Thursday 26 December 2019


the etherial Ely Cathedral, floating above the Fens

Inspiring places of worship remind us of the passing of precious friends and it's not possible to forget those legendary anglers who have left so many happy memories behind them. Christmas for Sue and I is a time for family and friends, living for the now, hoping for a happy future and reflecting on the past,  so it's an approriate time to mention some of our friends who have left us for those perfect swims in the sky.


Every fisherman will have treasured John Wilson's TV films and books and Martin Bowler, Bernard Cribbins, Jacko and I have many happy memories of fishing with him, especially for our Ch 4 series  "Catching the Impossible".

On one memorable occasion John not only caught us a big pike to order, he caught us the biggest fish in Oulton Broad and in this happy moment all Martin could think to say was "you jammy bar-steward". But John was a brilliant fisherman and wonderful man and there wasn't all that much luck in what he achieved, just hard work ... and to lose him last November was a shock to us all.

More recently, we lost the legendary Bob Church. He was such an able angler and you'll never meet a keener fisherman, so energetic when filming with Martin and I that it made me wonder how he kept up so much enthusiasm for life. Here he is with just one of many pike he caught for us and he was a master of many skills so it was sad to see you go Bob.

I love fishing for tench, never more so than when sat sharing a lake side with Mike, and though many won't of heard of him, he was a lovely man and I was delighted to share this 9lb+ tench with him. Sadly, he too left us last year and I'll always miss his friendly banter and warm smile.
Roach fishing is my first love and I was fortunate to have shared many happy days with one of the finest roach anglers in the country, Mike Townsend. He was so keen he even eclipsed Bob Church for enthusiasm but he too suddenly left us this Spring and the angling press missed the moment to celebrate a very fine angler. I'll miss his warmest of company and sharing many a fine roach with him, including this two and a half pound plus beauty.
So lets all celebrate these finest of guys as we reflect on this moving tribute, found by that most famous angler and writer 'BB' on a churchyard gravestone ... 

"The wonder of the world, the beauty and the power,
the shapes of things, their colours, lights and shades,
these I saw. Look ye also while life lasts."

Chris Yates with a splendid Stour perch of 2lb 8ozs.

I think most anglers live in the  spirit of that tribute and we are fortunate to have shared happy days with many like minded friends, admiring all the wildlife while dreaming of catching big fish. Luckily, many of them are still with us so please read on in my next blog about our worm dangling.
Martin Bowler with Bernard Cribbins and his twenty plus pike,  both still going strong and dreaming of an even bigger one

Monday 23 December 2019


Not alone on the River Wye. Chris Yates was just upstream and Martin Bowler took this beaut. picture of me barbel fishing
If you happen to read this blog because you are an angler then you might think I’ve given fishing up because I haven’t written a fishy story for ages. The reason is simple, I haven’t been fishing!

I still love the idea of being out in the countryside with a rod but our big garden has taken up all our time as we create a flower filled gravel garden for butterflies and bees. We haven’t finished it yet but to see the squadrons of buzzers already feeding there is a joy.

a silver-washed fritillary on a hebe

No fishing might mean no stories but I have many happy memories of fishing with friends, so this will be a celebration of those special days when we shared our catches and time together.

                    Fishing with Friends

Fishing alone can be an intense and rewarding experience and might even lead to catching bigger fish but for maximum enjoyment you can’t beat sharing those moments of triumph and disaster when you both cheer when one of you catches a big one and cry when the big one gets away ... or maybe you laugh when your mate loses the big one!

Here’s a selection of some of our catches during the good old days when we had the good sense to ignore all the horrible things going on in our world and made time to breath fresh air. These pics are  just a random ramble through the archives to celebrate the joys of angling together with friends.

First up are some happy gatherings during glorious summer days of crucian fishing at an intimate Wessex lake. We almost always caught a few, even over three pounds but we were sensible enough to simply enjoy the company and take time out for more important matters, like my wife Sue's famous cake.
close friends Chris Wild, Avon Roach Project Trev and Mr Yates getting their priorities right - tea and cake!
happy days of sunshine and golden nuggets
Please read on - there's more friends and the fish grow bigger