Article comments from visitors are given top priority because their comments are normally checked for bad language or stupid threats before release. You’ve probably noticed that comments can be left at the bottom of each web page but there are a few lunatics out there and then there’s the anti-blood sports activists and their ilk.
But what really annoys me is the spam, Grrr…
I logged into the ‘dashboard’ the yesterday to find I had reached 666 spam messages. Six-six-six, the sign of the Kimmins! Sorry that should read, sign of the Devil. In the Omen, Damien has a birthmark beneath his hairline that reads 6-6-6.
Who on earth generates all this spam and does anyone, anywhere, ever respond to it? 98 per cent of the world’s Internet email traffic must be clogged up by this annoying waste and our computer systems would probably work twice as fast if it was outlawed. I tell you, if the Raving Monster Lunatic Party ran for election on a ticket of ‘We’ll kill the spam’ they’d get my vote for sure. In fact they’d probably get elected.
Ah, six, six, six – I’m reminded of an angling show at the NEC a few years back. Whizzo Groundbaits had been allocated stand number 666 and the organisers actually apologised, offering to change the number. The lads on the stand said, no way, because to them it was an opportunity to have a laugh. It probably helps if you understand where the company name came from in the first place – it translates: the West Hull, Inspirational, Zippy, Zany Organisation. And they were mad as a bucket of frogs.
By the time the show opened they’d plastered hastily written placards around the stand announcing: ‘Whizzo – Sign Of The Anticrust’ and ‘Whizzo – Groundbaits From Hull Hell’.
Whatever happened to Whizzo groundbaits? They made some superb products a few years back.
But I digress. Spam count already up to 837 and rising.
No more waiting – Volume Two is Available NOW!
Just in case anyone is suffering from Rip Van Winkle Disease, can I just mention that Barbel Days And Ways, Volume Two, is officially available. You can purchase it from this site at the click of a button. I say this because when we originally mailed all our customers we told them it could be pre-ordered and that the release would not be until late April. We did it so as to avoid being swamped with orders and delaying deliveries but we’re bang on top of everything again so those who pre-ordered received a very nice surprise when their copies arrived a whole month early.
Forum Rules Okay?
Irrational slanging matches are the bane of many Internet forums. Certain individuals behave outrageously, apparently blind to the laws of libel, slander and common courtesy.
A tiny minority – and they are very few in number if truth be told – make the vast majority of site visitors cautious about posting anything, hence a thread may have only 50 posts but several hundred, even thousands of views.
I’d love to see sites bring in a disciplinary system beginning with a private written warning after the first transgression followed by a public yellow card the second time.
Two yellow cards would result in a one-month ban from posting.
Three yellows – a three months ban.
After that you get a straight red – banned for ever.
The card count would be permanently displayed next to the posters name.
Closed Season Madness
But enough of this rubbish, let’s talk fishing. With the river season over it’s time to target perch and there’s no better time to catch a big one than right now. I’ve done the agonising over whether, ethically, it’s right or wrong when we’re in the run-up to spawning but the law allows it and that’s good enough for me. (Queue outrage…!)
I’ve listened to the views of those who want to retain the closed season and frankly I cannot agree with their sentimental codswallop. I’m actually in favour of a closed season, but not the current one. It’s wrong – hopelessly wrong and those who claim it’s good for the riverbanks, nesting birds and spawning fish are misguided.
How many birds nest on the concrete steps of the Trent Embankment in Nottingham City Centre? And do dog walkers leave the banks alone for three months? Do boaters and canoeists respect the birds and the spawning grounds. Do they heck! Do cormorants and shady Eastern Europeans? Of course not.
What about trout anglers? They fish in the coarse fish closed season. Don’t they trample the banks, disturb nesting birds, murder flies, tread on earthworms and undoubtedly scare a few pond skaters?
And come the glorious 16th June, what do these liberal minded do-gooders who want us to go down the ethical route do? That’s right, they bash down the fresh vegetation to create pegs and then target fish that are right in the throes of their spawning rituals.
No, guys, moan all you like but if you’re going to campaign and petition Parliament don’t go making fools of yourselves by battling to retain something that doesn’t work. It is not and never should be about retention or abolition – campaign for sensible change and I’ll back you. Just explain this for me, though: Why March 15th? And why 93-days? Where’s the science that supports this?
And campaign for the good of all species while you’re at it, not just your favourite one. But the moment you start using other flora or fauna living outside of the waterways as an excuse to impose restrictions on catching fish then that closed season has to apply to all recreational users of the water and its surrounding environs, not just anglers.
Then tell me who will police it and who will fund that policing.
There’s a poll on the10 Downing Street web site just now demanding action over the closed season and quite frankly it’s embarrassing and it will do anglers no favours whatsoever. This is what we get from small-minded meddling by individuals who feign to represent the views of the majority, which they so patently do not.
Grammatically the petition description itself is a sham as it is a statement riddled with opinions rather than a statement of facts. It barely makes sense. As for punctuation the writer may well have taken a pinch of snuff and then sneezed over the words! In fact this is what it says:
“The coarse fish closed season on our rivers protects the already under pressure fish stocks from all year angling, lets the banksides and surrounding areas recover. The fishing tackle industry has the revenue gained by the abolition of the close season on stillwaters and canals and should not be allowed to place their income at the expense of the delicate ecosystems of the rivers in this country. Further, we call upon the government, as licence paying anglers, to police and protect this season by prosecuting those not abiding by it.”
There are more than a million fishing license holders in this country yet after 4 weeks and umpteen threads supporting the cause on every majorr fishing web site forum a grand total of 165 names have been added to the petition. The roll call includes:
Severn Miles from Stoke, Doomian Cummins, Polish Fisheater, Tarka the Otter, Darth Gaydar, Mike Littoris, isla givehead, fo,ols , A. Helmeeto, I barbecuetench, Mr Kosh (3rd Earl of Vassey), Ivor Cooont, and Andy Frost – Norfolk’s No1 shit stirrer.
And that’s just for starters. Now you can call me a sceptic but I think at least a couple of those are made up names and I don’t think it will be taking up too much of the Prime Minister’s precious time in the near future at least, do you?
You have to wonder just what kind of idiot thought that launching a poll like this would be a good idea, eh? Did it never cross his mind his past pompous behaviour on internet forums would attract this kind of mockery? I guess not.
And did it never cross his mind that to front a proper campaign he’d need a charismatic figurehead. He’d need a John Wilson, a Keith Arthur, a Des Taylor, a Matt Hayes, a Bob Nudd, an Alan Scotthorne or a Will Raison, for example.
Or that he’d need the backing of a top angling publication like the Angling Times, the Anglers Mail, or a leading magazine like Improve Your Coarse Fishing, and most of all he should have involved the single angling body which represents us all in Parliament, the Angling Trust.
He might also have recruited the backing of an MP or two before embarking on his Quixotic adventure.
Obviously he thought otherwise and his ego ran away with his sensibilities (once more). So the upshot is, he doesn’t have the serious backing of the wider angling world, he’s pi$$ed off the trade in the midst of a recession by saying they’re greedy, told the anti’s that we damage delicate ecosystems and probably upset the Environment Agency by asking the Government to police and protect the closed season but on the bright side he’s probably given the Prime Minister something to chuckle over.
Well done Damian! I’m sure you meant well, but when Gordon Brown reads your petition he’ll probably come to the conclusion that practically no-one in the UK supports the need for a closed season and that anglers pose a threat to wildlife. Moreover, with the World’s economy in crisis, raging knife and gun crime, conflicts in the Middle East, global warming and a thousand other important issues to address, you’ve probably shot us fairly and squarely in the foot.
A Passion For Perch
Oh well, back to the perching. There’s no fish quite so impressiveas a big perch, is there? That erect dorsal fin, those bold green and black stripes, the red fins and that cavernous mouth. Frankly they’re amazing but what few folk realise is they’re everywhere these days. Perhaps they’ve always been around, I don’t know. What is for sure is that you’re unlikely to catch specimen perch on a carp pellet or a boilieand the biggest perch seldom feed on maggots. Two baits stand out head and shoulders above all others, livebaits and lobworms.
My local canals all contain big perch and by that I mean fish of 3lb and upwards. Check out a map of South Yorkshire and you’ll see that it’s criss-crossed with large industrial canals – the South Yorkshire Canal, New Junction, Aire and Calder, Stainforth and Keadby, Mexborough Canal, Huddersfield Broad Canal, and then there’s the smaller ones like the Sheffield Canal, the Chesterfield Canal and so on. And they all seem to contain big perch if you go looking for them.
But you have to go looking and you have to fish in a way that increases your chances of catching them. The vogue method is to leger lobworms but lately I’ve been catching on the float. It’s easier to hit bites but you have to concentrate harder.
A trip to the Junkie with Matt Brown proved very hard. There’s a fair bit of work going on right now and huge spoil barges are tramming up and down, colouring the water and that’s a no-no for perch. The canal ahs seen a bit of pressure in past seasons and that’s made the fish a bit cautious. The days of sailaway bites are long past. Blips and sharp tugs are the order of the day and we now miss more bites than we hot some days – assuming you get any bites
And therein lies the rub. It’s decidedly tricky at the moment.
High pressure, clear skies, brilliant sunshine greeted us. I caught the first fish, a measly pound-and-a-half-er and missed a good bite. Matt struggled for a while and then caught two. Not monsters but both were over two pounds. Then it died.
I returned two days later and it could have been a different season. Strong winds, ‘lambing’ showers of sleet and hail that blew right in the old clock. I worked a good half a mile of canal, leapfrogging as I went but all to no avail. Not a single bite.
I packed up as me old mate Trev Empsonarrived. I gave him the news and we decided to head off to a different canal where we might get a bit of relief from the wind. I fished two float rods, Trev fished two legers and sometimes you wonder if you’ve killed a robin without knowing it. Trev’s first cast produced a cracking fish that looked much bigger in the landing net than it actually was (perch are like that). In fact so sure were we that we weighed it on two sets of scales. Both confirmed 3lb 1oz.
I went back to my blanking, continually searching out the area until finally the float sank from sight. Well, it felt a good fish and it came as a bit of a shock to see, not a perch, but a great eel. An eel in March. Perish the thought!
But any action is a bonus so I cracked on and eventually I had a nother bite. This was a perch and it was a touch bigger than Trev’s at 3lb 3oz but that was it for the day.
Back again a few days later on my own, I fished somewhere completely different. Again the wind was head on, the rain came in bursts, practically horizontal and I had to cling on to the flapping brolly. Early bath today with nothing to show for my efforts.
Two days later I’m there again – glutton for punishment or what? Two hours, no bites, no enthusiasm and zero confidence. And this is a confidence game. Along came Trev, who decided to try and winkle out a few baits from a little back cahnnel but that was a waste of time, too. So we up sticks and moved to Thorne where we knew there were some small fish shoaled up. Perhaps there would be some perch around, too.
We parked, walked 20 yards and plonked ourselves down next to the lift bridge. I put out a couple of legerrods baited with lobbies, Trev set up a pole and we sat together taking it in terms to catch three fish each. It was slow at first but before long we were catching little skimmers, rudd, perch and even a couple of ‘Tommies’. The years rolled back and it was just like being kids again. We told tales of our youthful exploits and a thoroughly entertaining few hours were had. In between times we were joined by a procession of locals who wanted to chat, pick our brains on various venues and species. One guy even nipped home to fetch some pictures of the fish he’d caught in the past month bringing along his kids so he could get a snap for the family album. It proved a really pleasant afternoon despite the lack of real action.
With no signs of a perch, or pike activity (Trev had put a rod out on the off chance), I called it quits and went off to catch the post office before it shut. Mailing out DVDs has to be done each day whether it’s an inconvenience or not.
Trev chose to move elsewhere and try yet another new area before quitting. I rang him later to learn that he’d had no perch on the lobs although he’d been plagued by small pike, landing a couple and being bitten off, too.
So there we have it. The rewards are out there but it’s hard work right now. Whether it’s down to location or that the perch just aren’t feeding, or if it needs a dawn start or a late finish, I don’t know. But I need to find out soon because I’ll be moving onto other projects soon.
The Art Of Angling
I have a mate called Dave McIntyre who is an incredibly talented artist. He’s self taught and has only done about a dozen drawings in his entire life but what works of art they are. One hangs in pride of place on my stairs. Do yourself a favour and check out this link:
And then come straight back!
Magazines Of The Future?
Our angling presses take a fair old battering in the Internet forums. The weeklies are either ‘comics’ or ‘rags’, the monthlies full of adverts and the writers are just there to promote fishing tackle and baits. Usually the posters are equally quick to point out that they never buy them anyway, so it tells us one thing, they are actually interested.
I couldn’t count how many times I’ve read that the Internet is the future and one day there will be no magazines or books. But you can usually write these guys off as being nerdy fantasists.
However, there are a couple of incredibly good magazines that can be found exclusively on-line and I’m talking about publications that stand head and shoulders above most of the newsprint publications. I have two favourites, Catch magazine and This Is Fly. Okay, they havea fly fishing bias but don’t let that put you off for a moment. Check out the artwork, the imagery and the free film clips. ‘Catch’ also provides you with a playlist of music tracks in each issue and they are usually brilliant. There’s anything from the Beastie Boys to the Silversun Pickups in a typical issue.
And if you think that Impossible or Passion was the best angling filming ever, I have to warn you that there are some serious rivals on This Is Fly.
Here are the links:
Oh well, just enough space to squeeze in a reminder that I’ll be doing a live show at the Barbel Show organised by the Barbel Society at Hinkley on Sunday May 3rd. It’s my first solo show for nearly 5 years and I’m really looking forward to it.
I’ve edited a special film for the show that includes loads of underwater stuff, sturgeon fishing, mahseer, cartoons, funny outtakes, loud music and much more besides. If you fancy it the details can be found on the Barbel Society web site.
It’s been a blessed relief to get Volume Two of barbel Days and Ways out on sale. The feedback this time has been even better than last time and sales are slightly ahead of Volume One at the same time so we’ll be committing to a third and probably fourthfilm. Guests lined up include Mick Wood and Dave Mason, two anglers for whom I have the utmost regard. Can’t wait for that. We’re also going on the road to shoot footage on rivers we’ve not filmed before and we’re even contemplating a trip overseas to target barbel – yes, that’s correct, barbus barbus, the self same species we fish for here, but I’ll tell you more later.
School’s In For Junior Carpers
If you know a any keen young carp addicts then they might be interested to learn that The Yorkshire Carp Study Group is running a 3-day Junior Carp School during the weekend Saturday 23rd to Monday 25th May 2009. There will be room for 30 pupils aged between 10 and 17 years of either sex who will be provided with hands-on lessons.
Daytime activities include the use of rigs, watercraft, feature finding, bait and its application, photography, use of PVA, method feeder fishing, and much more. At night pupils will each fish in the company of an experienced angler and have the chance to catch carp to over 30lbs.
A tackle pack is provided at the start of the school along with a YCSG t-shirt.
All meals, drinks, fishing and coaching costs are included in the £85 cover charge which has been heavily subsidised by other fund raising activities.
Meals are taken in a marquee and the organisers can accommodate special dietary needs providing notice of these is given. Pupils require enough tackle for two full nights fishing – rods, reels, alarms, a bivvy, waterproof clothing, etc, but all bait required during lessons and fishing time is provided. Toilet facilities are available.
On completion of the course each pupil receives a certificate and loads of ‘goodies’.
Safety is an absolute priority and the school has fully trained coaches and first aid staff on site at all times. Everyone involved in the event has been checked for suitability.
For any further information please contact event organiser Keith Napier on 07900 188308, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
And that’s about it for another blog. See you next time!