100 articles is quite a milestone in a year I can tell you, in fact it’s practically replaced my full-time job but let’s not forget everyone who has helped or contributed in some way or other. Thanks guys, you all know who you are.
And just for the record, a quick check of the Google stats this morning revealed we’ve clocked up more than 17,000 hits in the past month alone and it’s 40 consecutive days of increasing visits. I thank you all for that. On to maters both fishy and controversial…
Steve Pope rang the other night and it was nice to have a chat. He’s been catching a few on the Severn and it’s great to hear he’s almost ready to launch his new web site. I’m really looking forward to reading it but I doubt he knows what he’s letting himself in for. Saying that, he’ll maybe find plenty of time on his hands as the winter weather closes in and he does have a few mates who want to contribute an article or two. Good luck Steve.
Now if only his sidekick Fred ‘Duracel’ Bonney would launch his own site because he could certainly do with something to keep him out of trouble on the forums! Poor bloke only has to suggest Christmas is just around the corner and someone will take him to task. Within a day he’ll be blamed for global warming and by the weekend he’s caused the banking crisis… and he’s never wrong!
If you’re wondering what I’m on about, check out these threads for the Barbel Society Research and Development Fund Auction:
(Damn! They’ve both been pulled. Oh well, no-one really needs another Barbel War do they? Unless you’re Fred of course! Talk about wrecking my blog before it’s even been posted. Still, I’ve started so the following comment may as well stay in 😉
It genuinely concerns me that having blunted many an axe of my own on Fred’s thick skin in times past, I don’t think it bothers him in the slightest; in fact I think he is deliberately courting the controversies he gets involved in, which might be good fun for Fred but it’s not good news for the Barbel Society. Simply sticking a caveat beneath each post claiming: “Any opinions stated in my posts are my own personal opinions, unless specificly relating to Barbel Society matters” is not sufficient or even seemly for a man who holds a responsible position within any Society. Sadly, a diplomat he ain’t and if any group is crying out for a bit of openess and diplomacy, it’s the Barbel Society. Unfortunately Fred is the Communications Panel Chairman…
Normally I’d have a bit of a giggle at Fred’s tribulations but there’s a time and a place and if it were football there’d be charges of disrepute flying around.
Fred, please, give it a rest – go fishing!
In fact, I’ve offered you the jelly baby roach challenge on Fishing Magic with a wager going to the Angling Trust. Why not take it up? It will get you off the computer for a while and it will be a laugh if nothing else; and Ron tells me he’s out practising this week, just in case. Surely you can beat a bloke who is restricted to fishing with jelly babies…?
Talk Nonsense On 1053 And1089AM…
Mentioning football I was left wondering if the Premiership has sneaked in a new rule because according to Mark Saggers on Talk Sport radio: “If Liverpool or Manchester United are going win the league they’re going to have to finish above Chelsea…”
I realise the Premier League hands out special treatment to the big four but I thought you had to finish above EVERYONE in the League to win it. Maybe not.
Mind you, if there was ever an award for stating the bloomin’ obvious Saggers would win it hands down with that quote.
Oh well, I suppose if we can have a Champions League where you don’t need to be a Champion to enter there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a league where you only have to beat one club.
The Wye In All It’s Glory
With Peter Smith’s help I ran another successful weekend of fishing and coaching on the Wye from the Caer Beris Manor hotel at Builth and the valley could hardly have looked more spectacular. We’ve no more weekends planned in the near future but I’m sure we’ll be arranging a few for next year if for no other reason than everyone who attends them is so full of praise. Indeed the consensus was that we don’t charge enough for these weekends and our guests could not believe the value they received.
But you can rest assured we’ve no intention of increasing current prices unless the costs for fishing tickets, meals or rooms rise. The drawback might be in meeting demand because almost everyone who attends seems to send an email saying please can they come on the next event we run!
We’ll almost certainly be running some courses next season but we’ll possibly be looking to extend the number of days and maybe consider various options on fishing times – for instance we could rise early and have a fabulous breakfast cooked on the bank rather than eating within hotel schedules, thus making the most of our fishing hours. Alternatively we could have a steak brunch and then fish on into the evening, returning later for a club sandwich or something. We’ll work something out.
Right now our plans are completely flexible but we shall only do tweaks because major surgery is not required. It’s certainly far from broke but I believe we should always be striving to improve the package. To stand still is to go backwards.
One thing we can possibly offer is a bespoke course for bunches of mates. It would require a group of six anglers minimum, eight is about tops, to name their own dates, midweek or weekends. A course might run for, say, four days (or longer) and we’d fish on different stretches each day. The course content could be as basic or as complex as you ask for, including an option of a guest speaker, it will be up to you.
I have to say this trip proved to be a tough one and although fish were caught it wasn’t what you would call a walk in the park, unless you count fishing in Groe Park where countless thousands of leaves were falling from the trees that line the river. It was incredibly pretty but it made for difficult bait presentation, especially on the float.
We fished a different stretch on each of the three days but the best was saved until last. There were no big fish caught but the barbel fishing was fairly easy on Monday despite the bright sunshine. I think I had four barbel and two chub in my first seven casts. It was that kind of day.
Here’s a little gallery…
The Dark Continent Beckons…
Plans for my next big adventure are cracking along at a frightening pace. Having agreed that we fancied a trip to Uganda, Stu and James have not only given it the big nod, the dates are now fixed and they’re uncomfortably close. Looks like we’ve about 12 weeks to get everything ready and there’s an awful lot to do, injections, tablets, safety considerations and a whole lot more but we’re getting some amazing support from the local people.
So, it’s Uganda here we come! Gaint perch and catfish get ready.
But without the support of guides I’m just hoping none of us gets kidnapped, drowned, eaten by the crocs or trampled by the hippos. That might take the edge off it!
Some Guys Have All The Luck
Well, we can all dream. But it’s fair to say I had a cracking few days at Anglers Paradise last week and it’s interesting when you compare this picture of fun and mischief against a typically disparaging posting by Graham ‘Silverfox’ Elliott about me on an Internet web forum. For reasons known only to himself and maybe a few accolytes, Graham decided he would announce to the world at large that Bob Roberts is the most disliked man in the angling world.
You may or you may not know but I’m getting married shortly. Graham obviously knows because he couldn’t resist posting, ‘I just felt sorry for anyone who ever had to live with the pratt.’ Unless I’ve misunderstood and he’s actually refering to my late wife. In fact that makes more sense, doesn’t it? Alas it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from him of late, isn’t it?
But who am I to complain about the rantings of such a leading and much loved figure in the angling eschelons. After all, he’s such a popular fellow himself. In fact have a read of this if you don’t mind losing the will to live:
Does run on a bit, doesn’t it? Fighting at club meetings, fighting in the car park, he said – she said, banned from the club waters for 5 years (completely innocent of course), but it ain’t for me to pass judgement, after all, I’m the most disliked man in the angling world. What did tickle me at the start of the whole seedy incident is that when Graham went public with his ‘set the record straight’ statement, he clearly stated, ‘I will not be adding anything else to this statement’.
Oooh, you little liar!
How did the Queen put it in Shakespeare’s Hamlet? “The lady doth protest too much, methinks…”
For the record I will state something categorically: I was definitely not the ‘Trentrotter ‘ character who seemed to enjoy stirring the pot in this and several other episodes around that time. I barely had a clue as to who Graham Elliott even was back then. In fact, make that still haven’t!
I was accused in the thread and on several other occasions of being the Trentrotter but nothing could have been further from the truth as I have never needed to hide behind a pseudonym like most cowards do. Indeed the proof (if there was ever need for such nonsense) that it wasn’t me, apart from the obvious IP address, is that I haven’t a clue, even to this day, how to quote from other posts in those neat little text boxes.
So Graham had to move on from his pet sanctuary and he now guides anglers on the River Wye. However, all is not well in the Shires it seems.
You’ll also recall this is the same guy who openly promoted the illegal downloading of our Barbel Days And Ways DVD from a file sharing site so he’s no real grounds for complaint about me highlighting these incidents, has he?
So let me quote from a random email I received only this week:
“As for our old mate “Silverfox”, anyone familiar with Mr Slope in Trollopes Barchester Chronicles will know who he models himself on; a more slavicious unpleasant man I have yet to meet, smiling, with eyes like a snake and a tongue always looking for the next victim as he slithers off on his next bout of self promotion.”
Now that’s rather harsh, I’d say.
It’s possibly true, but harsh. But then I would think that, having never knowingly met the bloke in the flesh and basing my conclusion purely on the way he behaves on the Internet.
No doubt he’ll be threatening me (yet again) with legal action over this blog but it’ll come to zip as it always does because he can hardly expect a court to take him seriously when he calls someone ‘the most disliked man in the angling world’ (unless he can categorically prove this), nor can he seriously complain when this same person points out what a whole crowd of third parties are saying about him.
You will note that I have not personally offered a single slur against Mr Elliott in this blog because I don’t actually know him. To me he’s just an intermittent haemaroid that blows up now and then to cause unwanted irritation. But even so, I’d like to offer Mr Graham ‘Silverfox’ Elliott a deal:
Why don’t you stick to your guiding, writing booklets and catching a few fish because outside of that, no-one I know really cares what you have to say.
Your previous claims that I was stealing your ideas were so far fetched that only J K Rowling fans would have been impressed.
You are clearly egged on by a bunch of sycophantic followers but unfortunately they’re nowhere to be seen when you fall flat on your face. Give it up, eh, because you’re begining to sound like a stuck record.
I’ve no doubt you can fish competently and at the prices you charge for guiding I must presume you provide respectable value for money, so try focussing on what you’re good at because it’s plain to see you’re hopeless at adversarial politics.
Now please go away and irritate someone who actually does give a toss about your rude, libelous, irrational and deliberately provocative Internet postings. In fact let me cut you some slack. Go away, leave me alone and save your asignine comments for private emails between you and your ‘friends’ and I’ll happily try to forget you even exist.
Whew! Sorry folks, I just had to get that off my chest, what with me being the most disliked man in angling you’d think we’d have more in common!
It is good to see that the old Pons took my highlighting of him not updating his blog in the best possible way. He’s updated it and also added three chunks of video content. I’ve been a bit cheeky and pinched one of his clips as a taster. If you want to watch the other two you’ll have to visit his site by clicking:
Well done Chris. I know you’re a busy man but keep it up now and while you’re at it, Kick young Barratt’s backside into shape!
Good Clean Fun?
Each November Zyg hosts a netting party. The events last a full week and guests are given discounted rates and free fishing in return for a couple of mornings work netting a lake or two.
Trust me when I say that’s no real hardship because there are loads of folk who muck in and you can do as much or as little as you like because the young guns always dive in and do the donkey work.
If someone says you’re going to play bingo you’d ask if they were joking yet it’s incredibly popular thanks to 5C’s (that’s the Crazy, Crafty, Cunning, Carp Catchers) member Maggot Mick’s microphone style.
Chants of B-I-N-G-O will break without warning interspersed with ‘Green Army’ and songs about some other minor team called the Grecians (sorry all you Exeter fans!).
After the bingo an impromptu competition began – who could throw a bingo ticket furthest at £1 for three attempts – Zyg holds the world record, obviously.
Tom brings his disco along and much alchol is consumed. Alfie and his lad Darren always run a themed party and this year it was schoolboys and girls.
There are raffles and treasure hunts, barbecues, a curry night, auctions, you name it. Even a competition to guess the weight of the biggest fish netted and so on. But over the course of the week the total raised for charity mounts up.
When I appear on Sky TV’s Tight Lines as a guest they like to have a few pictures available as prompts that Keith Arthur and I can discuss. For the past couple of nettings I’ve donated these to the fundraising. I’ll sign the front and write the ‘back story’ on the rear of the pictures, which are mounted on foam boards.
Just like the previous year, my four images raised almost £200 in the auction and I have to say this pleased me greatly and my special thanks go to everyone who bidded.
During the course of the week a total of £1,700 was raised for charity which brought the total raised in 2009 to £5,420. The main beneficiaries this year are Reels on Wheels, the Devon Air Ambulance and the Winsford Centre. Since Zyg and the 5C’s began fundraising they have donated more than £50,000 to charity which is quite an achievement.
The party turned into my impromptu stag night and there are more, shall we say, revealing(?), nay, debauched, photos knocking around from what proved to be a one hell of a night but maybe they’re best not shared here!
Unfortunately Zyg insisted I join him in his ‘office’ twice during my stay and for the uninitiated Zyg’s ‘office’ is the wine store where he brews thousands of gallons of wine. Usually our meeting begins with a lame excuse like, ‘Let’s choose some wines for the barbecue, or have you tried this one?’
What follows is a clash of wills where one party wants to get me drunk and the other loses, but not without many protestations along the way. To quote from his game plan, ‘We’ll try these down this side and then I have some special wines over that side. Come on Wobert, drink up, there’s something here I’d like you to try!’
By the time we’ve sampled a dozen barrels he’ll ask which I prefered and then it gets dangerous because if I can’t remember he’ll suggest we try them all again. My aim, as always is to be able to walk out of the wine store unaided but talking sometimes proves a bit difficult. My brain knows exactly what I want to say but my mouth doesn’t seem to understand or keep up. All that’s lacking on the wine store door is a sign that reads ‘All ye who enter here abandon hope’.
And if you think I’m exaggerating, ask anyone who’s been there…
The actual nettings are quite an event. Most years we’ll be joined by a camera crew from one of the local TV stations. This year it was ITV’s South West team that came along to film a news feature and sure enough we made the main news bulletins that evening. To be filmed wrestling with a lively 35lb catfish while delivering a snappy soundbite isn’t every presenter’s cup of tea and it certainly wasn’t my most dignified TV hour but the cameras love that kind of thing, don’t they?
The actual process of netting is quite simple when you have a lot of helpers and the facility to drain a lake. Needless to say the spells of action are brief and hectic while the hanging around in between is the only chore, but even then something spontaneous happens like mentalist dancing, mud fighting, water wrestling or this years excellent diversion, body surfing the pump outlet!
And on top of this I even managed to squeeze in a little fishing with my old mate John who’s only ever picked up a coarse fishing rod twice in his life and both occasions were at Anglers Paradise on netting week.
Here are a few more images for your delectation…
Well, all good things have to come to an end and this epic early November blog is no excaption. I’ll leave you this time with a somewhat zany piece of camerawork. Here’s a guy who’s clearly as mad as a box of frogs…
And by the way Fred, there’s a bit of water in the Trent so get yourself down to Hazelford and fill your boots instead of wasting your life arguing over everything and nothing on the Internet…
Tight lines all!