Gone Fishing: The Consultant’s View

J

John Bailey

Guest
Seascapeclose.JPG


SERIES 4, EPISODE 1 - NORTH UIST

Some of you will love the programme, and will have watched BBC2 on Sunday 29th August at 8.00pm to see the first episode of Series 4. And some of you will not have done. The TV remote is in your hands, and whether to like Mortimer and Whitehouse and their fishing antics is a choice in your own hands. Like the programme or not, that it has generally done great good for fishing is beyond doubt. That fact alone makes me proud that I was blessed with the job of Fishing Consultant for the series nearly five years ago.

I use the word “blessed” for many reasons, in no particular order. Paul and Bob are 100% down-to-earth, great guys of whom I have become massively fond. The whole crew is a joy to work with, and there is nothing in the show that is artifice. Everything happens as you see it, without a jot of the cheating that has characterised some angling shows over the years. Personally, involvement with the show has got me out and about, meeting great anglers everywhere in the UK, taking me to places I have loved in the past, and to new venues I will love in the future.

For the next weeks, I thought I’d share thoughts and photographs inspired by the different episodes. These then are the consultant’s takes on what you might have seen on screen. But don’t worry. I’ll restrict them to just five points each week so that the programmes can speak for themselves!








Just getting there is spectacular!

NORTH UIST IS THE STAR HERE

Everyone in the team was blown away by the island. “Barren but beautiful” I think Bob called it, and that is an understatement. The startling clarity of the air and the amazing shifts of light. The almost constant howl of the wind and the ever-shifting tides. A world as much water as land, and a Zen-like purity and serenity that blew the largely London-based crew away. I don’t know for sure, but I’d hazard a guess that no other venue has made the same impact as Uist. In the film, I think the music complemented the landscape miraculously… but perhaps that was the gin and tonic talking? Andy’s stunning drone work has never been more telling, I think we’d all agree?

‘DON’T WIND’

When Bob lost that first fish, using the hackneyed word “gutted” does not come close to describing the pain we all felt. The Valley Pool is immense, and the savage wind blowing across it made fishing desperately hard, even for Paul, who is a top, top caster. For Bob, waders full of water, this must have seemed an incredibly daunting task, a leap so far out of his comfort zone I was amazed he took to it with such pluck! We all know the dangers of hooking a big trout on a spinner especially, never mind in a gale and in a rising tide. For me, watching out of camera, that Bob got the fish so close represents his best bit of fishing since Gone Fishing began.





‘AND AWAY…’

Yes, the release of the fish has become an integral part of the show, but it is a genuine part. I have often spoken of the real concern Paul has always shown for the fish caught, to the point that even getting him to hold fish for the camera is a struggle. Fish welfare always comes first, and I think that belief paid off handsomely here. The shot of that final pearly white trout shooting away across the silver sand in the crystal water was beautiful beyond belief in my eyes. A lot of adjectives there I know, but deservedly so for once perhaps.





A SLOWER MAN

When Bob asked Paul if age has slowed him down at all, I nearly laughed out loud. Getting either of these two to commit to a date is impossible… and will become worse when Paul is back in the West End with Fools and Horses. I guess retirement at sixty-plus is fine, but perhaps not if you are lucky enough to be working at what you love? These are two lovely blokes who radiate pleasure wherever they go, whatever they do. OTT? Not if you know them. And then, as Paul said in the programme, there is his daughter Delilah, and if any dad has loved his little girl more than Paul does her, I’d be amazed. “Slowing down?” It will need more than a bit of heart trouble to convince those two to do that.

JOHN AT LOCHMADDY HOTEL

We were based at this superbly traditional hotel, and John was our guide in the film. He and his family run the Lochmaddy and it is a haven, believe me. I rely a lot on local experts, both in preparation and during the filming, and John was way up there with the best we have met up with. He was that wonderful mix of deep knowledge, accessibility, humour and tolerance that makes for a great guide. Personally, I’d have loved to see more of him in the film. I accept that in 26 minutes or so, time is tight, and the focus has to be on the boys, but John was an exceptional character. Perhaps you need to get yourselves up there one day to see for yourselves!!





The post Gone Fishing: The Consultant’s View – North Uist first appeared on FishingMagic Magazine.

Continue reading...
 

grayson

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
273
Reaction score
685
Location
North Yorkshire
It's great shame it has to be compressed into an hour - even my wife , who doesn't fish, adores the programme . It's a breath of fresh air , in every sense ,and the only gripes I have are tiny - every time I see Bob cast I want to clip his ear and say 'how many time have I told you how to hold the rod ? '. And yes , the drone shots are lovely but careful , drone footage can add spurious glamour to anywhere but is fast becoming a cliche . It is being massively over used in TV .

Nit picks apart, a lovely programme which is spurring on my plan to explore Uist and Harris next Spring.
 

steve2

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2010
Messages
3,990
Reaction score
1,250
Location
on the move
This as got to be my favorite ever fishing programme mainly because it not just about fishing and how to catch even more fish.

There is a lot more to it than that, it’s two people enjoying life while fishing. Reminds me of how fishing use to be before the catch at all cost style of fishing took over.
 

markg

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
6,824
Reaction score
2,404
Location
South East England
Enjoyed the program very much again, the format works, it has been proved, they could make as many as they like, I don't think it would become jaded, plenty to enjoy.
 

fishcatcher60

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Messages
273
Reaction score
7
I love this programme.

It is one of the few that i watch without wanting to flick through to other channels.

For me it is half an hour of pure escapism.

Long may it continue.
 
J

John Bailey

Guest
Viewboathouse.jpg


SERIES 4, EPISODE 2 – BURGHLEY BREAM

Well, of course, bream were the species advertised, but they were a complete no-show, to Bob’s relief. But first, let’s talk about estate lakes, the waters where I grew up on, both in Cheshire, but more especially in Norfolk from the late Fifties. Holkham. Blickling. Felbrigg. Gunton. Bayfield. Letheringsett. Wolterton. Barningham. Melton Constable. And that’s barely the half of them! They were constructed in the main between 1750 and 1800, with a good number of date variations and, in the case of Blickling and especially Holkham, involved excavations over a decade and the labour of thousands of men. Burghley is, of course, built on the same scale and is equally huge at 20-plus acres. Moreover, Burghley appears to have survived with fish populations rather more intact than most of the Norfolk lakes mentioned. Some Norfolk waters were diminished by pollutions, but most had their small fish stocks annihilated by cormorants and their large fish decimated by otters. The crash of these lakes between, say, 1995 and 2020, has been devastating. Shallow waters offer little protection from predators and Burghley has been lucky to survive, to a degree intact.






Can there be a more wonderful place to fish?

All estate lakes, in my experience are (or were) monumentally beautiful. The 18th century must have been a good time to be alive… if you were an angler, rich, and escaped the plethora of diseases that we took for granted ’till mid-last century. Burghley, as the film showed, remains a paradise on earth, thanks to centuries of careful care and stewardship. Before moving on, can I say that nowhere have we been received with more generosity than at Burghley? It was the warmth of those who live and work there that made the episode even more special than the park and those stunning tench.

Let’s consider those tench? They are special. They are exceptionally (I’d actually say uniquely) deep for their length. In fact, some I unhooked reminded me more of leather carp than tench, such was their bulk. I am not confusing build and bone structure with spawn, by the way. There was evidence of this in some fish, but it was minimal. Why was this? Genetics? Possibly, though I don’t know about these things in a scientific way. I’d guess that these fish were stocked many decades ago and left to develop in their own way, with little disturbance. In addition, the lake is supremely rich with seemingly superb water quality. It heaved with daphnia, even in the early part of the spring… something that made me worry about the fishing.


Stephen watches the action!

In fact, picking up on that last point, I arrived at the lake on Saturday and, along with the brilliant gardener there, Stephen (who was a rock throughout) I began to bait two swims. I baited all day Sunday too, and then all day Monday, whilst we were filming the general views and drone shots. After two and a half days of piling bait in, I never saw a bubble or a fish roll. Stephen and I could have been throwing bait around the park as far as any fish were concerned. It was therefore a colossal relief when the first tench appeared after only 20 or 30 minutes of fishing.





A word on the fishing. The prebait consisted of Vitalin, corn and boilies. During the filming we basically used two feeder rods and two float rods, all set up with boilies on the hook. The Boys prefer float fishing, and happily this tack proved by far the most successful. We fished Andrew Field’s wind beaters at twenty yards (less in the case of Bob’s blue rod) and bites were unmissable. Once again, using barely any shot on the line and a hair-rigged boilie as an anchor proved to be a top approach.





The pike? Paul loves his fly fishing, and it did appear the lake has a healthy population of jacks, hence the boat sequence… which to everyone’s amazement Bob handled with aplomb. However, there was a back story to this. On Monday, when reeling in a Spomb, I was followed by an otter that turned out at my feet to be an immense, almost coal-black pike. I have seen some BIG pike in my time, and this was right up there. It appeared once more, when it followed in an eight pound tench and drifted around the area for ten minutes after, just exuding menace. No surprise really. There is no angling pressure and I’m sure a tench every month or so allows a good pike to grow enormous.



On a last, more sombre note, the Boys talked about parents and losing them. This struck a chord with me, as so many of their more serious topics do. My parents died when I was in my twenties, and though I thought about them every day then, their memory burns far brighter today, not that far short of half a century later. Perhaps as you yourself age, in an inexplicable way, their influence grows? That is history for you. At Burghley, it did not necessarily seem that the past really is a foreign country.

The post Gone Fishing: The Consultant’s View – Burghley Bream first appeared on FishingMagic Magazine.

Continue reading...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

nottskev

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
3,315
Reaction score
1,752
Another good article! For a while I fished a fabulous lake at Walcott Hall in Shropshire. Carrying my stuff from the car, I stopped for a rest at a plaque on some gates that told me the lake was dug with labour from French soldiers captured in the Napoleonic wars. Typical, I thought - coming over here, digging our lakes. God save these beautiful places from Cyprinus Carpio.
 

whitty

Well-known member
Joined
May 11, 2017
Messages
7,782
Reaction score
3,346
Location
Luton Bedfordshire.
Ive enjoyed every program,this Sunday was the best imo,Bob showed how much he wanted a tench🙂,on the otter,I thought when master pooch was rolling on the grass that might be the reason...
 

john step

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Messages
6,461
Reaction score
2,226
Location
There
I do enjoy the programme and although I find Bob funny I sometimes wish he had learned by now how to play a fish. I think a good clip round the lugs could help.;)
 

rob48

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
312
Reaction score
140
Another good article! For a while I fished a fabulous lake at Walcott Hall in Shropshire. Carrying my stuff from the car, I stopped for a rest at a plaque on some gates that told me the lake was dug with labour from French soldiers captured in the Napoleonic wars. Typical, I thought - coming over here, digging our lakes. God save these beautiful places from Cyprinus Carpio.
Both Walcot lakes (east and west) used to be on the BAA ticket, then they only had the east lake, now they've lost that as well. From memory they were no more than about 3' deep and you usually needed 20lb or so of tench plus a few bits to win. The last match I fished on the east lake coincided with a driven duck shoot of some sort on the other lake. This culminated in loads of dead birds falling from the sky and the surface whipped to a foam by dozens of retrievers and spaniels.
Gorgeous setting though and a pint in The Powis Arms after the match.
 

nottskev

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
3,315
Reaction score
1,752
Both Walcot lakes (east and west) used to be on the BAA ticket, then they only had the east lake, now they've lost that as well. From memory they were no more than about 3' deep and you usually needed 20lb or so of tench plus a few bits to win. The last match I fished on the east lake coincided with a driven duck shoot of some sort on the other lake. This culminated in loads of dead birds falling from the sky and the surface whipped to a foam by dozens of retrievers and spaniels.
Gorgeous setting though and a pint in The Powis Arms after the match.

Phew! I was last there around 1994, and paid day ticket on the bank. Driving down from Chester, we once caught tench on Walcott in the morning, bought a few pints of maggots in Bridgnorth at lunchtime, and caught barbel at Knowle Sands in the afternoon. That would need to be two days now, with a day off in between.
 

rob48

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
312
Reaction score
140
I think day-tickets were available on the western lake after a local Ludlow club took over the fishing rights. It would have been early 2000s when I was last there and I seem to recall some concerns about weed growth and increased siltation, which may have played a part in BAA's decision to let it go as there were some quite shallow areas back then.
I get what you're saying about two different fishing sessions in the same day. I used to think nothing of fishing a Saturday match on the Welland and then turning out on the Avon or Severn for another match the following day, with a couple of evening canal matches after work during the summer months. I'd need the best part of a week to prepare now. Besides being younger I think having so much less tackle and gadgets made the preparation and logistics so much easier back in the day.
 

nottskev

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
3,315
Reaction score
1,752
I think day-tickets were available on the western lake after a local Ludlow club took over the fishing rights. It would have been early 2000s when I was last there and I seem to recall some concerns about weed growth and increased siltation, which may have played a part in BAA's decision to let it go as there were some quite shallow areas back then.
I get what you're saying about two different fishing sessions in the same day. I used to think nothing of fishing a Saturday match on the Welland and then turning out on the Avon or Severn for another match the following day, with a couple of evening canal matches after work during the summer months. I'd need the best part of a week to prepare now. Besides being younger I think having so much less tackle and gadgets made the preparation and logistics so much easier back in the day.

How did we catch anything with so little gear, lol! I confidently said day ticket, but now I'm wondering if that was a euphemism for borrowing a mate's BAA book? That could explain why we went to Knowle Sands on the Severn, also, I think, BAA water. I'm not at all a license/permit/ticket dodger but at that time I car-shared with a couple of blokes who took a more er fluid approach to these things, and they no doubt put me up to it.
 

rob48

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
312
Reaction score
140
The BAA book would be a better fit, but I believe you.
 
J

John Bailey

Guest
Scenic2.JPG


SERIES 4, EPISODE 3 – THE LAKE DISTRICT

Can I thank “iainmortimer” (Fly Fishing Forum) for his lovely comments on the episode last night? (September 12th) My only problem with the charming things he has to say is that they rather undermine my own carefully prepared observations! I will start by saying I watched the programme with my late twenty year old stepson, who has never been fishing in his life, and when he wasn’t staring at his phone, he pronounced it kinda cool, dead funny and sort of serious, all at the same time.






Fishing the trout lake

Yes, I do think that the whole worth of the programme has matured since those first episodes four (!) years ago. There’s more assurance about it, and whilst the humour (for me) has got better, B and P have more confidence when it comes to revealing matters close to them. Sometimes you learn to expand into roles, and at the same time I think the viewers themselves have learned what the series are all about too. There was barely anything caught last night, yet the episode was a cracker, and that has been the wished-for result from the start. Last night showed them at their most human, and it’s because they are so human that so many have taken them to their heart. (I think!)




Toby above the lake

What my stepson does not realise yet is that as you get a fair bit older, you look back to your early years with something more than nostalgia. When Bob met up with old mate Cags (or whatever), and reminisced about the old school gates and Porky Mortimer as the young Bobby Moore, these weren’t throwaway memories. Bob I felt was talking about those halcyon years that defined him and his life to come. Because Bob is a sunny sort of guy, he looked back on his teenage experiences as carefree, a time when “you don’t remember the rain, the grief, the occasional arrest”. Paul mentioned George Orwell and Coming Up For Air, wherein his feelings on going back like this are nothing but gloom… perhaps this highlights the difference between Paul and Bob to a tee!







There are times when really you can let the programme do the talking and I’ll shut up. My last comment is that both venues were stunning, and that Eric was one of the three most exceptional local guides I think the many programmes have been graced with. The weather was FAR worse than the film actually portrayed, and at times the temperatures shrank to a miserable three degrees. It was barely possible to fish, never mind catch anything. His trundling worm technique is not completely revolutionary, but he has perfected it into something very special indeed, and I would have loved both boys to have caught whoppers for Eric’s sake. Sometimes these exceptional guides put their reputations on the line, and the televised result does their skills no justices at all. Thank you to B and P, the G/F team, and you lot for watching and saying such nice things. It’s the best gig of my life!




Day one really was icy, cold and wet…
Day two perked up a lot!


Ally, the patient camera man!











Lakeland Paradise

The post Gone Fishing: The Consultant’s View – The Lake District first appeared on FishingMagic Magazine.

Continue reading...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

LPP

Active member
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
32
Reaction score
15
Location
Surrey
Loving each programme.

Bob Mortimer - please wear sunglasses when flyfishing - as good as you are, it will bloody sting when it goes wrong......
 
J

John Bailey

Guest
SERIES 4, EPISODE 4 – THE NORFOLK BROADS








The light grows over the Bure on the dawning of June 16th

I was never enthralled by the concept of the Broads, perhaps because familiarity breeds contempt. Because of the pressures on it, I have spent fifty years avoiding the Broads on June 16th, not actively seeking them out. Did you see that boat traffic? What you did not see were the midges that infested the river as dawn broke, and old JB was piling in the bait. Horrendous! But that grand old willow made for a lovely structure to film round, and I thought the Boys did a nice job extolling the virtues of the Broads as ‘The People’s Playground’. Very Sixties with Smash potatoes (on which I lived as student), Jaffa cakes and Mateus Rosé. I thought the ruffe was nice, and I hadn’t seen one for decades, but I was surprised Paul’s decent perch and Bob’s reasonable pike did not make the edit – at least you have my stills as a record!


The Staithe where we filmed on the 16th June


The crew on the Thurne


Richard Starling, the legendary warden on the Upper Thurne




Thurne shots


A fellow fisherman shows what the Broads can produce

I’ll also add it was good to see “our” Robbie Northman get a bit of screen time and I’ll add this. The ep started with a fire aboard Captain Bob’s boat, and it was far more serious than it seemed on TV. In fact, they got back to the staithe with smoke everywhere, and Robbie bravely hurled himself on board to deal with the danger and evacuate the Boys. He’s not only the best young angler in the UK, but the most resourceful too. (BTW, old JB was just gawping at it all along with the rest of the team!) Good job Paul had that 1950s haircut, or his usual flowing locks might have been a fire hazard.




Bure mayhem





For me, the highlight was a lonely few hours on Dungeon Corner on the upper Thurne, waiting for them all to turn up in Robbie’s boat. That was the night P and B spent in the wind-blasted windmill, and the former got not a wink of sleep. I was at Dungeon by 6.00am, and they rocked up at 11.00am, so I had plenty of time to think, reminisce, and watch the gentle but inspiring landscape. The day before I had met with iconic warden up there, Richard Starling, and that had stirred memories of my useless pike campaigns there in the mid 1980s. Of course, whilst I failed, others did not, notably Fickling and his short-lived record pike of forty two pounds or thereabouts. Are there still monsters there? Just possibly. You write off the Thurne at your absolute peril.




Robbie Northman demonstrates drop shotting to Bob




Paul and Bob with a perch of their own

As P and B in part proved! They did catch fish in gin-clear water, and whilst I waited for them that damp, menacing morning when I half expected to see Black Shuck the wolf dog coming for me, I spotted a very decent perch or two wandering past. Perhaps I shouldn’t have left Norfolk after all? And it was good to see that bream, Bob’s long-term nemesis. The bream with “the obliging manner”. I won’t forget that one!

So, for me, not a trip to stir my soul, but as I have said, perhaps I was too close to it all to appreciate the homely charms of Broadland like the Boys did. And you can’t have drama all your angling life. I, for one, would do well to remember that.










Bob cracks a Bure pike!

The post Gone Fishing: The Consultant’s View – The Norfolk Broads first appeared on FishingMagic Magazine.

Continue reading...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ray Roberts

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
5,076
Reaction score
2,056
Location
Eltham, SE London

This guy makes Bob Mortimer look the worlds calmest and coordinated angler.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Keith M

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2002
Messages
4,884
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Hertfordshire
What a plonker :)
Someone should teach him how to use a fixed spool reel underneath the rod, plus how to handle and unhook his fish.:sneaky::)

Keith
 
Top