Here is a fishing book with a difference. It has no pictures, no diagrams or descriptions of rigs, and no bait recipes! What it is, is a novelette, a work of fiction, but with so many hidden truths you find yourself nodding and smiling throughout the book as you identify the fictional characters with the characters you’ve met through your own angling career.

syndicate It is the story of a ten-man syndicate on a carp lake they rented. It is the Peyton Place of the carp world where, in one season, they scheme against each other in a contest to see who can catch the most 20-pounders. The syndicate is headed by the typical Mr Nice Guy who, underneath that smiling visage, lies a snake who will go to any lengths to be top dog. We’ve all met him, or one exactly like him. Usually, we allow such characters to wallow in their own muck – but not in this book. The story revolves around the battle for supremacy between the narrator of the tale and his Rambo-like buddy, and the syndicate leader.

The author, Mark Cunnington, with a good dose of exaggeration, has loosely based the characters on himself and people he has met over the years when he played local football and later, when he took up carp fishing. In the Introduction he describes the book like this: ‘It is a tale of caution, a warning of the human condition that affects us all, although we may well deny it. Above all it is a story of mistake after mistake, of missed takes, of drop-backs and bollocks dropped, belting runs and scheming scum, bad behaviour and secret flavour, protein mix and clever dicks, the smug and sure with the insecure, expensive tackle and loads of hassle, or dreams turning to nightmares.’

I couldn’t have put it better.

Above all, however, it is damn good read. I finished the book in two sittings. I found myself dying to know what happened next and reading too long into the night to find out. I found myself cursing the characters, trying to tell them ‘you stupid sod, don’t do that,’ as they got deeper and deeper into the underhanded schemes to catch more and more 20lb carp.

If you’ve ever belonged to a syndicate or small club, especially at committee level, you will especially enjoy the book. You will have been there, in a much more minor way of course. But you will recognise the mentality of some of the characters and realise that only a good dose of common sense at the time prevented similar explosive events that happen in ‘The Syndicate’.

Indeed, a fishing book with a difference, and a belting good read that I unreservedly recommend.

The book has sold out of its first print run and the 2nd edition is now available.

ISBN number: 0 9537951 0 1

The price is £ 9.95 plus £ 1 P&P in the UK and £ 2 rest of the world and is available by cheque, payable to ‘Trio Publishing’, at:

50 Gillsman’s Park,
St. Leonards on Sea,
E Sussex,

By credit card mail order, telephone 01424 202848, or by online secure server at the website where more details can be found.