2013 – March Blog

The fishing is NOT going well. Anyone surprised by that? I’m not. I was sat there basking in sunshine last week yet 24 hours earlier it was snowing like hell and some roads were impassable. We need a bit of settled weather but already the fat lady is clearing her throat to sing farewell to the river season when most of us, including Bob James I suspect, will obey the law and steer completely clear of fishing rivers until the glorious sixteenth.

Tyram

Run that by me again. We’re stopping fishing NOW to protect spawning fish? Give over! And before some bright spark says, ‘well yes, dace can spawn very early’, just remind me again where all these mythical dace are. Inside the bellies of cormorants, that’s the truth. The days when the UK in general could boast prolific dace fishing are over, consigned to history. The main beneficiary of not having us on the bank in March and April is the cormorant. I’m absolutely in favour of having a coarse closed season. I’m equally in favour of reviewing the dates. What we have now is ill-timed and the idea of June 16th being glorious is one big joke celebrated by a bunch of addled brained hypocrites.

Buds

On a bright note, spring is clearly just round the corner judging by these buds…

Back To School

I was recently invited to give a talk at a local primary school. The Year 6 kids were doing a topic about discursive writing. My role was to put forward one side of a debate about whether fishing, as a sport, should be encouraged. The kids were then given an opposing view and after which had to reason which they agreed with. I think we won.

School 2 masked faces

The kids were brilliant. The school was more than helpful and a whole year group is now better informed and excited by fishing. If every angler was willing to give up a morning to do something similar imagine the impact it would have on angling’s image in the long term. Amazingly most of the girls really wanted to give it a try when I’d finished although to be fair half a dozen of the lads were sold before we started. ‘Can we go fishing with you, will you take us?’

And maybe I should. Imagine if the commercials got their act together and approached local schools with offers of taster days, coaching and so on. I realise some are already proactive but I’m sure there’s room for more.

Oh, if you’re wondering why the kids faces are obscured then thank one of the ‘gentlemen’ I highlight lower down the blog. We already have unfinished business over him stealing and defacing an image of my wife. Do I think he’d sink to doctoring an image containing children? Sadly the answer is yes, because that’s what cretins do.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

It came out of the blue. An advertising agency contacted Matt Brown having stumbled across our DVSG web site. They were making a TV advert and wondered if any of us might fancy casting for the role? I delved a bit deeper. The ad was for hot cross buns. For Aldi. I’m sure you’ve seen the series, ‘I like brand X…, but I also like Brand Y.’

‘We’re doing auditions in Sheffield tomorrow. Can you tell us where we might find some anglers fishing?’

I looked out of the window. The snow lay deep, crisp and even. Every lake in the county would be frozen over and the rivers were right out of sorts. They were joking, surely? But £750 wasn’t to be sniffed at. So I returned the email. It’d be a laugh if nothing else, so I thought.

Alas they never responded. Looks like my career in advertising has crashed and burned on the runway. But look on the bright side. Imagine the ribbing I’d have had to take!

Mind you, I did once co-present a show with Charlie Brook on QVC but that’s a tale for another day…

Web Site Latest

It was the bloggers worst nightmare. I began getting messages on Facebook that my web site was down. I checked. Everything appeared to be fine. But the messages continued. It worked on this browser but not another, on phones, ipads and so-on. Some could see it, some couldn’t. Those that could, it seemed were only doing so because they had pages ‘cached’ whatever that means. This was not good. I was completely up-to-date with all my updates and plugins but the wheels had well and truly fallen off. Time for radical action.

Stand up Silicon Glenn and his mate Noel. They rescued me and did a fix. We’re back up and running again. Still having the same old problems with the slider and content panels, plus a number of plugins aren’t working, but at least the content can be read and the shop’s open (and 100% secure). I now have a remote back-up regime and the peace of mind that goes with it.

New Site

What the episode has sparked is a need to advance my plans for a total upgrade and re-design. All that’s now in hand and sometime around the 1st April this site will switch to the new one, a much cleaner, simple site, with bells and whistles that actually work. At the user interface nothing will really change. It’ll still be the same address, all the old content will be available in the archives but there will be a whole bunch of new material that I’ve been holding back.

This is a little way off the finished article but it’s a step towards what I’m looking for.

Can’t wait to get it up and running.

 Zambia

Well, our little expedition to Zambia has been confirmed and the magnificent tiger fish of the Zambezi River are once more in my sights. I’m really loking forward to round 2!

Sadly a few of the initial enquirers have dropped out meaning there are still 3 places going begging. It’s a relatively easy trip with little need for specialist tackle. A pike or lure rod will cover every eventuality, a few hooks, floats, weights and lures and the job’s a good ‘un. If you fancy joining us you’ll be made welcome but you’ll need to act fairly quickly as we need to book you on the same flight out to Jo’burg as the rest of us.

Tiger Front Page

Stu and I are leading a party out there, staying at the Matoya Lodge, Lukulu. The camp offers every mod con you wouldn’t expect yet it’s literally in the middle of nowhere. There’s not even road access to the camp and the nearest tarmac trail is several hundred kilometres away.

We leave on the 21st June and the trip costs £2390 plus the flight.That price includes the prvate jet charter from Jo’burg to Lukulu, full board, fishing, boat hire, fuel, your guide (one per two-angler boat), transfers, the lot. And just think on, it it wasn’t a brilliant place would Stu and I be heading back there for the second time in 8 months?

Caught In The Act Update

The release date gets ever closer and if we’re being perfectly honest Stu and I are like kids at Christmas. We want to show off all our new toys! Caught In The Act has its own dedicated Facebook Page that is proving popular since we launched a fortnight ago. Can’t believe how many folk have visited and liked it and I’ve no reason to argue with the stats. 36, 235 people were reached in the past 7 days alone.

666

I just logged-in a few minutes ago to see if there were any comments waiting for a reply and happened to look at the ‘Likes’. I froze, it read 666 – that’s the number of the beast, the sign of the devil – hope it’s not an omen!

Our biggest frustration is we’re sat on a dynamite trailer. I say trailer but it’s the opening few minutes of the film and everyone who’s seen it so far has been blown away. It says in our schedule – 4th March: release first teaser. 20th March: release second teaser. 2nd April: release trailer. I’m struggling to hold Stu back but that’s the schedule and I at least intend to stick by it. That may mean I have to lock Stu up in a darkened room but we’re both really keyed up and want to share it. Logic says to do otherwise would be stupid. But we’re not Hollywood moguls, we’re excited kids at heart. It’s a struggle, I can tell you.

We shall announce the release of the clips on here and on our CITA Facebook Page first. We will commence taking advance orders on 1st April. The only place you will be able to order from on that date is in the shop on this web site. Orders will be posted out on 29th/30th April by first class mail in the hope that they start falling through letter boxes on 1st May.

Nightmare – The Sequel

Spare a thought for my fellow namesake Brian Roberts who’s suffered a nightmare experience. The cooling system on his Apple Mac  shut down and fried the hard drive causing him to loose a load of data including a bunch of his excellent Jack’s Pike cartoons. Why do these things only seem to happen to the good guys?

fishing_comic_strip_113

Anyway, enjoy his blog while you can. Indeed enjoy all our blogs because if the pros can lose material what chance the rest of us?

Jeremy’s Czech Mate

I’ve really enjoyed watching Fish Warrior Jakub Vagner on National Geographic Wild. This guy certainly knows how to get around and his battles with enormous fish are enthralling. It as hard to find a decent clip on the web that was longer than a few minutes although there is no shortage of short tasters. Try this one…

Oh dear, miserable buggers won’t allow embedding but you can still watch the clip if you follow this link.

New Books In The Pipeline

Looks like those who enjoy a good book will have plenty to keep them happy in the coming months. Fishing Booksender and Harper Fine books have both advised me of their schedules.

Chew VG

First up from Harper’s (in March) is Chew Valley Giants by Phil Wakeford and Carl Garratt. It promises to be a fascinating chronicle of every pike of 35 lbs and above from the amazing Chew Valley Lake – arguably the best pike water in Europe. Due out in early March there will only be  very limited print run of hard-back, soft-back and leather-bound copies available. Contact Phil Wakeford direct for more details (email: philwakeford@talktalk.net)

tincatinca-book

Late April should see the launch of Tinca Tinca by The Tenchfishers. It promises to be a large and very detailed tome and is currently at the proof-readin stage. If you enjoyed the Perchfishers’ recent book then this is one not to be missed. It’s the first book devoted solely to tench to be published in some while and with contributions from numerous experienced members of the Tenchfishers it promises much. For more details contact the Tenchfishers

Angling-Artists

You’ll have to wait until September for The Angling Artists by Tony Meers. Now this Harper Fine Angling book promises to be very special. Many of our most renowned angling artists, both past and present, will be featured in this impressive new work. Artists featured include: Ted Andrews, Robin Armstrong, Paul Cook, Peter Curtis, Gareth Fareham, Andrew Field, Trevor Harrop, Keith Linsell, Mick Loates, David Miller, Robert Olsen, Maurice Pledger, Karen Sarkar, John Searl, Richard J. Smith, plus the work of Bernard Venables, Maurice Ingham and Denys Watkins-Pitchford and others. It also includes chapters dedicated to the early artists – George Moorland, James Pollard, Henry Rolfe, Walter Dendy Sadler, A. Roland Knight, Reg Cooke, Alex Jardine, Rodger McPhail, Chris Turnbull, and more. Should be a pictorial feast.

THistory_Pike_Book_937790051

The same month will see the launch of A History of Pike Fishing Vol 2 by Graham Booth, also from Harper Fine Angling books. It’s the eagerly awaited follow-up to Graham’s first volume of ‘The History of Pike Fishing’ and will bring this fascinating history right up to date. It should be a worthy and highly detailed companion to volume one, continuing the tales of the pike anglers, the pike fishing, and the monster pike that are the heritage of pike fishing in the UK today. It’ll be launched at the PAC Conference where Stu Walker and I are schedule to give a talk on lure fishing at home and abroad.

carp-addiction

Carp Addiction by Craig Lyons hit the shelves last week and is available from Fishingbooksender who have really pulled the stops out with this title. www.fishingbooksender.com

Mid April should see the lunch of A Life for Carp by Peter Mohan. Again it’s a Fishingbooksender work and the publishers are organising an invite-only signing afternoon for those who order in advance. In his introduction Peter writes: …I’ve tried to make it an honest and truthful story of my fishing life. If there are any inaccuracies they are due to old age and loss of memory. I’ve tried hard to make the book varied and interesting; a book that anglers, would enjoy reading. Only you the reader can estimate my success in doing this, (or my lack of success) in conveying my lifelong enthusiasm for carp and carp fishing…..

Mohan

Many publishers have tried  in the past to persuade Peter to write this book and failed but Mike Starkey, through his long association with Peter, has pulled this off.

Later in the spring or maybe even early summer will see the publication of Bob Morris’ Carping Aside: Don’t Write me off. Although not an autobiographical work as such, Bob’s collection of angling stories, which span the last five decades, paint a picture of how his emerging interest in fishing during the late fifties developed from a childhood obsession with nature and wildlife. It takes us through a variety of angling experiences culminating in some comparatively recent tales.

Morris

Bob prefers not to describe himself as a carp angler these days but nevertheless many descriptions of carping trips both in the UK and abroad are to be found here, including accounts of his early meeting and association with HNV bait guru Fred Wilton, the capture of a British record barbel in 1993 and the widely acclaimed 100 double figure carp haul during the early seventies. For a variety of reasons, Bob has resisted the temptation to write a book until now, although readers of angling magazines and other publications will be familiar with his writings. Bob reckons the penning of this group of fishy tales has hardly rippled the surface of his reservoir of angling memories, so it is possible that he may be persuaded to press the refresh key and trot out a few more before too long – although he also informs us that his default setting is usually set on laid back!

Even though the contents of this book are completely factual, Bob’s vivid imagination, slightly offbeat humour and frequently whimsical style of writing should make for an enjoyable read not just for speci-type anglers and carp men but also general fishermen and dare we even say non-anglers as well . . .

Pre-orders are being taken at www.fishingbooksender.co.uk

Lowering The Tone

Is anything less dignified than two pensioners spitting and snarling at each other like petulant children? In recent weeks a pair of anglers of little consequence have been embroiled in an almighty row over absolutely nothing of any importance outside of their own tiny minds but they’re so wrapped up in their grandeur they cannot see what laughing stocks they make of themselves. There’s no sense of decorum, dignity doesn’t appear to exist in their vocabulary and all they want to do is name-call and make idle threats.

Not surprisingly they’ve employed their own web sites as battering rams, or should I say feather dusters. I’ll tell you how pathetic it was, they were even making insinuations about each other’s dick sizes, I kid you not! But the bottom of the barrel was well and truly scraped when one of them claimed he’d got more friends than the other!

It reminded me so much of that classic Simpsons cartoon:

“Hey, what’s the problem here?” – Homer Simpson
“We were fighting over which one of us loves you more.” – Lisa Simpson
“You were? . . . Aww, well, go ahead.” – Homer Simpson
“You love him more!” – Bart Simpson
“No, you do!” – Lisa Simpson
“No I don’t!” – Bart Simpson
“Yes you do!” – Lisa Simpson
“No I don’t!” – Bart Simpson

Come on! If either of the delusonal duo had a true friend then that friend would have stepped in long ago and said, grow up! Pack it in you pathetic pillock! You’re making a fool of yourself.

It’s a measure of the company they keep that those who purport to be ‘friends’ seem to get their jollies by egging them on to further excess. Talk about baggy trousers, dirty shirt, pulling hair and eating dirt. This is the playground gone bonkers. So much for growing old gracefully. Even those who get off on stoking the fire are pensioners, or well past their first flush of youth.

‘I’m reporting you to Google!’ Cries one.

‘Well, I’m going to see a policeman tomorrow!’ Responds the other.

‘I won’t be silenced!’

‘You’re a fat old beardie!’

‘You’re a short arsed liar!’

‘No I’m not!’

‘Yes you are!’

‘So are you!’

On and on it goes. And it’s the same predictable bunch of low lifes that always dive in to take sides with their snide comments and ner-ners. And what’s really stupid is they’ve all been ‘mates’ in the past. Alas the word ‘mate’ has a limited sell-by date, the term is merely one of convenience. It seems to work like this. If you’re happy to bully whoever is nominated then you can be a ‘mate’ and thereby gain acceptance to the inner sanctum and the benefit that affords. So cowardly are these ‘friends’ that not one of them has the moral fibre to stand up and say, woah, this is ridiculous, it’s wrong and it has to stop.

Maybe I’m wrong and they see this behaviour as normal? The thing is, thieves may be thick but they invariably fall out sooner or later. You’d be surprised how many come around here looking for a sympathetic ear whenever there’s a bust-up.

Guys, take a step back. Act your age. The best years of your lives are already behind you and your legacy is what exactly? Outside of your incestuous bubble what contribution have you ever made to society or the sport you claim to love so much? What did you achieve? What will you be remembered for?

Bitching.

It’s time to move on and enjoy what little time you have left. There’ll be no blue plaques when you’ve gone, no moving ceremony in a cathedral, no obituary in the Times, nor clips of your finest achievements at the top of Sky News’ hourly bulletins. You’ve pretty much wasted your lives, if we’re being honest.

But there’s still time to change the road you’re on.

Life

Harland Sanders was a sixth-grade dropout, a farmhand, an army mule-tender, a locomotive fireman, a railroad worker, an aspiring lawyer, an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur, a tyre salesman, an amateur obstetrician, an (unsuccessful) political candidate, a gas station operator, a motel operator and finally, a restaurateur. At the age of 65 he was struggling to make ends meet. With an investment of just $105 he began franchising restaurants, touting a secret blend of 11 herbs and spices. Ten years later his franchise, the KFC chain, had grown to 600 outlets. Today there are 37,000 restaurants in 110 countries selling his nuggets.

He didn’t achieve that by gazing into his navel and trading cretinous insults with another loser. He decided to take that first positive step towards a better future. Look around yourself. If you’re surrounded by a bunch of losers then I hate to say this but the chances are you’re one, too. But do you know what? Even a loser can show a little dignity.

Zeb Hogan

I’m rather enjoying Zeb Hogan’s Monster Fish series – it’s slightly less sensationalised than Jeremy Wade’s stuff. The filming is superb, too, although it’s not really a fishing programme as such, more a documentary series on fish. I was taken by his latest episode as much for the fact it reminded me of the trips Barry McConnell wrote about in his book, The Eel Angler. Hogan was in New Zealand in search of monster eels. You can see footage from the programme in this clip. Some of his shots were eerily reminiscent of Barry’s book cover!

I’ve set the player to start a couple of seconds before the eel comes into shot but obviously you can watch the whole thing by pushing the slider back to the start. It’s amazing what’s out there if you go looking for it.

Footie Bit

Can I be bothered with one? Can you?  I’ll be brief (some chance of that!).

The wheels have fallen of Donny’s promotion wagon. The bubble has burst. Some will say it’s because Saunders left. It’s not. The luck just ran out, that’s all. We’ve been in a false position for most of the season. Talk of winning the title when you’ve lost 6 home games before Christmas is a bit premature. The lucky wins and late goals can’t go on for ever. Good luck to Brian Flynn but I think he’s going to find out that most of the luck he needs has already been used up.

Mentioning Saunders, a man who stepped into Sean O’Driscoll’s shoes with undue zeal just 7 games into the season, only to spend the rest of it doing a passable imitation of a rabbit staring into headlights as his team slumped to the foot of the table, doesn’t seem to have learned that you need to do more than talk the talk if you are to survive in the Championship. Two months into his tenure as Wolves manager sees his team slumping alarmingly. At 10-to-5 last Saturday they were in the bottom 3 but a late, late goal dragged his team up a place on goal difference – but they’re far from safe. Could he be the first manager to take two different teams down from the Championship in consecutive seasons? Who knows, but if I were a Wolves supporter I’d be starting to feel a little nervous.

Notts… [oh go on then,  😉 ]Nottingham Forest sacked O’Driscoll on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2. They were sitting one point off the play-offs. The ‘iconic’ manager they brought in to replace him, allegedly recommended by Sir Alex, lasted about as long as Cloughie did at Leeds. For whatever reasons McCleish’s reign through a shambolic transfer window was a disaster. Another case of appoint in haste, perhaps.

Now they have got fans’ favourite Billy Davis back on a 3.5-year contract. Given that he’s the club’s 4th manager in 8 months he’s done well to get such a long deal. Chairman Fawaz is clearly a man with an itchy trigger finger. Davis is well known for giving chairmen a load of grief and not surprisingly has been out of the game since he was last sacked (ironically by Forest) in 2011. Something tells me this is not a marriage made in heaven. Let’s hope he gets off to a good start because if he doesn’t then a rocky road lies ahead.

How fitting that O’Driscoll walked straight back into a Championship job – a bloody tough one mind – at Bristol City who were bottom of the league and already stood on the trapdoor to League One. Five games in and he’s secured 3 home wins on the bounce including a drubbing of his old club Forest. That must have been satisfying. What’s more City now have a fighting chance of escaping the drop, as do Barnsley who have won 5 on the bounce under their new gaffer. Who’d have thought that possible at the turn of the year?

You wouldn’t want to be in one of those slots just above the bottom 3 with this lot breathing down your neck. Gonna be an interesting few months ahead as these two tables show. The first is from Boxing Day:

 26.12

The next is on 15th February:

15.02

See how Forest are now only 7 points clear of the drop? Might sound comfortable but Wolves were 9 points clear of the bottom 3 on Boxing Day, 12 points clear of Bristol City. That 9 point cushion has disappeared and a minus 6 goal difference swing hasn’t done Wolves any favours. If that weren’t bad enough their match on the 19th Feb at Barnsley has taken on a huge significance. If ever a fixture qualified as a squeaky bum one, this does, especially with just 15 games left to play.

Barnsley then play away at Bristol. Wolves play Bristol City 4 weeks later, just a week after they face Forest. Forest face Barnsley in April just for good measure. Nothing can be taken for granted.

Wolves have tough fixtures looming against Cardiff, Hull, Watford, Brighton and Forest. Away days at Millwall, Charlton, Bolton, Birmingham and Derby hardly offer much solace. This could turn out to be a fantastic relegation battle – for the neutral, of course. History tells us that one of the bottom 3 on Boxing Day is likely to pull clear. Who will it be and who will replace them? In 2009 two of the bottom 3 escaped.

But even in despair lies hope… It’s so tight that a couple of bad results on the bounce by any team in the bottom 12 could have catastrophic consequences. But a couple of wins and you’re flying.

Now explain to me what all the fuss is over the Premiership. These clubs are rich men’s playthings. Fans have little or no affinity or connection with the city their team plays in. They’re bandwagon jumpers. A man in Exeter wearing a Man U shirt, another in Hartlepool wearing a Chelsea shirt – come on, what’s that about? Greed and profit rule football. As for it being a football competition, come on! It’s as bad as that other one-horse race up in Scotland. Beautiful game? Nah.

Financial Fair Play Rules are due to drive an even wider gulf between the haves and the have nots. Perhaps it’s time we packed off all the clubs who try to buy success and see finishing 4th as their primary goal into some European Super League and be shut of them all for good. There is no point in Man Utd playing Wigan, Reading and Norwich any more than a heavyweight should be matched against a featherweight. And there’s no point in believing that these minor Premiership teams are competitive outfits with plans for world domination.

Bradford City are at Wembley. They beat 3 Premiership clubs. No, the Prem is all fur coat and no knickers. The only way a team outside the top half dozen clubs can win the Prem is if some crook pours in a couple of hundred million. Teams like Wigan cannot win the league they play in. They can merely hope to survive. So what’s the point? Let’s be rid of the Mancs, the Chelseas, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and maybe Everton. Let them play in Europe permanently.

And no way should they be allowed to play in the cups they disrespect so much. Merge the remaining teams with the Championship (1 and 2), take the cups with them, share the TV rights fairly and let’s see a bit of open and honest competition because this annual procession to the title and 15 games in Europe is no good for the wider game at all. Is anything more pointless than a club winning it’s 20th League Title? Says nothing about the club and highlights everything that’s wrong with the League.

5 thoughts on “2013 – March Blog

  1. As you well know Bob, when people start picking on wives and families a red mist develops, despite your friends telling you not to bother with the likes of some folk!

    I must admit the well prompted dick measuring comment, got a few laughs though ;o)

  2. Football’s my little indulgence though I’m well aware not everyone is as keen, hence it’s always kept as a self-contained piece at the bottom where folk can choose to read it or ignore it. Either way it doesn’t get in the way of my fishing-based musings and observations.

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