The channel’s being run on a shoestring right now and I waived all rights to expenses and an appearance fee on the grounds that we really need to get some angling footage on TV. This programme and those in the rest of the series were made to broadcast quality and you never know, at some distant point in the future the series could end up being broadcast on a satellite channel.
There’s a preview clip here if you’re interested:
The Midland angler’s worst nightmare came to fruition this month. A slug of deadly pollutants swept down the River Trent killing all before it. Fortunately the effects had diminished long before it reached Nottingham but it could have been catastrophic, which is not to say it isn’t for those who normally fish the highest reaches. My heart goes out to them.
But it won’t happen and it won’t happen because we’re toothless.
We’re toothless because anglers are too tight to put their hands in their pocket for something that costs less than the price of two cigarettes a week!
In my last blog I posted an appeal on behalf of the Angling Trust. Here’s what I said:
“And now a serious issue. The Angling Trust is angling’s own representative body. It encompasses all disciplines, offers legal protection against polluters and the vast majority of anglers seemingly don’t give a toss if membership figures are any indication, yet it is our only officially recognised voice in Parliament. The Trust has a serious funding issue right now. I’m a life member. Are you a member?”
Did anyone take any notice? I doubt it. What we get is 20 posts saying ‘poor old 2canes’ and zero impact on Trust memberships. Says it all, eh?
But who is this ‘someone’ who is expected to act on our behalf? That’s right, the Trust. Yet no-one is prepared to pay for this body. They’ve just dispensed with half their staff on cost grounds.
I’m guessing that Trust membership will have risen in the past fortnight by a few dozen new members, mostly with postcodes along the Trent Valley and its surrounding area. By next week it’ll all be back to normal.
All I hear is, ‘It costs too much’ or, ‘Folk are hard up’ or, ’Why don’t they put a tax on fishing tackle?’ or, ‘Add it to the license fee’, ‘Why don’t they offer incentives?’ and a host of other similar lame excuses yet as soon as something happens in their own back yard these same people want action taken by the mythical ‘someone’.
Well it’s time anglers stood up and did something for themselves. I’m sick of hearing excuses and listening to folk telling me they’re victims. Anglers are pathetic! They’re also incredibly selfish. They are only really interested in protecting their own little bit of river or pond.
Well I’m sorry, it’s not good enough.
This isn’t the last pollution we’ll hear about. It won’t be the worst. When angling next comes under threat we’ll hear folk saying, someone should do something. If you think I’m talking about you, then the chances are I am.
Why don’t you do something?
Do something positive and sign up to the Trust. It does not cost the earth but it might save your fishing. Stop asking what the Trust does for you, start asking what you can do for it. Angling will come under all manner of threats and scrutiny in the future and it’s time we started putting in place an organisation that can defend our rights because tomorrow might just be too late.
And if it still doesn’t work out, what have you lost? Twenty measly quid. Right… Big deal.
Daiwa Trade Show
I went along to the Daiwa Trade show at the beginning of the month for a sneaky look at some of the new products in the range and I have to say I was astonished by the new Black Widow carp rods. Available in TCs from 2.75 to 3.5lb these elegant looking rods retail at just £50 each but for a limited time you can purchase a set of THREE of £100!
Honestly, I could hardly believe my eyes because they looked every inch like rods that should cost more than that each. Check them out at your local dealer.
Anglers Paradise Wedding
It’s a long old way from Yorkshire but I popped down to Anglers Paradise for Zenia’s wedding. I’ve known her since she was barely out of nappies and boy, has she turned into a beautiful woman. She looked absolutely stunning. The party afterwards was pretty wicked, too, complete with a live band who’s keyboard player has just finished 13 months on the road with Razorlight.
I’ve never seen the fishery looking so well and it was a shame I never found time to wet a line. But how it’s changed over the near-20 years I’ve been a regular visitor. If you count El Dorado, Shangri La and the latest additions there must be well over 20 lakes now. Zyg’s original plans to grow his own forties have been derailed along the way and those fingerling cats we introduced in the early days have grown and multiplied. Several lakes now have home grown cats topping 60lb and the number of kittens around is scary.
Fortunately cats eat kittens!
The day ticket lakes look particularly attractive as it seems they hardly ever get fished seriously. The fly-only trout lake is a cracker, too. I guess I’ll be down there again next month for the netting party but whether fishing will be high on the agenda we’ll have to wait and see. The trouble is, I’ve so many friends down there that by the time I’m through socialising it’s time to go home.
Anyway – here’s a little gallery from last weekend…
And just two more pictures. I met Alfie and Christine Wright in Paradise more years ago than I care to recall. I’ve since met his son but more than anything I’ll always treasure meeting his dad, or ‘Pops’. This guy was such fun, had an incredible zest for life and if you’ve ever read Spike Milligan’s ‘Hitler – My Part In His Downfall’ you would be forgiven for thinking it was written all about Pops because this guy relished the war and the japes they would get up to while facing real danger every day.
When he left us, Alfie wanted to create something by which we could all remember him and being a ‘lead man’ Alfie showed that there’s more to his craft than sticking a bit of flashing round a chimney. This sun dial is the result and you’ll find it close to his favourite swim.
We all miss you Pops!
I watched the second batch of the impressive Catching the Impossible films this week and have to say there’s some beautiful footage and phenomenal fish but it’s unfair to compare it with Passion. Passion stands as the greatest angling series ever but this one still deserved a television airing.
Having been involved with making TV shows, videos and DVD’s since 1991 it’s fair to say I’ve had a bit of experience on both sides of the camera which means it’s very hard for me to watch a fishing programme without looking at it from an involved stance.
You tend to try and work out how things are made, if it’s a one camera shoot you are guessing how they made the cuts and jumps work, crikey, I’m sad enough to be looking at the framing and angles, the horizons and watching for shadows. I’m sure that anyone else who makes films does exactly the same.
It’s not a perfect science and even Hollywood makes errors. We fishing film makers make more than most because you only really get one chance when a fish is hooked and you can’t say, ‘Sorry, I wasn’t ready.’ There is no take two.
Stu and I will watch our previous films occasionally and we end up critiquing them which is a polite way of saying we rip them to shreds. As good as something is, it can always be improved.
Occasionally we make a few real cock-ups and when I do a show these days I’ll include them because we’re not perfect and we don’t make out that we are, so it was refreshing to spot a classic cock-up in one of Hugh’s films.
Martin is pictured fishing for barbel. Hugh is on this side of the river looking head-on towards Martin’s rod tip. Sure enough the tip is dragged round and Martin hooks into what is clearly a big barbel somewhere down in the left hand corner of the screen.
Cut to camera two and Martin’s still battling with this barbel, down in the left hand corner of the screen.
Hang on! I reach for the remote and rewind. Sure enough, Martin is fishing on a river that’s flowing to his right. When the camera angle changes to look from behind the river is suddenly flowing to his left. In other words, it’s not the same fish and if it’s the same river then he’s switched banks!
My faith in humanity restored, I watched the rest of the film with a smile on my face. It’s not that it affects the flow (no pun intended) or the quality of the film in any way, it’s just that even the very best can make the kind of cock-ups that we live in fear of making.
I’ve been a reluctant speaker at angling meetings in recent years, mainly because they involve a lot of preparation and the return is pathetic. Some think they’re doing you a favour by offering to pay your petrol expenses whilst they pocket the takings, which from my own personal experience has been anything up to £500 and no-one ever seems to know where it goes.
I can spend a full month putting a show together, laying out the graphics, selecting and editing film clips, sourcing the right music clips, images and so on. The result is that few anglers ever bother to make a proper fist of putting on a show. Angling gets what it pays for and if the fee is peanuts…
I went to a carp show recently. The main speaker, a renowned angler and writer, was blind drunk. He was interviewed on stage and could barely string a sentence together. The other speaker who is as a good a carp angler as you’ll find, was so boring I literally fell asleep… “Here’s me with a fish. Here’s me with another. I saw three bubbles and cast to this.” And so on, ad infinitum.
It’s not good enough to turn up with a box of slides all showing the same angler with a serious look on his face cradling a few wet fish. Folk have seen that and it’s not entertaining; it’s downright boring.
Six years ago I designed a Powerpoint show with lots of graphics, cartoons, diagrams, scenic shots, and of course, fish. I gave it to a few Barbel Society meetings and then I put it to bed.
I think I’ve done three or 4 since, but they were with two different shows.
There’s a challenge to putting on a show, in creating something better each time, to deliver something that’s entertaining, but it doesn’t pay the mortgage. If it did, more people would want to do them and we might get some really interesting speakers on the circuit.
A friend runs a carp group and he reckons that hardly anyone bothers to turn up for the slideshows these days as they’ve seen it all before. Same old faces, same old format. It’s such a shame but there’s no point in making loads of effort if you’re only going to talk to 20 people and get nothing in return for your troubles except a load of grief on the Internet…
Angling needs fresh speakers, creative people who can prepare and deliver a real show with a bit of razzmatazz. I’m sure they’re out there. It’s no harder than designing a web site, surely? The internet is full of folk with outspoken opinions but when it comes to facing a live audience, where are they? Saying that, clubs and societies need to recognise that folk who are going to go on the road and travel the entire country need recompensing as professionals. Otherwise we’ll never shake off the amateur image.
Food for thought.
And after saying all that I’ve already agreed to do three shows this winter. I’ll be speaking at functions organised by the Barbel Specialists, the Tenchfishers and the Ivel Protection Society Hospice appeal, and yes, I’m really looking forward to it.
I run a little competition for club anglers throughout South Yorkshire and the North Midlands called the Green Un Club Match Angler Championship and I’ve been running it for something like a dozen years or more.
It’s very popular and ultimately it involves thousands of anglers. Indeed I’ll defy anyone to show me a more successful club match angler only event in the UK. The fact that the winners share upwards of £8,000 helps.
However, I digress. Running the event keeps me in contact with dozens of club match secretaries and with what’s happening at a lot of fisheries.
The one thing that does stand out is that very few clubs hold matches on rivers or canals any more. We’re losing the skills that I certainly learned on the club match scene – how to fish a stick float, the waggler, moving feeders, the dink-dink and so on. Very soon we’ll be left with no more than an equivalent handful of anglers who can actually fish on moving water unless it’s with a couple of rods pointing skywards.
No, commercial fisheries rule and the more I hear anglers knocking them (frequently on Internet forums) the more I realise how out of touch they are. Commercials are the future of angling.
There, I’ve said it.
Commercials have sucked the blood out of traditional clubs because those clubs failed to move with the times and dinosaurs tend to die out.
Unfortunately the commercials are not all run as well as the best venues are. Even some with past reputations are not always what they seem. Forget the fish. We all know that the first time someone struggles to catch there will be a rumour going round that the fish have all died.
No, we pay a high price to fish commercials and we expect certain things in return but I’m hearing quite a few horror stories lately.
The approach roads to one fishery in Robin Hood country are in such poor repair I hear clubs have refused to return after having exhausts and suspensions damaged.
Another, near Barnsley, is maximising pegs to a ridiculous degree. One club turned up to fish a match, for which they had paid for all the pegs, yet the owner had pleasure anglers standing by having had told them that if every peg was not used in the match they should drop in between the competitors and fish.
Another, where the match peg fee is greater than that for pleasure fishing, insists match anglers leave after the weigh-in or they must pay for a day ticket on top.
And let’s not forget the venues which book two matches on the same pegs on the same day, one fishing 10am till 3pm followed by another from 5pm till 9pm.
It’s a rip off, isn’t it?
Lessons In Retirement
I was mulling over life the other day, as you do, and I was contemplating just what retirement has taught me. The best I could come up with is that daytime TV is mostly rubbish and that lots of people from Nottingham and Bristol appear on the Jeremy Kyle show – why is that?
Is it my imagination, or is it my age? As a nipper the summer holidays lasted for ever and the sun shone every day. Then I grew up, got a job and certain things began to stick in my mind.
Having left school at 15 years old and then avoided getting a job until me mum decided it was time I stopped messing around, I started work on October 4th. And since that fateful day the first weekend of October has always held some kind of significance.
I didn’t start work until Tuesday because I was away fishing that weekend on the Great Ouse at Denver Sluice and Littleport with my local fishing club, Toll Bar Central AC – those were the days. Indeed, the days when blokes went fishing in gabardine macs, a shirt AND a tie.
Since that weekend I’ve always associated the first Saturday of October with the first frosts of the winter. Whenever a National was staged on the Trent, be it the old All-England or the replacement Divisional ones, it was tradition to host it on the first weekend of October. It was the last of the year’s events and it would always fish its nuts off in practise and then fish like a toilet on the big day because the first frost always knocked your chances of catching much on the head. The first frosts coincided with the start of the pike season, too. It was as if God had decided these were the rules.
Well, what’s happened to those rules? We’re half way through October and I’ve not seen hide nor hare of the white stuff yet?
Best gather thee barbel whilst ye can!
Soon be chub time!
It will disappoint some, I know, but I’ve gone Tone deaf for this blog (the spam filter works a treat) but sadly there’s always another fool who’s quick to jump in and fill the vacuum.
I note that the witless ‘Whiskerton’ is at it again, making open threats on the Barbel Fishing Ain’t My World forum. I ask you, how else can one interpret a statement like: “I know where you park your van when you fish the Tidal…”
Sounds distinctly like a threat to me. Or maybe he’s just a stalker? Or perhaps I should be alerting the boys in blue…
It’s probably an empty threat, pretty much like an email I received this week saying ‘You know what I can do…’, but it wouldn’t do if I were to suffer any unexplained vehicle damage now, would it?
Before anyone should jump to wild conclusions I actually nicked the image opposite from a genuine web site called The Chronicles of Proffessor Fligginson wherein you will find ‘The Blobbylog’ and a character called Whiskerton.
No, honestly, I couldn’t believe my eyes, either!
Day 67 reveals:
Whiskerton: Not a problem. I could use a new friend.
PF: I as well. Though I promise to cease the annoying habit that I have developed to try and exchange my friends for goods and services.
Roy: I’m gonna draw stuff on his face when he goes to sleep.
Blobby: Yeah, I was gonna say.
Current Mood: Defeated and Hopeful.
Discoveries Made: Friendship! Do you HEAR ME! FRIENDS FOREVER!
You really couldn’t make that one up if you tried, could you…?
How come blokes who claim to be dyslexic always manage to spell swear words correctly when they leave abusive messages and send me emails…?