• Angling Encounters

    by Bob Buteux and Tony Meers, published by Harper Fine Angling Books

    £30, www.harperbooks.co.uk
    Not another book of angling yarns only of interest to the writer and his mates, I thought. Except this one is several cuts above those badly written tales of fat blokes droning on about fat carp. For a start, those who have contributed have the ability to string words together in an interesting way (though knowing some of them, I detect subtle editing).
    Secondly, it ranges far more widely than “secret gravel pit in the south of England”. You will find storiers from famed waters like the Royalty and Redmire to Peterborough’s Electricity Cut, with Canada and the Amazon for variety. Thirdly, these are all original, specifically written for this book. The editors have also persuaded some notable names like Peter Climo and Eddie Price, whose work in rarely seen in print, to put pen to paper.
    Angling Encounters offers a lot more than mere big-fish stories. It sets the pace with ghostly goings-on at Redmire. Other highlights include a Ron Clay tribute to Ray Webb. Was he eccentric or just batty? You’ll veer towards the latter after reading this chapter.
    Mind you, Chris Yates gets an honourable mention if we’re talking oddball. “He apologised that he was not there to greet us, but the first winds had blown through the woods in his garden, and it was a tradition that he had to catch 12 leaves before they hit the ground, for good luck – and there they were, sticking in of the V-neck of his jumper.”
    Some famous names appear here: Buller, Crouch and even the incomparable Dick Walker, with a fascinating piece on deadbaiting in the early 1950s.
    It’s not too serious. There’s a fine story by Fred Sykes about fishing a carp water on the night of June 15 and spotting a dead body.
    “If we raise the alarm, there will be police, divers, lights and hordes of people crashing about. It won’t make any difference to the dead bloke. So we decided to fish until 6am, packing up an hour early befor alerting the authorities.” I won’t spoil the ending for you.
    Angling Encounters offers good value with more than 200 pages; it’s well produced and  is lavishly illustrated. Definitely one for the Christmas list.                         Keith Elliott

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