February Blog (Part Two)
As ever I was struggling to find time to get out on the banks in the early part of February but that’s been no bad thing if I’m being honest. All the local lakes and canals had a thick lid of ice on them and I’m not the kind who is desperate enough to catch a fish to go around smashing it just so I can wet a line. As for the rivers, many years of banging my head against a brick wall has taught me that you cannot beat several feet of snow melt. Best use that time to good effect and then go fishing when the weather improves.
The bad weather didn’t stop some of my club match fishing friends from turning out though. The competition I run in the Green Un has continued to attract a steady trickle of results during conditions I wouldn’t turn an Eskimo out in, never mind a dog. The results have been better than expected, too, and one match completely took me by surprise.
Finally free of ice the Chesterfield Canal threw up some bumper weights in the Matchgroup 2000 winter league. Matches on the previous two weekends had to be cancelled due to snow and ice but a window in the weather saw Bill Roper lead the way home with 21lb 10oz of skimmers, just ahead of Roy Gibson’s 20lb 10oz. The backing weights were simply amazing, too. I find it hard to believe, although I don’t doubt the veracity of the report for a second, that you needed 15lb-odd to make the top five and only four competitors, on this tiny narrow barge canal, in the middle of the worst winter for a decade, failed to break double figures. That is an amazing statistic and a staggering result from a pretty much forgotten venue.
Dave Makes A Splash
Another regular hit the headlines for a completely different reason. In fact he didn’t just make a splash in my Green Un column, he made the national press and even featured in a piece on local TV. You see, Dave Loveday is having a bit of car trouble. In the past two years he’s managed to park two cars in two different lakes during matches. His first disaster occurred at hayfield Fisheries and he swears the vibrations from a passing train shook his car so much it rolled down the bank, into the drink, and was written off.
You’d think that after an experience like that he’d learn to either leave it in gear, use the handbrake or better still, both. Oh well. Some people never learn because he was struggling in a match at Lakeside, Ranskill, and despite drawing a flier he baled out for a pint down the local boozer at lunchtime. When he returned he dropped down to see a mate and try to make up his mind whether to have another go or to go home.
After half an hour – it must have been a big decision – a train swept by on the adjacent railway line and he heard someone shout that his car was moving. And surely it was, towards a recently vacated peg, thankfully. Oh well, there’s not a lot you can do to stop a runaway car and into the drink it went. Write-off number two and loads of jokes circulating about never letting Dave offer to wash your car.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
The Internet seems to be enjoying a little crisis. Friends Reunited has all but imploded since being bought out by ITV. The once giant site has fallen out of favour with the masses and is apparently worth a mere fraction of the millions it was bought for. Switching to a fee paying member only site and then opening up for free and working on an advertising funded model seems to have been partly to blame. That and fashion. Bebo and Facebook have stolen a march and we’re told that Twitter is the future. Right. I don’t understand any of it but one thing’s for sure, the Internet seems to be in turmoil.
Take the football web site I like to read and occasionally participate on. The demise of the once almost successful Leeds United has impacted on lots of smaller clubs’ web sites as an inordinate number of idiots who purport to support the Damned United give it large on what used to be quite friendly little sites. They love to big it up and give it large (you’ll see I’ve picked up the lingo quite easily). You see the mighty Leeds are no longer mighty and without the benefit of being deducted 15 points this season they’ve struggled to make an impact in what is actually the old Third Division. I think they’ve lost something like ten away games to ‘tin pot’ clubs and were knocked out of the cup by those giants from Histon. But they still think it’s big to stir up trouble at any opportunity.
Apparently the term used to describe the individuals who indulge in this behaviour are called ‘trolls’. The result is mayhem in what were once friendly, happy places and anyone with the least bit of sense just switches off.
You’re probably wondering what I’m going on about here but bear with me. There is a point.
The Internet is an idiots’ charter where folk with big mouths/ and even bigger keyboards think it’s clever and cool to go around being abusive and insulting folk and it’s almost without regulation and all the while they hide behind pseudonyms.
Okay, you can actually sue for libel or defamation and it has been done successfully in the past and some serious damages imposed. But what really is the point. Life’s too short. Unfortunately it’s the web sites themselves that suffer because as the balance between intelligent posters and numbskulls tips the character of the site is lost, usually forever.
Take Barbel Fishing World as an example.
Dear old Andy Frances (who before I get too sympathetic) does like to dish a bit of dirt himself, appears to be at his wits end and has started a thread suggesting that BFW “Has helped many people develop their interest in barbel fishing.” And that he has, “Certainly enjoyed being part of something that was innovative and exciting.”
However, he adds, “Over recent times the site has become a constant source of controversy and is now generally looked upon by many with negativity. Many posters have moved away and new posters are thinner on the ground because of constant sniping between members.”
Well, I have to agree with that, and rather than take a cheap shot and suggest ‘you reap what you sow’, maybe we have to take a wider view and recognise that whereas ten years ago when the site launched, far fewer folk had access to computers and those that did might have had better educations and manners because back then you seldom if ever had folk using ‘txt spk’ in their posts and the majority of posters were capable of writing coherent sentences that were punctuated and generally spelt correctly.
Perhaps the golden age of forums is over. Gone forever? I don’t know…
What I do know is that if you want to see the flip side of the coin, log onto Barbel Fishing Ain’t My World (http://barbelfishingaintmyworld.yuku.com/). Now I must warn you that the language on there is a little, shall we say, choice. No, better be honest, it’s downright filthy, but it is very funny and it is the antithesis of BFW. I sometimes drop in there and spend a little while trying to make sense of the threads but by and large I haven’t a clue what they’re on about but by gum, they know how to rip the proverbial out of folk. I used to have a load of respect for Paul Boote but these guys certainly don’t. In a topic titled “Name Dropping Tosser” someone had posted a link to a You Tube clip of Morrissey singing ‘We hate it when our friends become successful’.
But at least it’s in keeping with the ethos of the site. It is a Mickey taking irreverent site. Unfortunately what has gone off on the serious site of late has seen the lunatics take over the asylum and they are now welcome to it. Time was when you might find Jim Gibbinson or Tony Miles, for instance, posting on Fishing Magic and giving advice freely. Those days are now long gone.
It’s a shame, too.
Barbel Growth Rates
I did notice a serious thread that was sparked by a talk Chris Turnbull had given in which he revealed that the next potential record fish (from the Wensum) was bred at Calverton Fish Farm. We revealed this in Barbel Days And Ways Volume One and spoke at length with Alan Henshaw about the barbel breeding and stocking programme and Alan quite clearly stated that while it was possible for them to breed huge barbel, or ‘thugs’ as he called them, the fish produced at Calverton were not bred that way. The phrase Alan used to describe his fish was, ‘fit for purpose’.
In other words, they are fish that will grow at normal rates and achieve normal growth rates. Frankenstein fish that pack on weight rapidly have a correspondingly shorter lifespan.
So, for those who were speculating on whether the increase in barbel weights up and down the country is due to a Calverton influence I’m sorry to disappoint you but the answer is no, it is not. The brood stock are taken at random from several rivers depending on conditions and are returned to the river. It is not a selective breeding process aimed to create fast growing strains of ‘super’ barbel..
Centre Of The Universe
I feel that I’m fortunate to be the proud owner of not one but two of the brand new Adcock Stanton centrepin reels. Traditionalists will continue to use the old ones with an equal measure of pride but the simple fact is that Ray Hyland has been able to improve on the old models and now produces a wonderful British made reel that is a tribute to the craftsmen who are involved.
I’m not going to say it’s better than this reel or that, all I will say is it’s the best I’ve ever used and I do have a small collection of ‘pins. I was introduced to fishing with a ‘pin and love nothing more than a session using one – providing I catch a few fish that is.
I ordered a black 5-inch model for my trotting work and a 4.5-inch bronze jobby for barbel fishing. I can’t wait to get out on the bank with that one next summer but there’s a lot of fishing to be done between now and then.
If you want to know more about the reels you can visit the Adcock Stanton site:
Or if you want to know more about the man behind the reels check out this interview with him on the Total Coarse Fishing site:
Now That’s What You Call An Orfe!
I’ll close this ramble with an update on a recent fishing trip. I went down to Anglers Paradise at Valentine’s for a sort-of romantic break with some partying and little bit of fishing thrown in. I can genuinely recommend the Valentine’s party in Paradise because the lakes are pretty quiet and there’s always a few nice folk to chat with in the bar. Tom drags his mobile disco down there to add a bit of atmosphere and Rose lays on a cracking meal.
Just watch the wine, that’s all. Zyg insisted in me dropping by to see him in his office twice while I was there and what most don’t realise is that his ‘office’ is the wine store.
“Now, Wobert, help me choose which wine you like. We’ll do the whites today…”
And that means testing half the blooming brews in there with the threat of a return to follow.
Anyway, I have to announce that I did survive the experience but on neither of the days I fished did I get out of the villa much before about 11.30am. Yep, short sessions, but at this time of year the mid-day period can be the best.
On the first session I had a few nice rather than spectacular golden orfe although I did have a cracking silver one that would have topped 5lb at a guess. I didn’t have any scales with me as I seldom bother weighing anything these days unless it is something rather special.
The following day I struggled a bit but I did nick three fish on maggot feeder by simply being patient. The first two were of a really good size but the third blew me away. I’ve caught my share of big orfe over the years including fish to well over 6lb but this fish was something else. It was in a different league to anything I’ve ever caught before and if someone was to suggest that it might have bettered the current British Record I would not have argued. Honestly, I was lost for words.
I was on my own, without scales and without anything to retain it with, so I did what I’ve always said I would do if I was ever fortunate enough to catch a record fish and I slipped it back without ceremony.
I then packed up fishing because every now and then you know that there’s no point whatsoever in fishing on. It’s not happened to me many times in my life but on this occasion I couldn’t imagine catching anything else that would make the day, or even the trip, more complete.
But it’s quite possible that if someone captures this fish again, or its mate (apparently there are two giants in the lake) before the fish spawn, then they just might break the British record.
Alas it was time for me to retire and share the moment in Zyg’s ‘office’ in the customary Paradise manner…
For details of Anglers Paradise you can log on to: www.anglers-paradise.co.uk
I’m not sure if this link will work but if you want to see a short video clip of the fish, try clicking here: