2015 Christmas Blog

Merry Christmas folks. Fancy another blog? The thing is, should I, or shouldn’t I? Can I complete one in time? Who knows is the answer to that. Merry Christmas 400 If it’s newly published and you’re reading this in May then you have the answer, but somehow it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Bob Blog, would it? Even the biggest cynics in angling would miss it – you know who you are!

I did ought to try though, even if I am lacking in real inspiration and rather pressed for time, because another milestone will be reached. This will be the 450th piece of work to be posted on here.

How about one with no fish pics?

That would be novel…

What I’d better warn about is there’s a good hour’s entertainment here if you watch the video clips, play the music tracks, etc, so if you’re reading at work, don’t blame me if you get the sack.

It Get’s Lonely Here In The Garret

Will 2016 be the year I actually finish my magnum opus? I’ve already written most of it once but I reckon I can rewrite it, update, add in some extra stuff I forgot about and hopefully make it twice as good. That’ll make it twice as long, of course, so perhaps it will run to two volumes. Judging by the book market that’s a bit of a risk. I certainly wouldn’t be doing it to get rich (possibly end up poorer) but is that a good enough reason not to finish what I started writing over 12 years ago?

Probably not.

I need to think long and hard about whether I am ever going to finish this project. And also what it should look and feel like. Indeed, would angling be ready for a Kindle version? Does or will that market actually exist where anglers are concerned? I keep changing my mind.

Without doubt there are already too many magazines showing anyone and everyone how to tie this widget to that gizmo so they will catch gazillions of fish. Fortunately, that’s not me these days. book-cover I have done that kind of thing once before and it was incredibly well received. Believe it or not the initial print run of six thousand copies sold out completely. Today authors are lucky to sell six hundred, Just goes to show how times have changed.

So what do I want to write? I don’t want to publish a travelogue, or about how I’ve been lucky to catch one or two slightly bigger than average fish – because that’s not me, either. On a reasonably efficient, bog standard rig, fish tend to hook themselves. Mostly it’s a case of being in the right place for long enough. You can call it dedication or all a bit sad. Take your pick.

The question is, who am I? That’s what a book ought to answer.

What I think I would really prefer to write is a personal warts and all fishing biography in which I share my views on growing up as an angler, my journey through the different branches, the highs and lows, thrills and spills. I want to share tales of times I’ve spent with other anglers, famous, infamous and plenty you will never have heard of; highlights and a few low lights. In a nutshell I suppose it should be about what’s driven me to get out of bed each morning for the past 50-odd years.

Could be a plan.

Letting It All Hang Out

I don’t even like to think about Rolf Harris’s well-known catchphrase, ‘Can You tell what it is yet?’ Dear me, the connotations that brings to mind now he’s in disgrace. Like I say, doesn’t bear thinking about.

However not all things rude are deliberate or predatory as I discovered whilst fishing on the Don recently. The intention had been to run a stick float through and hopefully snap a few nice images. I emphasize ‘hopefully’ because a lot of my fishing is done alone so taking pictures involves setting up a camera on a bank stick and pretty much hoping for the best.

Of course practise goes a long way towards being perfect but it’s not foolproof. Take this image. I had no idea, honestly! Nothing dawned on me until long after I’d downloaded the images and began tweaking the colours. Web Oops! Suggestive digestive, missus?

Can you tell what it is yet?

Fantastic Fishing Up For Grabs

It’s funny how the mind plays tricks on us. It seems like only yesterday that I used to fish matches on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal around Stainforth. Anglers flocked there from all over the north and down into the midlands. Top class matchmen from Leeds and Bradford, Trentmen from Nottingham and of course anyone and everyone from Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster would turn up and strut their stuff. Sunday matches were regular 180-peg sell-outs.

When I stop to think about it, those fantastic times were probably a quarter of a century ago. Where does the time fly to? Web If anything the canal is cleaner and fishes better today than it ever did back in its heyday. Gone are the chub shoals that used to dominate matches. Today you’ll find plentiful shoals of bream and roach instead. Specialist anglers get to target huge pike, carp and spectacular perch. web So how come Stainforth and District has had to give up its holdings on the canal? Sadly the majority of the match scene has migrated to commercial fisheries while the annual costs for clubs who wish to rent canal fishing rights has skyrocketed to the point where it’s no longer economic. That’s bad news for clubs and to be perfectly honest it is bad news for the Canal and River Trust who set the rents. Web Effectively anglers can now turn up and fish the canal free of charge between Peg 1 at Bramwith Lock all the way through to Peg 180 below the New Inn. If your club is interested in taking on the canal further details can be had by emailing: fisheriesenquiries@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Man Of The Moment

Quite how Steve Collett finds time to go fishing is beyond me. He appears to live on Facebook posting umpteen times a day. However there can be little doubt he’s made himself arguably the UKs leading expert on drop shotting and light jigging. When it comes to competition lure fishing he’s Alan Scotthorne, Bob Nudd, Steve Ringer and Will Raison all rolled into one.

It won’t always be that way but right now he’s riding the crest of a wave and that’s why you have to cut through the bu**sh*t and listen to what he has to say. In this half hour video clip he explains exactly how to drop shot on canals. In fact it’s filmed on the same canal mentioned above, just outside of Thorne. Drop shotting is great fun although on most waters it’s scaled down to target tiddlers to the point where not everyone will find it’s their cup of tea. For those that do enjoy it though, this is a must see video. Watch and learn. All the basics are covered in depth.

Garner Excels

I read a fair number of angling books over the course of the year, maybe you do too? All are indulgent to a degree. There’s no avoiding that because merely by writing one you are invariably shining a light on your own successes. Let’s face it, who writes about their failures?

The only angler who ever made a success out of failure that I can think of was ‘old’ Sid Huggins. At the time his entire life appeared to be a catalogue of catastrophe but he was a marvelously entertaining bloke to read and better still  share a drink with.

(Dr) Paul Garner’s second book, Scratching The Surface follows the format of sharing autobiographical tales of success but it manages to avoid being an ego trip. So much so it’s the most entertaining fishing book I’ve read all year. scratching-cover-v2 The bloke’s certainly caught more than his fair share of big fish from waters spread far and wide across the UK and beyond but at no point does he brag about these achievements. He goes quite a way towards describing his passion and dedication, both of which he has in spades. Long days and nights chasing fish in all conditions.

Would I like to put that much effort into my fishing? No. I try to keep a sense of perspective in my life. But hats off to someone who does. Grab a copy. You won’t be disappointed. It’s an excellent read, well written and liberally illustrated with stunning colour pictures.

Noble Beginnings

I read a fair bit of pulp fiction. In the past year or so I’ve consumed each and every one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books and there’s a lot of them. Great ripping yarns stuff. Pure escapism.

It left me with a void that needed to be filled so I responded to an advert on my Facebook Timeline for a set of Mark Dawson books. As much as they might wish to claim, his main character John Milton ain’t no Jack Reacher and the pages don’t turn anything like as fast as they do when Lee Childs writes. ‘Twas okay but left me wanting a little more.

Then I came across LT Ryan and his fictional hero Jack Noble. Now you’re talking. Early days for me but I’m already into these rollicking romps. Best of all, if you read on electronic devices then the first book in the series, Noble Beginnings can be downloaded free of charge. Can’t argue with that.

What I need now are some suggestions as to where I head next for excitement and escapism. Feel free to make some.

Matt Hayes Talks Sex!

When I post a comment on my Facebook page I generally receive around a thousand views. When I posted the unfortunate image that gave an impression I was waving a huge phallus around I had getting on for 3,000 views. Never be in any doubt that sex sells.

I posted a video of Matt Hayes opening the new predator lake at Anglers Paradise recently and that struggled to achieve 300 views, but maybe that’s because I failed to employ a sensational headline. You see, in this video clip, Matt speaks about marriage, divorce and his carnal exploits – yes indeed, he does! Sex Toy Matt Can’t help feeling I missed a good 5,000 views thanks to a lame headline!

As for the film clip, do watch it when you get a spare 5 minutes and maybe share it with any wannabees that you happen to know. It may help them to understand that being ‘famous’ and being sponsored, being respected and in demand requires more than catching a few tame kippers and bragging about it on Facebook. Watch this (presumably) unscripted clip of the Mattster and you are indeed observing a master professional at work.

Well done Matt and good luck to all at Anglers Paradise who thoroughly deserve the praise that is heaped on them in a very humorous way.

Old Graham – He Ain’t A Bad Bloke!

Were you aware that for the past 5 years the most popular ‘Christian’ name (and I do use that word cautiously) in the UK is Mohammed or one of its derivations? Apparently names like Willie, Cecil and Rowland have completely died out. Those on the ‘endangered’ list include Norman, Walter, Percy, Harold, Ernest, Herbert and Clifford.

It set me to wondering about other names, not mentioned. Was anyone at your school called Cuthbert, other than as an insult?

And what’s this fashion for hyphenating? What’s that all about? No-one, I repeat no-one at the school I went to had a hyphenated surname. Only posh nobs had hyphens. And virgins. Not that we knew many of them, either!

Oh, hang on. I stand corrected. Apparently I meant hymens.

And does a name endow its owner with character traits. For Example, Peter means a rock. We all know that, don’t we? But what about me? Bob. Well get this, Bob is German and it means famous, bright flame. Perhaps those who mockingly call me two bobs might care now to reflect on their ignorance. After all, they’re calling me too famous and too bright. Neither of which they can exactly lay any claim to being. Matchman Supplies 2 On the other hand, Graham means home in gravelled valley. Now I’ve known a few Grahams in my time and do you know what? Each and every one has been a lovely, trustworthy and reliable bloke. You might be thinking, ‘Hang on, surely not every one of them?’ But the answer is, yes.

Sadly Graham’s are such lovely folk that others desperately want to become Grahams, trust me on that one, and there my prognosis can fall down. graham mug The only Graham I can ever recall having any real issues with chose to become a Graham out of choice. But then again, we all know the Internet is full of folk masquerading under false names, nom-de-plumes and soubriquets. It took me a while to catch on in the early days but eventually even thickos like me wise up in the end! Sunset Web Speaking of Grahams, I met a perfect example a few years ago. I had foolishly agreed to spend a day’s coaching the auction winner one-to-one in aid of the Barbel Society’s Research and Conservation Fund. I say foolish not in a critical way, it just meant I ran the risk of spending a whole day with an absolute tool or perhaps a keyboard warrior.

Anyway, it turned out my guest for the day was nothing like that. He was a proper Graham. So, I took him fishing, made him laugh, showed him a few edges and we caught a lot of fish – not on some secretly baited swim of mine I might add, but on his own choice of club water. Slightly better web He’s never looked back from that day and now regularly taunts me with emails that update me about how well he’s doing. Talk about the pupil showing up the master. He’s certainly no bivvy bandit but couple of weeks ago he had 10 barbel over 9lb 8oz to 12lb 1oz in a single day/ evening session. In the past calendar year he’s had 24 doubles from 51 trips and he’s putting me to shame.

Stop it Graham, you’re killing me!

They Think It’s All Over…, It Is Now!

Barely a week passes without someone asking when Stu and I are going to release some more DVDs. There’s no point in affecting (false) modesty here. The eight we made proved to be an outstanding success with fantastic reviews and sales far exceeding our aspirations. They made us very proud. But it’s over. The project has run its course. There will be no more.

Shame, I agree, but at least one bloke will be happy… Salmon Quip I’ve heard a few lame excuses in my time but dear-oh-dear, that’s a good ‘un.

Of course if you have a few quid burning a hole in your pocket and would like to benefit from the knowledge shared by us and numerous other top barbel anglers tackling rivers like the Trent, Dove, Idle, Wharfe, Swale, Kennet, Teme, Wye, etc, they are still available from this web site but be aware, stocks of some discs are beginning to dwindle.

A bit like Dove barbel, allegedly…

Desmond Has A Barrow

Ooh-bla-di, ooh-bla-da, life goes on, woa-oh! La-la, la-la, la, la-la.

Eh, they don’t make songs like that any more, do they? Fortunately. And they don’t make ’em like old Des Taylor, either. An angling personality with decades of experience to fall back on, he’s got both the hat and the T-shirt.

Does anyone still remember David Hall’s magazines? They were full of characters. Wading On, Tales of Tyd, Shining Times, Love Stories, Snide Rumours and so much more. We writers were more than advertising vehicles, we were entertainers. So why is there not a new generation snapping away at our heels. Are they all playing on their X-Boxes? There has to be more to it than navel gazing and posting on Facebook, surely.

Where are the stars of tomorrow? Indeed who is encouraging them?

Who’s going to step in and take our place when the old guard shuffles off this mortal coil?

Who will be fishing guides of the future? 😉

Is anyone ever going to write a decent blog that contains more than a few crap images of mediocre fish. Entertain us for Christ’s sake. Prove you have a personality! It’s not much to ask.

Anyway, old Des talks a lot of fishing sense in this new Podcast, particularly if you’re a barbel angler. Listen to what he says about feeding. He’s not wrong and if someone on the Internet tells you he’s talking bo££ocks then take it from me, they’re idiots. More of the same next month, Des? I do hope it’s not a flash-in-the-pan one-off. Meanwhile Des, best accept that you ain’t gonna please all the people all of the time… Des Podcast Strange world we live in. Probably a decent enough bloke when he’s away from the keyboard but a terrible judge of character. Then again, social media practically encourages mocking, personal insults and character assassinations.

Anyone Fancy A Bit Of Music?

It amazes me that every now and then we come across someone with a real talent that hasn’t been eaten up by one of the world’s network of X-Factor, Pop Idol, [Insert Country]’s Got Talent machines. You may have seen this guy, I hadn’t and came across him completely by accident. Ladies and gentlemen, pin back your ears for a rare treat – one-man a capella:

Great One-Line Come-backs

Spotted a superb example the other day:

Poster Two: There’s only one ‘f’ in professional, mate.

Original Poster: So what? There’s three in f*** off!

And on that subject…

The Football Bit – Salute The Soundbite

Outside of a handful of deluded Doncaster Rovers fans is anyone at all thinking, ‘Poor Old Dean Saunders’?

No, I thought not.

The Deanosaur has been sacked by Chesterfield who were actually faring slightly better than some of his previous charges, particularly as he was still only half way through his first season. Not that many League clubs have ever given him a second one… Saunders Saunders was a decent footballer in his time. Enthusiasm abounds and his gob’s on a spring but loyalty is not this ambitious man’s strongest suit as can be gleaned from his desultory managerial CV. Let’s have a look at his time in the hot seat(s), shall we?

Sept 2011: Walked out on Wrexham just 10 games after signing a new contract taking over at Doncaster Rovers, one presumes to better his career.

April 2012: Doncaster Rovers are relegated after 4 years in the Championship following a home defeat on

April 14th. Lord knows how he managed that considering the glittering array of temporary talent at his disposal. This was the ill-fated ‘loan experiment’ that was destined to catapult Rovers into the Premiership. In different circumstances that might have worked, ask Watford!

Jan 2013: Walked out on Doncaster. Went off to Wolves, presumably, to better his career (again), promising to sort the club out from top to bottom and saying that the team could still yet be promoted to the Premiership that season.

May 2013: Wolves are relegated to L1 and the sack follows 3 days later.

Dec 2014: Appointed at L1 Crawley Town.

May 2015: Crawley Town are relegated. Saunders’ contract runs out on 9th May.

May 2015: Appointed by newly promoted Chesterfield just 4 days after leaving Crawley.

Nov 2015: Sacked by L1 Chesterfield – hopefully in good enough time to prevent them being relegated. Seven defeats in his last 10 games, 4 defeats in the last 4, shipping goals at the rate of 3 a game and only 4 points clear of relegation saw Chesterfield’s board suffering an understandable attack of the twitchy bums. Credit to them for acting decisively and allowing time to appoint a new man ahead of the January transfer window.

Let’s face it, this setback hasn’t exactly damaged his chances of winning Manager Of The Year, has it?

The crazy thing is, despite 4 clubs in little more than 2 years, 5 in the last 4 and 3 relegations, you wouldn’t bet against him getting another job in football on a salary that you or I might only dream about and he’ll genuinely walk into that club believing he will do a fantastic job. In the meantime we can no doubt look forward to him spouting bollocks as a TV pundit when Wales appear in the Euros, explaining the finer points of the game and then passing judgement on others’ managerial fails. Indeed he could well be an expertly qualifies on that subject.

It can’t be a bad way to earn a living and those pay-offs for failure must come in handy.

If I sound somewhat bitter or perhaps biased against the bloke then you’re dead right. Hold my hands up. I once sat in a small room with him and couldn’t bring myself to even speak. Resentment burned within like the flames of an incandescent fire. You see football is not just about passion, it’s downright bloody emotional.

John Ryan got rid of the one manager I’ve most admired in my entire footballing lifetime, by text, just so he could replace him with Dean Soundbite. At one stroke my entire footballing word had crumbled. Dignity simply flew out of the window. My hopes and dreams in tatters thanks to a ridiculous gamble and the introduction of the most dire brand of football imaginable. I have never forgiven him for that. Don’t see how I ever can.

But credit where its due, the Deanosaur did much better in League One (on what we’ve since learned was an astonishing budget) until he promptly upped and deserted us immediately after Christmas so he could oversee Wolves’ relegation. Not exactly the smartest move in retrospect.

Folk in these parts still credit him with our promotion five months after he had left and a month after he had already been sacked by Wolves! Truth is the team he built played dreadful football based on negative long ball tactics, last gasp goals and a huge dollop of good fortune. I am not exaggerating when I say his appointment drove me away more successfully than any banning order could possibly have.

Someone, please, find this man a job as a banker or a politician. A traffic warden perhaps. Just don’t ever let him near your club if you value it. Yes, he’s an enthusiastic charismatic man. He loves football. But just as I’d likely be, he’s not very good at its management. Perhaps someone could find him a job at Old Trafford?

Even he couldn’t f*ck that up, surely?

Saunders’ Stats (including cup results):

Team/Div Games Won Drawn Lost Win %
Rovers/ Ch 42 9 11 22 21.42
Rovers/ L1 31 15 7 7 48.38
Wolves/ Ch 20 5 5 10 25.00
Crawley/ L1 24 8 4 12 33.33
Chstfld/ L1 23 8 2 13 34.78
Totals 140 45 29 64 33.57

Apologies if I’ve missed or gained an odd result. I’m sure someone will correct me if I have.

Blog Cover

And for the truly determined among you, congratulations on sticking with it to the bitter end(!). Let me wish you a happy new year and I sincerely hope all your fishy dreams come true in 2016.

Tight Lines!

5 thoughts on “2015 Christmas Blog

    • Couldn’t possibly comment Ray. There are a lot of Grahams in the world. Glad you found it entertaining. That’s surely the point of writing a blog, after all. Merry Christmas to you and fingers crossed I can be motivated to write another one soon.

  1. Nice to catch up with the blogs again Bob. Wishing you all the very best for the festive season and next year’s fishing. All change for me having moved from the south coast up to Middlesbrough (can’t be a grandparent from 300 miles away). Just need to get to grips with finding some decent fishing on the Tees and Swale now and any other good fisheries I can find. Seems weird returning to the areas of my youth after 40+ years down south.

  2. Aye, David Hall’s Coarse Fishing was essential reading back in the day, I even bought one of the rods offered! Gawd knows where he got em from, but it eventually turned up, whippy fast actioned thing that could cast a stick float three quarters of the way across the Severn.

    Wish I still had it.

    Love reading your stuff Bob, no accident it mixes top advice with irreverent, self deprecating good humour I suppose. The point being it is for reading as DH’s mags were, as opposed to the eye mugging you get in modern mags, some of which are frankly unreadable.

    Merry xmas and all that

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