Like buses, you wait ages for a blog update and blow me if two don’t come along at once. Alas that’s the nature of being too busy. You have to make the most of time available but I don’t need to explain that, it’s all in the first blog. Enjoy…!
I offered to do someone a favour, as you do. Yes, I’ll drive down to Cambridgeshire for the crack of dawn to record a few lines of dialogue to use in your cartoon. In fact I’ll drive to Lincolnshire tomorrow and do the same again!
Mad? I guess so. But that’s how I found myself by a gravel pit with Mick Brown at daybreak. Mick was due to be guiding a customer so I needed to nip in, do my job and get back on the road. But unfortunately for Mick he was stood up by his client. Oh dear.
‘I don’t suppose you fancy joining me for a spot of lure fishing, Bob?’
Well, it’s not the kind of offer you turn down, is it? So Mick and I loaded the boat and spent a fabulous morning catching pike on lures. We didn’t get anything massive but that hardly mattered at all. We did have big fish attack jacks that we’d hooked so maybe we should have used some outsized lures but that wasn’t the point. We just enjoyed chatting about the kind of things we angler like to talk about.
I had to be on the road by lunchtime yet in those few short hours we quickly lost count of how many pike we’d caught between us which is a shame for the missing customer – he’d have caught all of them because Mick would have been instructing, not fishing.
The next day I popped over to Neville Fickling’s tackle shop in Gainsborough to wrap up the voice-over and the result is a cracking bit of fun as you can see for yourself in the clip.
After 3 years of filming Caught In The Act the race was on to wrap up the editing and get it out on the streets. That meant scripting and recording the narration which was delivered, once agin, by Keith Elliott.
The narration makes a massive difference to the viewer’s enjoyment. Combine it with the right music and you can lift the ordinary to the exraordinary. The results are there for you to judge yourself in the Youtube clips and previews.
Back In The Bothy
It’s always a real pleasure to appear on Tight Lines, Sky’s premium fishing show, with Keith Arthur (Podcast here). I guess I must have done the show a dozen times or more and each time the hour flies by. If only the BBC had a weekly angling show as well. Surely we anglers deserve nothing less?
A survey has revealed that participation sports like football and athletics are in decline whilst cycling and fishing are increasing. Don’t know about cycling, that’s a mode of transport. Dodging busses and running red lights isn’t a sport in my book but angling – it boosts the economy, gets people out in the fresh air and develops a respect for the countryside. What’s there not to like about it?
So how come the only terrestrial TV programmes we do get have to be fronted by a TV personality rather than a recognised angler?
Doncaster? There Are Worse Places To Live…
At least according to this letter in the Times.
What A Night!
I don’t do many live shows. Partly because I’m pretty busy but what’s the point of travelling the length of the country to give a presentation to 3 men and a dog? Time was when an angling roadshow would draw hundreds of people. Sadly those days are over and it’s mostly because the quality of entertainment delivered by the ‘star’ is rubbish.
How many slides of Fred Blogs holding up a fish do you want to see? How many times do you want him to explain how amazingly skillful he was to hook and land it? And how often are you going to be suckered into believing he caught it because he was using some special bait that his sponsor has just launched? This isn’t entertainment.
But I do my thing occasionally. Mainly at the bigger shows, though I made an exception when approached by the Nottingham Piscatorial Society. I had fished as a guest on their waters a couple of times in the past year and decided to repay the courtesy. That and I had a DVD to launch. It seemed a perfect opportunity to link the two together so a two special talks were created plus we premiered Caught In The Act.
The event was held at Kelham Hall right next to the River Trent just outside Newark on a wet Wednesday November evening in the Dome. It’s as spectacular a venue as you could imagine for an angling talk and the fact there was a metre high stage and a projection screen measuring 4 metres by 3 metres only added to the impact. 350 seats were laid out around tables yet there were still loads of folk standing at the back of the hall as well. What an amazing night! Brilliant organisation, great promotion, a stunning turn-out and we raised around £1200 from the raffle for the Piscatorial Juniors.
Stu and I gave a film presentation in the first half based mainly around the making of the DVDs including one or two rather embarassing bloopers and I talked Trent barbel in the second. The only downside was I failed to get any really good pictures. Other than that it was a truly memorable night.
A Controversial Issuu
Remember how I ruffled the feathers of a couple of reasonably well known anglers when I announced my intention to launch a new fishing column in the Sunday Sport? Probably not, I guess, but they thought it demeaned angling. Well, six months on the column’s going well. The folk at the Sport like it. The readers like it. I enjoy writing it and I didn’t nick the column off anyone else so no-one lost out.
Essentially it widens angling’s penetration into mainstream media in a way that writing in an angling publication never can. Let’s be honest, my diary column in Improve Your Coarse Fishing is only ever going to be seen by anglers whereas a column in a National newspaper has the potential to reach a much wider audience. Which has the potential to attract new anglers into fishing?
That’s why I’m keen to write each week for the Sheffield Star. You can preach to the converted or you can put your efforts in front of a wider audience.
Anyway, with the blessing of those kind folk at the Sport I’ve been allowed to share my columns on the Internet. So, if you go to my Issuu page you will be able to read around 30 articles as they were published in the Sport. In the early days my efforts ran alongside a picture of an attractive young lady who never seemed able to find her shirt, but no-one appeared to mind. Lately she’s been replaced with a selection of puzzles and quizzes. Keeps the prudes happy, I suppose.
You’ll also find a complete set of the articles I wrote for Coarse Angler Magazine in my match fishing days. There are some cracking tales in there and some excellent instructional stuff, too.
It seems ages since I was last on the cover of Angling Times so it came as a pleasant surprise when they use one of my pictures completely out of the blue.
Inside they were running a fabulous double page spread about the launch of Caught In The Act Parts 3 and 4. To say they liked it would be akin to suggesting Big Des likes the odd drink! And here comes the blatant plug…
Buy them HERE!
All four barbel DVDs are still available, too.
Northern Angling Show
Three weeks before Christmas seems an odd time to be holding an angling show but sufficient stall holders were interested enough to fill two halls. Unfortunately you’re never going to pull a huge crowd at that time of year although the organisers claimed a footfall of around 5,000 visitors. Still, those who did turn up were royally entertained and looked after.
It was good to see Deano again. There are few anglers out there with more enthusiasm for the sport.
Shortly after Stu and I showed a few clips from Caught In The Act in the coarse fishing theatre who should turn up on our stand but Tom Pickering, former world champion and current manager of the England feeder team. ‘I was blown away by what you just showed!’ He said. ‘Hearing those tench crunching pellets really set me thinking about how our feed works.’
I’ve known Tom for the better part of 30 years and there are few anglers more interesting in a one-to-one conversation. He talked enthusiastically about his 5-year plan to win the world feeder championships, developing and coaching the team, the problem with us not fishing to CIPS rules on a regular basis, how he wishes there were no such thing as silver and bronze medals, how winning is everything and nothing else counts, about how much he was still learning and so much more. It’s that word again, enthusiasm. You’ve either got it or you haven’t. Folk can only fake it for a while.
Hosting the talks was Des Taylor. He’s been a busy boy this year and seems to have attended every show I’ve been to and plenty more besides. The moaners in this game never see the hard work that goes into maintaining a successful career, and let’s not forget that’s what it is. For those who scrape a living from angling it’s a job. A job that demands the same level of passion we demand from other sports except it pays very poorly by comparison.
Each afternoon Des would cajole a bunch of us to join him on stage for a Q&A session. The line-up was Des, Tom Pickering, Paul Garner and yours truly. Des led the questions so as to avoid the usual cul-de-sac cormorant/ otter/ political questions and it was a good job. At times we nearly outnumbered the audience but I’d have happily had those conversations in a locked room. Four very contrasting views.
You know me. I love my angling books and 2013 has produced a bumper crop. There are some cracking choices out there. I’m not going to detail them here as I’ll shortly publish my picks of 2013 in a separate article so do watch out for that. It’ll be fun to run a poll to see what readers nominate as their own favourites.
For now, this is my favourite. Not that I can read the text, it being in a foreign language, but I rather enjoy looking at the cover!
Do Spare A Thought For The Bewildered
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ by indulging ourselves in degrees of gluttony and excess, debt and debauchery, spare a thought for those less priviliged than us. I’m thinking about the deluded. You’ll recall them, the Internet warriors of times past.
A decade ago cyberspace was a battleground. It was their way or the highway and woe betide anyone who didn’t conform to their rules. The barbel police and those sneering gangs of arrogant keyboard bulllies, or as I prefer to call them, idiots. Boy did they dominate the angling forums, hunting in packs, seeking to destroy anything or anyone who happened to stand in their way. You see they were very important people. They invented fishing.
So where did they go? Where are they now? I’ll tell you, some realised the errors of their ways, that they were behaving like complete arses and hung up their guns. Some scuttled away and hid in dark corners pretending nothing happened, that it was someone else, not them. Some even buried the hatchet, wrote emails asking if we might let bygones be bygones, have a fresh start.
And then the forums died. No-one went there unless they were desperate to discover which was the best bank stick or landing net pole. These warriors had destroyed their own soapbox. Like dinosaurs they had their time. The climate changed, they clung on for a while but inevitably they became fossilised. Something that folk look back on now and say, ‘Wow, you can’t believe it, can you? Did they really exist? Did these dinosaurs actually walk the earth?
Forums survive in the same way that cane rods do. Need I say more?
The current vogue is to publish your own blog, run your own web site, kinda like it’s 1976 all over again when punks revolted, published their own fanzines and launched their own record labels. Perhaps this makes me the Clash. Or Lou Reed maybe? Certainly not Johnny Thunders or the New York Dolls, mind. Bloomin’ Yankee imposters jumping on our bandwagon!
It won’t last though. Nothing ever does. Facebook is currently this season’s new black although Facebook does have its advantages. You choose who you share your views with and block out the troublemakers. You are your own moderator and it works a treat. Trouble is the world of fishing is splintered. Divided. Further marginalised. And that’s where it will fall down.
The wheel will come full circle and just as Ozzie’s Black Sabbath now find themselves headlining the O2 Arena, 30 years after their sell-by date expired, the forums will one day reinvent themselves and we’ll see a brief revival. Folk will reminisce fondly and use terms like ‘back in the day’ as they bore the pants of everyone with their misguided sense of self importance again.
We still see the odd wierdo dressed as a teddy boy or a punk, or some 60-year-old guy sporting a studded leather jacket, thining permed hair, obligatory permatan and trying to kid himself he actually looks like Robert Plant circa 1974. You can bet he’ll be in the front row at Ozzie’s gig, when he’s not writing his blog, that is.
What on earth do these guys see when they look in the mirror! Do they not realise Specsavers do two pairs for the price of one? Or do they see it as growing old disgracefully? Each to their own, I suppose.
I rather like this LINK to 20 celebrities that look like zombies…
Internet warriors never had a physical identity. They didn’t wear a uniform or adopt a dress culture. They were pretty much an anonymous bunch with assumed names and when you think about it, most were insignificant loners who lived out a fantasy life in a darkened room hammering away at a keyboard. Perhaps I’ve actually helped a few find their way towards a more balanced life? I do hope so.
Alas the odd one still clings to what he sees as his mission in life. It amuses me that I still come across one particular malcontent, usually when he’s been typing bile about me in obscure corners of the Internet hoping someone, somewhere will actually take him seriously. It makes me smile, cheers me that even without trying I am doing some good in the world by keeping this man off the streets. I provide him with something to fill the void between his ears and occupy his time, negating the need for him to trouble anyone else, for he must be a truly sad and lonely individual to be so obsessed with someone he’s neither met nor even spoken to. Therefore I see it as my civic duty to provoke him occasionally, if only to keep him busy typing even more bitterness.
It comes as no surprise that this man’s entire life is an illusion. A lie. Not even his name is real. Spare a thought for the old boy this Christmas, will you? Because I won’t.
Merry Christmas everyone else!!!