My Greatest Angler

theartist

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Of course it is now possible for everybody to star in their very own, carefully curated soap opera by using social media but if any young youtube carper thinks any sane person who isn't an angler themselves is remotely interested in them they are deluding themselves. Inhabiting the echo chamber of social media can give the unwarranted impression of celebrity - the reality is that nobody outside the sport knows , or cares anything about its practice or practitioners. Long may that continue .
I think Bob and Paul Gone Fishing is crossing that demographic to a certain extent, it would be interesting to know the percentage of non anglers who watch that show. Heard lots of stories about people taking up fishing as a result of it. Whilst Whitehouse and Mortimer are far from being run of the mill youtube fodder and are celebrities already, it does show that it can be done and there is potential mass appeal in fishing.
 

whitty

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Without doubt Rob I would say a good proportion of anglers families are enjoying the programmes take on angling,but it isn't an angling programme really,it is light entertainment with five minutes fishing,with neither of the participants being remotely close to being exceptional within the sport,doesn't make it any less entertaining,just saying,I believe some anglers base the idea of greatness within angling on their own frivolous approach to the sport,which clearly doesn't apply to the guys mentioned....
 

theartist

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I don't get the opinion it's not an angling show, half of it is not fishing but they are often talking about it or just relaxing cooking something. Isn't the journey and the staying over a major part of fishing when you go to those sort of places? Plus the banter if you are lucky enough to have a fishing buddy that's sound. Is this not a fishing forum because most the time we are talking about football or garden birds? lol

We're they to do an educational 30min programme catching roach after roach on the stick, how many of us would actually watch it every week, next week carp after carp on a commie followed by loads of barbel on the lead - yawn. Youtube is full of these vids, they are niche, if you like them fairplay but are you going to relax at 8pm and watch one on the telly with the missus?

Getting back to the topic if we did a list of the 100 greatest anglers if Paul and Bob were on there i'd be happy, regardless of their abilities, the combination of their presenting and the editing of that programme is not to be underestimated.
 

whitty

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I'm not saying it isn't good,but it isn't a fishing programme,showing cooking,sitting at a dinner table chatting to Chris Rea,looking at a family home,reminiscing about his poor mum and dad,great viewing,but not fishing,as for a programme showing someone fishing for roach(not educational)for roach,then yes,I would watch,i'm an angler,it's what I like.
 

grayson

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Indeed - but if it had been made by thee and me, or , indeed , anyone famed only for their angling prowess nobody would watch it. To a tiny extent, people such as Jack Hargreaves , Chris Yates , John Wilson and Jeremy Wade have been exceptions to that generalisation but the name is the hook , which is why Mortimer and Whitehouse , Jack Charlton and folk like Geoffrey Palmer have had angling programmes - because their fame did not come from the sport, but their careers doing other stuff .

Look at JR Hartley - one of the biggest selling fishing books ever, from a bloke who didn't exist outside a Yellow pages advert
 

theartist

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Look at JR Hartley - one of the biggest selling fishing books ever, from a bloke who didn't exist outside a Yellow pages advert
He has got to be in the top 100 :D

Or rather 'She' - Rumour has it the reclusive Jane Rowena Hartley was a mentor and great influence on Georgina Ballantine, so much so that the Hartley Duster - a very unique weighted nymph was responsible for the record salmon. This of course was also hushed up in a level of secrecy hence the trouble the chap in the advert had finding said book.
 

chevin4

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For me Bob and Paul capture for me what the essence of fishing is all about. I would agree that fishing is only a small part of the programme. It's the chat with a good mate although its unrealistic on that front as most friends I fish with only want to talk about politics 😄. They get to fish some amazing places and the scenery is incredible my missus who doesn't enjoy fishing likes the programme for that main reason. I think celebrities raise the profile of fishing but I dont think it is possible to rely on fishing alone if you want to appeal to a wider audience. Jack Charlton was undoubtedly a house hold name but to a non fisherman or women I would imagine his programmes were as dull as dish water.
 

whitty

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Indeed - but if it had been made by thee and me, or , indeed , anyone famed only for their angling prowess nobody would watch it. To a tiny extent, people such as Jack Hargreaves , Chris Yates , John Wilson and Jeremy Wade have been exceptions to that generalisation but the name is the hook , which is why Mortimer and Whitehouse , Jack Charlton and folk like Geoffrey Palmer have had angling programmes - because their fame did not come from the sport, but their careers doing other stuff .

Look at JR Hartley - one of the biggest selling fishing books ever, from a bloke who didn't exist outside a Yellow pages advert

If anglers did not watch Mortimer and Whitehouse you can be assured the viewing figures would be low,but the addition of others looking for something to watch enjoying it have brought decent numbers,I agree with Hugh that it shows a sample of what mates who fish together enjoy,if eastenders was on lots wouldn't be viewing it....
 

John Bailey

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My Greatest Angler

All these posts give me great delight. I’m not too well at the moment, and if you can’t fish much, reading about it is a super substitute!

Greats? I think many of us would agree that our own personal greats are those who actually taught us in the early days of our angling careers. A lot of posts are indicating this, and rightly. Unlike many of you, I did not really have a fishing family, but my heroes were Manchester mill workers like Ron Bennet, whose name I remember with gratitude to this day. Why men like Ron took me under their wing I’ll never know, but they did and in so doing so, completely mapped out the course of my life. What a tragedy that society would now regard such altruism with suspicion.

However, it is still interesting, even instructive, to brood on those who have changed angling from the bottom up in one way or another. Many “names” did not initiate but perhaps they inspired. Of those who did initiate, it seems to me that many operated in groups, and had an angling circle around them that often magnified their impact. Peter Stone has been mentioned as a candidate for the Hall Of Fame, and rightly so (if we can forgive his later-life forays into appalling taxidermy, which I think we can as he was just so nice!). Yet, Peter surely did not operate in a vacuum? He was on the fringes of the Walker Group, knew Peter Drennan well, and I think corresponded with Frank Guttfield. Frank himself was at the centre of angling creativity, and his book In Search Of Big Fish is full of his adventures, along with those of Peter Frost and Jack Hilton.

I know that Walker and the younger Guttfield both had nice things to say about each other, and Frank always told me he had good relations with the Taylor Brothers, Pete Thomas and Maurice Ingham as a result. I met up with Pete Thomas on occasions, and what a great brain he possessed, surely an influence on the more famous Walker?

But talking about Walker reminds us that he was part of a fly-fishing circle of expertise that included visionaries like Fred Buller, Hugh Falkus (whether you liked him or not), Arthur Oglesby, the Hardy Brothers, the Miller family and my old patron, Norfolk’s Jim Deterding. Fred had a lot of time too for Brian Clarke, and his relationship with John Goddard gave us The Trout and The Fly. And surely, Bob Church overlaps with many of these anglers too, or so he told me on a trip to Scotland where I managed to break his salmon rod?

I am sure the same applies wherever we might look. Match men contributing to this thread talk about Clive Smith and Ken Giles, who were at the heart of so much excellence in the 70s and 80s. I fished with Norwich tackle dealer Tommy Boulton for many years, and he was a star of the Essex County team that included “greats” like Dennis Salmon, Bob Cheeseman, Kenny Rolfe, Pete Clapperton, Mick Thill and Jimmy Randall, who like Tom, relocated to Norfolk.

I hope this concept is not too geeky, but it is not rocket science and I suppose fairly obvious. Anglers we revere were a product of their age, and benefited from the influence of their immediate peers. In some cases, instead of just looking at an angler alone, we should consider those who fished alongside them?
 

Molehill

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Possibly the hall of fame is a better concept than greatest angler? Greatness is achieved in most sports in competition, win or lose; personality, influence, contribution to the sport, advancement may be ignored. "They were never beaten", probably makes the sportsman great.
Non competitive angling is very different, there are not a lot of sports where greatness can be achieved outside direct competition, rock climbing (Alex Honnold on el capitan?) Mountaineering ( first ascents?) great explorers over the centuries (not really sport), I'm struggling!
I have no idea how greatness is achieved in the post 2000 angling world, I fear it will be misinterpreted as celebrity famous, which is not the same thing at all.
 

grayson

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Oh God no - I'm sure there's a bass fishing hall of fame in Turkey Scratch county , Arkansas but why do we need one at all? Angling isn't like other sports - it is something we do, rather than watch and its pleasures don't render themselves open to the sort of analysis which ball games do. It is fine to chew the fat during the lockdown langueur about who we admire , and why , but it really isn't necessary to establish some sort of hierarchy of achievement . That way madness lies - we'd be arguing about whether the GOAT was the baldy bloke who caught lots of big carp, the OCD weirdo who caught an 8 oz gudgeon or Big Bert from Bolton who won a lot of matches . (My money would be on the gudgeon guy, obvs )
 

theartist

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If the angling world put the fickle world of greatness in the tackle shed of obscurity where perhaps it belongs, then invented a rock/paper/scissors game to settle arguments gudgeon would win all day long. All hail the mighty goby and all those in pursuit of the ultimate quarry no matter how they are ridiculed by those not in the know. For they are in that place, that special place where all are welcome but very few reach.
 
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