Where to Fish was one of the first fishing books I ever consulted. It was in the reference section of the local library in Harold Hill, unavailable to take home, even with an adults ticket and I was just a kid anyway. I would sit on the chair swinging my feet, still well clear of the floor, and flick through it. I would marvel at the exotic locations and fish mentioned; grayling , salmon, the Hampshire Avon and the river Wye and wonder at the Victorian language used – and also wonder why there was no mention of Redmire Pool or of my local river Roding. I don’t think that copy was ever updated and it was a tiny bit tattered after five or six years of kids like Fred Bonney, Cliff Hatton and me rummaging through it every week. (We discovered we shared the same library as kids together just last year. Small world eh?)
Well, flash forward fifty years and the book really hasn’t changed that much! The contents anyway. An overload of information, about destinations that no longer seem quite so exotic. Information that is vital and tantalising – there’s rarely enough about each venue but there is (usually) just enough to suffice and whet the appetite. The modern version has email addresses and website links ready to click for even more info as well as the traditional address’s of the ‘Hon Sec.’ and their telephone numbers.
Content is King with any product like this and this app has a LOT of content. It doesn’t list everywhere and, to me, there are some glaring omissions. (There’s still no mention of Redmire!) Infuriatingly, some very important venues are glossed over with hardly a mention whilst other puddles and drains get rather more attention than they deserve. The information is laid out in a typical Victorian self-important but rather useless manner, in ‘water catchment areas’. This makes navigating through the data a bit haphazard but strangely actually adds a bit to the charm. You keep going off at tangents… try to read about the Thames and get thrown sideways to Darenth and Epsom before reverting to Teddington and Windsor. And it’s all still enchanting somehow…
Digressing is what I’m doing here and that’s what the book does to you and what it is all about. It’s very hard to read up on one venue without getting sidetracked to read about another.
As an e-book it works well enough. I downloaded it – and its Kindle reader app – onto my iphone without too much hassle; this despite discovering my credit card which was registered with Amazon had expired so forcing more side-tracking. Never mind. I hit a bunch of buttons and it all worked out okay and even after the ‘oh no’ card panic had set in, within a few minutes I was flicking through the book and calm was restored.
The Kindle reader options are easy to navigate and I didn’t find many problems using it – which means it’s basically idiot-proof, until they find a better idiot.
As far as I am aware this is the only book of its type available for download to the iphone. That, and the vast amount of info contained – there are 7,000 entries! – make it well worth the seven quid it cost me, which these days is about the price of a half decent fish ‘n chips supper.
That said, it could easily be improved. I would like to see future editions of this book with it’s own built-in app (rather than as a Kindle book) which can search by GPS co-ords, use maps and satellite imagery, find fishing ‘near me’ and so forth. Until then, this will do.
This is the first edition of Where to Fish since leading online fishing publisher Fish&Fly took over the title. They told me that while improvements in the original hard copy book have already been made, there are lots more planned which are in the pipeline.
Editor Colin Bradshaw told me “The Kindle and PDF versions have hundreds of built-in active web links so in future this book will be used in conjunction with online databases, iapps and website atlases and a booking engine – We’ll take this into the modern world!”.
Wow. Looks like my wishes are coming true then!
There. I bought myself a present. Probably the most useful one I’ll get this year other than a new pair of slippers. Hurrumph! Bah humbug and Merry Xmas!