At the Waters Edge with Martin James is Martin’s second book. The last one, Up Against It, dealt with his life as an angler with MS. It was published about 12 years ago, because Martin doesn’t exactly knock these books out one after another; so make the most of it. If he ever decides to get around to writing a third one it could be a very long wait.

This book is by Martin James, it says so on the cover, but it’s not just by Martin James. There are also many chapters written by top angling names from both the past and the present, and much of the book deals with the angling exploits of those Martin has interviewed over the years for his radio show of the same name.

There’s a lot of rare stuff here. For the carp aficionado, the opening chapters should put you in paradise, with anglers such as Len Arbery reminiscing about the early days of carp fishing in the 1950s and 60s. About the people whose names will live on through their exploits whenever the history of carping is mentioned. Redmire gets more than a mention of course, with anecdotes of the old timers ; Jack Hilton, Tom Mintram, Chris Yates, Bill Keal, Bill Quinlan and of course Dick Walker. Will Carter then brings the Redmire story up to the present with a chapter dedicated to the subject.

Martin Salisbury and Mick Holgate move things along to river fishing, to the specimen chub and barbel Martin is so well known for. As an aside, I always suspected that Martin catches more specimen chub in one season than most anglers see in a lifetime, and these two confirm that. Then on to stillwaters with Phil Chun and suddenly we are flying! Firstly, to India, mahseer fishing with Gary Newman, then fly-fishing in the States with Scott Richmond, to Sweden and Cape Cod with Trevor Boss. This is a tackle-box full of writers, all of whom really know their onions – as my old Dad used to say. Interested? You should be – yet we are not even a quarter of the way through the book yet!

Memoirs of a master angler continue through the book, covering every almost discipline of angling. One minute we are fly-fishing klink-hammers on the river Kennet and the next we are reading of an episode wading saltwater flats in the Middle East. Perfectly formed tiny brown trout on gossamer wands give way to the ‘uncatchable’ milkfish taken on a flyrod under a tropical sky. Clooping carp on a still summer evening and arm wrenching savage takes on the Amazon. Fantastic stuff.

Whether your particular passion within angling is about catching Sharks and bonefish on a flyrod, carp and tench from lilly ponds, roach from winter rivers or the secrets of monster chub baits from just about anywhere (it’s bread by the way) this book has something for everyone. I don’t care if your only interest is for one species or one method – I guarantee something in this book will set your pulse racing and whet your appetite for trying something new. 

It’s a nice heavy book, very high quality with sensible sized print and with some excellent photos illustrating it. It’s a damn good read and any money it makes helps charities, so buy a copy. Martin donates his writing, guiding and speaking fees to the following charities: Ribble Valley Crossroad Care, ABF The Soldiers Charity and to the Angling Trust.

This is a great idea for a Christmas pressie – if not for a friend then get one for yourself. It costs about £25 plus around £3 P&P. Well worth it!

Geoff Maynard

‘At the Water’s Edge with Martin James’ is published by:
First Nature
SA44 5RE
Tel 01239 851952

It is available from :
ISBN: 978-0-9560544-5-6
Tel: 0845 299 0602 Option 1Mob: 07900927917
Direct Line: 01793 836953