Welcome to the August blog. Bigger, ballsier and punchier than ever! Probably the longest one I’ve ever written. Some folk never know when to stop droning on, eh? Well tough. Never mind the quality – feel the width!!! Even I know it’s far too long and I’m barely two thirds of the way through July! Oh well, can’t be helped. Mind you, make the most of it as the next one is likely to arrive a little late as my schedule over the next month is punishing to say the least.
On second thoughts, The August Blog is too much to wade through in one go. Each time I try to tweak it the bloody thing grows. Executive decision made. I shall split it and publish the parts simultaneously. Ah, that feels better already.
Okay, but before we get started I’m rather hoping one or two individuals will have noticed they can no longer access my Facebook Page. That’s because I’ve blocked them. Eventually I’ll just have nice people dropping in, like your good self. At least that’s the plan.
Unfortunately I don’t have the means to block idiots from reading my blog or I would do. If you happen to be one of the Facebook rejects do me a favour and f*** off from here as well! You are not a ‘friend’ and I have no interest in you whatsoever.
The stuff I share on here is intended for genuine folk, not Internet trolls, so please do everyone a favour and take these pathetic jealous attitudes elsewhere. Or find yourself another hobby. How about licking windows?
Sorry about that, but sometimes it’s best to make things patently clear, don’t you think?Getting stuff off my chest sets the Tone nicely. What I really don’t understand is why these prats, and truthfully you can count them on one hand, are so interested in everything I say and do. Amusing as it is to me, it is boring and truly beggars belief.
Still, it’s rather flattering that after all this time they still care so much. Mind you, let’s be positive, while they’re stalking me they’re leaving Steve Pope alone, aren’t they?
Lord help us if they should ever develop the capacity to multi-task though.
On The Cover Again!
I guess my month started perfectly. An Angling Times cover came right out of the blue. Wasn’t expecting it and that makes the thrill a bit more special. Indeed it took me ages to work out where and when the picture was taken as I didn’t recognise it.
Careful Not To Get Stuck In That Rut
I’m thoroughly enjoying being back on the rivers again although I’m very conscious of spending too much time trying to catch barbel. It’s as though barbel are the only species anyone is interested in these days yet there’s so much more on offer.
The blinkered approach is fine if you have a tiny brain but come on, a barbel is one of the easiest fish of all to catch. Most do it in their sleep. Unfortunately the thrill of the bite and that first surge of power can be addictive. And sure as hell it beats the life out of catching pond pigs!
On The Subject Of Pigs…
I dropped in for an afternoon at Tyram Fisheries, partly to socialise but deep down I suspected the sunshine would bring a fish or two onto the surface. I wasn’t to be disappointed. Unfortunately they showed no intention of leaving the dense weedbeds so I dripped floaters in for what seemed like an age.
They’d have them in the weed but showed little enthusiasm for breaking cover. Eventually my patience was rewarded with the Pretty Linear.
There’s nothing like a big lump off the top to get the pulse racing, eh?
Some You Win…
Yesterday I called in at Alderfen Fisheries. The promised sunshine didn’t materialise, a stiffish breeze added to my woes and the geese were a pain. The fish simply didn’t want to play on the surface. Nevertheless I eventually I tempted a couple of fish into feeding and one of them, a fine looking linear, slurped down my pop-up after giving me the finger on a couple of occasions. I was dead chuffed with myself right until the hook popped out, just as I was about to net her. It was too much. I went home sulking like a big girl!
Whoosh! Err, Was That It Then?
Not sure if you noticed but Yorkshire went a little mad the other weekend and decided to pretend it was the new Provence. Must say the TV coverage showed the rest of the UK why we call this God’s own county. The scenery was magnificent. But quite why we had to close a thousand roads for up to 36 hours just so a few drug addled cyclists could go on a bike ride I’ll never understand.
And if they’re so proficient how come they keep falling off? And what about the speed limits? Did someone switch off all the safety cameras?
Meanwhile more than 20 folk had to be airlifted to hospital during the race because ambulances couldn’t get to them by road yet the emergency services are supposed to be making cuts.
Nevertheless folk turned out in their thousands along the route to watch a few bikes whizz past in a blur. For the majority it was all over in a matter of seconds. Bit like their sexual exploits, I imagine. Blink and you missed it, but they got to holler and cheer and dress up in fancy dress for the day. Bah Humbug!
I’m sure a lot of folk loved it although I do hope it lives up to the promise of being a once in a lifetime experience. The last thing we should be encouraging is more cyclists on our roads. They’re dangerous places at the best of times, akin to playing on railway lines wearing a blindfold. Take up something safer, like base jumping or tomb-stoning. You know it makes sense.
Breaking news: Veteran cyclist, Brian Robinson (83), the first Briton ever to finish the Tour de France in 1955 and the first to win a stage in 1958 has been knocked off his bike and injured. According to the Huddersfield Examiner, ‘skin and blood came off’. Councillor Bolt added, ‘With the legacy of the Tour de France coming to Britain more cyclists will be on their bikes and they can go quite fast.’
Tell us something we don’t know, councillor!
Cycling God Sir Bradley Wiggins is a serial crasher. But it’s not just the old fogies and Bradders who are at risk, is it? Top riders like Froome, Cavendish, Contador, Scarponi and Thomas have all been involved in serious crashes in the early stages of the TDF. Every previous winner has crashed out this year and these my dear reader, are the very best, most proficient and excellent cyclists in the whole wide world riding on roads that are closed to automobiles.
Take my advice. Don’t do it! It’s common sense. Take drugs instead. Play blind man’s buff on the M1. Or maybe just visit a velodrome where there’s no risk of colliding with a car, a bus or a lorry. Parents are paranoid that their children will be harmed by a paedophile if they as much as step outside the front door to play yet they’ll happily send them out in the traffic on a bicycle! It’s madness.
Putting Safety First
I worked more than 40 years in the rail industry, out on the track, day and night, winter and summer in all weathers. It was a very dangerous place. On a windy day it was difficult to hear that train approaching at high speed – half a mile in 14 seconds is scary… The latest staff casualties and serious injuries were duly announced in the monthly team briefing. Eventually someone deemed that enough was enough and the decision to separate people from trains was made. It became a right pain in the backside to get anything done but many lives have been saved since.
We no longer live in the 1950’s when only a few posh folk owned cars and the roads were so deserted we would set up wickets in the street and play cricket.
If you live in the world of Hovis adverts, then fine, go ride a bike on the cobbles, but it hardly takes a genius to work out that modern roads are overloaded. Drivers are bombarded with a myriad of signs, warnings, speed humps, chicanes, distractions, threats and punishment cameras for failing to observe the speed limit, stopping or entering the wrong lane. It’s mind boggling trying to take in all the information. Consequently distracted drivers are at fault for many of the accidents that happen and always will be. What is inescapable is when the number of cyclists increase then so do the number of collisions, deaths and serious injuries involving them.
But you know that. It is patently obvious. Equally obvious is the fact that rarely does the vehicle driver get hurt in a collision. So why decide to act like a lemming or go into battle wielding a pea shooter in the first place? If you insist on cycling, then fine. But don’t pretend to be surprised by the fact that it’s extremely dangerous and may ultimately cost you your life. Take a leaf out of Evel Knievel’s philosophy, he said, ‘I did everything by the seat of my pants. That’s why I got hurt so much.’
In 2012 road deaths were at their lowest level since records began almost 90 years ago yet cycling fatalities rose by a staggering 12% to 118. In Greater Manchester, for example, serious cycling injuries have risen 23% in the last decade. That’s too many!
Cyclists can complain all they like about other road users but regular car drivers do not deliberately mow down cyclists for fun. By complaining so loudly and recording journeys on helmet cams in the full expectation of or even provoking conflict it surely highlights the obvious. They clearly understand that riding a bike in traffic involves a high degree of physical risk that is prevalent and will not go away. In fact it will get worse as road saturation approaches breaking point.
Seemingly oblivious to the obvious, folk are actively encouraged to cycle in the midst of the chaos – because of the health benefits! With such a plethora of transport alternatives at their disposal they are actually inviting what are often tragic consequences. Personally I think that is stupid.
Fenland remains one of the last bastions of rudd fishing. They have become the species everyone wants to catch and it’s so easy to see why. Nothing compares with their beauty at close quarters.
Those, like me, who admire rudd, will be impressed by Chris Turnbull’s latest painting. Wouldn’t mind one of these prints on my dining room wall. Fantastic work from an amazingly talented artist. Contact him here if you fancy one.
Brian Skoyles is organising a very special day to celebrate the life of the late Kevin Green at one of his favourite lakes. It’s a chance to meet many of his friends, the good guys in angling. Fancy coming along for the day?
(Sun) Shining Times
The sun’s out and the riverbank is where many of us want to be, so how come so many anglers are struggling? Simple. Location and bait choice. Barbel and chub are shoaled up tight. They are not spread out like currants in a fruit cake.
Unless you find some water with a bit of pace you are likely to struggle. Maybe we need a good flush through. Pellets don’t seem to be proving as effective for barbel this summer but those who are fishing caster and hemp or maggots appear to be doing so much better.
Have to say though, the condition of some of the chub I’ve had this summer has been disappointing but that’s down to the late spawning, I guess. Roll on autumn!
Oh Yes, We’re Having Some More Of That
Plans are in the pipeline for next year’s big fish adventure. Looks like we’re heading back to Sri Lanka in pursuit of some more big GTs. This year was all-but a wash-out thanks to high winds and rough seas but we live in hope of calm waters and the astonishing spectacle of a trevally exploding on the surface as it hits one of our poppers.
If you think the mad rush of a barbel bite is heart-stopping, try getting hit by a 20kg GT. It’s not just on another level, it’s on another planet. The picture says it all, really.
It’s The Good Life For Me
Proud to say my garden is now producing real food. I really fancied creating a veg plot when I took on the farmhouse but it’s not something I had any experience of. It was all a bit of a rush to get things knocked into shape but patience and a bit of persistence is beginning to pay off. Trouble is you are either in feast or famine. Everything seems to ripen at the same time.
Make Mine A Guinness
I’m over the moon with the superb set of Guinness liveried pike and perch bobber floats that were made for me by Richard Cleaver. He suggests I use the two smaller ones to fish with but for now they will occupy pride of place on the sideboard in my dining room. It’s got to be done though. Couldn’t have wished for anything to go better. Thank you sir.
Check out Richard’s blog and learn a little more about his passion.
I love floater fishing. When the sun is shining I like nothing more than to wander round a lake with the minimum of gear. Rod, net and a bag of bits. It was back to Alderfen. The fish aren’t massive, though it shouldn’t be too long before it produces its first thirty. What you have on offer is lots of doubles with a smattering of twenties. Nice day ticket fishing in this northern wasteland.
I spent an interesting afternoon chasing fish around that didn’t really want it. The fish were mobile, probably itching for another orgy, moving around in groups at fairly high speed. You know what I mean. But occasionally they’d stop and slurp down a mixer.
Noticeably I would sneak into a new swim and see fish. Soon as I fired out a few baits they would drift off. Move to a new swim and the pattern would repeat. The fish were very aware of my presence no matter how stealthy I was. Didn’t matter if I used the breeze to drift down the baits. Presumably it was the baits that put them on edge.
Alas the mallards are very intelligent and very sneaky on the ‘Fen. While I stalked the fish the ducks stalked me. Didn’t matter where I went, or which path I took, they would soon find me, probably homing in on the plink-plink of the mixers. To say they were precocious and drove me nuts would be an understatement. But persistence paid off and I scored in the end. That’s what makes floater fishing so satisfying.
Have I Got News…
It seems a lifetime ago now and I very much doubt half the folk who read my stuff will even realise that I was the launch editor of Advanced Carp Fishing magazine, a role I was privileged to hold for 6 years before calling it a day.
Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and remain proud of what I achieved. As a team we established a brand, outsold our competitors and helped create something that still thrives to this day.We also managed to duck the occasional bullet. Here’s one I discovered whilst clearing out some old stuff…
Could have gone either way but I reckon it would have been a tad embarrassing, eh?
I had an email enquiry the other day following the TV broadcast of a show I made with the late Kevin Green for Discovery Shed in which I was fishing a small river for chub and barbel. The viewer was asking for details of a leger stop which looked to him like a combination between a pole connector and a shock bead which allows a quick change of hook links.
I was more than happy to help and it seemed reasonable to share the same information here in case anyone else was wondering. It’s the Drennan Quick Change Bead
Packs cost around £1.99 and full details can be found on the Drennan web site.
Unfortunate Plight Of The Mahseer
When I’m by the Trent, sometimes I fish and sometimes I just chuck a rod out and hope a barbel hangs itself on the end of my line whilst I do something interesting, like read a book.
With nothing new to read right now I grabbed this one from the bookshelf. I’d completely forgotten that Saad had penned a message inside back in 2007. Alas Saad refers to the mighty mahseer of the Cauvery River. We fished together in the camp he founded, Bush Betta, before fishing was reclassified as hunting and banned in the forests. It is so sad when you come to think about it. The camp gave employment to the locals, put money into the economy and above all else guaranteed more than a degree of protection for the mahseer.
With fishing no longer allowed the camp guides and cooks have no work. Farming is subsistence living and very tough. Who can blame them for supplementing their diet with fish from the river? Consequently the mahseer comes under threat again.
Someone will have a change of heart at some point in the future and fishing will once again be allowed, but will it be too late? Will the damage be irreparable? It’s a wild and rugged place with a beauty of its own. The people are friendly, the river magnificent. I’ll probably never visit the Cauvery again. For that alone I feel sad.
I was chuffed to see that England won the Feeder Word Championships and doubly so that Steve Ringer took the individual title. Hosted by Ireland on Inniscarra Reservoir, the team, coached by Tom Pickering, was simply unstoppable.
On day one England returned scores of 1, 1, 2, 3 and 4. On day two it was 1, 2, 2, 2 and 8 giving a total overall of just 26 penalty points. Home nation Ireland did brilliantly to finish second with 62 points, the Netherlands were third with 77.
Ringer recorded the only perfect 2 point score to take the world individual title, Barnsley’s Mick Vials claimed Bronze with 3 points, Adam Wakelin finished 5th and Dean Barlow 8th. Phil Ringer was hampered with an awkward draw on day two but still managed 14th place overall.
In all, twenty five teams of 5 anglers from around the world lined up. They came from as far away as South Africa and Russia but ironically there was no representation from near-neighbours Wales or Scotland.
Lack Of Trust?
I doubt the team had recovered from their hangovers when the backbiting began on social media. Why was there no report on the Angling Trust website? Why weren’t Trust staff appearing on TV to promote our success? Moan, moan, bloody moan. You know the score. And it’s invariably the same old boring idiots who shout the loudest.
Well let’s get something straight. Anglers are reluctant to put their hands in their pockets and support the Trust. The membership take-up is pitiful. Therefore it works with a severely limited budget. However I wonder how many of those bemoaning the Trust are actually members? Very few, if any, is my guess.
So what do we want the Trust to spend its limited funding on? It’s all they can do to get a team to the World Champs in the first place. Most of the teams, like the Ladies, Veterans and Disabled have to pay their own way so it’d go down really well with them if the Trust then paid someone to attend in a media capacity. Until we have a massive increase in membership the job of media reporting will lie with the individual teams’ management.
As a life member of the Trust the last thing I want to see is money being squandered on blowing sunshine up people’s bottoms. I’ll do that here and so will plenty of other media outlets, thank you.
Yes, it would have been nice to see a report on the Trust web site ten minutes after the final whistle, and be in no doubt there will be one issued as there always is, but to provide instant news means having some web savvy employee working over the weekend and the feeder team management being available immediately after the presentations but before they went out and got royally p****d!
If you expect the Trust to send someone to the World Feeder Championships then they would have to do the same for the Men’s, Ladies, Intermediates, Juniors, Veterans and Disabled, in coarse, sea and game, in lure fishing, boat and shore, distance casting, you name it, wherever in the world that event was being staged as well. And then there are the European matches. Is that what you really want the limited funding to be spent on? Don’t be ridiculous.
The results of all international competitions are published on the FIPSed web site. FIPSed are the official international events body for world competition fishing. Funnily enough a match report didn’t appear on their own web site until Tuesday yet I don’t hear these moaners proclaiming FIPSed are crap and useless. Smacks of an agenda to me. The Trust is damned if they don’t send a representative, damned if they do.
But come on, let’s be in no doubt, if the national media is finally sniffing around after three incredible decades of international angling success, it’s not because they want to praise our anglers, it’ll be because they have discovered a new weapon to bash up the England football failure in Brazil, that’s all.
Footnote: As expected there was a full report, with pictures and quotes about England’s triumph on the Trust web site by Tuesday. Just what do some folk want? I’ll tell you what they want; they want to get off their backsides, find a job and stop scrounging a full-time fishing life that’s funded by benefits.
I learned the other day (Nat Geo Mag in a hospital waiting room) that out bodies carry trillions and trillions of microbes – more than 3 pounds of these passengers survive inside and on the outside of our bodies. We’re swarming in them.
The weight of microbes is greater than the weight of an average human brain. At a guess, that’s probably about a thousand times greater than the brains of some who follow my exploits. Give me the microbes any day!
As anglers we know that some days are poor, some are good, but some are very special. I had one recently on the Trent in the company of Dave Harrell. We fished the SPAC water opposite Hazelford Island. We caught on the feeder, we caught on the waggler and we caught on the balsa. Fish fell to pellets, casters and maggots. It was just one of those days when things go right.
Yes, I suppose we did have to work at it, catching a few here, then moving to a new swim, catching a few there and so on. It was good to take turns on the rod in one swim rather than spending the day apart and it was good to discover a river angler of Dave’s pedigree uses Daiwa rods and reels exclusively, by choice.
The world was put to rights, we had a laugh, considered the closed season and what progress Dave has made with the EA, shared concerns about fishing’s future with so few kids on the banks, reminded each other that we rather enjoyed both our football teams’ exploits in the Championship more than their current leagues, discussed the health of mutual friends and all the usual blokey stuff, too. It was a great day.
Ninety per cent of our fish fell to float tactics and loose feeding. Make that heavy loose feeding. Folk have criticised me in the past for saying most barbel anglers don’t feed enough bait. Well, for the record, we used about a gallon and could have used twice that amount. The fish took a while to switch on in each swim and it was a case of increasing the feed until they responded. Once they started feeding the more you fed the more you caught.
Funny how we’ve obviously got this all wrong because Facebook appears to be full of folk moaning about catching nowt on the Trent! Oh, and Dave’s perch weighed a very respectable 2lb 11oz. That’s a nice bonus Billy!
I’m sure we’ll do this again soon.
Meantime the outcome is two more double page spreads in Angling Times and a picture of the week on Page 3. I’ve just compiled a piece for Anglers Mail and then there’s the Improve Your Coarse Fishing diary, the Sheffield Star and Weekend Sport columns. All things considered the press continues to be rather kind to me and it is much appreciated. Just hope I can keep up with the pace. Thanks guys!
Suits You Nicely Sir
Daiwa has launched DCR – Daiwa Custom Revolution – a scheme allowing anglers to customise their own carp rods and reels when they place an order. It’s not available for the cheaper models obviously but it at least recognises that when you are investing in an Infinity or a Basia then you deserve a chance to decide how it looks.
Check out the web site for more details. There’s an app which allows you to select various different options and see how your bespoke rod or reel will look.
Free Online Fishing Magazines
When someone comes up with a sure-fire method of monetisation all magazines will be online. It stands to reason they will follow the book route where so many people already download digital versions to Kindles and Tablets, it’s merely a matter of time. Meantime we’re in a transition period. Major magazines are already gearing up by creating digital editions available with bonus content and video footage to sweeten the deal. They need to be ready.
It also stands to reason if you cut out print costs, distribution and Mr Patel’s corner newsagent profit not to mention the supermarket giants and WHSmiths of this world then they can deliver the same product to us at a vastly reduced cost while saving a few forests, reducing carbon emissions and still make increased profits. It’ll be a lifesaver for niche magazines.
There are numerous free magazines already available online. Here’s one featuring predators (click on any of the following images if you want to see what lies in store for us):
And here’s another for carp anglers:
There are more if you go looking for them, too. Try this:
What’s more you won’t just be restricted to a couple of weekly newspapers and a bunch of carp mags, this will be global and the whole world of fishing will be right there at your fingertips. Imagine that?
Feel free to add links in your replies if you know of other good reads.
Had To Happen Eventually
I don’t have an issue with homophobia. I have gay friends, I’ve attended the Gay Pride March in Manchester and it was great fun. The event was advertised widely and no-one objected.
This poster is undoubtedly a spoof but it’s sparked all manner of objections, but seriously, I really don’t understand the fuss. I’ve been to several of these gatherings before. Normally they’re advertised as single species group fishing meetings …
Where’s the footie bit, you’re wondering (or maybe celebrating). Fear not, it’s tagged onto the end of Part Two. Let’s be honest I could have written a whole blog about Suarez alone. Fortunately I haven’t. You get a One Direction section instead. Never thought I’d every say that.
Thanks for reading the blog, but don’t forget, this is only the halfway point! Part Two will be published tomorrow.