Our thoughts on Pulling Against Fish by Leighton McDonnell published by Little Egret Press.
“Without a doubt Leighton McDonnell is one of the most successful Winter chub anglers on the Buckinghamshire Ouse in recent years for seven pounders and with fish over 8 pounds, he has developed a unique fishing style and in particular an exploration of baits that will probably replace the age old arguments of protein attraction. With recent discoveries in taste and stomach receptors linked with proven knowledge of protein reactions that can be used for some very effective and instant baits, there can be very few anglers currently balancing the best combinations of glutamate, inosinate and guanylate for that fifth taste kick.This book explains it all.
Leighton readily admits this might not be a book that will show you how to tie a knot, but if you want to know how to locate and then proceed to catch a 5 pound river perch using an old rusty dowsing rod, hear stories of poltergeists draining your digital camera battery at dawn next to an isolated mullet pool in rural Hampshire and beaches harbouring secret (and still amazingly very productive) bass hotspots described by long dead but famous anglers, as well as enjoy, like the author, creeping quietly about at dusk, dawn and night and then tying some very fancy trout flies for the day, this might just be your book.”
Taking both a pragmatic and scientific approach to his angling, and at times outright experimental (wait until you see his trout ‘fly’ – the Cappadocian Slavemaster!), Leighton McDonnell reveals how he approaches his fishing campaigns, and believe me they are indeed serious campaigns as his accounts of multiple winter seasons focused on finding big perch and chub in particular will attest.
For a generalist like myself there is a nice mix of species covered, including bass, mullet, trout and barbel as well as the perch and chub for example, but the core of this book I believe will appeal to those who like to get serious in their approach to finding ways to track down and target the biggest of their intended species in a water. That’s not to say it is all serious stuff – there is even a ghost story included – but chapter 16 (The Umami Bomber) is where much of the author’s work into unlocking the secrets of successful bait flavours and additives centred around the glutamates will have you dreaming of new boilie or paste concoctions to cook up for that next fishing session.
Weather conditions most conducive to good fishing sessions are also studied with equal scrutiny and the results shared with some impressive looking tables that feature wind direction, barometer pressure, moon phase, time and the predominant weather patterns.
As well as being sprinkled throughout all the chapters, the last section of the book concludes with a further great collection of photographs of many of McDonnell’s captures that illustrate his methods certainly work, as well as many other incidental photos of baits, locations and other fishing tackle and wildlife that give a nice visual flair to the the end of the book.
All in all a very enjoyable and at the same time interesting read that will stoke your fishing fire to get out on the bank this coming winter.
Also available in a very limited edition fully leather-bound edition – see website for details.