough and left after a few hours, satisfied with my lot in this life.

Big girl crop

But will someone do me a favour and stop pretending the 16th June is somehow glorious and that we are doing the fish (and the whole of nature) a big favour by not fishing after the 14th March. Surely there is nothing exquisite about catching fish that have only just finished, or in some cases not even started, spawning. Be honest, when would you prefer to target the fish in the picture above – late March or late June?

Then again, if you’re a tench or pike angler, targeting fish as they prepare to spawn is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Funny old bunch, anglers.

I rest my case, M’lud.

It’s My Life

If you’ve not already watched it, do me a favour and have a watch of ‘My Life In Angling’. I’m really impressed with this Angling Times series of filmed interviews.

Some of my answers might be described as ‘candid’ or provocative but then again, you wouldn’t expect me to mince my words, now would you?

Keeping It Local

Another Green Un Final came and went in something of a blur. Without checking I reckon I’ve been running this popular club match fishing competition for the past 15 years. I like to think it’s my way of putting something back into the grass roots of angling.

winners

The match secretaries who send me hundreds of match reports each season appear to think its worthwhile and the £47K in sponsorship that we’ve attracted suggests that fisheries, manufacturers and competitors are all impressed. Daiwa has signed up again for the 2013-4 season and the 3 grand’s worth of prizes they are contributing will take the total prize pool during my tenure to FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS. That’s what can be achieved at local level if folk show a enough enthusiasm and are prepared to put in a bit of effort.

Zambia

IMG_9062

Stu and I decided to take a party of anglers out to Zambia having thoroughly enjoyed our filming trip there last autumn. There was no shortage of volunteers wanting to join us so the trip was confirmed. For some the fishing was fairly prolific, for others, Stu and I included, it was hardly a picnic, but all bar one of the group netted a double figure tiger and that’s astonishing fishing.

Tiger Fish

It was nice to have no camera rolling this time so we could relax a little more. Matoya Lodge lived up to every expectation and I pitty those adventure fishing virgins on the trip because they soon realised that a trip of a lifetime turns into a burning desire to see and do more. These adventures can prove pretty damn addictive.

Nembwe Bream

On the way back we took our adventurers along to see one of the wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. Here’s me on the edge (hardly new territory for me!)

Bob Victoria FallsAnd here’s how it looked from the opposite bank…

Victorial FallsAnd if that isn’t spectacular enough for you, how about this, a perfectly circular rainbow. Now that’s a sight you don’t see every day.

rainbow circle

Lovely Chubbly

I say it every year and do bugger all about it. I catch some smashing chub in the warmer months from the Dove and promise I’ll spend some time on there in the winter making a concerted effort.

Terminator Chub

I never do. Will I do it this year? Who knows. Perhaps if the journey up and down the M1 was a little less fraught I might.

Going Down The Drain

I’ve been intending to have a go on the Scunthorpe Pisces water, the Warping Drain, for a while and this year I finally got around to it. Derek Topping invited me to join him and the opportunity to fish one of the swims that he’d cleared the weeds from proved irresistable.

Nice Brace

Great bloke, great water, great fishing. I’ll be back for more next year.

Kev Green RIP

I can’t believe Kev’s not around any more. I keep expecting the phone to ring and hear him saying ‘Hey up, Bob!’ The funeral was a moving celebration of his life and I’ll miss him greatly so it seems strange to switch on the TV and see him appearing in a ‘new’ TV series. Even stranger was watching him introduce an episode where he’s alongside one of my favourite rivers. ‘Cheeky sod,’ I thought, ‘He’s only gone back to where I showed him and filmed a TV programme…’ And then who should appear on screen but me! I’d all but forgotten we had made that film together.

Funeral

Of course the memories came flooding back then, but I refuse to be sad about his passing. He was a great bloke, gave far more than he took and was pretty special. I want to remember the happy times we spent together when I think about him.

Out For A Duck

I’ve seen a few mad methods in my time but Mark Price’s duck feeder takes some beating. Mark runs a summer series at Sykehouse Fisheries each year and on the last match he always tries to come up with a daft method to fish with. This year he excelled himself by glueing a cage feeder to the underside of a toy duck and using it as a pellet waggler.

Duck Feeder FB

The bites are hilarious because the fish invariably hooks itself and the duck suddenly starts swimming across the surface at a rate of knots to a chorus of ‘Quaaakkkk! Quack, quack, quack!’ From Mark and anyone else who decides to join in, which is usually everyone on the match except for the two poor souls drawn either side of him. Imagine being battered off the next peg by someone fishing with a toy duck!

Duck Carp

Bearing in mind it was a 3-hour evening match and a joke method, Mark still managed 57 carp from an unfancied area and only just missed out on winning.

Seduced By Sabrina

A trip that will stand out in my mind for a very long time was a day with Des Taylor on the Severn, drifting down the river in a canoe and catching fish wherever we stopped and moored. This guiding service is, as far as I know, unique and bearing in mind the cost can be spread between two anglers that’s a bargain.

Canoe On Severn

It’s not about catching huge fish or great numbers, it’s a day in the company of Des who is as entertaining an angler as you’ll find. We bumped into all manner of local characters during the day, enjoyed spectacular scenery, drank endless cups of coffee and put half the world to rights.

Oh, and Des fell in!

There should be more days like this.

Slab Happy

I decided to catch a big bream. I decided where and when. I knew how. So I turned up and chucked out my rods. Fifteen muntes later I had a bite. Everything went solid but slowly came grudgingly towards me. If this was a bream it would be HUGE. All the same, I kept calm. I might well have hooked a branch, or something. No, I was sure it was a fish, right up to the point when everything locked up. I’d pulled whatever it was into a snag.

And then the rod was flattened as my prize decided to wake up. Four yards of line peeled off the spool. The was indeed a big fish. But stalemate ensued. I could pull it back to the snag but not off it. Inevitably the line gave way after a spell of too-ing and frow-ing.

Grrrr!!!

A little later I hooked another and once again it kited into the snag. What on earth was I playing at?!!!

For the rest of the day I waited patiently for another bite. Small lifts on the indicators and blips from the Delkim told me there were still fish in the swim. As the gloom gathered I was sarting to get frustrated. It’s a day only water and I knew the fish were in front of me but I’d have to leave soon.

Specimen Bream

The tension was broken by the steady rise of my right hand bobbin. I lifted, felt the fish and set off running through the water as far to the right as I could get. No way was this one going to kite into the same snag. And sure enough my tactic worked. One big slab, one happy angler. What a difference a fish makes.

This Time Next Year Rodney…

Well, I’ll never be a millionnaire but I can at least boast that a film made by Stu (Walker), James Gould and myself in the Andaman Islands showing us tackling GT’s (giant trevally) has just notched up ONE MILLION views on Youtube.

Seconds Out, Round Two…

Oh well. All good things must come to an end but fear not, this is not the end, it’s merely the half way point. Part two is already written, parked up, ready and waiting to burst forth on an unsuspecting audience! Be patient, I promise to press the ‘Publish’ button before Christmas.

No controversey, music, arts or football. Simply don’t have the room this time, but fear not, I can never be a stranger to any of these things as I have a reputation to uphold! They’ll be back in due course. ;-)

If you’re still eager to hear more from me in the meantime, buy a bloody DVD. Lord knows we have enough of them in stock and I’ve almost run out of ideas on how to promote them! Here’s the latest trailer as a reminder of what you’re missing. Eighty-three filming days. Countless days editing. This ain’t your shot in a day crap and it’s certainly not a boring product dominated, sell, sell, sell freebie, either. It’s the real deal and as the reviews have stated, there’s been nothing like it since A Passion For Angling.

Well folks, that’s it for now. I’ll post Part Two in a day or two. Meantime, enjoy the Christmas festivities and spare a thought for the knob jockeys and low lifes I usually take the p*** out of. They’ve got off lightly this time.

Can anyone remember their names…?

Thought not. Say’s everything really.

Merry Christmas!

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