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This beautifully presented tome contains many
anecdotes and glorious images from well respected angler Bob Morris
across more than two hundred and fifty pages.
Available as a 'standard' hardback, special edition
and leather bound, the volume is sturdily bound, and the heavyweight
pages are filled with prose inked in clearly readable text. Every image
which accompanies the script is annotated to describe the capture or
surroundings which the author describes and is completely appropriate to
each chapter. A ribbon becomes the readers 'reminder' and (hardback
edition) a durable dust jacket protects the inlaid embossed emblem of
the publisher to keep the book in pristine condition.
Many similar works follow an established pattern of
youthful reminiscence, developing skills and descriptions of serenity
as the author explains his angling journey; however these musings become
a meander through Morris memories which are both pleasing to read and
impossible to put down! With odd exception, each chapter is a complete
narrative of a tale considered worthy by the writer which reflects an
aspect of angling to which the reader can relate. There is no fear of
controversy either; tackle theft, underhanded tactics, blatant lies and
'the trade' are all discussed with frank abandon which compliments
rather well the more familiar chronicles of big fish, methods and other
anecdotes which form the remainder of the contents....
There are tales of childhood reflection. Travels to
the waterside in a neighbourly angler's Ford Popular, visits to tackle
emporiums full of mystique and the excitement of that first fish all
have their place, but it may be references just as familiar which really
take the reader back to their own earlier experiences. Mere mentions of
tackle long forgotten do much to transport the avid student back to
times when angling seemed so much simpler; Sealey Speedbarb??Slycast? Heron? How about Intrepid Regent??
Each is lovingly remembered as are recollections of summer evenings
waiting in anticipation of the glorious sixteenth, inlaid with classic
quotes which refer to waiting with "...bated breath and baited hook" or descriptions of pike as ".....surfacing like a wounded U-boat" and others to which we can all relate.
Meetings with Fred Wilton, explanations of the HNV
theory and subsequent success fill a number of pages which the modern
carper will absorb in awe as the progression from potato and free lined
bread baits to the modern boiled concoctions of today are revealed. The
reflections where much is learned from Wilton and the snaffling of a few
pieces of kindly offered 'special' baits, the sessions alongside his
hero and the capture of fish which resulted are all recreated in detail;
beautiful to read and even better to imagine!
As the narrative
unfolds, huge catfish, specimen bream, carp, tench and other species
are explored as each takes its place in the annals of an extended
career. When divulging the tale of a record barbel from the River Medway
in the early nineties and the rumours, smears and lies which followed,
the anecdote is beset with a hint of understandable bitterness. A superb
fish, caught with stealth and skill, devalued by the jealous amongst
us.... Still a factor of fishing today, and one which besmirches angling
through the ages and which will no doubt continue ad infinitum. The
sadness is apparent as Morris regrets the claim made on the record; it
also provides a defining 'what if?' moment which every angler has
Bob Morris Tackle, not just a shop, but an
extension of the Morris rod building enterprise for which the author
rapidly gained repute, provides a plethora of characters to which merry
sketches are applied. Each is portrayed both as comrade and worker,
idiosyncrasies defined and amusing moments articulated, but it may well
be the underhand tactics employed by competitors which provoke most
insight. Accounts reduced or removed, materials unobtainable, mistruth
and subterfuge are all evident as
success breeds jealousy by those once regarded as colleague or friend;
intriguing indeed. Morris recounts all, and decides that the tackle
trade hasn't changed much over the years; those who know the trade will
agree, those who don't will be enlightened!
Further chapters review trips abroad, the pleasures
of a fine wine whilst enjoying the sun setting over waters filled with
promise and monumental captures of beasts unthinkable in this country.
Baiting at range in rickety boats, river disasters, strange encounters
concluding in the hysterical 'Battle of the Boar' all contribute to an
angling journey well worth sharing. In the absence of a chronological
account, it is possible to dip into the contents at leisure, select an
episode and enjoy without fear of losing either plot or place. Consider
it perhaps a wander along the river, with the reader choosing a likely
pool in which to enjoy an hour of delight before moving downstream....
To conclude, Morris conveys angling from a
perspective which every reader, whether expert or enthusiast, can share.
Told with amusing style, the passage through an angling life is both
informative and enjoyable and contains instances easily comparable with
our own which are imparted in his own inimitable manner. By the end of
the volume, I would suggest the angler within might wish that the
meander travelled with Morris was longer, and the chapters into we which
we dip together were perhaps able to enchant us further.....