Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now
Profile for Longtrotter > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Longtrotter
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,264,970
Helpful Votes: 17

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Longtrotter "Longtrotter" (W Berks UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Under the Weather: Us and the Elements
Under the Weather: Us and the Elements
by Tom Fort
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and Informative, 1 April 2013
I suppose like many other anglers I have a keen interest in things Meteorological and it's probably no surprise that a book about the history of the science should be written by an angler. Tom Fort is best known to the angling community for his contributions in Waterlog as well as his books, The Far From Compleat Angler and The Book of Eels. (Though, Tom's other work, The Grass is Greener - is a social history of lawns and lawn mowing!)

Under the Weather traces the story of mans' (mainly Englishmans!) search to understand and predict the weather. It tells the story of eccentrics and obsessives, amateurs and scientists, Village priests and Lords of the Manor all who shared a common fanaticism for the British Climate. Many had implausible names such as Orlando Whistlecraft and my favourite Dr George Merryweather, whose Tempest Prognosticator sounds like it came straight off the pages of a Blackadder comedy script , relying as it did on the prescient power of leeches!

Under the Weather - Tom FortThe book is immaculately researched and doubles up as a travel book as Fort criss-crosses the UK to track down the places where these men lived and the places of British Meteorological significance. Fort also takes time out to examine the significance of the British weather on the national psyche.
The book is quirky, informative, well written, thoroughly engrossing and packed with interesting and hitherto forgotten tales. Fort writes with a gentle warmth and an enthusiasm for his subject that brings what could be a wholly dull subject matter to life.

A whole-heartedly, recommended read.


Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life
Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life
by Jeremy Paxman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 'Desert Island' Book, 7 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Wow, what a great anthology!I'll begin by making the obvious comparison. The comparator, of course, being BB's Fisherman's Bedside Book which is an anthology of similar length and scope. Waterlog once described BB's book as 'The Best Fishing Book in the World'. I have to conclude that the author of that claim hadn't read 'Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life'.

This collection is quite simply MAGNIFICENT! Paxman has left no stone unturned in putting together a delightful collection of angling writing. He states in his introduction that a search for 'fish' and 'fishing' on the British Library database brings up 6803 books and then gives the impression of having read every one of them in putting this volume together. There are collected here, over 300 articles from over 250 books by over 200 authors, spanning the last 2000 years.

Paxman has cast his net further and wider than BB and has included contributions from many more authors. Of course there's an extra 40 years worth of literature to choose from and much of the selection from this period is from across the Atlantic with some great choices from authors such as Zane Grey, Gierach and Zern. Meanwhile the likes of Dick Walker and Chris Yates, amongst others, help keep the British 'end up'. There is also space to 'correct' some of BB's 'glaring omissions' - Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life has contributions for The Trent Otter and John Bickerdyke for example, two authors overlooked in The Fisherman's Bedside Book. Don't get me wrong, The Fisherman's Bedside Book IS an excellent read and it just goes to show what a superb job Jeremy Paxman has done in bettering it.

But, of course, it's not just about the authors chosen it's about the works selected. And the ones picked by Paxman are truly excellent. He has assembled his choices under 10 themes, with headings such as Rods' Reels and Bottles of Gin, Ones That Got Away and Fish That Bite Back. Each chapter is introduced by an essay from Paxman which shows he's also a dab hand when it comes to turning out a well chosen word or two.
There is much in this compilation which conveys a wry humour and there are even flashes of Paxman's famous sarcastic wit. This is very evident by the titles he gives to some of the articles - here's an example of three of them..."Pliny's Belief in the Extraordinary Power of a Two-Inch Sea-Gudgeon.", "G.E.M. Skues Meets Frederick Halford, High Priest of the Dry Fly, and is Less Than Impressed." & "Captain Mainwaring Praises Dynamite". All very droll!

Prose, verse, extracts from angling catalogues (Hardy's of course), Letters to The Field, newspaper articles; If the writing is particularly fine - or reveals some angling curiosity it gets included. (I particularly enjoy the sprinkling of 'Letters to the Editor' which appear throughout the book) The collection is singular and unique with very little here that I have read in other anthologies. It is a real treasury. Jeremy Paxman deserves a Knighthood for 'Services to Angling' for putting together this cornucopia.

This book would definitely be my one obligatory choice should I ever be stranded on that desert island! And if you want some ideas on what classic angling books to read this book seems the ideal starting point to give you some inspiration.

"Those dappled sunlit days introduced me to a world I would never otherwise have known. When the loudest sound was the babbling river, creatures went about their lives undisturbed. Grey and yellow wagtails bucked their way across the rocks. Water rats would drop into pools with a 'plop'. Otters would glide noiselessly in and out of the water. One time an eel slithered across the toes of my boots. Sandpipers called 'twee-wee-wee' as they flew over the water, and, where the river had cut high banks in the soft earth, sand-martins popped in and out of their honeycombed colonies. Then from nowhere, the air would be split by a flash of sapphire, as a kingfisher tore down the river, six feet or so above the water. As evening fell and as more and more flies hatched on the water surface, swifts flew tireless aerobatics." From The Introduction.

"From this brief digest, then, the following rules seem sensible: If you haul into the boat anything long and snake like, kill it at once or throw it back over the side.
Don't wear anything silvery while wading in barracuda territory - you might get mistaken for a fish.
Don't wade in bear feet on coral.
Don't hunt whales. But if you get swallowed by a whale, at all events keep calm and prepare yourself for a new career as a snowman (see page 410).
If your fishing in the Amazon, don't pee in the water."
From the Introduction to Fish That Bite Back, both by Jeremy Paxman


Rod and Line (Medlar Angling Classics)
Rod and Line (Medlar Angling Classics)
by Arthur Ransome
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Classic!, 7 Feb. 2013
Use of the word 'classic' is sometimes over-wrought when it comes to describing an old angling book (or an old 'anything' for that matter!). However in the case of Rod and Line it is entirely apt. I have read a number of angling anthologies in my time and I have yet to find one which doesn't include something from this slim volume. And interestinglY, it is rarely the same piece of writing that is 'showcased' by the compiler - such is the number of little gems that this book contains within.

The book is a compilation of 50 articles that Ransome wrote for the Manchester Guardian in the 1920's a few years before he found fame as a children's writer (remember Swallows & Amazons?). Don't let the age of the writing put you off though - the prose is as fresh and as relevant today as when it first appeared. This is definitely not a 'how to book'. Rather it is a collection of 'Flotsam and Jetsam' of what angling is about, with stories ranging from bulls to barbel, on carp and carelessness, on wading to the weather and much, much more. It is an amusing and whimsical look at the trials and triumphs that face an angler. The book is a hugely enjoyable romp with tales and anecdotes which can't fail to raise a wry or knowing smile from the reader. The stories may be 80 years old but there is much that the modern day angler will immediately identify with.

High quality first editions of this book will set you back some serious money. Thankfully it's bee reissued by those lovely people at Medlar So if you've never read it you've really got no excuses for adding this classic to your reading collection! Buy it and ENJOY!

As I have already indicated there is so much I could pick by way of giving you a few snippets. I've chosen three short pieces from the chapters entitled 'On Tackle Shops', 'Fisherman's Patience' and 'Bulls and Kindred Phenomena'...

"The pleasures of fishing are chiefly to be found in rivers, lakes and tackle shops and, of the three, the last are least affected by the weather. The sight of rods in a window brings a fisherman to a full stop as surely as the sight of a bridge. In such weather as we have been having, when fishing is all but impossible, a fishing-tackle-shop has a magnetic power that can be felt over a considerable area."

"Nothing is more trying to the patience of fishermen than the remark so often made to them by the profane: 'I have not patience enough for fishing.' It is not so much the remark itself (showing a complete and unforgivable ignorance of angling as it does) that is annoying as the manner in which it is said, the kindly and condescending manner in which Ulysses might tell Penelope that he had not the patience for needlework. ... What other people mistake for patience in anglers is really nothing of the sort but a capacity for prolonged eagerness, an unquenchable gusto in relishing an infinite series of exciting and promising moments, any one of which may yield a sudden crisis with its climax of triumph or disaster,"

"Kindred phenomena to bulls are wasps, mosquitoes and clegs. ... The horror with the wasp is the expectancy. The horror with the cleg is that he bites without warning. His flight is noiseless. He settles as lightly as I would wish my fly to settle on the stream. There follows a moment of sharp pain, when the fisherman smites his cheek or wrist and slays a brownish, big-headed, blood-swollen beast. That is but the beginning of his agony. He sees the next and smites before it bites. The third beats him again. The fourth and fifth settle on his sleeve in error. As he brushes them off, the sixth gets its sucker home in his forehead. There-after, at midday, he is like a man fighting a legion of fiends in the dark"


An Angler for All Seasons: The Best of H.T.Sheringham
An Angler for All Seasons: The Best of H.T.Sheringham
by Hugh Sheringham
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars 'Best of the best', 7 Feb. 2013
The world of angling - or at least angling literature, owes a great debt to a meeting between two anglers on the banks of the River Lambourn near Newbury in September 1903. The two anglers in question were William Senior and Hugh Tempest Sheringham. Senior aka 'The Red Spinner' was editor of The Field and he offered Sheringham the position of Angling Editor, a post he held for the next 27 years until his untimely death from cancer at the age of 54. Thus was started a rich vein of angling literature by which many other 20th Century angling writers would be judged (and many would be found wanting!!). In fact Chris Yates has at some time been given the sobriquet 'The Best Angling Writer Since Sheringham'!

This selection edited by Tom Fort is really the 'best of the best'. 24 articles culled from 4 of Sheringham's books and from pieces he wrote for The Field and The Journal of The Flyfishers Club. Sheringham was an eclectic angler equally at home with game fishing as well as coarse - so there is something for everyone in this volume. In fact - quite unusually for his day HTS, dispensed with some tired old conventions, as the introduction to his book Coarse Fishing puts it - "Salmon fishing is good; trout fishing is good; but to the complete angler neither is intrinsically better than the pursuit of roach, or tench, or perch or pike." Unlike HTS, you certainly wouldn't have got Halford writing an article entitled 'In Praise of Chub'!

This angling creed can be found through out the book - none more so than in the Chapter 'Some Kennet Days' where sessions with the dry fly are interrupted to fish the worm for roach, dace and perch. I have to admit my previous exposure to Sheringham was in the anthologies of others (notably BB) and this volume gave me an excellent, and fuller, introduction to the great man's writing. I first read it last year * having borrowed a copy. I was not a quarter of the way through it when I realised I wouldn't be able to give it back!!

Thankfully it is still in-print. .

Sheringham writes with a fresh, elegant and expressive style. He was and still is very accessible - you can easily relate to his triumphs and his blanks. His humour and wit shine through and the stories will often leave you with a wry, knowing smile! Sheringham speaks to you as an equal and although some of the words printed in this book first saw the light of day nearly 100 years ago anglers of today will still enjoy them.

There is much I could have chosen to quote from in this volume but I've plumped for this classic piece from the opening paragraphs of 'The Big Carp'
.
"So far as my experience goes, it is certain that good luck is the most vital part of the equipment of him who would seek to slay large carp. For some men I admit the usefulness of skill and pertinacity; for myself, I take my stand entirely upon luck. To the novice I would say: Cultivate your luck. Prop it up with omens and signs of good purport. Watch for magpies on your path. Form the habit of avoiding old women who squint. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Touch wood with the forefinger of your right hand when-ever you are not doing anything else. Be on friendly terms with a black cat. Turn your money under the new moon. Walk around ladders. Don't start on a Friday. Stir the materials for Christmas pudding and wish. Perform all other such rites as you know and hear of. These things are important in carp fishing."


Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World
Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World
by Mark Kurlansky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!, 7 Feb. 2013
One of my favourite genre of reading material (after angling books * of course) is the 'quirky' historical book. Well researched tales and well told accounts of long forgotten stories. 'Longitude,' about he clock maker Harrison, and 'Nanthaniel's Nutmeg' spring to mind. I would also put Cod into the same category - though it could just as easily be classified under marine biology - or ecology, the second half of the book, being as it is, a requiem to Man's abuse of nature's fecundity. The book also won Best Food Book at the 1999 Glennfiddich Food & Drink awards - there being a liberal sprinkling of cod recipes (mainly historical ones) through out the work.

Regardless of its taxonomy, this book is a fascinating read. What at first glance may be slightly obscure subject matter is actually a thoroughly engrossing story. Kurlansky weaves the part cod and cod fishing has had to play in all sorts of seemingly unconnected events, for example he makes a good case for the Basques to have discovered North America 500 years before Columbus.

Facts and insights like this drip off the page and it says something for Kurlansky's writing style that the book is quite `unputdownable' - you could quite easily end up reading it in a single sitting. I suspect the book may also turn one into something of a bore!! You will undoubtedly feel the urge to look up from your page, turn to your spouse/loved one or any one prepared to listen and start a sentence "Did you realise...?"

Something else that strikes you is the breadth and meticulousness of Kurlansky's research. And he is to be commended for converting that research into such a readable form. However, despite all the historical tidbits the books lasting impression is a salutary lesson in what happens when man abuses nature. A thoroughly recommended read.


Confessions of a Carp Fisher
Confessions of a Carp Fisher
by "BB"
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the begining, 7 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If carp fishing were a religion - and it no doubt, already has some devotees who would agree with that premise - then Confessions of a Carp Fisher is its `Book of Genesis'. And BB its first Arch-Bishop.

Confessions of a Carp Fisher stands as the first book devoted to the species and can truly be said to have started a revolution. Now-a-days it is hard to imagine that BB was writing at a time when carp, especially large ones, were considered all but un-catch able . When, by BB's own estimation, but one carp of 15 pounds was caught each year in the whole of Britain and the British Record - the story of which is in the book - stood at 26lb.

BB's own enthusiasm for the species was fired by Sheringham writing a generation before him. `Confessions', however, would go on to inspire a generation of it's own. BB was a carp obsessive and one who rubbed shoulders with fellow, like-minded anglers, of the age. He fished Bernithan Court Pool in the early days after its discovery as a water that held monster carp and is even credited with giving the place its much more famous alias - Redmire. This in response to a request from the then owner to hide the water's true identity. Confessions of a Carp Fisher had been first published in 1950 - perfect timing for the events that would subsequently unfold in deepest Herefordshire.

The book itself is a mixture of themes. It's almost as if it can't make up its mind what it is meant to be. Part `how to', part diary of waters fished, and part paean to the delights of being so taken with `carp fever'. It is for the latter which, quite rightly, the book is so fondly remembered. Much of the tackle tips would be discounted in today's hi-tech age but it must be remembered that BB's book gives us bait boats (His was a toy clock-work one, used to take out floating crust beyond casting range and which had to be recovered when it beached itself on the other side of the water) and a diagram for making your own electric alarm - this supplied by Dick Walker.

If I have a complaint it is to the repeated references (we'd call them `plugs' into today's parlance) to one of BB's earlier works, his Fisherman's Bedside Book. Something I found mildly irritating. All this is forgiven however when one turns a page and happens upon some peerless prose.

Chapter XIII, `The Course of the Affliction' for example, excerpts of which must have found their way into every angling anthology worthy of the name, is simply divine. The angler at one with nature, is a theme which BB excels at describing and would be the main reason that any `modern' angler should read this classic.

"July is usually a sultry month and the herbaceous gardens are at their best. As I pass along the lane the hollyhocks - the old fashioned and double hollyhocks are coming into bloom, valerian glows upon mellow walls, white butterflies dance over the lavender hedges. Young birds are everywhere, trusting, friendly, not having yet learned their fear of man. Do not be apprehensive of early rising. You will discover a new world and wonder how you could have ever wasted so many precious hours sleeping within four walls with so much fresh loveliness outside. Jaded appetite will return, you will come in ravenous for your breakfast, you will realise that, if any daylight hours are to be spent indoors, it is the midday hours when the noise and dust and heat, the bustle of traffic, and the hurry of feet seem most insistent.

You may take your tea in peace and quietness and then, as the sky mellows over the heavy headed elms, you will journey forth to your pool once more, `Wallis Wizard' in hand and reel on back, and discover yet another calm and lovely world waiting to be enjoyed. No small wonder the old monks were fond of fishing"


Hooked!: Fishing Memories
Hooked!: Fishing Memories
by George Melly
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthy, bawdy & candid - not your usual angling book!, 7 Feb. 2013
Reading what I've written to date I'll now make a promise. But for exceptional circumstances I will no longer describe in any detail the hooking and landing of a fish. No more `tight lines' or `screaming reels' - take them as read."

The above paragraph appears on page 24 of George Melly's autobiographical tome and pretty much sums up his approach to the telling of his angling life. If you're a Jazz fan (and I'm not) these memoirs are not for you, but if you want to get a take on one persons insight to his angling and what it means to him, then it most certainly is!

Earthy, bawdy, candid (definitely - see page 4!!!) are not the adjectives you'd usually associate with an angling book but here they are entirely apt. Throw in a bit of wit and wry observation and you have a thoroughly readable book. Hooked! takes us from George's first trout in August 1935 to the present day and the reader is only vaguely aware of his career outside of angling, though gets more thoroughly embroiled in his somewhat `Bohemian' lifestyle. George mainly fish's for trout or salmon but as this isn't a book about what fly to use or how to Spey cast there is something for anglers of all persuasions to identify with.

Don't approach the book expecting fine, poetic prose - Melly is no Sheringham or Yates (see below) though his style IS vibrant and highly engaging. Also, I think the book's structure, with lots of short paragraphs, makes it surprisingly difficult to put down. I kept thinking `I'll just read the next section' and before I knew it I was half way through it. I practically finished it in one sitting!

The book was voted Book of the Year by the Angling Writers Association when it was released and turned up in my Christmas stocking the same year. I'm glad it did as it would not have been the sort of book I'd have otherwise bought but it was one a wholly enjoyed reading.

"Half way down the lane we stopped to allow a mallard and her large brood cross in front of us. People, and I have done it myself, tend to describe those moments, especially when connected with childhood and of no obvious significance in themselves but which nevertheless flash across the inner eye for no apparent reason, as `snapshots'. I now think of them, in that they tend to move, more like a few frames of film. In my memory those ducks still cross that lane, dappled by the sunlight of 60 years ago.

Of course it was a charming and touching sight and all of us , especially my grandfather who adored the more sentimental anthropomorphic aspect of Walt Disney's early `Silly Symphonies' made suitable gruff noises; but although I too saw the charm of this maternal spectacle, my principle feeling was of irritation. `Jemima' and her pretty family were holding us up!"


Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders
Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders
by John Gierach
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gierach 'Primer', 7 Feb. 2013
I've seen this booked described in numerous ways - `best of' and `treasury' being two of the most common. I would like to had `Primer' to that list as, if you've never read any Gierach, this is the place to start. John Geirach has few peers as an angling writer, on either side of the Atlantic, and `Death, Taxes and Leaky Waders' is a series of essay's taken from 6 of Gierach's books. The stories span a decade of his writing from `Trout Bum' in 1986 to `Another Lousy Day in Paradise' in `96. 40 of this American writer's finest works.

The title of John's books tells you all you need to know about his writing style. Someone - who doesn't take himself too seriously - who writes with a simple contentment and a deep empathy for his subject matter. Many of the stories have little to do with fishing. Angling for Gierach is as much about exploring the wilderness areas of the US which makes this sometimes as much a travel book as an angling one. The experience of being far from civilisation is a theme the writer returns to frequently.

Don't be put off by the fact that the author is an American fly fisher. (He fishes for more than just trout anyway). What he manages to capture - time and time again is why we anglers do what we do.

Much of John's fishing is done on the companionship of `AK' as this opening paragraph from `Neither Snow, nor Rain, Nor Gloom of Night' (taken from Sex, Death and Fly Fishing) illustrates...

"A.K. and I were camped on Roy Palm's place, with the tent pitched on a flat grassy spot about half way between the house and his stretch of the Frying Pan River. Roy had recently cleaned things up, so there was a big bulldozed pile of brush and tree limbs nearby that we were raiding nightly for firewood. After the first day, Roy's three retrievers, Tucker, Teal and Rowly, had moved in with us. They'd be waiting predictably at the tent when we got back from fishing the evening rise. We liked the dogs' company and didn't mind the extra warmth at night either. This was a cold camp in late October.

It wasn't the last fishing trip of the year, but it was late enough that this was probably the last camp.. So, largely to celebrate that, one night I handed A.K. the fresh pint of Southern Comfort I had stashed in my flytying kit. Sensing the gravity of the occasion, he removed the lid, tossed it into the fire, and we settled down to get ripped."


A Can of Worms: The Story of Barbel and the Men Who Fished for Them
A Can of Worms: The Story of Barbel and the Men Who Fished for Them
by Jon Berry
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First and Last word on the Subject, 7 Feb. 2013
There can be few books which can be said to be the first AND last `word' on their chosen subject yet this is exactly how I'd describe A Can of Worms. Jon Berry has turned to all his skills as a History graduate to produce a comprehensive, meticulously researched and authoritative piece of work. The mind boggles at where and how he might have done some of his research as he seems to have chased down every morsel of information on the subject. And whilst Jon may have called upon his academic leanings in his research methods he hasn't let it get in the way of telling a good story. A Can of Worms is a book that is very readable and at times engrossing, especially, if like me, barbel are one of your favourite fish.

The book does exactly what it says on the cover. First up there's a natural history lesson to explain the distribution of barbel and how man has extended this enormously. There's some tantalising early references to barbel being where they shouldn't have been. And Jon appears to have hunted down early references to the fish (and they appear to have been few and far between) with particular fastidiousness. I was also particularly intrigued to learn how a minor local river to me had such a big part to play in barbel's human assisted spread around the country.

Jon then treats us to a history lesson of, particularly, the Victorian anglers on the Thames and Trent systems and the 20th century rise of barbel's popularity. Tackle, techniques, baits used and notable fish captures are all recorded as well as the decline and resurrection of these two great rivers The story peters out in the early 1980's (by the book's own admission) but there's still room for a long bibliography of barbel books, a few stories, even the odd recipe - though Jon seems to have struggled to find many folks that actually could recommend the taste!

The book is adorned with a generous dose of illustrations. There are colour plates from barbel books of the past, snippets from old tackle catalogues, old photos and hand written notes and numerous clippings from the Angling Times.

I suspect however this just represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of Jon's source material - as represented by the 6 pages of notes in the appendix at the back of the book.


A Train to Catch: A Return Ticket to the Golden Age of Fishing
A Train to Catch: A Return Ticket to the Golden Age of Fishing
by Jon Berry
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Quaint, Quixotic Quest!, 7 Feb. 2013
A century ago the presence of an angler on a train with a creel over his shoulder
and rods in hand, would have been a familiar sight. For generations the
railways offered an escape for the urban angler; a chance to explore a greener
and pleasanter land and find some peace by the water.

And anglers were a target audience the railway companies went out of their way to
attract with special ticketing arrangements and marketing materials such as
Anglers Guides geared specifically to travelling fisher-folk. One such guide
even gave a swim by swim description of waters that could be reached from
London by rail! 150 years ago the rail network itself had spread to every
corner of Britain allowing ready access to the lakes, broads, rivers and canals
of the nation.

In `A Train to Catch' Jon Berry writes of his attempts to follow some of these
angling journeys. In this `post Beeching' era with the rail network a pale
shadow of what it was, it is a quaint and slightly quixotic quest! Jon sets out
from his home in Swindon and travels the length and breadth of Britain. The
trips take place over 3 years during his holidays, again imitating the anglers
(or rather journeys) he is writing about. It also seems somewhat appropriate
that Jon's journeys begin and end in the town where many of the great steam
engines that would have carried the anglers he is trying to emulate were built.

Despite the limitations of a now depleted network Jon puts in some rail miles and
remains reasonably faithful to his quest, only rarely having to resort to road
to reach his final destination. His angling by rail odyssey takes him far and
wide, from Looe in Cornwall to the North of Scotland, Lowestoft to Wales and
many points in between.

The book is a mixture of history, anecdote and reminiscence, written with good
humour and is quite `chuckle-some' in places. I particularly liked the old
railway maps illustrating just how extensive the rail network was in those
days. There are snippets from old adverts, pictures of old railway inns,
extracts from the angler's guides, a cartoon from punch, colour plates of his
trips - in fact all the usual plethora of tid-bits you come to expect from one
of Jon's books - meticulously researched as ever! It all adds up to a most
pleasing narrative.

The fishing itself is somewhat secondary - but I guess that's sort the point. It's
not the being there, it's the getting there that's important - even if it does garner
a few disapproving stares from the odd Thames Valley commuter! Having said that Jon
does cram in quite a variety of angling, from shark fishing off the Cornish
coast, trout fishing in Derbyshire and pike fishing on the Norfolk Broads to a
grand tour (of sorts) of Scotland. Some enterprising TV executive really ought
to make it into a TV programme!


Page: 1 | 2