angling, british, carp, english, fennel, feral, fishing, hudson, journal, nigel, traditional, wild
My father fished mainly for black bream off the Sussex coast in the 1940’s and 50’s from his boat ‘Vulture’. I always thought the boat was more of an excuse for my father to hang out on the beach and watch young ladies pass by rather than a serious fishing vessel. In more extreme summer showers (just like this year) Vulture could accommodate a canvas pup tent, where upon pipe smoking and general tackle sorting would take place amongst friends. I now own that pup tent and have used it for many camping trips and was my prime over night fishing shelter for my carp fishing obsession as a teen in the eighties. The old sea tackle was sadly disposed of a few years ago in the local dump, (when I found out I went bloody mad) an old army haversack bag containing wooden line winders, floats, two Penn multipliers, three boat rods, a wooden centre pin and some old round pipe tobacco tins with hooks and lead weight, nothing of any great value but it was something that I wanted to keep. Now it has been thrown out in one of my fathers clear outs, hoarder he is not!
My father fished for the table and once married with a young family the piscator seemed to fade away. We have never spent a minutes fishing together, for my quest to angle was to admire and then put back, my father did not understand this but on one occasion we did share an angling moment and that was when the Passion for Angling series was broadcast on the BBC, in the early 1990’s. We both admired the way nature was captured on film and of course the fish being caught, I loved the old and new approach to angling demonstrated by Chris Yates and Bob James, respectively. But, I always remembered what my father said to me half way through the TV series, when we were having a catch up on the phone, he said “I stopped watching it because I thought the two presenters were too twee and the narration quite naff!” “Great Scott!” I exclaimed but I could see his point, it’s not everyone’s taste. Since the first broadcast A Passion for Angling has become quiet a cult series and generally considered to have not been surpassed in quality or in the way it captures the essence of angling. By chance I ended up chatting to Chris Yates in the pub a few months back and asked him about taking part in a new television series perhaps another APFA, his reply…”never, no, fishing and filming do not bode well!” So there you have it A Passion for Angling II will not be produced with Chris Yates. I digress…
Last year I was pointed in the direct of quite an interesting fellow, Nigel ‘Fennel’ Hudson at the Priory and his new website. Nigel or ‘Fennel’ had started writing at an early age under the encouragement from Chris Yates and over the years has created a quarterly publication that are now available to buy online. While looking at Fennels website and the images a haunting word kept coming back to me in my father’s voice ‘looks a bit twee to me.’ I was a little put off.
When written well, traditional angling writing by the likes of BB, for example is the type of literature that I can read again and again but with ‘traditional’ angling becoming more popular there is a trend for copy cat style scribblings that at best is a poor reproduction and at worst annoying and at times quite cringe worthy. So with Fennels Journal I stayed off until now, just in case of disappointment but then I saw ‘The Wild Carp’ edition!
I’m fascinated with anything to do with ‘wild’ or ‘feral’ carp at present an antidote to the current carping and commercial bagging up scene, so I decided to take the plunge and ordered a copy. Order made, and three days later a signed copy with a pleasant short letter arrived on my doorstep. After a quick flick through I could immediately see this was a labour of love, printed on high quality paper with high quality images. Straight away I had to read the first article chronicling the introduction of the ‘feral’ carp to Britain by the Romans and the subsequent stories of how these carp stayed and survived in the stew ponds over the next two millenia. The writing flows un-hurried without overly romanticising each point and the research is thorough, from the first sentence I was thinking, this lad can write, its informative and very refreshing. As the journal moves from the history to his own personal stories and then the stories of like-minded anglers who encounter the ‘wild’ carp the journey draws the reader into the mystery and rarity of these carp. Towards the end there is an interesting interview with an angler on the wild carp of the Danube that leaves the reader hypnotised by the size and beauty of these feral creatures. The photographs are still a little staged at times but I can live with those, the shot of the large Danube Wild carp is stunning. I shall order some of the back copies but for now I would recommend you get a copy of the Wild Carp Edition especially if you like catching the odd one yourself…