Monday, 14 October 2013


it's a big book!

The 20th Anniversary of the first showing of ‘A Passion for Angling’ on BBC 2 needs celebrating, so we thought it a good idea to give away copies of our splendid book of the TV series that followed it.

links with a happy past
‘Catching the Impossible’, like ‘Passion’ took more than four years to create and the book of the series is simply a lovely celebration of the events that made the films such a success.

Bernard with his 22/9 pike - it's grown to over 35lbs now!
Martin Bowler and Bernard Cribbins did the angling and banter and the stars were the ‘impossible’ sized fish that they managed to catch.

Chris joined us in our big perch hunt
Anybody who wants to buy the DVD of ‘Passion’ or “Caught in Time” only needs to send us an extra £4 to cover postage and we’ll send the book to you free of charge. If you already have a copy of PFA and still want to buy the book, then just send £12 [that includes postage] payable to Wild Wise Ltd. and we’ll pop it in the post. All details can be found on our website –

To try to convince you that this is a win, win offer, I’ll unashamedly sing the praises of what I believe is one of the best illustrated books ever produced on angling.

the main players - Bernard, Martin, Hugh and Rodger
It’s a big book, with 370 pages of fishy stories about our adventures around Britain, over 400 photographs of giant fish, gorgeous wildlife and water, film clips from the actual films, lots of  paintings by acclaimed artist Rodger McPhail and all beautifully produced by MPress. If all else fails, it makes a good doorstop!
a few of the images lifted from the films

So below I’ve taken happy snaps from the book to give you an idea about the catches, our photographs and Rodger’s illustrations. Yes, I know it’s a sales pitch but you’ll be grateful, for when you see the book you’ll love it. We certainly do.

 John Wilson kindly wrote the forward for us and fished with us too
doing the day job - the roach totem identifies my sections of text
Martin's totem identifying his text is a perch
Martin's press release on his record barbel
first adventure, first chapter, first success
first days filming and a 15/7 barbel - brilliant
film strip of the battle to land the monster

Bernard was not only our ace story teller on the films but also Martin’s companion in the field … and he wasn’t just making up the numbers. He is a more than competent angler and if we wanted him to catch something, he never let us down. In fact, if he hadn’t been so busy filming Dr. Who with the BBC, we’d have had him along as often as possible.

Bernard hauling summer tench

Bernard's lovely common - stalked too
Bernard even caught us a salmon from the Royalty

Bernard's fly caught carp from John's lake
my first fishing film - Dennis Pye's 26 pounder from Hickling Broad

One of our ‘impossible’ targets was a 30lb pike … yes I know, nothing is impossible, it was just a story telling device …  but it sure is difficult to catch one to order.
John caught us a 27/8 from Oulton Broad - getting closer
Bernard joined us on Chew Valley but we got blown off

cracked it - Martin's 32/6 from Bowood Lake - what a fish

We were blessed with help and kindness from many friends. They gave us generous support, came and joined us in our quest and even caught us the monsters we wanted.
Bob Church - what a star

lovely folk at Linear - Martin,  Roy Parsons, Peter Drennan, John Everard
a sport for all - Jackie's lovely common + Mr. Yates

social in the VW bought as a filming base for PFA in 1989
Chris beating Martin in a crucian fishing match
Martin had to buy the drinks that night
Ex World Champion Wendy ran him close on the Thames
there's a bit of 'technical how to' stuff too but not much

Pete Reading caught us a cracking 12/10 Avon barbel
he nearly caught us our 3lb grayling too - just 4ozs short

Martin attempting to reach the target
carp guru Frank Warwick with Martin's lovely linear from Linear
Des Taylor and England medal winner  Lisa Isles with a cracking brownie

lost his beard but not his touch - great company too

a laugh a minute and a near 40lb catfish
 the late Terry Lampard with our target chub - 7/4 from the Stour

impossible becomes incredible - 3lb5oz river roach - he is sorely missed
Tim and Terry - always smiling

Wildlife is a vital part of my life, so I had to take time out from filming occasionally to make 'proper' films and earn the income that allowed us to make the series - 'Pussy Galore' comes to mind.

tigers in India were a distraction
a far cry from sunny Dorset - searching up in the Himalayas

pumas in Patagonia - snow leopard tracks in thin air
a walk on the wild side - snow leopard patrolling17,000ft up
The wild critters surrounding us add so much to our enjoyment as anglers, so those are an essential part of the book too.

a visit to Scotland allowed us to enjoy close views of ospreys and red squirrels

strike action! - they caught more than us too

Speyside specials all around us

otters swam past us too but aren't such a problem up north
we went perch fishing in Wales, watched over by red kites
Rodger's illustrations always hit the spot
Martin could catch fish out of a dry bucket and delivered an amazing array of specimens, not impossible then but some certainly are now. Below is a small sample from the book.

a national river record at the time - an enormous 5/4 perch from the Gt.Ouse
10+lb tench from the garden of England - Kent

beauty and the beast - a brace of gorgeous rudd - best 2/11
the beast - just 2ozs short of our 5lb target - and short of a lot of sleep too!
the story of Martin's 54/4 Shropshire carp, caught stalking too
Apart form stories of the ones that got away, we included a brief summary of the business of completing the films as some folk find the post-production process interesting.

David Poore composing the music for the series

Bernard recording the narration and picture grading
recording music and dubbing the 60 sound tracks together
every anglers favourite bird

some of my favourite u/water images from the films

Perhaps surprisingly, in spite of all the hard work and pressure we were under to catch exceptionally large fish and deliver nine one hour films to Ch 4, Martin and I finished the series as good friends and I consider myself privileged to still count him as a close friend even now. He is as good a bloke as you could wish to meet and when it comes to work, the ultimate professional.

lovely images of beautiful countryside
We do hope you've enjoyed this peak at a few of the books contents.  We are proud of the outcome and pleased with how the text, photographs, art, illustrations and film strips integrate with each other to help tell the story of our adventures. If you do get a copy, we hope you will agree that it was a good decision.

siskins feeding on alder beside us on the river
To purchase copies of the DVD's of the films, please visit our website for details - there are short clips from each film you can view there too.
I did manage a few casts in four years, even catching 2lb roach


  1. As always Hugh excellent, and a first class read and great images keep up the good work.


  2. Just about every single one of those fish is a fish of a lifetime, brilliant, very lucky indeed to have caught such an array of monster fish, PFA and catching the impossible are arguably the two best angling programs I've seen in my 26 years, Top work, I would love to see more!

    Best Regards James.