A History of Pike Fishing Volume I by Graham Booth
Mark Barrett reviews the first volume of Graham Booth’s major new work.
There can be few fish that hold such a fascination amongst anglers and non anglers alike as the pike. Its cannibalistic tendencies, its legendary ability to catch cows and small children and other such fairy stories have made the species not only a desired quarry, but a detested one, such is the paradox that is the pike.
Not surprisingly a fish that engenders such diverse passions has been pursued by man for many, many years but, strangely, until now, there has been no dedicated tome to the history of both the fish and those brave souls that have set forth to tame them. Step forward Graham Booth.
Graham lives in Norfolk, a county forever linked in the pike angler’s mind to the species and that fascination with pike has burned bright in Graham throughout his time in the services, right up to the present day.
So what of the book itself? Well, as you would expect from any Harper Fine Angling Books production it’s a lovely thing to look at, but a history book needs to be so much more than that - and this one doesn’t disappoint.
First impressions are that at around 400 pages in length it’s a weighty read and bear in mind that this is just Volume I, the second part is not due until next autumn. The other thing that immediately springs out at you is the painstaking research that has gone into the book. No stone has been left unturned in Graham’s search for an accurate portrayal of the history of both the fish and those that have fished for them.
In his search Graham has gained access to such secret organisations as ‘The Piscatorial Society’an organisation that has seen little in print written about it in the past. In part I think that this is down to the author himself who, with his Sandhurst training and larger than life personality, has the wherewithal to gain access to this type of place whereas others may have struggled.
The first volume of the book covers ancient history up to the 1950’s where Volume II will pick up when it is released.
Possibly the biggest revelation, to me at least, was how the pike has slipped down the rankings table over the years: from that of the country’s most revered and sought after species to a time where it has been seen by many as little more than vermin to be destroyed at the earliest opportunity. Its fall from grace really has been quite dramatic and, as Graham shows, The Piscatorial Society has lots of ceremonial items that are pike-shaped or are indeed actual pike.
In any sport it’s vitally important to those that follow on that our history is recorded and Graham has done a wonderful job of recording the history of this branch of the sport. Yet this is also a book for all anglers, even non pikers, as it’s a fascinating read told in an engaging style and it is one which will appeal to anglers of all ages.
In the future this book will certainly be rated as one of pike angling’s classics, right up there with the likes of Buller and Rickards. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone. It’s the perfect book to read next to a roaring fire with a wee dram when everything outside is frozen solid and my advice would be to get it on your Christmas list before you end up with another pair of Santa socks!
Copies of the book can be bought directly from Graham for £35 + £6 for postage and packing from his own website HERE.
By the Same Author
- The Angling Trust, an ‘Unbelievably Weak Governing Body’ - Not Just Teeth: December
- Fishing in Sickness and in Health - Not Just Teeth: November
- Jigging for Zander and Deadbaiting for Pike - Not Just Teeth: October
- Autumn perch and catfish - Not Just Teeth: September
- Catfish, Carp and Kids – Not Just Teeth: August
- Paying your Dues?
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 3
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 2
- Sounding Off
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight