2009 – Late January Update

Well, it’s cold outside and I’ve time on my hands so why not give you another update…


A Nightmare Session


It’s not often that I come home from a session wondering what the hell went wrong but after a recent trip out with Matt (Brown) I was left wondering if I’d forgotten how to fish. We all get beat now and then by someone fishing next door but not like this. I was taken apart – completely dismantled!


We’d driven out to a distant gravel pit that had a reputation for producing quality roach and lots of them. It almost sounded too good to be true but a couple of mates had fished there and bagged up previously so it wasn’t your usual wild goose chase.


We arrived early to discover that the place was mostly covered over with cat ice yet there were at least half a dozen anglers already in what I gather must have been the better pegs. By all accounts there had been plenty of roach rolling at sunrise but a drifting sheet of ice had put paid to that now.


We decided to fish on the far side of the lake in the trees and my first mistake was quickly discovered. Because the water is generally over ten feet deep I’d chose to use a 14 foot rod. Big mistake. I had to kneel down to cast because of the branches above me!


Mind you, it didn’t matter for the first half hour because I had to wait for the ice to drift away.


You’re never sure how far out to fish in winter, how much to feed and so on. While I was making up my mind Matt nailed a nice roach on the feeder using a size 10 hook and two maggots. That told me to fish as far out as I could comfortably catapult loose feed, which was about four rod lengths in 12 feet of water. It also told me they’d stand a bit of crude tackle and that they were feeding. Good news.


And so the session began. Could I get a bite? Could I heck. I fed cautiously and kept everything tight and tidy. Sliding waggler, double maggot on an 18. Wasn’t long before that went down to single on a 20.


Meanwhile, 10 yards away, Matt is catching steadily. They were dragging the quiver tip round on one rod while he caught more on the waggler at the same time. Most averaged about 6oz but he had the odd fish around the pound mark.


Me? I caught one and missed one. By now matt is stepping up the feed and catching up in the water. You’d have thought it was summer. Well, I followed suit with the heavier feeding to no avail. I couldn’t buy a bite so I soon cut back on the feed. ‘Feed to bites, feed to bites…’ I kept telling myself.


It was all to no avail. In the end I moved swims so as to fish to his right but it made precious little difference. Perhaps I was fishing too far out? Or too deep? Or was it because I wasn’t feeding hemp?


You know, I haven’t a clue why I was failing so miserably. By now he was missing more bites than he was hitting.


“Will you come and photograph this one?” He shouts.


Sure, rub it in! Mind you, at 1-12 it was a cracker. But by now my head was in bits. Everyone else on the lake had caught. One guy even had a fish over two pounds on the pole! I was battered and beaten. Lost without a cause and couldn’t wait for the day to end. I finished up catching just three fish, of which one came out of Matt’s swim. He had a shed load and I’m still not sure where I went wrong.


DVD Update


Well, it’s finally done and dusted. We’ve edited the links, done the voice-overs and watched it like hawks to see if we can spot the slightest glitch – well, glitches that we can fix that is. We’ve inserted the credits, picked the jacket images, and written the sleeve notes. And you know what? We ain’t going to change a thing. Barbel Days And Ways, Volume Two, is done and dusted. What’s more we’ve already packed it off to the repro house but alas you’re going to have to be a little patient even if you’re gagging to see it.


It will be released, as promised in the Spring.


Those who bought Volume One will get a chance to pre-order as we like to reward loyal customers. We shall be contacting all previous customers by email in March and giving them first dibs. The rest can wait until we’ve posted the initial orders out.


Showtime Left Me Cold


It sounds like months away but the two shows I’m doing for the Barbel Catchers Club and the Barbel Society Conference are getting closer all the time and preparation is eating up loads and loads of time but I just know it will be worth it.


I went to a show the other night and I have to say I was less than impressed. The place was packed. In fact I’ve never seen so many folk turn up for a one-off show. There must have been 300 people there. The organisers certainly knew how to draw a fantastic crowd – I can’t fault them on that – but unfortunately when it comes to actually staging a show they were clueless.


You see, there were all these people crammed into a fair sized room, nicely laid out with rows of chairs but it had no stage or raised dias and there was no specific lighting – just the entire room lights left burning.


Nor were the external doors leading out to the bar area closed.


Are you saying I'm pissed?


If you missed it, it’s here:




Then again, for a proper drunken interviewee, check out Oliver Reed:




Are you sure they can't see us now?


Frankly it was a debacle because not only were the speakers having to talk over the general noise coming from the bar, many of the audience members were talking among themselves, too, and not once did anyone call for a bit of order.


I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I was because I have huge respect for one of the guys and the other is simply a legend.


Oh well, surely the second half will improve, I thought…



But can anyone explain why a slide projector should be set up so close to the screen that the images on it barely covered a third of the screen. From the rear of the room, it was like squinting at a postage stamp.


Dear me!


Anyway, the star of the show ambles out front, politely wishes everyone a good evening and explains that he won’t mind if the audience wishes to throw in the occasional question during his presentation.


“Have you got a girlfriend yet?” Came an immediate response from the floor to much joshing and merriment.


“Err, I’ve been a bit busy wiv me fishin…” Came the reply.


Oh boy. This was turning into quite a night.


Errr, this is a slide of me girlfriend

Well, the slide show contained lots of stunning pictures, I’m sure, with plenty of ‘here’s me with the big un’ and not a lot else really. I’m not sure at what point I fell asleep but I was rudely aroused when Mr Fisky Feeders himself shook my shoulder and whispered very loudly, “WAKE UP, BOB!”, to the amusement of all around me.


Well, I stuck it out until the interval, just so as not to be rude, and then I left along with a fair few others.


It was such an opportunity wasted through sheer lack of professionalism. When you draw in a crowd like that you have a duty to put on a real show. Isn’t that the whole point?


Which brings me round to the shows I’m doing in a few weeks time. It’s given me much food for thought. Slide shows as such are dead. They don’t entertain and the speakers killed them with their ill-thought out performances.


An audience wants to be entertained. The speaker must remain lucid and deliver the best show he can possibly create. It needs some kind of impact, a bit of pzaz, wow factor, call it what you like. It has to be topical, amusing, dare I say controversial. No-one in their right mind drives a hundred miles to see a picture of a man holding up a wet fish.


Do they…?



If they can manage this in the jungle...
If they can manage this in the jungle…


I’ve always put a lot of work into my own shows. Frankly I can’t see the point of doing them if you are just going to brag about catching a few fish. You need to bring something new to the table. And that I certainly will be doing.





I noticed on a forum post somewhere, someone had asked where can I see the next Volume of Barbel Days And Ways, to which Fred Bonney had posted “HERE” which just happened to be a link to the Barbel Society site page advertising the Hinkley Show. Well, I do hope that folk won’t be turning up hoping that I’m just going up on stage to give away the DVD’s contents – far from it.


This show will be a bespoke show. Designed, written and performed as an entity all of its own. It’s going to be loud and proud. It will not be a subdued, understated, ego massaging, please fall at my feet because I’ve caught all these big wet kippers. Oh boy, if you’re hoping for that, stay at home!


If the first three minutes doesn’t wake you up then send for a doctor. I really don’t want to give too much away but I hope you like loud music. The content will be pretty controversial, too. And there will be a few laughs thrown in. But what will grab the attention long after the smoke and mirrors has passed will be the various underwater behaviour interludes. Some will love it, some will hate it, but let me just say that there will be far more than a few barbel in the show.


You know, I can’t wait.




Deer Oh Dear


Did you know that the deer population in the UK is multiplying at an alarming rate and they’re the cause of a huge number of road accidents? A piece on the BBC News today showed footage of deer narrowly avoiding collisions with vehicles and we were told they are involved in countless accidents resulting in a number of fatal injuries to both parties.


I have to wonder about the mental state of folk who set up cameras and film near misses rather than shooing away the animals, don’t you? That really is the definition of watching car crash television.


However, as sad as that may be, it’s because they’re decimating all the woodland undergrowth, thereby removing the habitat used by cute little dickie birds that is resulting in their numbers being culled. Oh yes, the he-men with their powerful rifles are popping a few off – when they can find them.


The guy on TV said it was a bit tasteless as the forest ranger dragged a carcass into the back of his land rover but I just thought, ‘Mmmm, yummy, very tasty’.


I’ve said all along that if cormorants ate robins and blue tits there wouldn’t be a problem for fishery owners. The bird lobby would have taken steps to shoot every single bird that made the mistake of flying more than a hundred metres inland – EEC regulations or no EEC regulations.




According to the Deer Collisions Project, six main species of deer live wild in Britain with a combined population of over 1.5 million head. The toll of deer involved annually in traffic collisions in the UK is estimated to lie between 42,000 to 74,000. Deer related Road Traffic Accidents result in several hundred human injuries and several human fatalities each year.


According to the BBC there are 2 million deer in the UK. The population doubled between 1995 and 2005 and is likely to double again by 2010.


Some will laugh off the prospect of a deer collision but you might think differently when you learn that between 2000 and 2005 there were no less than 22,555 accidents involving deer in the UK resulting in injury to 759 people (and 22,555 deer, I’m guessing!). Watch out for Roe Deer in particular because they seem to be the most stupid statistically; either that or there are just more of them. And be very careful between 9pm and midnight because that’s when they appear to have a death wish.


But have no fear, the RSPB will save us.


At the current rate we’ll only have deer, cormorants, ruddy duck, otters and carp left in the UK when the do-gooders have finished.


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