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


  1. • ★ Merry ★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
    •。★ Christmas 。* 。
    ° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
    ˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
    ˚ ˛ •˛• ˚| 田田 |門| ˚And a Happy New Year
    * Joy to all! ♫•*¨* Peace on Earth ♪♫•*¨*
    ooooO! Pike! Love Pike! Many years back, a
    very good friend was a fisherman, and he used
    to catch mostly trout, but occasionally, l'd
    come home from work and there would be a Pike
    hanging on the washing line..and big
    as that one above..! He passed on..some years
    back, the strange thing about him was, he never
    ate fish..never..but he had a good source and
    friend who always welcomed nice fresh caught fish..!

  2. Dear Hugh. Thank you for your kind comments about Mike Townsend. I am helping his best friend Martin Abonyi with a book project (Working Title Mick and Me) charting his pursuit of specimen fish (roach in particular) from their childhood together to the present day. Obviously the Sway sessions will form part of his story and your input and memories of Mike would be invaluable. Would you be kind enough to contact me via and we can discuss further, please? Bob