Gone Fishing: The Consultant’s View

john step

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Just watched the Norfolk Broads episode. The little fat one has definitely got a screw loose.
 

John Bailey

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SERIES 4, EPISODE 5 – WELSH WILD CARP

First, all the blindingly obvious observations. The landscape in the Borders is staggering. The weather on day one was a hundred times tougher than it looked. It’s great that wild carp get a bit of exposure. They are on their last legs, and the country’s extremities are their last strongholds. Great that the show crosses boundaries in the sport, and shows how game gear can catch so-called coarse fish. There was huge tension in the team after the first day wash-out, and the exultation on Bob’s face when Paul caught their first fish typifies how genuine the programmes are.

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The film didn’t get across how evil the conditions were on the day…
3 degrees and snow early morning. No wonder they are dressed like mountaineers!

Now. More serious. Thank you, as ever, to the many people who helped behind the scenes to allow us on these sparkling venues. They are special but they are vulnerable, and I hope there is no over-fishing as a result. This always worries me. Not for selfish reasons, but rather as I worry about the fragility of wild waters that can easily be damaged.

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B in the accommodation on the Wye

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P and Marina

As some will remember, we featured Marina Gibson on the sites a while back. There was next to nothing shown of the scintillating casting sequence she filmed with Paul. This girl is masterful. Paul was gobsmacked. If those who suspect her credentials could have seen this segment they would have been silenced forever. Yes. She’s pretty gorgeous, but that is hardly her fault. She is a Premiership fisher above and beyond all things, and the detractors should remember that and bury their jealousies. She’s also a deeply caring, genuine young person, and you cannot say that about many today.

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Hardly fair!!

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Second day at lovely Llyngwyn was much kinder!

Her friend on the show, Mick, was a revelation. This man has been facing death, but remains upbeat, positive and dynamic, and an inspiration to us all. We live in an age where whinging is the norm, and we would well to remember how bloody precious life is. We are all so concerned with our self-importance, and our so-called busy lives, that we forget time races by and we will all be as dust in the blink of history’s eye. I am NOT being morbid. Just let us, me included, realise how blessed we fishers are to revel in the impossible-to-believe beauty of waters like those we saw in this episode. Last night highlighted that time is excruciatingly precious, and the joy of living should be paramount.

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Linked with that is Bob’s talk of physical decline. Both Paul and Bob are feeling their years, and remember the latter’s comment that his own bed is where he feels at his most contented. This has to be one of the programme’s appeals? There is so much yearning on TV these days. Yearning for wealth, celebrity, a sexy body, whatever. So many old values and aspirations are lost in the crazed drive for success, and many viewers respond to G/F’s reversal of this. Bob and Paul don’t need whopping fish or endless money. A good bed, good coffee, good companionship, a five pound carp, and they are truly happy. I don’t know about you lot, but it is doing me good to remember that.

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More wild carp action… the look of joy on Bob’s face!!



The post 'Gone Fishing: The Consultant's View – Welsh Wild Carp' first appeared on FishingMagic Magazine.

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John Bailey

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SERIES 4, EPISODE 6 – THE SEVERN

So, the last ep in Series 4 aired last night, Sunday 3rd October. There’s a general weeping and wailing on social media I am told, so it suggests that the new run has been a success, and thank you, the audience, for that.

The Severn Zander episode was subtly different I felt, both watching it on TV, and whilst watching it being filmed on the bank. For a start, Paul was blunt in his words on the way that rivers are being neglected around the country. For several years, he has wanted to be more outspoken, and these words are probably as far as he will ever be allowed to go. The truth is that most rivers we have filmed and fished have been in decline, to a greater or lesser degree, and everyone everywhere has bemoaned this fact.





But getting things done? Forget it! There seems to be no appetite for meaningful change amongst the bodies charged with looking after rivers in this country, however much we might bang on about going green. Whilst we were filming, there was rain, and the the fishing on the Severn collapsed to the point we did well to catch anything at all, we were told. According to all who fish there, rain results in noxious run-off that kills sport for days. I don’t know about this, but after rain, the barges kick up trails of foam that suggest chemicals in the river that cannot be doing good.







There was also the very contentious issue of the zander themselves to deal with. Paul made the point well, when he and Bob returned the first fish – I think it was. There is much controversy over the status of zander as alien species, and the correctness of returning them alive. I have already got into hot water over this, so will be neutral in my comments. Save to say the word “scapegoat” springs to mind. Over my long angling life, I cannot count the number of times the so-called authorities in charge of a declining fishery have found it easier to blame a voiceless suspect than go after the main culprit. That is especially so if that culprit happens to have more power and influence than the zander do.

So, in my mind, it was no bad way to end the series with a couple of spiky issues. Whilst the programme does aim to be reassuringly gentle Sunday night viewing, rest assured, Paul and Bob are as aware as any of us that all is not as paradisiacal as we show it, and there are dark currents beneath.





That all said, there were the lovely moments we have come to expect. It was my triumph to have found Mrs Shinn, Upton’s wonderful tackle dealer. What a truly remarkable lady. Zander guide, Tim, too. You only got a glimpse of the extraordinary character he is. We loved him. Charlie Cooper was another surprise, if you have seen him in his comedy series. In real life, he is the son I would always have wanted, and you cannot say fairer than that! Ted! That dog! What a truly grouchy, self-centred little hound he is. (Perhaps that’s his charm?) Paul got his grumpy, gruff “supposed voice” spot on. If that dog could talk, it would be pure venom that spouted out.


A barge…



…the nasties stirred up by its wake

It was a bit of a grueller for me, this ep, as I had to navigate the crew boat throughout, maintaining the exact position that Rob the director wanted to hold. This wasn’t always easy with an electric motor, and a small boat top-heavy with camera men and kit. And there was the fact that for once I would have liked to do a bit of fishing myself. I have never caught a UK zander, and I have always found them fascinating fish. It’s a great gig, of course, this Gone Fishing lark, but there have been many times indeed that I have had to put my own ambitions on the back burner!

So that’s it for another year! “Fishing is all about pretending to be the young boys we never will be again,” said Bob. The question on social media is whether we will all be pretending yet again in 2022! Let’s see!


PS… the boatman with P and B is Tim…

Paul playing a pike that did not make the cut



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

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Mark Wintle

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Gone Fishing: Lower Severn - some comments:

The good:
Great venue, one I'd love to fish and that isn't so exclusive I can't fish it. I remember Matt Hayes fishing down there somewhere as well as articles from Ron Lees and Paul Downes, my sort of water, lots of variety.

Fishing for zander; a different twist.

Catching a nice rudd.

Not so good:
Not explaining why there are zander in the Severn.

Three men standing in a boat, especially given Bob's lack of ability to stay upright.

What Charlie Cooke (who?) brought to the party? Just seemed to get in the way.

Not attempting to floatfish properly in the final session; it was begging for some skilled float fishing that produced a variety of fish. I had no idea what Paul was fishing for?

Overall:

Enjoyable as ever but so much room for improvement.
 

rob48

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There's certainly lots of variety on that stretch as you say Mark.
I've booked a riverside cottage for the last three years that's between Clevelode and Severn Stoke (it's just upstream from the field where they saw the horses).

I've heard tales of the river not fishing well but I've always done alright (one of the reasons I go back).
First time in September 2019 I caught roach on all float methods, bream and barbel on the feeder with fish up to 7lb.

October 2020's stay coincided with the arrival of the first named storm of the autumn with the level eventually rising over 3m but I still had quality roach and chub up to 3lb while the river had only about a metre on and they were mostly caught just edging a big bolo float down the side.

This year in August the river was low and stale with nothing doing besides the roach, but there were plenty of them with fish up to a pound, with seed baits working best, again on all float methods, bolo, stick, waggler, whip, as well as straight lead. There were also a fair few salmon lying and leaping out of the water occasionally. I guess they'd be either just resting or awaiting a flush of fresh water down the river.

I've not pesronally seen any zander there but I've heard of them being caught and have had roach taken by pike.
Anyway, there seems to be plenty of fish to go at, with species and methods depending on the conditions. With the river looking in need of rain when they were filming it was probably not at it's best.
 

steve2

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Really enjoyed the whole series . My brother enjoyed them so much his is talking about taking up fishing again.
 

nottskev

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I like the series. Ok, we can probably all fish better than the blokes, but the value of the series isn't to be measured that way. In fact, it's really quite uplifting, in a world where fishing tv mostly equals Essex Lads shouting about pb's, and awesome monsters, that we got such an offbeat, quirky, funny, intimate, low-key series that crept up on some of the real pleasures of fishing and being there through these two characters.

I wonder about one thing, though. I've enjoyed Bob's open-hearted manner, but what's going on when he freaks out and panics? I felt quite embarrassed watching him go hysterical when (I think ) a hooked sea trout jumped. And on other occasions he has over-reacted in the oddest way.
 

theartist

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I wonder about one thing, though. I've enjoyed Bob's open-hearted manner, but what's going on when he freaks out and panics? I felt quite embarrassed watching him go hysterical when (I think ) a hooked sea trout jumped. And on other occasions he has over-reacted in the oddest way.
Why on earth would you feel embarassed? Seemed like the sort of reaction most of us had surely when starting out. I know I did back in the day and it was probably a 1lb tench doing it.
 

John Bailey

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I notice there have been several comments on the last episode, and I thought a brief conclusion might be in order and of interest to some?

First, even presuming I knew, I’m not at liberty to confirm or deny a Christmas Special and/or a fifth series. I’m sure some will think that’s silly, but that is how the BBC plays these things, and who am I to take on Auntie? Sorry, therefore, but you’ll just have to wait.

Second, I saw the zander episode was described as a 'car crash', and it is not for me to change anyone’s perfectly valid opinion. Zander were never a target that I got excited about personally but, as I wrote, I liked Tim the Boat hugely, and I did feel there was some solid effort to say something meaningful about the environmental problems facing rivers. I can only repeat that Charlie Cooper and Mrs Shinn were great, in my view, and that the quiet end to the last programme was reflective and fitting.

Perhaps we should all of us consider what we want from our fishing venues, our rivers in particular. I was sent a piece in the Angling Times yesterday in which trophy hunter Neill Stephen was lamenting the cost of some big fish waters, saying he felt they should be open to everyone at low cost. Hmm. That’s a nice sentiment, and I’m sure most rivers were both freely accessible and full of fish in the 16th century, for example.

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Today it is different. If rivers and natural fish populations are to thrive, then they need to be looked after, and we cannot expect the Environment Agency to do much for us in that regard. If we want to catch great river roach or massive wild browns, chances are someone will have to look after the stocks, and that will require payment and increased ticket costs.

I’d love all fishing to be free but, tragically, the state of the countryside and the abuse of rivers suggests you might get what you have to pay for in many catchment areas. That was not the case in my childhood, and I’d love to have the Fifties back again in a fishing regard.

What has that to do with Paul and Bob? Well, the last four years have seen me travel all over the UK, and very generally the best fishing can cost, or is looked after by dedicated clubs or individuals which keeps that cost down. Some anglers accept it costs a packet to watch Chelsea or drive a Range Rover, but expect fine fishing to be free.

I’m not trying to be controversial or elitist, and I have never talked to Paul and Bob about this so my views are my own, based on what I have seen. I’d love us all to fish fantastic, unspoiled waters, full of big fish at a minimal cost, but perhaps those days are largely gone? If you do know anywhere like that, let me know! If there were to be a fifth series, then I might come knocking at your door!

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Wonderful venues can cost money to look after and preserve
 

nottskev

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Why on earth would you feel embarassed? Seemed like the sort of reaction most of us had surely when starting out. I know I did back in the day and it was probably a 1lb tench doing it.

Because it seemed excessive and out of all proportion. There was nothing to warrant screaming, throwing his hands up and freaking out like that.
Whitehouse's reaction showed he didn't appreciate it either.
 
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