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A Busman's Holiday - 26/07/12


After seemingly working every day for weeks with the shop, signings and book production, Sandy and I decided to take a break for a few days, but even then this had to be fitted around a few business appointments.




Off on Wednesday, we drove over to Somerset to meet Jeremy Wade of ‘River Monsters’ fame.  Jeremy had kindly sent us a piece for inclusion in Recollections II as he had spent time in the Amazon with the late Prof. Barrie Rickards. Jeremy also sent us some pictures for inclusion in the book and agreed to sign his piece as a little extra for the book purchasers.  We were meant to have the complete book at this point, but as it was initially printed for gluing rather than sewing, we had to take unbound stitched blocks with us as Jeremy was only in the country for a few days.


His ‘River Monsters’ series four is now showing in the States, and about to start in Europe before coming to the UK (why do we get it last?). I was also delighted to hear that he is working on series five but is very secretive about his filming, careful not to diminish the impact of each episode.


Then, off to Bewdley to catch an evening talk on nature in the Black Boy, part of the Bewdley river extravaganza.  This was then followed by Des Taylor chairing an interesting discussion on floatfishing with pellets. Dave Harrell told how he had found this technique to work well when fish are up in the water, but there were problems.  Halibut pellets sank too quickly, so lighter fishmeal pellets were preferable including loosefeeding; the whole swim had to be fed as the pellets stick to the bottom and don’t drift like maggots.  Light feeding with these pellets works well, especially as they dissolve more rapidly.  He also thinks that they present better when fished under a float with the bulk shot being added as an olivette just off the bottom. Dave said he was still learning about technique but the results from the Wye were excellent, and it may be worth considering as the standard feeder rig was now being found out by the fish.




Des started the day with a fishing match for youths, each having a match angler as a mentor. A great way to get them involved in the sport.


Mid-morning he managed to break away for a Trustees meeting of Angling Heritage. Des was delighted that AH was donated the Godson Cup, a trophy dating back to 1892 for clubs in the Kidderminster area, and later, for the best individuals.  So much history, and a great project for the Trust to research.


The AH website is now working fully with photographs being added, sound and video clips now in place, and you can view this for just 1p per photograph and up to 60p for video clips including one of Clarissa, Richard Walker’s record carp in the aquarium at London Zoo.


AH is also looking for volunteers to join as associates to help us grow, researching material, writing articles for inclusion on the site who an take the project on when we retire, so if you are interested in angling history, please give us a call.


Des also made a few minutes to sign the Recollections II book blocks so that they are all complete ready for binding. Des’s image is often misinterpreted as an insensitive big Brummie, (as Des is Black Country and I am a Brummie, I joke that he isn’t good looking enough to earn that title),  but he cares passionately about the sport and recording its history for future events, and it was great to see him getting the kids involved in the sport, whilst promoting river fishing in his home town of Bewdey.




Up and out to Ludlow for Sandy take the signed book blocks to Ludlow for leather binding and to talk through the next project, Torridge Reflections.


It was at this point when we had a couple of hours to spare, so I nipped off to a brook, a tributary of the Teme, the Ledwyche. I had never seen or fished this before but was suffering from withdrawal symptoms from an absence of fishing in the previous weeks. Although I was suffering from a neck problem, I managed a few casts on the brook that was running high and slightly coloured, as well as being somewhat overgrown. I normally like fishing with a dry fly, but met two local who told me they had been fishing all morning and hadn’t caught anything and hadn’t seen fish on the top. I went and sat by the river and watched, saw nothing, so had a couple of flicks in a pool without success. I then saw some movement under a tree and managed to flick a wet fly out and drift it under the tree catching a sweet little trout.  I waited a few minutes and caught another at the next pool.  I probably had about 15 casts but that was enough; Sandy was patient and I was hurting so we called it a day and headed to Sandy’s brother’s house.




Sandy had looked forward to seeing Eddy Reader at the Warwick Folk Festival, an artist she has long admired. So I dropped her and our sister in law, Julia, off in the afternoon and took her brother, Gerard, to a pool I know in the area. Gerard is a novice fisherman so I took him to show him the delights of surface fishing for carp.


The sport was slow initially and gradually the fish appeared as we fed crust onto the surface and caught a few fish to about 15lb by the end of the day. I’m not a huge fan of carp fishing but this was light-hearted fun.


We then picked Sandy up at about midnight and returned to Gerard and Julia’s house.




Guess what; it was raining, so we headed home and had lunch with our daughter Jenny in Bristol before getting home. 


Then back to work on Monday morning as usual. It had been a good break meeting some interesting people which is the greatest joy in running the shop.