A Creel of Willow is set on the little river Withy, and encounters characters who fish the water - from Rogers, the time-and-motion man who fishes like a machine, to the wise and kindly Dee who fishes the dry fly because he likes it, and old Percival, who does so because his father told him to. The book is based on real places and real people. The river Withy is, in fact, the river Blithe in Staffordshire, and the Withyfield Reservoir is the Blithfield Reservoir near Cannock Chase. 'Goodwin' was a friend of the family - Peter Godwin - and 'Mike' was Bill Canaway's son Mike (who kindly sent this information to us).
This is a book for fishermen; it is also a book for people who cannot understand fishermen at all.
'Because these sketches add up to an argument for general angling right round the year, and because the hope is to tempt many specialists to experiment with different kinds of fishing, we may as well begin just before midsummer when the great army of coarse-fishermen get out their floats and bottom-rods. And straightaway we will try to persuade them to try something else instead.
'It is true that coarse-fishing legally begins on the 16th of June and that, in the lakes and canals, the tench and carp are ready to be angled for; but in the rivers the roach are still haunting the weeds. It is hot weather, perhaps, and bright water. The underwater vegetation is swarming with larvae and shrimp and snails. Most of the fish are burrowing there and can't be reached with an underwater bait.
'But whatever he may be hunting below, the dace keeps half an eye on the surface . . . We will fish for these dace with an artificial fly.'
Hargreaves follows this with a very simple introduction to fly-casting for those who have never tried it: 'It takes one day to be able to cast well enough to catch fish and enjoy yourself'.
If you haven't already got this book in your fishing library, it's really worth considering - a wonderful read.
Adrian Latimer's new book Searching for a Rise receives great reviews from Salmo Trutta and Gamefisher:
'[This book] tells tales of fishing a heap of the world's most famed trout spots: Battenkill, Bourne, Chimehuin, Corrib, Itchen (and so on). He weaves these places with the experiences and thoughts of trout fishing's giants: Kite, Halford, Plunket Greene . . . , Sawyer, Sheringham, Skues (and further on). As a fisher, you will likely love this book. You'll be right there with Adrian through highs . . . and lows . . . The result is a great read that will keep you going for a good while. ' - Salmo Trutta
'Latimer has written extensively about his adventures in Argentina, Iceland . . . and elsewhere in a series of volumes including Fire and Ice and The River at the End of the World, and admirers of his high-octane prose style will need little invitation to snap up his latest offering. But it is somewhat different to the others, in that it seeks to relate his experiences to those of previous generations of anglers, who, like him, have been moved to lay down their rods every now and then and put pen to paper . . . .[In] Argentine Patagonia, . . . Latimer treads in the wader footprints of Ernest Shwiebert, Joe Brooks, Roderick Haig-Brown and other pioneers. The landscapes are as amazing as ever they were, and the trout fishing - if not quite as fabulous - is still extraordinary . . . Elsewhere he seems more subdued. His exploration of his chalkstream theme takes him to Normandy as well as southern England. But the rivers are too often degraded by our modern living . . . The legendary streams of the US Catskills . . . are similarly under pressure, and the sight of legions of fly fishers in Montana leaves him longing for solitude.' - Tom Fort in Gamefisher
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Fred Buller in February. Fred's contribution to angling was second to none - he was a great fisherman, prolific writer and one of angling's most notable historians as well as someone who took an active interest in tackle development, having founded the Moncrieff Rod Development Company with Leslie Moncrieff, Fred J. Taylor and Richard Walker.
As well as being a Medlar author and a contributor to Waterlog, Fred was also a personal friend and we will miss him greatly.
For further details of his life, please refer to our Author page and also to the appreciations written by Malcolm Greenhalgh and Andrew Herd in Waterlog no. 95 - the Spring Edition. That edition also features an article written by Fred about his great friend Hugh Falkus.
The Anglers' Bible received a great write-up in Classic Angling just before Christmas:
'Catalogues from 1847 to 1914 might not, at first glance, appear to be a subject that lends itself to much creativity. But even those who know their Ps from the Qs (the book explains why Hardy's chose to number catalogues between 1886 and 1914) will find much in this hefty tome (well-named as it's almost the size of a Bible) to inform and entertain. It's an important part of angling history, too. Until reading this, it had never struck me how Hardy's was really a mail-order business with a tackle outlet tacked on . . . And what works those early catalogues were! Yes, the very first ones were simple lists, but Hardy's supremely smart idea was to bulk them up with articles about fishing: 132 pages by 1888, 180 by 1897 and 400 by 1914 . . . The book refreshingly breaks away from the temptation of recording each new product as it came out, instead batching them into, for example, artificial baits, rods, reels or creels. It doesn't cover everything but pulls out highlights, sets them in context and carries numerous illustrations of relevant or interesting pages . . . This is a terrific read: indeed it is an essential one for anyone who collects Hardy tackle. You won't ever manage to find all those catalogues, but this is the next best thing.' - Classic Angling