Displaying items by tag: fishing

Middy "Baggin" Wagglers - courtesy of Middy Tackle

The Middy Baggin wagglers come in two colours, white and camo. They are available in a variety of weights to suit all situations. Pre-loaded, they make casting and shotting a doddle.

  • the camo finish waggler is and ideal float for margin use or for up against reed beds
  • the white finish wagglers are great for attracting carp in open water.
  • interchangeable base weights ensure minimal extra shotting is required.
  • Each float is designed and tested for balance and flight in the air
  • An ideal float for commercial carp fisheries !

These baggin wagglers from Middy are amongst the best floats I have used at carp and general commercial fisheries.

Casting (even quite long range) is a doddle with the weighted base and with a range of weights available as well as the handy intechangeable base weights, you have a waggler suitable for all types of fishing. Available in straight and insert varieties, the Middy Baggin Waggler is suitable for all conditions.


Where to buy The Middy Baggin Waggler:
The Middy Baggin Waggler is available from all good tackle suppliers or from Middy Tackle.

For more information or to order these excellent wagglers, visit

A big thank you to Middy Tackle for supplying UK Fisherman with these floats for review.

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Pre-tied fishing rigs from Sticky Sharp Rigs - By Marc

Firstly I would like to thank Paul at UK Fisherman & the guys from 'Sticky Sharp' for giving me the opportunity to try out these rigs, I have been carp fishing for many years now & have always tied my own rigs so when the sample rigs arrived I was semi cautious/excited about using them.

Rigs Tested

The Basic Rig, The Blow Back, The Line Aligner, The Withypool & The Combi-Rig

First Impressions

Dont expect any fancy packaging with these rigs. Each rig arrived in a clear logo-less plastic sleeve with just a brief description hand written on the sleeve.** I must say how nice it was to actually see the whole contents of the sleeve laying perfectly within & not a tangled mess you receive from other rig companies. All five rigs looked as if they had been hand-tied using top quality components & they even had the highly fashionable quick release hoops attached to the main line end.

** Please note that the rigs supplied for review were samples and not the finished article. All sticky Sharp Rigs are supplied with full graphic inserts with text on the reverse. (Paul, UK Fisherman)

The Tests

Would these rigs withstand the abuse of everyday carp fishing on the end of my Ballista's? fishing against snags & lily pads? fished with pva bags attached? More importantly would they pass the on the bank knot test?

At this point I must emphasis just how important it is to check all your terminal gear before casting out, knot checks, hook sharpness check etc

The Basic Rig
The Basic RigAs many of you will know this is a no frills rig, simple construction, simple mechanics, a rig found in many carp anglers rig wallets all over the UK/Europe including my own.

The hook was perfectly tied to the soft braided material, the braided material was smooth, kinkless & unfraid. As with any rig tied to my mainline a thorough test is undertaken on all knots. The rig passed all bankside abuse I could throw at it. Laying the rig in the shallow margins of the lake things looked good, hook link camoflage looked good & with the use of a pva nugget on the hook the whole rig came to rest nicely on the bottom.

With bait & pva bag attached the rig was chucked to around 70yds, things seemed to land in a nice straight line & the pva nugget floated up to the surface from the hook below ... I was happy. Thirty or so minutes later I was more than happy when a carp of around 15lb was lying on my mat, the hook had caught hold just off the middle of the bottom lip ... good enough for me. As I do with all my rigs after a capture, I recheck the setup. Bearing in mind the carp did take me through two lily beds all looked very good. I did however slip my sharpen stone lightly over the hook a few times. The rig was rebaited & recast to the same spot. I did get another run on this rig but lost the fish in the lily pads, the rig came back with a slightly fraid hook link, the hook looked good for another carp but was replaced.

The Blow Back Rig
The Blow Back RigThis rig is one of my all time favourite rigs. For many years I have used this type of rig. This is my favoured rig when used in conjunction with pop-ups or snowman baits. The rig was perfectly constructed, the only modification I made to this rig was the length of the hook link. I do prefer my hook links quite short & after some minor adjustments the rig looked good. Once baited & attached to the mainline I again dropped the rig into the margin to check the presentation. Again I was more than happy. It looked very good & blended in very well with the lake bed. A small counter balance was added under the hook just to sink the hook bait down & it was ready for the lake.

Cast out to the already baited area once again the pva nugget popped to the surface & I added a few freebies over the spot. It wasn't long before the delkim alerted me to some action, the bobbin rose then gently slid down indicating a drop back. I tightened to the lead & struck, the battle was short lived. On retreaving the rig Ii noticed the hair had become tangled around the bend of the hook. I'm not sure whether this was down to the length of the hair or rejection of the boilie from the carps mouth?

I shortened the hair & with the use of some pva string I tied the hair tightly down the shank of the hook to the bend, this should keep any tangles down to the minimum while casting out. Just to make sure & give me peace of mind I inserted the hook link into a pva stocking & recast. After three hours I had landed two carp on this rig & after the minor modifications I was 100% confident in the rig. If the hook hadn't felt & looked so dull Ii would of probably left it on!

The Line Aligner Rig
The Line Aligner RigThis is another very popular rig, not too much different from the Basic Rig apart from the use of the shrink tube at the hooks eye. Great looking rig, nicely constructed ... so I thought?

As with all the rigs, I put them under a knot test using the Korda Knot Puller. This is where the hook link parted about half way along its length. I couldn't see any visible fault/damage in the link it just snapped. Sadly this hooklink was taken apart, hook/QR link were saved for later use on my own hook link material.

The Withypool Rig
The Withypool RigPersonally im not a great fan of this rig but I gave it go on my third rod, the rig passed all the knot tests & looked good in the margin with a single 18mm pop-up attached. I was very impressed with the silicon/shrink tube used on this rig. After several pulls & tugs on it, it went back to its original pre-steamed shape ... well impressed. As I said earlier, a single pop-up was attached & cast just off the baited area. The reason for this being I was receiving several liners on the other two rods.

I sat there wondering about the rig, thinking how crude it looked, trying to understand why & how it works so well for so many anglers around the country when to my amazement I was in! Amazed & shocked when laying on my mat was my first twenty of the season & it fell to a rig I had little confidence in. After checking the hook & its components it was re-baited & cast to the same spot with greater confidence & high expectations. Within the hour I hand landed another carp just short of 18lb on this rig & quickly tied up my version of this rig & cast out just before night fall.

Excellant rig, thumbs held up high on this one guys!!!!!!!!

The Combi Rig
The Combi RigThis rig & variations of this rig have been knocking around for years and it has accounted for loads of carp up & down the country. Like all the rigs, it looked the business, nicely tied, hook sharpness 100% and the knot test passed with no problems. Not even any knot slip, which is quite common when using these coated hook links.

One useful tip when using these styles of rigs is to slightly heat the coated area of the link before casting out, just to make the link nice & straight & to stop any coils from occuring during use.

This was a very friendly rig to use, sadly no fish were caught upon it but it didn't tangle, the outer coating didn't start to peel off like some other brands do and it laid nicely on the lake bed. I did add a few drops of Tungsten Putty up the link just for peace of mind. I apply this tactic to most of my hooklinks nowadays.


When asked to test these rigs I was a little reserved as for many years I have tied all my rigs myself.

  • As I said before I liked the way the rigs were packaged, you could see what you were buying, no tangled messes at the bottom of a fancy looking display bag.
  • All the hooks were beautiful & sharp.
  • The addition of the QR hoop at the end of the link was a nice touch as well as the knots that were all shrink tubed.
  • Apart from one of the hooklinks snapping when testing i was pleased with all the materials used.
  • Some of the hook links were a little long for my preference, but easily adjusted.
  • To my surprize the Withypool Rig out fished the other rigs accounting for five carp including a twenty. Two carp fell to the Blow Back Rig & two to the Basic Rig.

So overall i was very impressed with the rigs & would have confidence in attaching them to my mainline.

I highly recommend these rigs. Thanks to the guys at Sticky Sharp for a great product.


Where to buy the The Sticky Sharp Rigs

Check out their website at where you can buy these excellent rigs online.

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FREE and PREMIUM fishery, fishing club or tackle store listings at UK Fisherman

Submit your fishery, fishing holiday destination, fishing club or tackle store for inclusion at UK Fisherman, one of the largest fishing databases in the UK. FREE basic listings available or why not give your fishing business the best possible exposure with our PREMIUM listings, outstanding value at only only £50 per year.

NEW FOR 2011:

(1) Our Channel Islands fishing holidays section is now up and running. Free and premium listings available for all Channel Islands fishing holidays.
(2) Our international fishing venue section is now up and running too. We are offering free and premium venue listings to European and Worldwide fisheries.


Any UK based fishery, fishing holiday destination, fishing club /association or tackle store can take advantage of our PREMIUM listing service at UK Fisherman. They represent excellent value currently priced at ONLY £50 per year *

All premium listings consist of a whole page dedicated to promoting your business here at UK Fisherman. A typical venue listing would include the following:

  • fishery address
  • contact details
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  • venue facilities
  • travel directions / link to map (if required)
  • General fishery summary
  • details of individual lakes - species, best baits, tactics etc
  • fishery rules

View an example of what a PREMIUM listing could look like >>


To apply for a PREMIUM listing for your fishery, tackle store of angling club, send us a message by clicking here >>


Any UK based fishery, fishing holiday destination, fishing club /association or tackle store can take advantage of our free listing service at UK Fisherman. Our listings are organised at county level, and fisheries are further split into coarse or game venues.

Basic listings give you three lines of information to include:

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Published in website

The Sea Trout Diaries By R.W. Mountjoy

Theory, strategy, tactics and sea trout

A self confessed obsessive fisherman describes how he came to specialise in angling for sea trout. Determined to develop the skills and knowledge to lure this most challenging of fish he sought out previous generations of Tavy fishermen in the hope that they would give away their secrets. Culturing these cantankerous ‘old timers’ proved as difficult as catching the fish they pursued, but persistence paid off and gradually they began to share their knowledge.

Joining these eccentrics as darkness fell by running waters, the author was introduced to the cult of West Country peal fishermen. Waiting for that magic time when colour seeped from the valley and under a cloak of darkness the fish may move to the fly, he was party to discussions on philosophy, psychology, sociology, even anthropology, and fishing.

The advice and guidance imparted by the ancients and treasured by the author, is supplemented by his own experience and preserved in The Sea Trout Diaries.

It convincingly explains, for possibly the first time, why a fish programmed not to eat while in fresh water may be tempted to take a lure. Clearly set out strategies, for both day and night fishing are detailed with given tactics for all conditions.

This is a real fishing book for serious fisherman. The writer is passionate about his fishing and expresses his opinions without hesitation.

It is unashamedly controversial!

Published by: The Crapstone Press
Detail: 168 pages, 11 diagrams and 126 photographs
RRP: £19.99

Where to Buy:

The Sea Trout Diaries is available on line through Amazon or can be collected from the Snowbee Tackle Shop in Plymouth.

Purchase the Sea Trout Diaries from Amazon

For further information and to order copies of this fabulous book directly from the author*, please contact:

R. Mountjoy
12 Morley Drive
PL20 7UY

* price £21.50 including p&p

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Published in Various
Priory Farm Fishing Lakes, Surrey

Fishing Diary February 2008A quick jaunt down the M25 and I was soon driving down quiet country lanes just outside Reigate in Surrey, on my way to sample the excellent fishing at Priory Farm Fishing Lakes. The sun shone through the window and I was full of the joys of spring and looking forward to some well earned time away from work.

Priory Farm Fishing Lakes offer superb coarse and carp fishing on four lakes, all well stocked with crucian carp, roach, perch, tench, rudd, bream, and of course, stunning carp to 30lb. A mere 20 miles from Central London, Priory Farm Lakes are within easy reach and members only fishing means the lakes remain under fished and the quality of the fish is always second to none.

Priory LakeI met up with Ian Ford, the Fisheries Manager at Priory Farm who drove me up to the car park. He suggested I try out Priory lake, as despite the recent cold weather, it had been fishing reasonably well.

The fishing on Priory Lake offers great year round sport and according to Ian, the carp, which are close to the original wild carp, will definitely give you a good fight !!

Most baits had been working well Ian remarked and taking his advise I set up two rods, one with a method feeder and single boilie cast as near to the island as I dared and one with a waggler fished hard on the bottom with pellets for hook baits. I offered only a few morsels of loose feed as I expected that bites might be hard to come by after a cold night.

Bites were indeed hard to come by, in fact they were pretty much non existent. I was also troubled by the resident swans who were certainly in feeding mood, even if the fish weren't. After a couple of hours on Priory Lake with no action whatsoever, I decided enough was enough and moved the short distance to Hogtrough Lake where I hoped for better luck.

Hogtrough lake is the youngster at Priory Farm although the lake is maturing nicely with the island and bank side vegetation growing rapidly. Apparently the fishing can sometimes be a little harder than the other lakes although the rewards are well worth putting in the extra effort, especially if targeting the resident hard fighting carp which go to 30lb.

As I neared Hogtrough Lake, I noticed there was one other angler trying his luck so I decided to pick his brains about what methods and baits worked well on Hogtrough. The angler in question turned out to be George, a regular at Priory Farm Lakes for many years. George was fishing the pole at 4m and because of the cold weather, with water temperatures not much above 0 deg c, he was using extremely fine tackle and tiny baits.

George, a regular at Priory LakesHe explained that he always fished a different swim at Priory Lakes, still keen to learn as much about the fishery as he was when he first fished the lakes over 16 years ago.

Although he was keen to pass some of his knowledge onto a newbie like myself, he certainly wasn't going to reveal all his secrets that he had amassed over many years of studying and fishing and the lakes at Priory Farm.

He was keen to retain a certain edge over everyone else ... and who can blame him.

George estimated that a crowded day at Priory Lakes would see a maximum of around 10 anglers on each lake. Compare this to a day ticket commercial fishery and you can see why this members only fishery is so attractive.

I could have stayed talking with George all afternoon but I had come to sample the fishing, so decided I had better get back to it. Using the same two methods I had started with on Priory Lakes, I recast my rods and hoped that as temperatures had risen slightly from the morning session, I could tempt a few fish to have a quick meal.

Unfortunately, this was not the case and the net stayed dry all day. George did manage one perch of around an ounce but I'm sorry to say that was all. Strangely though I was not too disappointed. For a townie like me, being in such stunning countryside with only the sound of the trees rustling in the wind and the odd bird singing was pleasure enough. Of course I would have liked to catch some fish, but that can wait until next time.

So what are my first impressions:

  • Stunning location
  • superbly maintained lakes and pegs
  • un crowded and under fished
  • easy to find and get to (even for me in West London, the drive was only around 45mins)
  • really friendly and helpful fisheries manager (Ian Ford)

I can't wait to get back to Priory Farm and try my luck once more.

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Published in Diary

How to become the ‘luckiest fisherman on earth!’:

Source: Tim Richardson, author of Big Carp Bait Secrets

Have you ever wondered why one ‘lucky guy’ seems to catch the biggest fish again and again, while the majority of other fishermen just seem to get the average catches? Why is that?

Many of us would love to catch those big catfish, carp, bass, trout etc, every time we go fishing. It may just be that the guy is a genius angler, but real fishing success is often simply about using bait that is more effective than most other anglers baits at getting round fishes natural fears and resistance to eating it!...

But how can we achieve this? Well here’s a few of some of the best most proven methods of increasing your catches, especially for carp and catfish, but can be applied very effectively to many other species:

1. Try taking a look at the most popular baits where you fish and eliminate any similarity your homemade bait has with them. This especially applies to your own unique fishing bait recipe or formulas. This removes the fishes ‘danger reference points’. This gives your bait a massive ‘edge’ because the fish will not associate your bait with danger, anything like as much as with the baits everyone else are using - afterall , the whole point of a bait is simply to fool the fish into taking a hook into it’s mouth!

2. Make your bait different sizes, odd shapes, density, colors, flavors, with different attractors and additives, the more different to the usual bait the fish experience, the more effective your bait will be potentially be. Making your own bait puts the odds back in your favor and the power back into your hands - literally!

3. Absolutely pack your baits with “powerful ‘free amino acids’ (the type bodybuilders use as a liquid protein food supplement.) Even if you’re making a proprietary bait using a ‘commercial base mix’ that anyone can purchase, this will really set your bait apart and make it preferable to fish!

4. Pack bait with minerals, vitamins and trace elements - get a health tonic supplement from your local drug store. Very few people realize that these are in fact amazing attractors in their own right! An astounding edge is to massively increase the attractiveness and soluble nutritional message leaking from your bait, by soaking your hook bait in a mixture if fresh liquidized sweet corn, molasses and liquid protein food (so-called ‘free amino acids.)

5. It has been proven that when tested carp were provided with a number of complete foods providing all their nutritional requirements, preferred the food that had been sweetened. Eg, try sweetening honey and molasses , fruit sugar (fructose), or saccharin.

6. Add Sea salt to your bait - this is one of the most proven and unbelievable fish feeding triggers, and a great nutritional taste enhancer full of minerals. Nearly every animal and fish cannot live without salt!

7. For many fish including catfish and carp, pack your bait with fresh good quality digestible protein - it doesn’t need to be a large proportion, no more than a third of your bait. Ingredients such as trout pellet powder, meat and poultry meals, blood meal, fish meals and shellfish meals and liver powder are great. Add energy rich carbohydrates to provide balanced nutrition and binding. For example, soya flour, semolina, or even ordinary white or brown wheat flour. For carp try adding some wheat germ it has excellent properties!

8. Add a small amount of oil to your bait for a balanced nutritional value. For catfish this could be you favorite fish oil. For carp the best is probably pure cold pressed hemp oil -it’s natures ‘super food’ and is one of the richest and most healthy and nutritional oils known to man and fish!

9. Give your bait some protein that’s been ‘predigested’ or ‘hydrolyzed.’ This is easily achieved by adding a small amount of proprietary powder, like predigested liver, fish meal or shellfish extracts to your bait; available from bait companies all across the worldwide web. This method is incredibly effective, improving the fish attractive ‘amino acid profile of your bait. Fish are extremely efficient at detecting and utilizing amino acids, and you may well find that with the higher the rate of inclusion of these highly fish digestible ingredients, your catches and numbers of bigger fish soar too!

10. Allow your bait to ‘cure’ for 3-4 days prior to use; this allows your bait to start to ferment and lets bacterial enzymes release alcohols, sugars and increase the level of predigested proteins in your bait; all amazingly extremely good fish feeding triggers and attractors. See the difference this makes to your catches!

11. If you use ‘boilies’ rather than paste or dough baits, try chopping edges off your hook baits as if other fish have been ‘playing with your bait and taking small chunks out of it; this can really make the bigger fish ‘feel’ safer when they sample your hook baits - try piecing your hook baits right through to release the maximum attraction even from the center of your bait; it really works!

12. Try wrapping your bait and your hook (except the point) in a paste or dough. Try a mixture of ordinary flour, marmite, parmesan cheese, garlic granules, curry spices, sea salt, eggs and liquid amino acids - this mixture is pure ‘dynamite’ and really makes ‘em bite!

13. One of the most successful paste / dough baits of recent times is made from a mixture of fish meal and a couple of predigested ingredients like predigested fish meals, or predigested shellfish extracts. Try binding them together with just ordinary flour and loads of liquid amino acids / protein food supplement. ( But no eggs.) Experiment with different proportions to get your dough / pate to hold and last on your hook for different times. When you ‘bait up’ or ‘chum your swim with free baits like this, to attract the fish - hold on to your rod/s!!!

14. Add natural ingredients to your bait, for example, bird foods contain all kinds of fantastic foods fish love, like insects, seeds, grubs and worms. Many times, these encourage smaller fish to find your bait, and these can lead the bigger ones to your hook...

15. Add a ‘crunch factor’ to your bait - many fish have food detectors inside their gills, and allowing fish to experience eating your bait like it was natural food, eg, like shrimps or snails or mussels, is a great way to ‘turn them on’ and get more confident feeding and more bites!

16. If you use ‘boilies for carp catfish, etc there is a simple method of improving them: If you buy your baits frozen in a bag, then open them up and let them defrost and ‘warm up for 3-4 days in advance of fishing. This gives bacterial enzymes the time to start breaking down your baits and releasing very attractive alcohols, sugars and amino acids for example. It really works well for better catches and can even promote quicker bites!

Making and adapting your own and readymade shop - bought baits to make them different to the rest, and far more effective than normal is a science, and a very satisfying 'art'. When you have armed yourself with a range of great baits, the confidence you feel is awesome, and especially satisfying when you’ve ‘designed them and make them yourself!

I could show you many real life examples of how using edges like these and others, have resulted in fantastic big fish catches.

I love researching and writing about fishing bait because it is one of the fastest short-cuts to success! I am into bait in a big way, having even researched the subject with a PhD biochemist to reveal the reasons why and how baits really work to catch fish. I’ve found that a little bait knowledge can catch you more fish, but the more you know - the more consistent your catches can become - and the more big fish you catch!

The truly amazing thing is, ANY angler can achieve truly amazing catches with just enough of the right bait knowledge!.. Then other anglers will wonder what his ‘secret to success’ is...

Want to learn more about the "secrets" of caching big fish,
check out Tim's website at:

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Published in Carp Fishing Articles
The Deadliest Catch DVD

Think you’ve got a raw deal? Just wait until you hear about these guys. Battling against forty-foot waves and freezing temperatures is all a part of the daily routine for the Alaskan crab fishermen in Deadliest Catch – Series 2.

Routine brushes with death are all in a days work.

The Deadliest Catch Series 2The hugely successful Discovery Channel series was nominated for seven primetime Emmys, and series 1 garnered a huge following with in excess of 3 million UK viewers. Deadliest Catch Series 2 will be released as a lavishly packaged five DVD set, featuring over 500 minutes of fantastic footage, on 28 January 2008 courtesy of Demand DVD.

This amazing documentary examines the fascinating lives of Alaskan crab fishermen as they struggle to survive in one of the most deadly vocations around. With an injury rate of almost 100%, this adventure is not for the faint-hearted. The Discovery Channel crew take us across the Bering Sea in search of the highly lucrative crab. With just a few weeks to reach their quota, these men must find what they so desperately seek, or risk going hungry the rest of the year. For this, they willingly jeopardise everything.

Competing against Mother Nature is a struggle, but with mounting pressure from regulatory institutions, these men must battle to keep their lives and income; as well as their heritage.

Follow the compelling lives of these blue-collar men as they encounter the perils of the Bering Sea. Discover the ups and downs and near death experiences all from the comfort and safety of your own armchair. Catch reality TV at its exciting best.

Extras: Second Deadliest Job In The World, Life On A Boat

Title: The Deadliest Catch - Series 2
Release date: 28th January 2008
Running time: 510 mins
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: Exempt

Further Information:

For further information, to discuss competitions, clips or any other press materials please contact Debbie Murray at Aim Publicity on 020 8292 2818 or email

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Published in Various

Endangered Species: The Bart & The Bounder's Countryside Year

The hidden voice of the countryside in all its beauty

“This lovely book chronicles the rustic ramblings of two extraordinary characters through a Britain that has all but disappeared, where there is still a real quality of life and man is altogether kinder to his fellow man”
Chris Tarrant

Sir Richard Heygate and Michael Daunt, cousins and best friends, have shared a consuming passion for the British countryside ever since they sat on adjacent potties . In a quest to find out what is really happening to the fabric of our land, and the remarkable people that make up its unique heritage, the ‘Bart’ and the ‘Bounder’, as they are affectionately known, set out on a year-long journey that has taken them the length and breadth of the British Isles, from the River Towy in Wales to the Inner Hebrides, the mighty Tweed on the Scottish borders, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Ireland, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Sussex, the Midlands and places in-between. The result is a compellingly readable book, full of colourful, quirky, funny and moving stories.

Endangered Species brings together the unique voices of over 100 unforgettable characters – poachers, gypsies, rat catchers, gillies, spud-pickers, art dealers, fishermen, dukes and earls – they met on the way. It gives voice to a wide range of views to reveal a fast-vanishing, secret world in all its glory throughout a countryside year.

There is no doubt: our countryside is under threat. But after eating hedgehog with the Romany, tickling trout, meeting the White Witch of Cornwall, rat-catching in Yorkshire, wildfowling in Norfolk, boar-hunting on Paul McCartney’s land in Sussex, joining innovative poachers in East Anglia, mackerel fishing in Lyme Regis with Deep Purple’s lead singer Mike Curle, finding out why Queen Victoria took up her knitting needles for the gypsies and celebrating an uproarious Christmas in Ireland, the Bart and the Bounder find much to celebrate in their tall tales of a largely unheard, yet still-vibrant community.

The Bart and the Bounder first came to prominence in a critically acclaimed BBC2 TV special of that name shown in spring 2006. It drew an audience of nearly 3 million. This, their new book has been equally warmly received:

"Like a pair of disreputable Victorian villains [the Bart and the Bounder] have confessed their sins in a wonderful book… What makes the tales in their book such a treat is that the pair not only ransacked their long memories and old game books for anecdotes but actually went out on the road together… travelling Britain , ferreting out old acquaintances - gamekeepers, gypsies, coal miners - and quizzing them about their secrets of the countryside.”
Daily Telegraph

“Learn from their mistakes (such as eating hedgehog) and laugh with them over a pint of real ale. Their tales provide a fascinating insight into country ways of life that are more usually hidden. You should be left feeling, as Daunt and Heygate do, that you have been privileged to discover such a rapidly fading aspect of the world.”
The Field

“ To read the hilarious tales of the Bart (Sir Richard Heygate) and the Bounder (Mike Daunt) is to meet them. That they are equally at home on bar stools or with barmaids – busty or blonde – is a double joy … They understand [the real countryside’s] camaraderie between mammals, the elements, the pub fireside and each other… The Bart and the Bounder have produced a five-star book which is a blazing beacon on a distant hillside.”
Country Life

Endangered Species [is] a book in which the duo record their colourful encounters with numerous horny-handed sons of toil – poachers, rat-catchers, gillies, game-keepers, spud-pickers, fisherman – and present readers with glimpses of a vanishing but still vibrant rural community… There are some fine descriptive passages and many amusing anecdotes.”
Daily Mail

“Their year is spent travelling month by month… to these intriguing areas of our land, meeting old friends and making new ones – poachers, gamekeepers, dukes and estate owners – winning over even the most wary… The Bart and the Bounder’s sincerity, integrity and love for the countryside and its laws are always evident… This book is huge fun, written with vivacity and peopled by characters whom politicians and political correctness would rather airbrush out of modern life. I’d recommend this as an ideal gift for the cantankerous, the inquisitive and the open-minded — teetotallers and vegetarians excepted.”
Daily Express

The Bart: Sir Richard Heygate is descended on the paternal side from the personal banker to the Grand Old Duke of York, and on the maternal, from a long line of Celtic Kings and Queens – as well as from the leading collector of Georgian pornography in Victorian England. He started his career selling used cars in a seamy East End showroom, but eventually got a ‘proper job’ joining first IBM and then management consultancy McKinsey. The death of his equally eccentric father (chiefly known for running off with Evelyn Waugh’s wife) gave him the family rundown estates in Northern Ireland , where he built a full scale fish smoking factory. When not fishing with his cousin, the Bounder, the Bart runs a software company. Richard has been married three times and has fathered three children.

The Bounder: “With a voice like damson jam” (The Guardian) Mike Daunt currently runs the Hugh Falkus School of Spey Casting, the best known casting school in Britain , teaching the rich and famous this beautiful art. Among his clientele are Jeremy Paxman, Chris Tarrant, Ronnie Corbett, Fiona Armstrong and rock legend Eric Clapton. He was educated at Rugby and – very reluctantly as he would far rather have been an actor – Sandhurst , where his commanding officer wrote: “Men will follow this officer anywhere – if only out of a sense of curiosity.” Mike too is on his third marriage and has three sons and a daughter.

Where to Buy:


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Anya Noakes / Rebecca Dix

020 7483 2005

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Published in Various
The Incomplete Angler by Robin Shelton

One Man's Search for his Ultimate Fishing Experience

A warm and funny account of one man's attempt to discover why fishing is so important to him.

When Robin was a boy, fishing with his father was an integral and much-loved part of family holidays, but as an adult he fished infrequently, with terrible technique and rare success. Until one day, feeling inspired to supplement the vegetables from his allotment with nature's free bounty, fish, he tentatively decided to try again. Full of dizzy excitement at all the equipment available - the rods, the reels, the rigs, the lures, the tackle box complete with light in its lid, into which everything packed so beautifully - he embarked on his journey as a born-again angler.

What follows is a funny, touching and (even occasionally) informative book about Britain's most popular sport. From beachcasting off the stormy Pembrokeshire coast to flyfishing for trout in tranquil Hertfordshire, Robin shares his experiences, his successes and failures, and even some of his favourite recipes. Along the way he discovers exactly why anglers feel so passionate about their chosen sport.

The perfect book for anyone looking for a moment of calm in this hectic life.

Title: The Incomplete Angler by Robin Shelton
Release date: 4th April 2008
RRP: £12.99
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Chapter One: Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos and Geeks

"The fisherman loves his tackle. It is an obsessive love and, like most obsessions, irrational. Golfers do not, after all, talk fondly about their three irons; footballers don’t hurry home after a game to polish up the ball. Yet anglers will spend hours debating the relative merits of rods, reels, lines, bits of metal, plastic, fur and feather which to any impartial passer-by look nearly identical"
Jeremy Paxman, Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life

Most men, if pushed, would grudgingly (or in my case quite enthusiastically) acknowledge that they are gear freaks. What is perhaps less well understood is that, by some strangely apposite spooneristic quirk, the admission of this trait automatically confirms us as much freer geeks. I wish to inspect some of the reasons for this predominantly masculine characteristic (the acquisition and categorization of gadgets often seemingly for its own sake) later on; however, I should like to pause for a moment here to consider the notion of the ‘geek’, with particular reference to its largely derogatory overtones.

I don’t think that a great deal of new ground is being broken when I suggest that the post-feminist male has become confused, emasculated and, well, a bit screwed up. Rightly or wrongly (overwhelmingly the latter – I am all for equality), until the mid twentieth century, men generally ‘controlled’ women and, since the advent of feminism, women have, rightly or wrongly (overwhelmingly the latter – I am all for equality) increasingly taken an upper hand. A friend of mine has a lovely phrase to follow ‘As much use as a . . .’ (‘chocolate teapot’, ‘one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest’, etc.). His is ‘a man in an advert’. At times I think this is funny, but at others it makes me want to weep. At least it would do if I felt entirely comfortable about weeping. It strikes me that men have been shovelled into a corner where we are implored to show our feelings, but when we do we often get branded as weak, lily-livered and oversensitive. We get the sense that we should be ‘real men’, but haven’t got any idea exactly what that is any more. We have, rightly, lost our previous ‘control’ over women; however, instead of the two sexes achieving some kind of mutually beneficial equilibrium, the pendulum seems to have swung the other way. When I was a teenager, it was deemed perfectly acceptable to bandy the phrase ‘A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’ around like some kind of whimsical charm. This sort of glibness may well have spelled liberation for a generation of women. For my generation of men it has spelled redundancy. Besides, it is a phrase that seems to desert women’s mouths when they can’t get the U-bend back on underneath the kitchen sink. So, men have not only – rightly – in one sense lost control, but have also – wrongly – been made to feel in some ways outcast, superfluous and belittled. If one more person remarks to Jackie, my girlfriend, on seeing me cooking, washing up or doing the laundry that she’s got me ‘well trained’ I swear on my father’s grave I shall clout them. Ladies, you wanted out of the kitchen. Well, that’s fine, but who did you think was going to fill the space – a fish on a bicycle?

Spleen vented, my point is this: there are precious few activities that a lot of men feel justified in being involved in right now without having a snort and a ‘Huh – typical man!’ fired at them. Drinking until they fall over, brawling, meaningless sex, swearing and having farting competitions spring to mind, but women are even catching up in these departments, it seems. Is it even a small wonder, then, that us blokes have an unquenchable urge to scuttle off to our sheds (literal or metaphorical) and fiddle with stuff – organize it, clean it, play with it, practise using it, talk about it with our similarly disenfranchised mates? And what do we get labelled as by women as well as by less enlightened men (those with the thumbprints on their foreheads) when we do? Geeks. Anoraks. Saddos. Losers. Not very-well trained ones at that.

So, to prove my manliness once and for all, I needed to do something dirty; something atavistically motivated; something primal – I was going to be needing some porn. Okay, so in the context of fishing I naturally don’t mean the various mags which are usually ranked over the top shelves of newsagents, furtively hiding behind each other like the giggling, pointing schoolboys who are too timid to buy them, and that contain usually tawdry photographs of bored-looking women clutching and staring at a breast as if vaguely surprised at having just found it. No – when I say ‘porn’, I mean in the sense conjured up by my dear friend Jeremy: ‘geek porn’. Jeremy should know. He’s got mountains of it, and what he doesn’t know about railways isn’t worth a hump-shunter.

Geek porn is the paraphernalia – magazines, books, videos, DVDs and now, of course, the unfathomable depths of the Internet – that surrounds any given activity. It is the stuff with which the geek cossets himself (or, more rarely, herself ) with in the absence of the real thing. It represents access to a vicarious experience of an unavailable activity. The similarities in format between the top-shelf flesh-fetish mags and those of less corporeal interest are staggering. Alongside graphic, well-lit studio shots of models, there appear less professional, but equally well-intentioned, grainy photographs of the readers’ loved ones. In the text are to be found ‘real-life stories’, swapping opportunities and small-print advertisements intended only for the most hardcore and hard-to-satiate reader. However, enough of Model Railway Journal, or indeed the singling out of any one discipline or publication. For virtually any pastime, hobby or occupation there is a periodical that underpins and informs it. Teddy bears? Yup. Cross stitch? You bet. Investment banking? I’m afraid so. All these publications feature, in full detail and often in lurid colour, the techniques, tackle and terminology associated with the activity in question.

Fishing is no exception. I found myself one day browsing the shelves of WH Smith’s in Winchester (it’s more anonymous than the local shop), and found the array of publications devoted to fishing in general to be quite overwhelming. After considering buying Total Carp merely for the sheer genius of its title, and perhaps to ascertain whether there might be a market for a sister, sea-based journal entitled Utter Pollack, I reminded myself that I was, at that time, interestedly solely (however much I try to avoid fish- and fishing-based puns, some are inevitable) in sea angling. Happily, this reduced the choice from approximately the twenty mark to exactly the two mark. There was a brace of mags that were dedicated solely to sea fishing, and I was tempted to snap them both up right there, but I remained daunted somehow. A glance at their covers suggested that their intended readership might have had a little more knowledge at their disposal than knowing what mackerel look like. I had a basic grasp of fishing techniques from boyhood, but felt that I may be wasting my time and money by buying a publication whose cover kindly promised to help me ‘Understand Magnetic Brakes’ when I didn’t know what they were. Besides, I just didn’t feel I was ready to have ‘Pro Worm Digging Secrets’ revealed to me. I left Smith’s feeling horribly inadequate and uninformed – as if I was missing something that everyone else took for granted. I needed to have someone point out the very basics to me before I could buy with any degree of confidence a magazine that reviewed ‘six stunning reels’ without assuming that they would be discussing the relative merits of half a dozen devices that you throw at fish in an attempt to knock them out.

Bearing this in mind, one sunny, chilly and breezy half-term day, I told my two sons that we were going to trawl the charity shops for ‘whatever we fancied’. I gave them a fiver each and proceeded to lay out the rest of the ground rules in an attempt to disguise the fact that this trip was, in fact, a way of bribing them into accompanying me on a hunt for fishing books. I explained that, with the exception of real porn and hard drugs (not likely finds in the average Cancer Relief shop) they could spend their money on pretty much anything they liked. The pay-off for this fiscal autonomy was that as soon as they had spent it they would then have to lurch from one famine/cancer/poverty/injustice-of-some-kind-or-another relief shop to another while watching their old man looking for books about fishing and reminiscing about his happy boyhood holidays and his two-piece fibreglass rod with a cork handle. If there is a better way of teaching your children the value and benefit of being cautious about how – and how quickly – you should spend your money, I should love to hear about it. I’ve found that it works even more effectively if you have previously spent a good deal of time with them standing ankle deep in mud on your allotment and spouting misty-eyed twaddle about your dead dad. Scares them stupid.

Gabriel, then eleven years old and teetering over an ever-lowering cusp between boyish enthusiasm and adult maturity, chose a rather fetching dark-grey and red hooded jacket that I had a suspicion Dylan was also eyeing up for future use after Gabriel had outgrown it. Gabe also found himself a ‘so achingly dull we are giving them away with a magazine’ edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He also bought, in a gesture that made my nose tingle and my eyes swell with proud tears, a mug for Dylan glazed with a cartoon of two aliens and the words ‘Best Brother on the Planet’. Finally, I think he cheated and spent a pound on sweets but what the hell – I made sure that they were chewy ones, which would at least keep him quiet for a bit while I made grumbling noises about the lack of fishing books.

Dylan was also faring a lot better than me, largely because his criteria were as broad as the open ocean. Whereas I was targeting a definite species – fishing books and only fishing books – he was casting a great big net with tiny small holes in it with the sole intention of bagging himself some ‘stuff ’, and when you are seven, a fiver can get you an awful lot of it. The stuff he got himself, like Gabriel’s practical, educational and altruistic purchases, perhaps spoke more about him than some clunky words ever will. He bought himself a toy similar to a Rubik’s Cube but with about twenty-three sides, much more fluorescently coloured stickers and, it turned out, far less stamina than its original inspiration. He then found himself a pair of hand-knitted red and light-grey fingerless gloves for 79p (I have a feeling that he was bearing Gabe’s coat in mind as he did so – they’ll go nicely together). Next was a ‘100’-piece dinosaur jigsaw puzzle, which actually turned out to contain 96. I toyed with the idea of taking it back under trade description and fitness for purpose legislation, until I remembered that it had come from a shop that funds a children’s hospice. I don’t know, it just seemed kind of mean and churlish somehow. He also desperately wanted to find something for Gabriel in return for his mug. I tried to help him, but we couldn’t really find anything that we thought he would really like. I reassured Dylan that there was no need to reciprocate immediately. I also put a gentle, paternal arm round him and whispered that you should only buy something for someone when you really feel the urge to do so, if you are sure they will like it and if there really is absolutely nothing else that you fancy for yourself. Superdad was on form that day.

I became distracted by, and more than a little tight-lipped about, the fact that, in Winchester , there is apparently no such thing as fishing. In the past I have stumbled across, and occasionally bought, some wonderfully arcane and unusual titles in charity shops – Famous People and Their Illnesses, Sewerage Apparatus or, a personal favourite, Fangs – The Life of a Gardening Dentist – and that day I could have added a couple of blinders. I was sorely tempted by the dropped-stitch logic of Ferro-concrete Boat Building, and could easily have been distracted by trying to find out whether the rhetorically entitled What is my Horse Thinking? really needed any more involved an answer than ‘Please get off my back and stop whacking my arse.’ However, I held out. We were in the second to last shop of the day, and I had still not found any books on fishing. There were, I guessed, two explanations for this dearth. The first was that, in this corner of Hampshire at least, fishing was a marginal, minority pursuit and therefore the demand for any related literature was negligible. I mentioned this possibility to Dylan, to which he retorted that this was a specious, almost certainly erroneous and fallacious assumption that demonstrated scant regard of the statistical trends concerning the per capita distribution of individuals locally involved in the procuration of foodstuffs or sport by atavistic, if relatively sophisticated, means. Not bad for a seven-year-old.

What he actually said was, ‘Whatever. D’you like me gloves?’ while waving his hands in the air, but I did reckon that it was a whole lot more likely that killing (or at least catching) scaly things either for sport or for the table was actually going to be pretty high on the agenda of quite few people in this part of the country, and the real reason why there weren’t any books on this subject in the charity shops was that they wanted to hang on to them. Miserable bastards. I bet they’re the sort who’d take a 96 piece jigsaw puzzle to a children’s hospice shop as well.

I had an ace down my waders though. The Oxfam Books and Music shop in Parchment Street is largely staffed by aspiring First Gulf War poets and faded First World War muses. It does tend to charge a little more for its books than the average charity shop, but again, it does seem churlish to complain about this. I know it does – I’ve tried. This shop also has a huge plus point going for it in that its books are arranged by category, and some sections have even been alphabetized. In fact, when you have trudged in and out of the doors of all eight of the other charity shops in your town and all you’ve got is cold, empty, gloveless hands, tired feet and kids with no money left, this is more than a plus point. It is a joyous relief from having to scan shabbily-spined titles on sugarcraft, the politically correct use of a fondue or how to knit your own wheelbarrow only to find that there are no bloody books on fishing. In Oxfam Books and Music in Parchment Street , all I had to do to find out that they had no bloody books on fishing was to go and look in the ‘fishing’ section. This is actually something of an exaggeration. There was one book, The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton. Now, there are some interesting and, to me, pertinent things to know about this man. The short biography at the beginning of the Penguin Classics edition of this book tells us that Walton (1593–1683) was an ‘ironmonger, biographer and writer’. It goes on to say that he was ‘born at Stafford , lived much of his life in London (where he was a parishioner of John Donne) but spent the last twenty years of his life at Winchester where he is buried in the cathedral.’

This passage interested me for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most pressingly, what the bloody hell does an ironmonger know about fishing? He couldn’t even spell ‘complete’. Numpty. Secondly, Stafford was where I grew up, which, combined with the fact that, thirdly, I now live near Winchester, should have made me feel some kind of new-agey, ‘some-things-are-meant-tobe’ kind of connection but didn’t. It merely made me raise an eyebrow and a half-mouthed smile at what is a mere coincidence. Fourthly, why was he at Stafford and Winchester , but in London ? From what I could gather The Compleat Angler is about being a trout called Piscator or something like that. The point is that I simply cannot read it. I tried a paragraph or two that day in Oxfam, but even the imagined imploring eyes of some really hungry children who might find relief if only I bought that book could not stop my mind from wandering, as I tried to scan its pages, to more interesting subjects such as the colour of porridge or how long it would take to collect enough belly-button fluff to fill the shop. This was actually a bit of shame, because for a moment I had hoped that a copy of this book might perhaps inspire my own travels with rod and reel. Having read only a brief snippet, however, I felt that I would far rather sully these trips (which I was otherwise looking forward to wholeheartedly) with the ordeal of eating my own belly-button fluff. Or even porridge if things were going really well.*

Apart from having had a lovely time bimbling around town watching the boys being really nice to each other, the afternoon had been an unmitigated waste of time, so to salvage something from the day, and to assuage my mounting guilt about all those hungry children’s eyes, I did buy The Sporting Gun referred to in the Introduction. Not that I was particularly interested in shooting by this point, but because the title would serve as a consistent reminder of the elasticity of some words in the English language. I do wonder just how ‘sporting’ a chance a wood pigeon has against an unchoked twelve-bore at twenty yards.

* I think Ed Zern had it about right when, in To Hell With Fishing, he said ‘Izaak Walton pretended to be an expert on fishing. In his introduction, he refers to “the honest angler”. That’s how much he knew. ‘The Compleat Angler is chock-full of useful information for fishermen. For example, in Part 1, Chapter IV, it says: “And next you are to notice, that the Trout is not like the Crocodile.” Walton was observant. ‘In Chapter VIII, he tells of a man who caught a pike by using a mule as bait. Fortunately for Ike, it was several hundred years before anybody read beyond Chapter One.’

Despite the fact that my initial attempt to go shopping for porn with my kids had proved so unproductive, I remained resolute. A couple of weeks later, my stomach full of the trepidation and anticipation that always accompany the purchase of a large, brand-new hardback book, I slid out The Complete Encyclopedia of Fishing from one of the solid, thick, black ash shelves of my local branch of Waterstones. There is something comfortingly beautiful about a virgin, unbroken, unsullied hardback. It was fifteen quid, the price of maybe half a dozen to ten charity-shop finds, but in this case ‘finds’ had turned out to be something of a misnomer. Not only did this book promise to be a ‘comprehensive guide to coarse fishing, sea angling and game fishing’, not only did it weigh nearly four pounds and could kill a fish with a single blow of its spine, but it was also written by people who knew how to spell ‘complete’. Much more like it.

‘Complete – free from deficiency: perfect: finished: entire: fully equipped: consummate.’ That’s what Chambers says. To claim a book to be ‘complete’, or even ‘compleat’, somehow seems to convey an imperious air of self-importance – arrogance, even. It is as if to say, by implication, that you yourself know absolutely everything about a subject and, consequently, after every page has been digested, so will the reader. To claim ‘completeness’ is to imply perfection, which in turn is to invite ridicule. Most ‘complete’ encyclopedias merely deal with the technicalities: the equipment, the locations, the numbers – the prosaics. They are (often indispensable) guides to the practicalities of an activity. My fishing encyclopedia is indeed most informative in terms of knots, rigs, rods and reels, etc., but what it does not even begin to convey is what the juddery thump of a good-sized bite-and-run from the obscured depths feels like in the palms and in the pit of the stomach. It gives no clue to how a landed fish will flip, slippery, spastically and staringly on the scaly, salty, brown bloodstained bench of a boat. Nor does it tell me what it is like to take the life of a fish – to feel its slimy contortions shudder to a stiff, gawping halt in your hands as you club the back of its head. It never even begins to tell me how it feels to sit on a warming stone wharf a million miles in time and space from the rest of my life on a breezy summer afternoon while dangling for coalfish and barbecuing a mackerel whose guts were still warm. No book is complete.

However, just as any half decent page of prose is not possible without a good grasp of grammar, syntax and good old-fashioned spelling, so is any philosophical or aesthetic understanding of fishing not likely without having got to grips with a few of the practical basics. Which is what The Complete Encyclopedia of Fishing provides, and this is precisely why I bought it. It is a competent, readable and clear guide to sea, game and coarse fishing. What I knew I should do with it when I got home was to read each paragraph of the relevant sections, make notes and cross-reference the information that I did not fully understand. What I actually did was to scan some of the text, gawp at a few of the illustrations of knots, rigs and tackle and find out a couple of Latin fish names. My favourite of these was the conger eel – Conger conger – because this is exactly what I would be shouting whilst running around in frantic little circles and flapping my arms if I caught one of the toothy, snaky, evil little buggers. I also ogled at a few photographs of the sea with some people and fish in the way of it. After this, I decided that I was bored and surely knew enough by now to go and buy a couple of magazines with adverts, grainy photos, small print, reader’s fish and geeks in them.

Pretty much all men are geeks to some extent, and in one discipline or another. All the ones I know are anyway, and we all agree on one thing – that one of the deepest of joys about any obsession is that of poring over the advertisements in magazines and catalogues and comparing the specifications and prices of gadgets. For some strange reason (I’m not convinced I want to know) this activity is especially fascinating while sitting on the toilet, often carried out long after the original reason for being there has, erm, passed. I have lost count of the number of times that my legs have gone numb to the point of collapse-upon-standing after a good session of tracking down a particular camera lens, seed variety or, new joy of all joys, sinking bass plug.

I was not afraid, and I was not ashamed. I was, I unconvincingly reassured myself, a grown man and had every justification for what I was about to do. I was not going to feel embarrassed or belittled. I was going to walk into the anonymity of a large-chain newsagents and, this time, demand fishing porn. I was going to need to buy tackle at some point, and if was going to do that, then I needed to know not only where to get it, but also how to ask for it. Because it had been over eight years since I’d even tried to go fishing (and that was with someone else’s kit), I was pretty sure that its associated technology would have moved on sufficiently far to make walking into a shop and asking for ‘a rod, a reel, some line and some dangly bits’ look somewhat foolish. I figured that a magazine or two might provide me with a couple of answers to at least some of the more basic questions I might be asked in order to refine my request. ‘How big and shiny would you like your dangly bits, sir?’, that sort of thing.

I boldly plucked copies of the oddly unspaced SeaAngler and the strangely capitalled and similarly compressed TOTAL SeaFISHING from the shelves. Both covers were emblazoned with full-colour photos of really slimy and bizarre looking gaping-mouthed creatures, both of whom were grinning like idiots and clutching an enormous fish. I didn’t get much further with the decision-making process – these were the only ones on offer. I still didn’t understand an awful lot of the blurb on the cover, and, more to the point, I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck starting to stand up hotly due to all the disapproving looks from every single person in the shop. All I wanted to do was to get home, sit on the loo and start making some lists.

‘Would you like a bag for those?’

What was she trying to say? I’m sure I saw the cashier suppressing a smirk as I handed over my ten-pound note.

‘No, thank you. They’re fine as they are,’ I replied defiantly as I clammily fumbled to put my £4.60 change back into my wallet. I folded the magazines lengthways, the front covers facing boldly outwards, and scuttled back to the car and then home to drool over some pictures of stuff.

I don’t think it’s possible to claim to have fished in Hampshire unless you’ve at least tried a spot of fly fishing. However, having never done so, its complexities and complications seemed far too daunting and way too distant at the beginning – indeed, they appeared to be conveyed in a different language altogether. Coarse fishing had always been, and continued to be, an utter mystery to me. In terms of tackle (Which? Floats? Wake me up when something interesting happens), location (where? Canals? No thanks), companions (Who? I’ve spent half my life trying to get away from Brummies in combat jackets), species (What? You mean they’re not edible?) and motivation (Why? A day watching a float bobbing about on a scummy, stagnant ditch in the company of people called Nigel or Kevin trying to catch something that tastes like where it came from? Enough said), I had no idea what would persuade anyone into going coarse fishing. I thought that, to ease myself back into the sport as a whole, I should stick to what I knew. Or at least to what I used to con myself into thinking I knew a long time ago.

As far as sea fishing – and sea fishing tackle – is concerned, there are two main definitions: fishing from the shore, and fishing from a boat. Every time I have attempted it, the latter has made me feel so viridian-sick that I have truly wished to die. If it goes on the water, then I have felt violently and distressingly nauseous in it. From ferries lurching to Sweden to kayaks bobbing around the coast of Pembrokeshire , I have felt so gut-wrenchingly sick that I have truly desired nothing but drowning and peace. As far as initial kitting up was concerned, this, thankfully, narrowed things down further still.

As is often the way with these things, shore fishing can again be broken down into subgroups. These are classified as fishing from a beach or fishing from a mark – a jetty, pier or from rocks. There is, naturally, a bewildering array of methods of doing all of these things, especially when you start to think about exactly which species you are hoping to catch, and its inherent level of stupidity. For instance, your average thicky-thumpy mackerel (essentially the sea’s answer to sheep) will make the wily and seemingly epicurean grey mullet seem like a reasonable candidate for the average pub quiz team. As far as I could remember, getting a mackerel to leap out of the water and into the cool-box wearing a T-shirt bearing slogans such as ‘Shiny and smelly – please use as bait’ or ‘Great shallow-fried in extra-virgin with shallots and olives’ requires no more guile than standing near the sea and whistling for them. In order to stand any chance of coaxing a mullet to within a nautical mile of you, however, it appears that you require the planning skills of a team of architects, the patience of an inner-city teacher and the finesse, poise and stamina of a Russian gymnast.

Whichever species it is, then, that you wish to enjoy with a squeeze of lemon and a slurp of white wine, it pays to do a little homework concerning the correct lures, baits, rigs, etc. The way I see it, the further your tackle gets away from the sea, the less the fish are going to give any kind of toss about it. So, I started at the end that effectively mattered least. Criteria for my rods such as casting distance, flexibility versus. stiffness, sensitivity, durability and many other factors gradually became less and less important the more times I saw an advertisement in the catalogue that slid out from one of the magazines I’d bought. All these technical criteria eventually dissipated like raindrops pocking the surface of the ocean once I noticed that two rods, two reels and two icing-on-the-cake, I’m-having-that, I-don’t-care-if-it-fallsapart-in-a-month spools of line had been reduced from £104.96 to an irresistible one penny shy of fifty quid. I reasoned that people, myself included, have caught good fish on worse equipment than that, and quite frankly I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tell the difference between a rod that theoretically cost £12.50 and one that would swipe three hundred quid out of your wallet before you could cough the word ‘gullible’. I was destined to be the owner of a twelve-foot beach-caster, designed for hurling heavy things long distances and an eight-foot spinning rod primarily intended to lob lighter things less far. In the package came two reels – an ‘Okuma 80 fixed spool’ and an ‘Okuma 50 fixed spool’ – and two bulk spools of line. To put it another way, I opted for a big rod and a big reel and a little rod and a little reel. Oh, and some line.

Having decided that my first trip should take me back to where my fishing career had first started in turn narrowed down which ‘terminal tackle’ (dangly bits: weights, lures, rigs etc.) would be accompanying me. To assist me further, I made a list of the fish I wanted to catch while I was there (pretty much anything that wasn’t going to bite/sting/scare me and/or wasn’t going to keep moving after I’d bashed it over the head) and chose tackle that was described in the catalogue as being suitable. The words ‘Great for big bass’ got a resounding tick, as did ‘Pollack can’t resist these’ or ‘Cod love ’em!’, whereas anything mentioning that ‘Conger will always go for these just before they take the ends of your salty fingers clean off ’ had me skipping to the next diagram.

The magazines had plenty of articles of interest about rigtying, locations, readers’ fish (no, really) and so forth, but the plethora of advertisements put me into a flat spin of confusion. Comparing camera lenses is one thing – I’ve been scanning the smalls of Amateur Photographer magazine since I was ten, so know my f - stop from my focal length. However, differentiating my Shads from my Hokkais was an entirely different arena. Of course, the guys who had produced my catalogue knew this damn well, and its free inclusion was a very smart bit of fishing on their part. It contained everything, it seemed, that I wanted, at what struck me as very reasonable asking prices. I calculated that I could get pretty much everything I needed, and probably an awful lot that I did not, for just over a hundred pounds. At that price, it wasn’t exactly disposable, but on the other hand, it seemed like an eminently justifiable expense considering that I could probably recoup that outlay in the value of the fish I was going to catch in the ensuing thirty years or so.

Ordering the tackle over the phone really did seem so much easier than going into a shop and dealing with someone who knew exactly what they were talking about (proper geek shops tend to be staffed by proper geeks). Face to face, shop staff would try to engage me in a conversation about a subject that I last pursued with any degree of seriousness just before my voice broke, I discovered that girls could be fun and that roll-ups made you look hard. There would be fewer awkward questions on the telephone, and what was more, I could field any that did come along without having to look anyone in the eye while I was bluffing. I could even glance at the catalogue for reassurance before concurring that 27 grams would seem about right for what I’m after, wouldn’t it?

The whole process was indeed a doddle. From beginning to end, according to the LCD. timer on my telephone, it took me twenty-eight minutes. Seven and a half of these were occupied by being informed that ‘all their lines were busy’ and would I ‘please wait for the next customer services representative’, and a further five of these were filled with silence while the chap on the other end of the phone tried to find the code number for the rod and reel deal. After that, I simply rattled off the catalogue numbers of my desired items and their quantities. The act of actually buying (if not choosing) all this gear, then, had taken only a quarter of an hour or so. I reckon that if I’d tried to do the same thing in a fishing tackle shop it would have taken me that long to pluck up the courage to ask for a long, stiff rod with a tip that’s sensitive enough to tell me if something’s biting.

At one point during the call, the salesman read out a list of the rigs that were being included in my ‘rig wallet and ten rigs for fourteen quid’ deal. As he enunciated all the names – ‘Flapper, Paternoster, Pennell, Running Ledger, Flish Flash Splish Splosh, Double Jiggled Knicker Twister’ etc. – I ummed and aahed my assent and approval. The Complete Encyclopedia of Fishing, along with a lengthy session with a copy of SeaAngler and a can of lager in the bath had acquainted me with these names, but not a great deal more. If I’d had to actually choose them, then I would have done so purely for what they sounded like. Similarly, the criteria for the lures I ordered were picked mainly for how pretty and shiny they were, and how good they would look in the new tackle box I was also treating myself to (£8.99 complete with, mark you, a light inside its lid). In the absence of any other criteria, I wanted my rigs and lures to have pleasantly shaped names that left a sweet taste in the mouth when you told someone what you were using. There was the option of tying my own rigs, and although this was tempting in a really anally retentive, fiddly kind of way, I reckoned that it was unlikely that fish were going to snub a bought rig in preference to one that had been hand-wrought by pixies. I also felt that it would be one step from making your own rigs to crafting your own rods and, let’s face it, fish don’t know a carbon fibre super-caster from a bean pole. The only piece of tackle a fish really gives two gulps about is your hook when it slices into their mouth. The final temptation when it came to these rigs, however, was the fact that they came separately from the wallet, individually wrapped with a card backing. At the time, I could think of nothing more pleasurable than snipping these open, removing the rig, and sliding it into the translucent sleeves inside the crisply velcroed wallet. This would, in turn, sit purposefully underneath the compartmentalized, regimented lures. Heaven.

The guy on the other end of the phone totalled the order up to £112.94, which included what I thought was a very reasonable five pounds worth of postage and packing. He also called me ‘sir’, and did all of it wrapped in a swirling Scottish accent that had all the soothing warmth of an Islay malt in a heavy-bottomed cut-glass tumbler. I assured him that £112.94 was just fine.

‘So, when do I get to stack up my lures in the box with the light in the li— Erm, any idea of delivery times?’

‘Usually about five working days, Sir.’ His ‘R’s were beautifully and softly burred.

‘Oh, bollocks. I wanted to do it tomorrow. Is that the best you ca— No problem, mate. Thanks for all your help.’

I put the phone down, and waited.

I am consistently intrigued by the huge variety of definitions it is possible to place on the term ‘working days’, as applied to the clearance of cheques or, in this case, the amount of time it takes for just over a hundred quid’s worth of fishing kit to arrive. I had hoped that, at a push, and considering that I had ordered it at just after nine o’clock on Monday morning, that it may materialize on, or even before, Friday. Five p.m. on Friday would have been five working days. Towards the end of the week, I fashioned a note explaining that if I was not in then the delivery could be made to Liz and Steve’s place two doors up, and pinned it to the front door every time I went out. And every time I came home, I did so to the quite disproportionate disappointment of it still flapping, forlorn and unread, in the breeze.

I reckoned that the following Tuesday afternoon would be a reasonable time to call the Scotsman to give him a gentle nag. Because I do at least a small amount of work on most days, I reasoned that by then it would have been eight working days since I had placed my order and, more crucially, only half that amount of days (industrious or otherwise) until my first fishing trip. I set my mobile phone to remind me, with a violently unpleasant chime, to call them at four o’clock on Tuesday.

No surprise, then, that first thing that Tuesday morning saw me dialling the Glasgow Angling Centre to check on progress. It was a different man I spoke to from before. He was most apologetic, but, ‘We’re still wettin’ on a coupla rugs.’

Luckily, before I asked him what relevance their urinating on domestic upholstery had to my order, I realized that they were, in fact, delaying the rest of my order until they had the full complement of rigs. What a relief – I could have made a right duck of myself.

‘It should all be wi’ ya tomorra mate.’

‘Cracking. Thank you.’

The word ‘should’ instilled little confidence, but I figured that to press for any more commitment than this would be a little unfair and unreasonable. As it was, though, he could have staked his children’s lives on it, because at eight o’clock the next morning I was roused from dreams of salt and seagulls by a blunt rap on the front door. Too early for the postman, and Steve knows better than to attempt any but the most basic forms of grunting with me before ten. This awakening, then, could only logically mean one thing. My rugs had arrived. I threw on the nearest T-shirt and pair of shorts and lumbered downstairs. My hapless hound Charlie skittered down with me as usual and greeted the delivery man in the way he greets everybody except me (i.e. with enthusiasm). The man with the box of new toys at his feet looked about as enamoured with being up at that time of the morning as I did.

‘Sign and print here, and here.’ He held a smeared sheaf of papers with one tired hand, and stabbed at two boxes containing my name with the forefinger of the other. ‘There’s another box in the van.’

As he disappeared to rummage for what I assumed to be the rods, I managed to gain sufficient focus and manual dexterity to do as instructed. After a minute or so, he still had not returned, so I entertained myself by glancing at the list of drops he had made already that morning. He must have been up and about for at least three hours already, and after about five minutes of absence I began to suspect that he had actually found himself a cosy nest inside some packages of soft furnishings – a coupla rugs perhaps – and dozed off.

He returned shortly afterwards though, empty handed and slightly sweaty from his exertions. As he approached, he shrugged with a raised eyebrow and shoulder, two open palms and two downturned mouth corners.

‘Must be under everything else. You in later?’

‘I’m going out in about half an hour, but should be back by twelve. Can you come back then?’ I had to nip out to put a pane of glass in Alex’s upstairs window which I had been promising to do ‘this week’ for about two months.

‘Will do.’

This was torture. It was true that I had some new gadgets to play with, to take apart, to organise and to break, but no rods? When I was a small boy, I would get so stupid with excitement about the impending arrival of Christmas (around September time), that I would occasionally ask my mother for a stocking, which I then proceeded to fill with some of my favourite possessions. I would leave this by my bed, and try to forget about it until morning, when I would wake up to find a stretchy, staticky, rustling and bulging form next to me, ready to be taken through to my delighted parents at around five-thirty in the morning. This anticipation of ritual, this desire to imitate a yearned for event has stayed with me. All I wanted to do that Wednesday morning was to remove a new reel from its just-large-enough box and slip it into the seat at the butt end of the rod via its simple screw-clamp mechanism. Then I could have threaded the monofilament line through the guides on the rod, attached a magnet to the end and tried to catch small pieces of steel in the washing-up bowl. But it wasn’t to be – I simply had to wait until the afternoon. A large part of me actually deemed this to be a good thing; I am not at my least clumsy in the morning, so playing with items such as fishing hooks is an activity probably best left until later in the day. Quite how and why I thought I would be any better off being fifteen feet up a ladder playing with six square feet of glass escapes me now, but that’s what I did.

When I returned home, I was bursting with the energy brought about by the twin factors of having new toys, and of having survived what felt like a near-death experience (the combination of ladders and glass seems to be so diametrically opposed to everything I believe about natural selection). I had left the unopened box of goodies on my sitting-room floor, and returned to find that, remarkably, it had not moved. I somehow thought that it may have shifted slightly due to the vibration of anticipation and excitement, but evidently my feelings were not reciprocated. I sliced through the packaging as carefully as I could in the minimum amount of time possible, and as soon as I could get a grip, tore the box open. Despite my first and best intentions to painstakingly check off each item against the packing list as they came out, I did what any like-minded child would have done – I slid a reel out of its box, attached the handle and wound it round and round while grinning like an loon.

Sea-fishing reels fall into two broad categories: ‘fixed spool’ and ‘multiplier’. I had chosen two of the former for three reasons. Firstly, casting with a multiplier takes more skill than I felt I either had or needed at the time. They are capable of casting slightly further than fixed t in my hands they weren’t. I’d also heard horror stories that any lack of control on the operator’s part could result in what is technically known as a ‘bird’s nest’, a term that surely needs no explanation. The second reason for choosing fixed spools was because I actually didn’t have any choice as they were part of the package deal. Thirdly, and most importantly of all, the way these reels work and move is utterly mesmeric – simultaneously and smoothly rotating and reciprocating. At the front of the reel is a device called the bale arm, which assumes one of two positions: ‘cocked’ to allow the line to feed from the spool freely when casting and, for the lack of any better description anywhere I can find, ‘uncocked’ to allow the user to wind the line back in again. The bale arm is fixed via a hinge to a cylindrical housing that in turn orbits the spool onto which the line is wound. When reeling in, the bale arm spins snugly around the spool, which itself slides reciprocally along a splined shaft to ensure even winding of the line. I can watch this for hours, especially when combined with the reassuring ‘clack’ of the bale arm automatically returning to its winding position upon turning the handle after casting. This whole motion is beautifully concise in its function, and concisely beautiful in its motion.

After I had made sure that both reels went round and round, up and down and made all the right noises, I turned my attention to the tackle and the box with the light in its lid. I managed to resist the temptation of checking the candlepower (approximately three) of the torch until the darkness of later that evening when Liz and Steve came round for the inaugural lighting. They were – Lizzie in particular – quite disturbingly effusive in their excitement. Maybe they just knew how important it was to me.

Before truly making all this gear my own, I did check that I had been sent the correct amount of the correct tackle – evidently they had not bothered to wet on all the rugs after all, as some were missing. I didn’t judge this to be a problem, however, as I had no idea how to use them anyway. Apart from this, and having received an extra spool of six pound breaking strain line in place of something that should have been something else but I’ve no idea what, all was in order. Consequently I could get on with the crucial task of finding spaces in the tackle box for all the other bits and pieces.

Firstly came the lures. I may have been just a little too heavily seduced by their shininess and prettiness, having ordered a total of fourteen, but any fears were soon allayed by the fact that they all fitted perfectly and shimmeringly in the small compartments in the top tray of the box – ranked, purposeful and deadly for pollack, apparently.

Next to be located were the four different sizes of swivels I had purchased. These small pieces of kit comprise a central barrel from each end of which protrudes an independently rotating eye. These are tied between the terminal tackle and the main line. Fish, as a rule, don’t really like having a bloody great barb stuck in their mush and as a consequence tend to flap about a bit when it happens. The swivel prevents the main line from getting as twisted as a bag of eels when the fight is on. They arrived in small, crisp plastic sachets, adhesive sealed. This is obviously no good at all – with no method of resealing these bags, it would only be a matter of minutes before they would be rattling around the tackle box, and I would have no idea which size was which. Chaos. I found four small, square, polythene snap-lock bags that had remained from a previous stint as a stationery geek, decanted them and, having squeezed the air from the bags and written their respective sizes on some self-adhesive labels, stuffed them into a compartment in the lower tier. The hooks, the largest of which looked as if it had been designed to catch something the size of which I had no intention of ever landing, received a similar treatment, having somewhat inconsiderately arrived in some rather pleasant but hopelessly ill-fitting little plastic boxes. I again labelled the hooks and placed them in the compartment next to the swivels.

Also along for the ride, and largely to act as ballast on the journey to my Scotland , were one pear-shaped lead weight and three ‘breakaway’ leads. The latter have four hardened steel spikes pointing outwards and upwards from their bases. The dual purposes of these protrusions seemed, on first inspection, to be to make sure the weights did a really good job of getting tangled up in underwater seaweed and boulders and to make fitting them in the tackle box virtually impossible. However, I somehow managed to wedge them into the lower tray before realizing that these spikes were in fact fabricated from two pieces of bent wire which allowed them to be hinged backwards so that they pointed the opposite way. The idea is that they provide sufficient grip against a racing tide to hold the bait in one place, but will release with a good tug from the dry end. This didn’t make getting them into the box an awful lot easier, but did give me a thoroughly good idea of exactly why they were called ‘breakaway’ leads.

It was during the final stages of stowing and labelling all this stuff that I realized that the impulse to contain, arrange, control and personalize is common to all geek activities. What is a model railway, an allotment, a bag of camera gear or a box of fishing tackle if it’s not an opportunity to quantify and dominate our own microcosm of an otherwise unpredictable world?

Having said that, I was aware of the fact that I had spent the best part of an hour and a half arranging pretty and/or heavy things in a box. I felt it was really high time I got out a bit more. And did a spot of fishing while I was there.

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Published in Various

by Ralph Dennett

Lac de Orient – France – 9th to 15th September

Sponsors – Carl (The Baitmaster) Edwards - Carple Baits & Lewington Homes Berkshire Ltd

I don’t normally fish matches but this event is something else. The whole atmosphere is charged with excited anticipation as anglers from 14 different counties come together to face the challenges of this fantastic water, all 5000+ acres of it.

Looking up towards the Dam

It all started back in January when my fishing partner Steve booked our place for this year’s event and from there the build up started. Every article we could find was read several times to glean as much info as we could and before we knew it the event was nearly upon us. Boats, engines & fish finders all needed checking, batteries charging and tackle checking. Nothing can be left to chance as the mighty Orient will punish any careless mistakes.

After a long chat with Carl (The Baitmaster) Edwards he kindly agreed to sponsor us with our bait requirements, Red Lobster Seaweed being the bait of choice, a cracking bait which we have full confidence in. This was supplemented with Carl’s excellent prepared particles namely the Maize and Hemp plus I already had some 30k of Carl’s mixed pellet - some 80+kilos to hopefully see us through the week. As promised everything arrived on the Wednesday and went straight into the freezer so that it would be in prime condition when the match started.

Everything ready, checked and double checked, Steve was picking me up around 5.00am on Friday as we were booked on the 10.00am ferry from Dover and another team from Reading Paul and Darren who were to be our travelling companions on the journey had to collect their bait on the way down. Friday arrived and I’m standing by a mountain of bait and tackle when Steve pulls into the close, with everything loaded and roped down we are on the road, meeting Paul and Darren as arranged and then heading down the motorway to Dover. After a long uneventful trip we are nearing our destination, we pass by Troyes and turn onto the N19. Shortly the Dam Wall appears and it seems to go on for ever, then as we turn off the N19 towards Mesnil-St-Pere the lake appears. Did I say lake! - inland sea is more apt, an immense daunting piece of water ... let me at it. As we pulled into the Headquarters area we realise we are the first competitors to arrive so we pick our spot and park up the motors right opposite the little Bar & Café ... well sorted. The next couple of days were to be a chill out and social before the serious fishing started on the Monday so up with the Bivvies and everything sorted, home from home.


Now that we are sorted its over to the Bar for some food and liquid refreshments where we meet up with Ross Honey and his Team. Ross is the organiser of the event, also there is Andy Chambers who is Head Marshall for this years event, a man with immense knowledge of the lake.“Buy you a drink Andy ?”, gotta pick this mans brains.

It’s now dark so suitably fed and watered we make our way back to the Bivvies, break out the kettle and sit around chatting and drinking, by about 1.30 in the morning we have been joined by a couple of lads fishing for Scotland and the beer is flowing. About an hour later about 8 Italian lads turn up and quickly join us with Salami and wine, shall we just say that a good evening was had by all.

The format for the event is to be as follows, competitors arrive over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, register at the HQ and get all boats and equipment safety checked. Sunday evening we have the welcome dinner with local dignitaries and the draw for swims. The competition starts at 3.00pm on Monday with no broken water before that time and ends at 8.00am on Saturday. This gives us a reasonable time on Monday to find our swims and get the gear to them as some are only accessible by boat. In the meantime we can have a look around get any last bits of shopping from the Intermarche and generally talk Carp. All the research we had done indicated that it normally takes a few days for the fish to get on the bait and the proven tactics are to get a good bed of bait built up and wait for the fish to move in, we also needed rough weather and big winds to get the fish moving. Several chats with Andy Chambers have confirmed our thoughts so we are feeling reasonably confident.

The Formalities Begin

Sunday evening arrives and we spruce ourselves up and put on our Carple shirts and head for the welcome meal and draw, as we enter the sports hall the clammer of 186 Carp anglers is deafening as the excitement and anticipation grows.

With the meal over the formalities begin with speeches from various people including the local Mayor followed by the local children parading all the participating countries flags.

The Draw

Then comes the draw. Paul and Darren are first up, Section 7, peg 10 not a bad draw its facing the dam.

Steve and I are next up Steve draws Section 4, peg 7, Italie Point about halfway along, not a bad draw if the weather breaks in our favour.


Time to get our heads down

Now the formalities are over it’s back to the bivvies to get our heads down as we want to get an early start in the morning to give ourselves time to get sorted before the off, as soon as the start is signaled it’s into the boat to do a serious reccy of our swim.

We are up and packed away by about 9am, later than we wanted, but never mind. As the boats are already inflated we take Paul and Darren’s on our motor and drop it off for them and then go on to find our swim some where along here.

Italie point - 1.5k long

It took a couple of hours to carry all the gear to our swim and with clear blue skies it was a hot sweaty job, by about 2.00pm we are all sorted rods up and baited and buckets of bait ready to go once we have found our spots. Before we know it the rocket signals we are off and a myriad of boats launch into the lake all looking for those tell tale signs on the fish finder that show up a potential feeding spot. Steve’s out in the boat thoroughly scouring our swim for features. After about 2hrs he has found what we wanted, distinct features going out to the left of our swim. The peg next to us is vacant so we ask the marshals if we are OK to fish into the vacant peg which they confirm we are. By 7.30pm our spots are baited and the rigs are out. Now we can sit back with a cold beer and relax, it’s been a very busy day, come on you fish.

Set and ready for action

Nothing showed during the first night and in the morning we learnt 2 fish had been lost, 1 about 6 pegs along from us and 1 by the dam. By the end of Tuesday 4 fish had now been lost in weed or snags, the good news is that they are all from different areas of the lake. We continue to stick to our plan and steadily build up our swim. We have seen fish on the finder and we are getting line bites so we know we have fish in the swim, but we don’t know what. It has been another warm clear day, we need the weather to break and the wind to get up, unfortunately the promised weather isn’t materialising and it continues hot.

It’s now Wednesday and it’s 8 – 0 to the Carp, so it’s still all to play for.

Early Thursday morning the first fish is landed by John Lilley’s partner, George Csonka, at 11.5kg it is a nice fish but not big by Orient standards. Still, first fish so well done guys.

Thursday night sees more action with a 22.1kg fish to Jean Pierre Becker of France, a 15.4kg fish to our travelling companions Paul and Darren, putting them in second place and a 9.3kg fish to Rob Tough and partner places them third, so things are starting to happen.

With the final day and night ahead of us there is still everything to fish for, we have fished hard for 4 nights although the results don’t show it, but that’s Carp fishing especially on waters like the Orient. The weather is showing signs of a change so hopes are high for the final night, with everything ready we sit back to wait events and talk over the week. Whatever the outcome we’ve had a great week and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Last night

As we sit chatting and watching the water everything feels right, we have done everything we can it is now in the lap of the Carp gods. Everything is still, the only sounds come from the Wild Boar searching for food in the woods behind. We turn in about 12.30, but I lay there unable to sleep.

I must have drifted off as the next thing I remember is flying out of the bivvy. The barometer has dropped and monster Carp are crashing everywhere in front of us, Steve is standing some 50 yds down the bank. When I get to his side he says that Steve Howard and his partner in the swim to our right have a big fish on, minutes later it snaps the 35lb braid like a piece of cotton, the Orient tree stumps win again. They are understandably gutted.

Tree Stumps are everywhere under the water, hiding in the weed

As fast as it had started it’s over, about 15 minutes in all, the fish just disappeared again back into the depths, the weather had changed again and so had the fishing, it looks like our chance has passed us by. In the morning we learn that the same phenomenon had occurred in several areas around the lake, although no fish were caught. One final fish was caught on the Sat morning which had Paul and Darren on edge as it was 15kg+. Eventually it was confirmed at 15.1kg so they have retained second place.

Final result, 83 pairs (166 anglers) fished their hearts out for 6 days and 5 nights and the score was Carp 25 anglers 5.

We packed up, loaded the truck and made our way back to the presentation. Although we hadn’t caught, it was great to see our friends Paul and Darren on the rostrum in 2nd place. Well done guys and congratulations to Jean Pierre Becker & Yves Hauk, the winners making it a home victory for France.

Well done to all the prize winners.

As we make our way home we are happy, we know we fished well as many others did, it simply wasn’t our turn this year. We have had a fantastic time and met some great people from all over Europe, brilliant!

A special thanks to our sponsors, Carl ( The Bait Master ) Edwards whose support and excellent baits gave us the edge we needed and to Lewington Homes Berkshire Ltd for the loan of the transport that made life a lot easier with all the gear we took.

Now to start planning for next year Lac de Madine is the venue, can’t wait.

See you on the bank somewhere!

Cheers, Ralph Dennett

Editor: Thanks to Ralph for this excellent article and good luck next year mate!!

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To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

Published in Carp Fishing Articles
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