March 20, 2013

Something for the weekend...

Its the first day of Spring today...... apparently. The Spring equinox is here again and the weather forecast over the next few days is for yet more cold weather and snow. Ah well, when the season does eventually arrive I reckon its going to do so with such a rush that it will be spectacular and memorable. Incidentally, the fish in my pond are looking for food so their body clock's are on time and I shall be chasing their wild cousins very soon.

But whilst the conditions keep you at home why not buy a good book and bury yourself in someone else's world for a while. I have a fair few angling books - well, hundreds I suppose, my book shelves groan at their weight and there's more dotted around the house, I really must count them one day.

Amongst them are books that have disappointed, mainly it has to be said, carp related books that others have eulogised about but I have found poorly written or just downright dull. Thankfully many of my dusty books have brought me immense pleasure, a few have even been read more than once surely the ultimate honour you can pay to the written word. I should like to recommend a couple of recent acquisitions that have rated 10 out of 10 in my humble opinion.

A Fool And His Eel by Mark Walsingham

You may struggle to get hold of a copy of this book but it is well worth the effort. Despite the esoteric choice of title this book contains no fool and very few eels yet it is one of the finest fishing books ever written, sort of a Casting at the Sun for the 21st Century. Mark is an intelligent and literate man with a wealth of angling experience, mainly after carp it has to be said but other species are well documented in a beautifully written account of his angling life, his progression to being an advisor to the National Trust not to mention owning and running Ashmead fishery in Somerset, the home of natural UK carp to over 50lbs.

The pages just fly past with tales of old English lakes where ancient fish hide, his traditional approach to tackle and methods that he uses to great effect and the making of a superb fishery out of a pool he used to fish as a child. The book is illustrated with countless photographs and illustrations of the highest quality, it really is one that you won't want to end and that you are bound to revisit.

The View From Coal Creek by Erin Block

Many of you will be familiar with Erin's work as her blog is very popular. Erin burst on to the scene a couple of years ago when she began to follow just about every fishing blog going. Who was this American girl taking an interest in our fishing world?

Anyway, those of us that reciprocated and read about her life soon got to know a strong willed (okay bloody minded) individual who was rebuilding her life having moved to a cabin in a canyon despite the possible pitfalls that would challenge her. As good fortune would have it she found herself, a dog, a man and fishing.

The View From Coal Creek is an intelligent, insightful and beautifully observed look at her own life with the birth of a split cane rod as the central character. Anybody who has ever used or even considered using a cane rod would do well to read this book if just to understand the birthing process, no rod had ever been better described. The observations are top quality, any book that contains the line, "...... said Hal in the good humour that comes with time" gets my vote.

By the time the rod finds its way into its bag you will be familiar with the whole cast (no pun intended) and feel as though you sat in on its building and listened in on the gossip at the tackle shop. You will sense just what a special person Erin is and how she has a stature far greater than her frame. You will also yearn to walk the mountain paths to cast a fly in a clear stream to some diminutive but vibrantly patterned trout.

This is a definitely not a fishing book in the traditional sense nor is it a lengthy tome but I found it an immensely pleasing read.

March 11, 2013

Drawing A Line Under It

There's still a few days left of the season yet I've put my gear away and shall not be fishing the river again for over three months. I've drawn a line under the worst season for many years and shall not be sorry to see it pass. Bad weather has been the biggest problem but other things have conspired to reduce the amount of time I've spent on the bank, its just been a lousy year.

On a brighter note I fished a small pool last week with a few guys from one of the forums I look in on. It was bitterly cold and the fish were reluctant to move very much but a few small carp were caught along with plenty of silver fish. We had plenty of laughs along the way and I'm sure I'll be fishing with some of then again in the new season.

I did drop in on my consistent chub swim on Saturday. I don't like fishing the same old swim again and again but the nine or ten anglers staying at the pub had recorded no chub or barbel all week, just a few trout and grayling on maggots so I was keen to demonstrate my prowess to the Three Amigo's Tim, Nick and The Prof. They were fishing the beat where my swim is located and when I rolled up at 1pm nobody was fishing it - game on.

I started to bait it with some maggots but after a single feeder full went in I heard a strangled cry from Nick who had fluked a pike on his lure rod. I ambled over to watch him slip and slide along the treacherous bank as he retrieved his landing net from some distance away, then netted a low double figured pike. It could have gone bigger but he had taken one of the ugliest fish from the river which had a stunted tale and a large dent in its back. I told him in no uncertain terms just what a miserable little fish it was and how he should be ashamed of disturbing the poor creature - well, he had been rather unkind about the fortunes of my football team in mid-week. 

I went on the catch a small chub of a couple of pounds before I lost interest and trudged home. They were all without action apart from The Prof who'd taken another trout albeit only a few ounces. 

Nick was further humiliated when his beloved Everton capitulated to Wigan in the FA Cup. Now I'm not the type of person to gloat but after his mid-week comments I was very happy to swap text messages during and after the game - I believe its called kismet :-)

March 07, 2013


There was no paper to hand so I reached for the pen next to my chair.

I have a frustrating habit for forgetfulness, not just the "what did I come into this room for" forgetfulness but on a slightly grander scale where important issues drift out of my brain as I muddle along distracted like a butterfly seeking nectar.

I have tried to adopt a positive strategy by leaving notes and, when I remember to do so, they work well. As I left for my early morning fishing trip yesterday there by the door, next to my car keys was the A4 sheet stating "Food. Stuff in Garage" as a loud jog to my tired brain. But what good are notes if you don't have paper to hand? By the time paper has been found the thought may be just another lost idea.

Early in my policing days I started to make notes on whatever was at hand, quite literally. Sherlock Holmes (in at least one dramatisation) made notes on his cuffs but I used the base of my thumb. Far less untidy than a the back of the hand scrawled with random times and addresses and much less likely to wear off before the information can be passed on than the palm. And so it was just the other day that I had a thought that evidently needed to be acted upon and, with no paper available I had reached for my pen.  I remember thinking at the time that this was going to be so obvious when I looked back at it that I need only jog my mind with three initials L. F. C. and they were duly inscribed on the 'drum stick' below my left hand.

Several hours later I looked at my hand and there it was LFC........ LFC? What did it stand for? LFC, LFC, Ell Eff Cee, I was confused.


When confronted with initials I tend to make up something to fit them, anything will do its just the way my brain works. This quirk does not help when trying to recall the words that they are supposed to stand for so, after some initial and logical attempts at deciphering my most basic of codes, my mind wanders.............. LFC?

Look For ...... what begins with 'C'. And I really don't recall looking for anything.

Leave For - Don't know many people who's name begins with 'C' and I'm not heading for Cairo or Cardiff.....

Liverpool Football Club - No, that's not it.

Leave Ferne Cotton? No, I'm not that lucky to be in the position.


It went on.............. and on.

We sat down and watched a film during the evening Two hours of wordy drama about the turbulent lives led by a small group of people who's personalities and lifestyle I never engaged with. I couldn't even tell you the film title. I sat, my eyes on the film my brain churning the letters LFC.

Low Flying Cats

Little Fat Canaries

I was not getting any closer.

That night my fitful sleep was interrupted by bouts of insomniac musings ..... LFC?


The next morning I confided in Nicky that I had lost the meaning of a vital piece of information "here" still faintly visible on my hand. "What have I told you about writing things down" she said with one of those looks.

As I looked at the fading letters I began to doubt myself - is that an 'F' or a 'P'? LPC? Ell, Pee, Cee?

No, I can't go through that again, I'm sure its an 'F'.

The day passed with the 'code' bothering me throughout just as it did the next day. I went to bed early as I had an early rise ahead of me. I drifted off quickly only to snap my eyes open at midnight - LFC!

Lump Fish Caviar

It was obvious - wasn't it? I'd read something about using LFC as an additive for early season carping which is something I have done in the past and as this spring the carp are very much in my plans......
I had checked out prices for tins of caviar on the Net and found that one supermarket was doing a three for the price of two offer and the note left to remind me was so that I didn't miss out.

The offer ended the day before.

I told Nicky of my relief and was greeted with "Humph, how long have we been able to afford bloody caviar to feed fish?" in a very supportive way.

I led in my bed relieved that I could rest, annoyed that I had missed the bargain. I needed to remember to check out availability and prices the next day.

There was no paper to hand so I reached for the pen next to the bed and..........