Contrary to popular belief it is possible to learn stuff from books. Those who say; "You can't learn anything from books." bkSo how did you learn to read exactly? It is possible to learn from books, but only by actually reading them... should be consigned to a special Hell and its Demons, along with those who say "he didn't mean any harm" and "boys will be boys" after some careless and tragic event. Anyone who thinks you can "make more than 100% effort" can fry alongside the former. Personally I'd also consign anyone who says they don't need a degree as they've been to the "University of Life". Yeah. I've been there as well, we all have. BScI'd just like to point out I have no issue with anyone based on their academic qualifications, education or ability. None at all. Whatsoever. Or age, race and gender for that matter. . Also down there, on a rolling boil, are those who really actually believe "The exception proves the rule.", completely missing the point that in this instance 'proves' means 'tests'. The exception tests the rule...
While I'm damning , any circle of hell is too good for anyone who spends ten minutes (or longer) in a coffee shop queue and when they get to the till start on the "Oh er...hm. I wonder what I want..." routine. It is indeed fortunate for those with this special sort of narcessistic selfishness, that when I'm behind them in the same queue I don't have my cricket bat to hand. I'm recently reminded of the need to make provision in the fifth circle for those 'well-meaning' folk who insist on asking "How are you - in Yourself?". If I wanted to discuss that you wouldn't need to ask. Bu88er off.
Of late, I find myself considering that Eternity with all of Hell's demons, might be too good for people who clump around to where you are quietly and unobtrusively fishing, then stand on the skyline behind you in bright clothes asking you in a loud voice if you've caught any. I'm constantly amazed I'm polite to those such, although I'm hoping that politeness is absent come Judgement Day. All those who compound this sin by asking me what bait I am using, discover that I'm "Using corn mate and haven't had anything yet." And finally, one more special torment should be reserved for those who start a patronising monologue mlHint: I called it a monologue because no one else is listening. with the phrase "If you think about it...". I have thought about it. You're wrong.
However, if you are one of the readers you can, I believe, do very much worse than read some of the below.
|This space deliberately blank||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon (and return to the top of the page)||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||Gonks, gobbies, gudgeon||This space deliberately blank|
"If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." - John Gierach
|This space deliberately blank||Random mini fishes... (and return to the top of the page)||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||Random mini fishes||This space deliberately blank|
I've given some of the books below a 'star rating' and if I'm so moved, have written stuff. Some books are all about fine prose and atmosphere, some have 'technical' stuff on fishing and tackle. A very very few have both. I'll still give a good 'technical' book four stars, because one doesn't necessarily expect to enjoy a good text-book for the language. Equally, I might rate a book highly even if I know it's a bit 'madey uppy'...if you want truth, fishing literature is not the place to start (for truth, try Nietzsche FN"...if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire..." - Friedrich Nietzsche ).
= Outstanding, essential, enjoyable. Read more than once.
= Very good.
= Worth reading. Probably.
= Means I never finished reading it.
= Means the three random pages read in the bookshop failed to part me from the asking price, or I tried to read it and gave up.
You won't see many one or two-star ratings as I probably won't mention them. Probably. A penultimate thing; some folk never read a book twice, "What is the point?" they say. I've not got an eidectic memory and arguably semantic memory is a weakness of mine. So, I keep books that I might want to refer to or even read again for the sheer pleasure of it.
Lastly, the menu items below include the 'book list' for those diary pages that have such, and the last entry leads near-seamlessly into a big chronological list of the all the other books mentioned on the site.
|medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...(and return to the top of the page)||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and one more time...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...got it?|
I've decided to record what I read, more out of interest for myself than anything else.
|I am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page)||a very subtil fish||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.|
|just a hook...(and back to the top of the page)||...and a loaf of bread||just a hook...||...and a loaf of bread||just a hook...||just a hook...||...and a loaf of bread||just a hook...||...and a loaf of bread||just a hook...||...and a loaf of bread||just a hook...||...and a loaf of bread||just a hook...|
|crucian...(and back to the top of the page)||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian||Carassius Carassius||crucian||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian||crucian||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian||Crucial crucian||crucian||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian|
|Proper Float...(and back to the top of the page)||Another proper float||Another proper float||Another proper float|
|Split...(and back to the top of the page)||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot|
|it's lead free, honest...(and back to the top of the page)||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p|
As discussed at the top of the page, I'd previously added a 'books of the year' section to a number of the 'annual diary' pages. I did this some time after the site was initially built, so a lot of other literature-related posts are dotted around the rest of the website.
This page rounds them up and displays them all below, in chronological order.
1974. "A Ladybird Book about Coarse Angling". Yep really, my first fishing book and a classic. I include it here because of the interest it evoked in me as a nine year old (c. 1970), with its terrific colour pictures of fish and fishing tackle. Special mention must be made of the picture of a boy fishing a mill stream with a bamboo cane for a rod. I've been looking for that place all my life. And where else can you see folk fishing with a tie on? Wonderful.
Oh yes, it did also have some good basic information for those starting off along the path by the water, with knots and how to set up tackle and advice on your actual fishing.
|...of a boy fishing a mill stream with a bamboo cane for a rod||Spot the 'collar and tie', I find that extraordinary|
1974. "Fishing with the Experts" with Mr Crabtree. Christmas 1974 came, went, and I then had two more fishing books - "Fishing with the Experts" with Mr Crabtree and "Fishing - An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Catching Fish" , which was not the same sort of book but nevertheless I pored over its colour plates of sea, coarse and game fish, then made the pike lure from instructions on p.57. It worked, but never caught a fish. I've put it here in defiance of copyright as (a) it's seriously out of print and (b) no money changing hands here and (c) it's really rather good. Both of those books vanished without trace while I was 'reading' Physics & Electronics, but serendipitously, after recalling them on-line in 2009 or so, I found a copy of each in a Blandford Forum bookshop in successive weeks. What are the odds?
|'Fishing with the Experts'||'Fishing - An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Catching Fish'||'Fishing - An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Catching Fish'|
April 1979. 'Still Water Angling' by Richard Walker (1978)
"When Still Water Angling was published in 1953 it was hailed as revolutionary and has been regarded as the standard work on this aspect of angling ever since." ...it says on my copy's dust jacket, a 1978 re-print. Even with so many 'puddles' with 'pet' carp in them, there is much in this book that is relevant still and will help you to understand and to catch fish. It certainly formed the basis of my 'keep still, quiet and dress down' method, which I started using in the early 1980's, when time permitted fishing at all. Sure it has no 'rigs', but fish are still fish.
1990. 'The New Compleat Angler' by Stephen Downes & Martin Knowlden. This is really worth reading through as this has the best description of how fish see the world around them (and more importantly above them) I have ever read. An understanding of this is essential for any fisherman. Leading on from that, I believe, that while drab clothing is sensible (full camouflage gear NOT essential in my opinion), stealth, and particularly lack of vibration is a huge factor in keeping fish close to you and unwary. And an unspooked fish is a lot easier to catch. This is why I am always happier if there is some cover between me and the fish (even screen of reeds is a help), and colour in the water, while it may indicate feeding fish (which is usually good), means they can't see you either. I would add that, the deeper the water is by the edge, the happier I am.
1993. 'Ken Whitehead's Pike Fishing'. All of Mr. Whitehead's books are worth reading. It is nice to read books that don't instantly recommend the author's range of tackle...much of the reviews and advice on the 'net seem to end with a recommendation for the author's product. It's hard to take such advice at face value. This book looks at pike fishing problems from the bottom up, with solutions arrived at by virtue of sensible un-biased thinking. As a result there is much to learn from this book, both about pike-fishing and how to approach problems.
May 2006. 'Confessions of a CarpFisher' By "B.B.". This book probably did more for the birth of carp fishing than all the others put together. It's variously interesting, realistic, poetic, matter-of-fact and romantic and I suspect many of us are chasing the vision this book places dangles in front of us.
November 2006. "The Floatmakers Manual" by Bill Watson. So, so handy if you're float-obsessed, or even if you are just very very interested. While much of the advice herein is aimed at those who might want make floats in larger numbers, the author made floats for sale in his own tackle-shop, there are plenty of valuble tips for the small batch amateur float-maker.
March 2007. I Walked by Night - Edited by Lilias Rider Haggard. I plucked this from the country-life shelf of a small dusty musky chaotic and soon thereafter, vanished book-shop in Dorchester. The life of the King of the Norfolk Poachers is wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated, and is as enjoyable for its evocation of a lost past as it is for the details of the life of the man and his society. Superb.
|The Dorchester Bookshop, gone now, but for the sign which was still there in 2018.|
June 2007. "The Path by the Water" by A.R.B Haldane The second and last book plucked from same small dusty musky chaotic book-shop that yielded "I Walked by Night". I heartily recommend this, it's what fishing is all about.
Although it's clear that Mr. Haldane had a privileged upbringing compared with some, but his descriptions of fishing the tiny brooks near his family's home in the Ochill Hills with worm and fly are finely drawn. Certainly it's a fishing childhood some would dream of having had. Long days of small stream trout-fishing, packed lunches and the slow-motion passage of time, both bewitch and transport. If the book enthrals a little less when the author moves onto the Itchen later in life, that's not the fault of the writing, but is rather this reader's regret at leaving the Ochills behind. Those days no longer exist but then neither do their writers and we are poorer for it.
March 2008. 'Casting at the Sun' by Chris Yates. Definitive.
This is a book that allows you to identify with the writer in a quite extraordinary way, due in part to the mystery and excitement of the early fishing trips being so completely evoked that you recall those of your youth with equal clarity alongside the words on the page. It's clear there was something of an obsession with carp at one point, but it's easy to overlook this, as in some respects the difference between some avid readers and the author is whether you followed the dream or went all semi-detached early on. In the end, it reads like a fairy tale, one that is better for the truth of it and is one of the definitive works on angling by a great angler.
I took this book to a trade show in Hanover, a week-long concatenation of 12-hour days on one's feet, early drinks and late dinners, book-ended by a 12 hour drive in both directions. This was a mistake as I read this book until the small hours when I should have been snatching a few more hours of sleep. I don't regret this.
January 2009. 'Drop me a Line' by Richard Walker and Maurice Ingham.
This is one of the best fishing books I have ever read. It contains a wealth of good fishing tips and this book, along with the Carp Catchers Club, will show you that there is little in today's angling scene that wasn't considered and thought through in the 1950's. A great profile of the two authors and the social mores of the times. Post war austerity was still a factor in everyone's lives (petrol was scarce) and colours the already fascinating dialogue. Anyone thinking about fly fishing for trout should read this, and there are also the tapers for both the original carp rod made by RW and the "Light Carp", which is not unlike the 'MK IV'. The latter was designed for 6-10lb lines and the former, at a rough estimate was around a 2lb t/c for 12lb line and up, and seems altogether a more useful carp rod than the 'MK IV'.
This book demonstrates people haven't changed much - as does the 'Sagas of Icelanders' axeAfter reading this through, I found that, whenever a character started a sentence with "It seems to me...", I imagined they were almost certainly casually reaching for an axe, 'just in case'. - the bit about MIMaurice Ingham fishing quietly under cover being accosted by a loud, brightly dressed skylining fisherman for information on carp fishing rings as true today, I've had exactly the same happen to me, but with some 50 odd years interval, so we rediscover that some things haven't changed - there are always those who are prepared to experiment, make up their own mind and do the hard work required to affect changes, which is good to know.
I was chuffed to find that MIMaurice Ingham had a copy of "I Walk by NightProper Poaching" which I got some two years before DMAL'Drop me a Line'. It's a little dusty window overlooking a forgotten world.
February 2009. 'Walker's Pitch' by Richard Walker. Another good book by the man.
February 2009. 'The Carp Catcher's Club' by Maurice Ingham et al. A classic, which will never be repeated, now we depend on email. So many of today's carp tactics were thought up within these pages, culminating with the record carp capture at Redmire. If you aspire to carp fishing you simply have to read this.
Unlike 'Drop me a Line' though this has a formality and a structure and also gaps in the narrative where things happened in the background, which are fun to speculate about over a beer, but are strictly speculation. We now know the BV thought carp fishing was being led in an over commercial direction for example and disagreed with RW on this. Water under the bridge. It does feel as if the stuffing went out of the group a little when the record carp was captured and also interesting to know that but for a dodgy hook eye, Peter Stone would have beaten that record. Certainly RW dominated the group, but not least because he was unwilling to take anything at face value, until it was proved to his own satisfaction, but that is one of the normal (but all too occasional) dynamics of human nature.
For all that, this is another interesting record of the start of carping (among many other equally interesting things), with all sorts of useful ideas, some of which are now de-facto methods, some of which never got fully explored at the time and still haven't and some which have since been shown as erroneous. Also fun to note that the match angling fraternity of the time derided them as "not serious" and labelled them as pleasure anglers. Plus plus ç a change, plus c'est la même chose...used to express resigned acknowledgement of the fundamental immutability of human nature and institutions... "the more it changes, the more it's the same thing".
The CCCCarp Catchers Club foundered on the missing letters in its last year and the strait-jacket conventional narrative make it difficult to say what actually happened, at least not without a libel suit.
Always would've liked to have met MIMaurice Ingham though, sounds like a proper gent.
March 2009. "The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha" by Miguel de Cervantes Saaverdra (translated by John Rutherford). At some point on the turnpike engineering carousel I determined that if I was to have spare time on return flights I would read books that might improve my education. So it was I purchased and read this classic tale, which I can report is nicely written, wryly observed, shot through with sly wit and insight and has almost nothing to do with windmills. This is though, an account of a man who didn't get out enough, slept too little, read far too many books about a long past chivalrous world that never existed and became obsessed with it to the point of psychosis. See what I did there? Don't be Quixote.
May 2009. The Fishing Box by Maurice Genevoix. Translated by Dexter Petley and Laure Claesen. Even as I write this I can smell the bleak and in the still watches I fear the frog-catcher and his knife.
July 2009. The Waterlog Years by Chris Yates. This neat little collection of articles penned for Waterlog is a nice addtion to anyone's fishing shelf.
July 2009. "Powerlines" edited by Dexter Petley An extraordinary collection of fishing stories. "Fish Running" is in my mind still, possibly because I have also fished and run, "The Wilderness Cure" water-horse clatters my own internal scallop-shell pile, "The Last Trout" is masterly and the visceral imagery of "Still Waters" and "Pond Life" suggests that for many, the 'Mr. Crabtree' days might just be figments. Every story in this book is a cracker. You'll read them more than once. You may well recall them for many years thereafter.
September 2009. "Moby Dick" by Herman Neville. This was the second of my "Read an improving book while flying home." experiments. Yes, I know, a whale is not a fish. What on earth has this legendary tale of near psychotic obsession with a water-bound leviathan got to do with angli...oh, wait.
I have a confession to make. Three times I've tried to read this book now. The early chapters are finely drawn to the point where the smell of fish, fish stew and pipe tobacco infuses your brain and the cold touches your extremities. However, past the listing of the species of whale and once aboard the Pequod, I find myself unable to go on, my interested petering out like the land disappearing aft. 'Classic' it may be, but I'm not mothered to force myself to read on, when it feels like wading knee-deep where one might elsewhere run. Apologies to Herman Melville, but not it appears, my cup of tea, classic novel or not.
January 2010. "Carp and the Carp Angler" by George Sharman This is a book for the thinking angler, it's both excellent and thoughtful, but perhaps never received the plaudits it deserved, perhaps due to the long shadow of another book ('Carp Fever') released around the same time.
George takes us through his early carp fishing and then launches into well thought out discussions on catching fish in heavy weed and bubblers, especially those feeding in deep silt. Few lakes now have this kind of silt, but as I fish on two such, I can vouch for his reasoning. There is a chapter on knots and their effectiveness, which raises interesting questions then answers them with a new knot. The careful examination of hooks sharpened with a cutting edge and outward facing barbs (both tested on self modified hooks) is a testament to one who didn't take face-value on faith, as well as having you reach for the whetstone. He shows that winter fishing for carp was not the dead duck is was then thought to be. There are many gems hidden in here, I recommend it to all those who occasionally think "I know everyone does this, but I wonder if...?".
In the days of carp books, magazines and articles by the score, most of which are recycled sales pitches, this is a breath of fresh air and its age has not rendered it obsolete. Although just age alone renders nothing obsolete.
March 2010. A Stream of Life by Bernard Venables. Interesting. As much to read between the lines as on them.
March 2010. Rod and Line by Arthur Ransome. The stories are in some respects unremarkable, but they are of course, beautifully written.
September 2010. Going Fishing by Negley Farson, illustrated by C.P.Tunnecliffe. I found this in a second-hand book shop in Dorchester, and bought it on the strength of a couple of paragraphs and the engravings. It turns out it's one of the best fishing books I've ever read and is also widely regarded as one of the great fishing books. I can't believe I'd never heard of it until September 2010.
October 2010. 'Carp Fever' by Kevin Maddocks (1989 10th Edition). This is a fascinating book. It's been said that it's not a good read but I don't agree. That's like saying 'Moby Dick' is good, but a really good textbook on 'Moby Dick' is not good. This is, for me, a textbook on how to catch big carp consistently but of course it doesn't follow that one reads it for the lyrical prose. I approached this book with some negative thoughts and that serves me right for not making up my own mind. Much of the carp catching mechanics are not surprising or even new for the time of the first edition. There are echoes of Richard Walker and others and it all it really comes down to the same principle as making Jugged Hare. First, catch your hare...
Location of the fish occupies a misleadingly short part of the book and you can skim it and get the wrong impression. KM spent hours, nay days locating fish in various waters, making special trips and, I've no doubt, recording everything noteworthy with times, wind, temperature and so on. From this database he would make decisions of where and when to fish, in the reasonably secure knowledge that his emplacement and the fish would coincide at the right time. To this he added the detailed records of catches, bites baits and weather until he had as complete a picture as one can get. As Richard Walker and the CCC knew, finding the fish is much more than half of the process. It's easy to underestimate the importance of this both in contemporary terms and especially with today's waters where the fish expect to find your ground-bait, consider it their natural food and even home in on the sound of it hitting the water.
Added to this, KM fished long unblinking sessions, several days at a time, but don't be fooled here. He didn't catch because he fished long sessions. He fished long sessions where and when he had determined his target fish would be feeding. There's a big difference. KM seldom loose fed in any volume, the fish were already there (he'd checked), so were his baits. He scorned bivvies as they impeded striking. Even on a campbed he was right next to his rods and although having the benefit of being a light sleeper, he plan was to hit every bite right on cue (I'd have liked a section on how and when to hit bites on various rigs).
Although this all sounds simple (it is, in principle...), having made a massive investment in location, some considerable investments in baits and fishing hours, KM would ensure he hit every bite bar none and lost no fish if remotely possible. He certainly never lost a fish the same way twice. The rod was matched to the job and distance, the line checked, every hook tested and sharpened. How can you not admire that kind of thoroughness? Even if you, as I do, find this intensity too much for enjoyment; even knowing that it works I couldn't fish this way. But to carry it through like this requires extraordinary focus, strength of mind and purpose.
If the book has faults - the bait section feels a bit like filler, the knot section is brief (I just can't believe he didn't test knots a little more scientifically) and there are rafts of info on locating fish that I'd love to have seen - even just one water as an example, with the hours put into divining the likely spots and the resulting catches, an example case. Having said that, having explained what you have to do, I imagine it's left to the reader to make his own location sorties and record his own data!
Neither a purist nor a romantic, KM was nevertheless the benchmark for dedicated, consistent and even ruthless carping. It's not KM's fault that so much of what has followed is pale imitation, bivvie encampment armchair-fishers, far from their tip action rods and bolt rigs, more loose feed in a session that he probably used some seasons and stew-pond fish that exist only due to the good grace of said copious feed, locating fish and watercraft cast to the winds, camping site pitches near the toilets and café. The slavish following of the two-rod all-night-session approach but without the hard earned 'where, when and how', like small boys copying their Dad. But these adherents are no worse or better than the C.C.C. groupies who slavishly buy their B. James MKIV (even today).
Read this then and decide if you're 'serious' or not. I'm not a "serious angler" by any standards, but frankly 99% of all carp fisherman I've ever seen or met aren't either. Today's rod-pod and a bucket of boilies, pitched in the first swim that looks comfy, isn't even a tenth of the way serious compared with KM. Not remotely.
October 2010. "River Diaries" by Chris Yates. Not his best work, but an enjoyable read and still very much better than the majority of angling books.
October 2010. A Child Alone - The Memoirs of 'B.B.'. I've tried once or twice, probably as a 'displacement activity', to piece together his life and family background and it's much like trying to get hold of an irritated 4lb eel. Still, a revealing read, for all that.
August 2011. "Wood Pool" by 'BB' An odd but warm little book, being an account of the stocking of a small lake and its gradual metamorphosis into a carp and tench fishery, with its problems and delights almost equally well described. Worth reading if your dream is to have your own water. Worth reading on a cold winter evening 'just because'.
22nd December 2013. ...and in 13 days my farcebookme, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me... page will self destruct...I won't miss it.
P.S. a copy of Unbound's crowd-funded "The Lost Diary" by one Christopher Yates turned up at the East Wing yesterday, and yep, that's JAA in the subscriber list at the back. I've heard the odd grumble but got what was expected and halfway through, am really enjoying it. Not his finest work, but still a good deal better than most.
September 2014. "Gone fishing" by William Nathan. I bought this for one reason and one reason only; the chapter "Salmon and Sentiment: a Cardiganshire Episode." There was a period during the 1970's during which I borrowed every fishing book the local library had. This small tale, read during that time, one of a boy poaching at night and hooking a twice-forbidden salmon, lodged in my mind for 39 years, by capturing and imprinting the sound and feel of worming a small stream in the dark. I was delighted to find it again. You might be too. The rest of the book is as good, tho' not burrowing quite as deep.
18th June 2016. 'Reflections on Still Water' by Peter Rolfe. Last DecemberReflections on Still Water I had the privilege of attending the launch of Peter Rolfe's new book. I promised myself then, with studies intensifying, I would read it after the exams.
|Reflections on Still Water - dust jacket||Reflections on Still Water - Fishing Tales|
So, today, with the results announced (in a good way), I settled down with my copy, put the hay-fever drugs on the shelf, got out a new bottle of very underrated Aberlour single malt (which was on offer and I got a discount) and had a jolly good read...
The book is a mine of information with nicely framed pictures and a narrative driven by the history, restoration and love of the lakes, with fishing that is more than just catching fish. I've fished there a good few times and one could argue that this made it more real for this reader. Nevertheless, I like that it focusses on the detailed creation of the waters, as well the fauna and flora that sprang up, both on its own and with some help from Peter. I also like the way the 'fishing tales' are at the back of the book in, some might say, their proper place. I shall read it again you may be sure and thoroughly recommend it.
You really ought to get yourself a copy. I may have something of a 'head' tomorrow.
15th January 2017. Loved River by H.R.Jukes. I read of this in 'Waterlog' and wondered, much like when I stumbled across Negley Farson's great book NFNegley Farson's 'Going Fishing' illustrated by C.P.Tunnecliffe. , where had the 'Loved River' been all of my life? It's a simple account of the author creating the river of his dreams from the river of his childhood. By stages it becomes apparent that the river and the denizens of its valley, beautifully drawn, are tenants, that the whole is part of some estate. It is shot through with wit, beauty, engineering and above all a deep respect. The players are finely drawn, the old schoolmaster, the school-friends, the effortless charm of a good friend, the grotesquely self-entitled and the tenants. The latter are by turns indulgent, sly, slightly irreverent and decent. One must always take care with the pictures drawn by one in a privileged position, but its self-deprecation and humility rings true. You leave the 'Loved River' reluctantly wanting to know more, but that, tantalisingly, knowingly, is held just out of reach. Mesmerising, like the river itself.
|H.R. Jukes 'Loved River' map.|
Here shall he fear no enemy,
But Winter and Rough Weather.
P.S. It's a total fiction by the by, but what in fishing is all truth?
24th January 2017.
"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." ~~ Thomas Pynchon from his 1972 novel 'Gravity's RainbowGravity's Rainbow is a 1973 novel by American writer Thomas Pynchon, traversing a wide range of knowledge, the novel transgresses boundaries between high and low culture, between literary propriety and profanity, and between science and speculative metaphysics.'. ~~
15th February 2018. A Beautiful Game by Mark Nicholas.
Nothing to do with fishing of course, but still worth mentioning. I've had this book sitting on the 'to read' stack for a year or so. Finally, yesterday, I picked it up, started reading, then pretty much read it through, barring coffee collection intervals. Well written cricket book are not as rare as (say) well written fishing books, but are still uncommon. 'A Beautiful Game' is a joy to read, and author's love for the game radiates from every page. If you like cricket, you'll like this, if you love cricket, you'll love this.
12th March 2018. The Adaptable Fly-Fisher (Wild Trout and Coarse Fish on Fly) by Lou Stevens.
I picked up this little gem last week in the back-room of a Beverly mini-arcade. It's down-to-earth and full of practical advice on: casting, what fly patterns one actually needs, tying them, when and where they are needed and sound advice on fly-fishing for wild trout and coarse fish. I thoroughly recommend it.
11th August 2018. "Always Summer" by Peter Rolfe & Michael Pickford. Old friends Peter Rolfe and Michael Pickford fished together for many years, then Michael emigrated to New Zealand. Occasionally, he re-visited the UK and they yarned and fished again, but their main contact was through correspondence, first by long-distance letters, and then by e-mail. Their fishing is very different. Peter's is mostly confined to the small local ponds and lakes he restored and managed, tiny environments from which he has learned so much. In contrast, Michael usually fishes for big trout in the wild waters of New Zealand, including legendary Lake Taupo; but, against all odds, he has discovered coarse fishing of high quality close to his home in the North Island.
This delightful book is the result of a friendship lasting 55 years but is focused on just 12 months, covering a fishing year in two very different places - where summer can be found all year round!
A book launch will be held at Shaftesbury Arts Centre, SP7 8AR, Saturday 25th August, 11am to 2pm. All are welcome. Please let Peter knowThe Crucian Crusader himself if you are coming to the event - books can be paid for in advance and signed and picked up on the day. Refreshments available.
|This delightful book is the result of a friendship lasting 55 years but is focused on just 12 months, covering a fishing year in two very different places - where summer can be found all year round!||This delightful book is the result of a friendship lasting 55 years but is focused on just 12 months, covering a fishing year in two very different places - where summer can be found all year round!|
It'll be convivial event, so do please pop along. You can buy a copy on the day or order a copy from the Medlar PressPurveyors of fine fishing books..
19th July 2019. Split-Cane and Sable by Robin Armstrong.
This is the third of Mr. Armstrong’s books that I’ve read and they are all delightful. This is a little more autobiographical than the others, but as ever it’s wonderfully illustrated by the author and is redolent of his love and knowledge of his environment. I'm not a fly-fisher (yet) but it's books like this that edge me ever nearer to the Frome's sea-trout. I urge you to read it.
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|06:19pm on 2019-08-18|