Far From The Madding Crowds

There’s little doubt that commercial fisheries will ultimately dominate UK angling. After all, rivers are threatened by predation, pollution, dreging, invasive species and fish thefts. And that’s just for starters. Worse than that, anglers do great damage to riverbanks and wildlife.

What!!!? You cry.

Well, come on. We must do. Otherwise why would so many traditionalists be claiming that changing the closed season would result in birds being scared witless and that the flora requires at least 3 months to recover from our excesses?

Seriously, these folks are dangerous. They can make all the noises they like about being conservationists but the bottom line is they’re the ones who are telling anyone who’ll listen that angling is bad for the environment. Think about it.

No, commercial fisheries are the future if these folk get their way. It won’t be tree huggers who marginalise angling, it’s the woolly thinking floppy hatters who celebrate the ‘glorious 16th’, a day when they’ll be out there trashing freshly grown vegetation and targeting gravid fish. Yeah, folks, look how we really care.

But just for now, let’s celebrate diversity through a short discourse on three very different books that couldn’t be any further away from commercial fisheries, pasties, Frankenstein carp, tight pegging and a million bureaucratic rules.

Poles Apart

First up is Michael Nadell’s Poles Apart – The History Of The London Roach Pole. Now I’ll kick off by saying this isn’t a book for everyone. Not because of its subject matter – you really don’t need to be a pole angler to enjoy it – but the RRP of £35 is bound to prove a deterrent to the casual buyer.

Poles Apart

Having said that, the price is warranted on the grounds of the massive amount of research that’s gone into creating this historical record. It’s a veritable encyclopaedia of pole fishing and every single page is illustrated with fabulous photography. Every tackle collector in the country will, I guess, want to own a copy. To them it will prove invaluable. It’s effectively the pole collectors bible.

However, I was intrigued by the social influencing of pole fishing, the masters and great characters and moreover the great challenge matches of an era that is long gone and may well never be repeated. Above all I would love to travel through time and fish the Lee/ Lea in its heyday because some of the catches these guys made were truly phenomenal.

To Michael Nadell then, I doff my cap. As one of the UK’s leading pastry chef he’s managed to cook up a cracking book.

To read more or to purchase please follow this LINK.

Extreme Fishing

Now the next sentence is not one I ever imagined I would write, but here goes nothing. Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing is the most enjoyable angling book I’ve read in ages and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s brilliant!

Extreme Fishing

Whew! Never saw that one coming, did you? What’s more, I actually paid hard cash for this book and I think you should, too. Why? Because it’s on sale at the moment for the ridiculous price of £4.95 for a start. Yep, it’s being discounted, massively. And yep, the Internet Nerds have done a brilliant job of trashing his character and his TV programme. It’s uncool to say you like old Robson on’t t’interweb. Well whoopee-do. I’ve always been my own man and I’ll continue to tell it like it is as long as I’m fit enough to draw breath.

Green’s book is nothing short of brilliant. But why, you are surely asking? What makes it brilliant?

Well for starters he’s employed a ghost writer, Charlotte Reather (yes, I know, another black mark – a bloody woman!). But d’you know what? She’s a brilliant writer. If only the rest of our self proclaimed angling writers were anywhere near this good.

It took a while to get used to Robson Green and his Extreme Fishing on the box. Like the rest of you my initial impression was, this bloke can’t fish, but eventually I got the joke. He really can’t. But you don’t need to tell him that, or his crew, or his production company, they all know. It’s what makes the programmes unique. For once we don’t have some bloke on the screen trying to sell product and pretending he’s an expert. Green’s your regular bloke with two left feet and no pretension about how good or bad he is. Most of the time he’s bricking it and he admits as much in almost every chapter through the book.

Extreme Fishing comes close to crashing and burning as a TV series every other chapter. Half the time it’s a car crash and the show is saved time and again by some divine intervention. You see he’s learned the hard way that just because you can scrape together enough funding to make these exotic trips there’s no guaranteed pot of gold waiting when you get there. Catching big fish from foreign parts these days is not a given. It’s a hope.

I loved the honesty of the book. I loved the fact that it’s observant beyond a wet and slimy fish and introduces interesting characters each time you turn a page. It’s a professional book. You seldom hear that when talking about fishing literature.

My only criticism? The photographs are poor and the paper’s a bit cheap. But if there was another one out tomorrow I would want to read it.

To read more or to purchase please follow this LINK

Globetrotter’s Quest

This leads me nicely on to another bargain purchase I’m proud of. Tony Davies-Patrick’s Globetrotter’s Quest is currently on offer at £7.95. I blinked when I saw that and you will blink when you see the quality of the photography. Tony’s photography is as good as it gets and there are images here that will take your breath away. Indeed it’s a huge work and crammed with images throughout the 360-odd large format glossy pages.

Certainly it’s the kind of book you wouldn’t want to drop on your foot.


Now here comes the confession and it pains me a little to say this because I like Tony and respect what he does. We did once fish together in Canada but if I lived for the next 200 years I’d never get around to fishing half the places he already has. You see, I am not keen on Tony’s writing style.

Now that doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same and it’s not meant as a slight on the bloke. I just find his overuse of metaphor a little tedious and the whole project would have benefitted enormously had he employed a decent editor. There are too many spellings and typos that grate with me.

But please, don’t let that put you off. It’s a fabulous book simply crammed from cover to cover with inspirational tales, huge fish and like I say, sensational photographs. There are tales from the Americas, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Scandinavia, Africa, India, China, Japan, Thailand, Spain, Italy, Russia and well, need I go on…? I’m sure you get the picture.

Now if we could team Tony up with Charlotte Reather then we’d be talking book of the Century.

To read more or to purchase please follow this LINK.

2 thoughts on “Far From The Madding Crowds

  1. Couldn’t agree more with your comment on flora and fauna excesses, talk about shooting ourselves in the foot……………….

    I really wanted to post because I’ve got to know Michael Nadell and what a lovely man he is. He knew Fred Crouch quite well and that is how I have come into contact with him. I must get hold of the book.

    And I will get the Robson Green one as well, as perceptive as ever you have hit the nail dead square, I have enjoyed his programmes from day one, he is arguably the best entertainer there has been on a programme that involves fishing. We may be in a minority on this Bob but we can console ourselves in the knowledge that we are right!

    See you at the Barbel Show!

  2. I reviewed Michael Nadell’s pole book for Classic Angling and could not praise it highly enough; simply superb. I borrowed Extreme Fishing from my local library and found it one of the funniest fishing books I’ve ever read.