My Greatest Angler

whitty

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Sadly,all match anglers are beatable Mark,I beat Ivan next peg on the North bank of the Nene,a venue he knew well and one I'd never even seen before,I caught 4lbs of roach up in the water and he caught 2lbs,also on the Trent on the stick,he was a great,I most certainly am not,nor would I claim to be,i've beaten Ian Heaps next peg a few times too,funnily enough neither of these look brilliant,but they are,Ken Giles looked brilliant and was brilliant when I sat and watched him,and not just because he had a good catch,his whole performance was incredible,a joy to watch,i've seen this in several anglers in my life,some well known,some not,i've watched Paul Kerry beach fishing,amazing,Bob Church fly fishing,usually I can spot someone who has the touch,met one on the banks of the small river several weeks ago,watched him run a float through several times,so sat five yards back and chatted to him,his big chub portfolio was amazing,loads of seven pounders,all on the float,when I walked away I wasn't surprised,the way he talked and the way he fished said it all....
 

chevin4

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The big problem is that there are great anglers and very good anglers; separating the two is far from easy. Anglers like Peter Stone or Jan Porter in my book come into the very good category; great company, excellent at catching fish and contributing to the media, but others' contributions were far greater which is why the likes of Richard Walker, Billy Lane and Ivan Marks get into the great categary. I met and fished against Jan, super bloke, beatable (! - well, I beat him) but not even the best Trentman/Notts. Fed angler, certainly don't forget the likes of Trent legend Jim Sharp, Wayne Swinscoe, John Dean and John Allerton (probably the most successful English match angler by a mile), and as for Pete Palmer fishing a waggler....
Quite a few anglers made their reputations on the coattails of Richard Walker.
For my second roach book I attempted to define some of the greatest roach anglers. I asked around quite a bit over 15 years and these were some of those mentioned: Bill Penney, Capt. Parker, John Bailey, Dave Howes, Cardiff Mark, Mike Townsend. Dr Redfin was often mentioned but none wanted him included; I cannot print the remarks of some I asked.
I would agree that separating good anglers from great anglers is not easy. I think in the case of Match anglers it is far easier. Taking Ivan Mark's as a case in point his record speaks for itself it is transparent. With Coarse anglers the task is very difficult. Some anglers may have a very impressive big fish list, they may he average anglers who chase fish all over the country fish seven days a week have local access to very good waters etc etc. Its the old adage if you throw enough darts at the board you will eventually hit the jackpot.
 

chevin4

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Sadly,all match anglers are beatable Mark,I beat Ivan next peg on the North bank of the Nene,a venue he knew well and one I'd never even seen before,I caught 4lbs of roach up in the water and he caught 2lbs,also on the Trent on the stick,he was a great,I most certainly am not,nor would I claim to be,i've beaten Ian Heaps next peg a few times too,funnily enough neither of these look brilliant,but they are,Ken Giles looked brilliant and was brilliant when I sat and watched him,and not just because he had a good catch,his whole performance was incredible,a joy to watch,i've seen this in several anglers in my life,some well known,some not,i've watched Paul Kerry beach fishing,amazing,Bob Church fly fishing,usually I can spot someone who has the touch,met one on the banks of the small river several weeks ago,watched him run a float through several times,so sat five yards back and chatted to him,his big chub portfolio was amazing,loads of seven pounders,all on the float,when I walked away I wasn't surprised,the way he talked and the way he fished said it all....
Great achievement beating Ivan Alan. It just goes to show that the very best can be beaten. Similar to football who saw that thrashing of Liverpool by Villa coming they are only human afterall. Everytime I catch a big fish Tim always reminds me "every noddy has his day 😄
 

markcw

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Like Whitty says all match anglers beatable,
I have fished the same matches as Kevin Ashurst, Stu Conroy,Mark Addy, Vinnie Smith,
and other internationals who were there, Some of the matches were a who's who of match fishing, These included the local anglers such as Jimmy Byrne, rated one of the best canal anglers going and a good friend.
Occasionally I would beat some of the "names" but more often than not they were always in the frame, I worked hard to catch my fish, to them it seemed to come naturally.
 

Peter Jacobs

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Another great angler and a really nice bloke was Stevie Gardner . . . it was said once of Stevie that "if he ever gets into the England Team, he'll be there forever" . . . well, he got in and stayed for many years.

I've been lucky enough to fish with Steve both in matches and in pleasure sessions both here in England and in Norway. we took him to a very little river about 30 km from Oslo and after studying the water for 20 minutes he set up two float rods and just about emptied the place in 5 hours . . . stopping a few times to chat . . . . One thing I noticed was that having set up and got his shotting as he wanted it, he placed the rod in the water so no one else could see his pattern . . match tactics on a pleasure trip.

I used to visit his shop in Sutton every time I was back in the uk and he showed me his 3 ready use tackle boxes with his pole rigs identified by location and peg numbers . . . . for attention to finest detail don't think you could beat Steve. I learned a hell of a lot from him.
 

whitty

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When I beat Ivan on the North bank(div 1 national),Ivan was next peg upstream,I was waiting for the inevitable,a sudden burst of roach that would put me in my place,it never came,lucky,maybe,I got it right on the day,or Ivan got it wrong,more likely,it happens,he has won so many matches on the venue,he must have fished his peg before,that's without the local knowledge he could draw from,me,I had none,you just try your hardest and hope it's good enough eh??
 
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John Bailey

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Once again, thanks to everyone who has taken this to yet another stage! I’ve personally said pretty much all I can, apart from these very last thoughts.

1 - I agree that average anglers can catch huge fish if they have long enough on the right venues using proven, long-stay, stereotyped techniques. We can all think of many examples of great catches not made by great anglers.

2 - Greatness on the match front is more easily identified as there is less to hide and fewer secrets involved. If Ivan Marks wins match after match, his greatness becomes apparent.

3 - Like many specialist anglers, I suffered from an inferiority complex much of my young life, feeling matchmen were always “greater” than me. However, over the years I did fish with many top matchmen, and often found I was more accomplished in some situations. Remember the **** Walker/Tom Sails matches of the 50s or early 60s? (I don’t have my reference books with me in rented accommodation where I
am now.) There are times the great matchmen will come out on top, times when the reverse is true. Let’s not think greatness is found in matches alone.

That’s it folks. I’m now penning my next lockdown piece, which I hope will give us more food for thought and discussion!
 

whitty

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In my opinion greatness in angling is not just catching fish,winning matches,that is only part of it,certain specimen hunters are successful,but are genuinely awful people,the same thing applies to matchmen,humans in general in fact,seeing genuine talent,not just casting a line adds to the greatness,sadly some people cannot spot this,I have been fortunate to have seen and met several great anglers from several schools of angling and I thank my lucky stars to have done so...
 

chevin4

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Another great angler and a really nice bloke was Stevie Gardner . . . it was said once of Stevie that "if he ever gets into the England Team, he'll be there forever" . . . well, he got in and stayed for many years.

I've been lucky enough to fish with Steve both in matches and in pleasure sessions both here in England and in Norway. we took him to a very little river about 30 km from Oslo and after studying the water for 20 minutes he set up two float rods and just about emptied the place in 5 hours . . . stopping a few times to chat . . . . One thing I noticed was that having set up and got his shotting as he wanted it, he placed the rod in the water so no one else could see his pattern . . match tactics on a pleasure trip.

I used to visit his shop in Sutton every time I was back in the uk and he showed me his 3 ready use tackle boxes with his pole rigs identified by location and peg numbers . . . . for attention to finest detail don't think you could beat Steve. I learned a hell of a lot from
In my opinion greatness in angling is not just catching fish,winning matches,that is only part of it,certain specimen hunters are successful,but are genuinely awful people,the same thing applies to matchmen,humans in general in fact,seeing genuine talent,not just casting a line adds to the greatness,sadly some people cannot spot this,I have been fortunate to have seen and met several great anglers from several schools of angling and I thank my lucky stars to have done so...
I agree Alan greatness cannot be always be measured by catching fish as I alluded to in a previous post average anglers can have an impressive big fish list if they are travelling around the country spending unlimited time on the going waters. Normally the well known anglers I have meet have been decent guys and only taken a dislike to one (I will tell you the story when we meet next). I think some anglers push themselves too hard in the pursuit of glory a guy I used to travel to work with was almost suicidal if he blanked on a Thames barbel trip. I went through this stage years ago but you realise that it's the joy of being on the bank is what matters if you get a PB it's the icing on the cake.
 

whitty

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Blimey,in my experiences of Thames(middle and upper) barbel fishing I would have topped myself hundreds of times....

I'm afraid I don't care much about upsetting someone who deserves it and didn't back then,Martin Hooper was the most abnoxious,selfish b'stard i've ever come across,told him so to his face twenty five,thirty years ago on the banks of the H.Avon.....I wasn't alone i've heard many times since.
 

chevin4

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Blimey,in my experiences of Thames(middle and upper) barbel fishing I would have topped myself hundreds of times....
😄He was a very intense guy I think his marriage almost broke up I think he got to the stage where he wasn't enjoying his fishing when he hit a lean spell. There was a very good pike angler I knew who had a nervous breakdown very sad once again trying to keep up with the other faces
 

Keith M

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😄He was a very intense guy I think his marriage almost broke up I think he got to the stage where he wasn't enjoying his fishing when he hit a lean spell. There was a very good pike angler I knew who had a nervous breakdown very sad once again trying to keep up with the other faces
Ray Webb (who jointly wrote Fishing for big Pike and Fishing for big Tench with Barrie Rickards) went through a similar stage and was found on top of his caravan once thinking that someone was trying to get him..
He was a great Angler who had lots of great friends in the Angling world (see Fishing Magic link below)


Keith
 
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chevin4

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Blimey,in my experiences of Thames(middle and upper) barbel fishing I would have topped myself hundreds of times....

I'm afraid I don't care much about upsetting someone who deserves it and didn't back then,Martin Hooper was the most abnoxious,selfish b'stard i've ever come across,told him so to his face twenty five,thirty years ago on the banks of the H.Avon.....I wasn't alone i've heard many times since.
I have never met him but I understand he was very much a Marmite character
 

whitty

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Mmm,that's one way to put it Hugh,he used to do guiding,showing people how to approach barbel on Wessex rivers,one day i'd been baiting a swim on the Somerley estate for several hours(with myself and tackle in the swim),now everyone on that part of the Avon would give every angler a wide berth,at least 15yds and not re-approach the river until well past,anyway,along comes MrHooper with two learners in tow,he obviously wanted to show these guys barbel feeding and walked straight up to the bank(no cover as is normally for the estate)6 yards downstream and threw big handfuls of corn and hemp on top of my swim,spooking everything in a cloud of gravel,he received my wrath and as I was known by several of the local regulars there was a lot of moaning done about it to the club,not by me,as I felt i'd stemmed it at source,apparently he did similar to another angler who responded similar to me,but he gave this angler some mouth,I saw him shortly after this encounter,he looked as though Mike Tyson had ate him,shame....the tales I heard about him from genuine blokes I know(even now)go on and on,selfish and obnoxious are the only two words that fit the bill....
 

whitty

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No-if fishing becomes the be all and end all of your existence then you have clearly got things seriously out of whack.
Not necessarily,don't forget some anglers are not family men and take angling to the nth degree,but to go to the extremes of having paddies when you blank is an odd one to me,especially if you choose challengin waters and species....

A friend of mine was similar,we were on a weeks holiday at Ringwood on the Avon,now I always worked on the basis that if I averaged a barbel every day,that was a successful trip,well I had done slightly better than that,but my mate hadn't had one,now this was a concern to me,though he hadn't had my experience,he had caught quite a few barbel and was more than capable,so I put it down to pure bad luck,anyway the last day of our stay arrived and that morning I discussed at breakfast the possible choice of venue for the day,saying to him that if we headed to Ashley on the estate(we normally fished Ellingham)and headed to a certain point there were three swims in a row that produced barbel,then he could have first pick,well,we went there,got the pick of the three and my mate settled into a peg,I asked him if he was happy before picking my spot,he said that if I caught one and he didn't he'd have tge right hump,I said that I wasn't deliberately going to try to blank,then we settled in,well all day an odd barbel crept into our swims,but tgey really weren't happy,it got to around an hour or so before we had to be off and my rod flew round and I duly landed a nice fish of well over eight pounds,on returning the fish my mate got up and threw his rod down in temper,all red in tge face,I was gobsmacked,he didn't talk to me all the way back to Luton,amazing,as if I have control over taking his bait....
 

grayson

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Ray Webb - that brings back memories. I seem to recall his fishing mate in Ireland got into trouble with the police for something vile? I did meet Ray once , at a tackle show when I was helping Trevor Moss with his stand . Ray seemed pleasant but - how shall I put it ? - not quite engaged , not quite of this world .

But you'd have to be half barking in the first place to think that devoting your entire life to fishing was a smart idea.
 

chevin4

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Another extremely driven angler was John Sidley. He used to come down from Birmingham to fish for pike at Linford Lakes this would have been the early eighties. I dont think he drove so he would be dropped off on a Friday evening and get picked up on Sunday evening. December 1981 was bitter I recall we had quite a bit of snow. My friend Bill Macaulay arrived at Red House early one Sunday to find an ambulance in the car park it had come to collect John who had caught Hypothermia. His tackle was very crude as was his bivvie which was a sort of converted brolly. I was sorry to learn he died some years later after having a heart attack clearing snow off his drive I believe.
 

Mark Wintle

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After my first encounter with Martin Hooper - he threatened to swim across the river but was told in no uncertain terms by a CAC bailiff to shut up - we got on OK. He did have a go at a couple of trespassing canoeists who beat him up and got 2 years in prison for their troubles!

It does seem to me that those singleton, single-minded anglers who pursue fame and fish to the exclusion of all else tend to suffer for it with ill-health from a poor diet/lifestyle, hence John Sidley, Alan Wilson, Ray Webb all dying relatively young.
 
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