Monday, 30 July 2007

Marc Bolan's Coup de Peche


my old woman would've called david carl forbes a smarmy git. the white roll neck jumper and winkle picker waders, golden wonder cheese and onion farts, vimto in the haversack, the joiner in the white mini who runs off with the dowager's daughter when he comes to fix the weatherboards. in 1976 i was working in the village builders merchants when dcf himself walked in and bought a boxful of copper fittings. all the plumbers looked like him and they were all on "cash only" so how would i know. the drill was to ask them if they wanted a ticket. if they didn't you negotiated a price and put the fiver in your pocket then rushed down maidstone angling centre come saturday for some sealey flashpoints and an ounce of efgeeco or a rubber V for your back rodrest. david carl forbes said yes to the ticket and thus i discovered his name. only afterwards did it click. same with the archbishop of canterbury who came in for a palette of bricks, yellow flettons they were. no ticket too, so he wasn't patching up the cathedral himself. (i've seen french mayors going round the commune with a bucket of tar filling up the holes in the road themselves to save rate payers money. ken might like a bucket of tar and a brush). point is, if you had david carl forbes copper fittings i might understand why you abandoned a quill start on bushy for a night in special ops on dambuster lagers. me, i went on armed tour, laure navigating, the spring-hanger bushes so worn they were sounding like bomb-bay doors closing on the chassis. we were three days on roads an axle wide, rabalais country, dropping through lost valleys into the loir where every crossroads looked like the one that killed camus as he travelled to paris in a traction avant with his manuscript in a cardboard suitcase.

the first pits were carp infested but booby-trapped with internal security regulations and 1 metre 9 anti-gypsy barriers too low for the landrover even minus roofrack and wheels. the leisure pit was windswept and weedy, slimy balls of poisson-chat tumbling through it like u boats on meltdown. the loir beside it crashed down a weirpool made of old chateau walls and fallen willows, the chateau spike-topped with rotton wooden shutters hanging on with one hinge. we took a room in the one bar/restraunt left standing, part of the chateau wall, a village where every garden shed is a medieval tower with battlements. chilled muscadet, rabbit and mushrooms served by a 12 year old kid, the same wallpaper they lined camus' suitcase with, and in the morning a breakfast of home made jams in mouldy jars and coffee you could paint the railings with, all for 25 quid. old france, the one with dubonnet still painted on the gable ends of roadside cottages. the one sarkozy is going to wipe out in the affluenza wars to come when i'll be pouring boiled porridge off the battlements of these gutted chateaux and
taking to the water mills as the tear gas drifts over the pool like a tench angler's final dawn.

we backtracked down the loir past miles of "coup de pêche", riverside allotments with dilapidated sheds and old platforms, the gutted mills like this one, smashed windows and collapsed pontoons. these "coup de pêche" are the remnants of the industrial ethic, the working man's swim for life, passed down from father to son, where after a hard week assembling dynamos you drive out to your pontoon beside the river and fill a bucket with bleak and gudgeon while parafin-stove pam fries them up for supper. these allotments have begun to fall under sarkozy's plan, becoming real estate for the urban spacemen, with their tinted windows and supermarket fishing kits, the concrete poets. but for the moment the old boys hang onto them like old shutters on a single hinge, sitting out the five o'clock shadow on an old metal tractor seat bolted to a wobbly pier. the best i saw was the one with an estate agents sign on it. a green shipplapped boat shed on stilts with the cabin up a wormholed ladder. the whole structure had shifted sideways in the wind and the vines were holding it up. the swim was on a slow wide bend, the far margins backed onto wheat fileds, lily fringed, slow and deep, overhanging willows and and an upended poplar. inside the shed the canvas chairs were shredded by the moths from camus' suitcase. an old mitchell 300 box on the plank for a table. dead metal from flattened jerry cans once lining the balcony lifted and clapped in the wind. if "one true void" sells 100 copies i'll go back there and buy it. i'll assemble dynamos at night if i have to. a gravel pît not 100 yards away, a 2 star munciipal campsite with one swiss campervan in the height of the season. the campsite manager had never seen a bite alarm before and was more than baffled when he saw me lob out a pva tube full of pellet. i should have read the signs. he'd never seen a fish come out either. a 10 acre gravel pit with 6ft margins and juicy looking islands, and no signs of ever having been fished, 10 feet from our tent. he did say he'd heard that someone caught a perch... i sat it out till the moon came and went. like being back in 1976, i could've sat there six months without a run. not even the switch of a tiny roach. coming home yesterday through more lost valleys i saw a sign with an arrow pointed down a track: "carpiste". we found an acre pond in the trees. it was like a digital generated carp lake, there were backlit carp suspended over the water everywhere you looked, bow waves like the d-day landings. at the snags end we found 3 lads from liverpool shell-shocked by their bivvies. the one i talked to could hardly speak, just kept murmering monsters, monsters... they were starving after 6 days without food. all they'd come with was a barbeque and burgers but they couldn't cook it since it'd pissed down all week. too scared to leave the place and go two miles down the lane to the nearest village where they did a 9 euro 4 course "plat du jour" and sold bread and food just like liverpool. monsters? i said. runs every 10 minutes, he said. the lad on the end, he's had a 60 pounder. who owns it? i said. he didn't know, just some bloke comes round every day for the 160 quid and two shower tokens... there was another one, just down the lane, top secret, he said, weird place, the english aren't allowed to fish it. so me and laure left the poor souls back-leading in a trance and sending their bait boats into the heart of darkness. down the lane we found an old turreted manor farm with an estate lake behind electronic security barriers. i managed a spy photo on the wonky zoom before the lurchers caught their first whiff and rounded the "no day fishing" sign.

the french waveny? u.n.c.l.e hq? this is where they should've shot the prisoner, with dick walker on special effects, emma peel on the bait boat.

three days well spent, i'm desk and garden-bound for a day or two. a 600 page novel to edit just came by stevedore and wheelbarrow, but that i can take on the next leg of "the man with the camus' suitcase".
dont let another book keep you from bushy. take it fishing.
copper fittings on the bird table

Friday, 27 July 2007

Tax collected, belly's boiled, parachute packed, fishing gone, rolled into a ditch


should be at bushy park quilled up in the margins but got sidetracked
by the purchase of a david carl forbes book at the market yesterday
and ended up in the golden heart and then the cafe de paris at a
1940's burlesque night for my good friend dominique presley's 45th.
full of junior dick walkers waxing their moustaches and comparing
notes on anson shelter installation. more strippers than a hitchin
specimen hunters christmas party. it's all carl-forbes fault,
someone wanted to know why he was so important and i said he was the
marc bolan of angling. that started a discussion that began in the
east end and ended up west. it was the car crash that did it and the
reverence in which he's held. the golden age of roach fishing - mid
70's. hope the pits have been kind. got thames professionals piece
to write. their ghosts spread over the south by the floods.

u-boat on the bird table


Thursday, 26 July 2007

Fish Of The Stour

postcards. By Peter Ursem. From

Thursday, 19 July 2007

John Andrews Antique Fishing Tackle

Ladies and gentlemen... Due to the ongoing works within Spitalfields market the stalls will be temporarily relocated from this Thursday to an open air site on the northern side of the market on a pedestranised part of Lamb Street to the right of Carluccios until the middle of October at the earliest.

As this is close to some residential property the market cannot open for business until 8am so my stall will be there but the hours will change. I will be open from 8 until 4, possibly later. I will still carry the most eclectic range of antique fishing tackle, books and related items available on any street corner in London so please come and see me sometime over the summer.

Many thanks


John Andrews Antique Fishing Tackle and Books
Spitalfields Antiques Market
Lamb Street
London E1
Thursdays 8am - 4pm

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Bloke Of The Day

Took a bus over the river this afternoon to go look at a pond I'd been told about.

I got on there and this fella was in the first corner swim that I came to. I went over to say "hello, how you getting on" as you do, and to ask him about the water. He had two rods out. Carping.
He was fishing against a big raft of lily pads, in full flower, really pretty (that's the flowers).
Luncheon Meat on one, enormous Halibut Pellet on the other. He told me that there were some "decent" Carp in there, he had caught a 10lb plus Mirror last week. As he said this, one of his rod tips wrapped round and line screamed off the reel. Within a minute, I was landing this Common for him. He was in a right flap. Could not believe it, wasn't prepared at all, but he knew it was a pb and he had to weigh it and get a photo. 15lb, dead on. But, he couldn't work his camera / 'phone.

So, I took this for him. about sums it up, I reckon.


Monday, 16 July 2007

Record Of The Day


.....great Tappa Zukie record on Trojan, "Escape From Hell", "Rakehell's Revels" compilation (more on this later), "Clifford Brown & Max Roach". But this is the one that stopped me...


In The Prescence Of Leney Carp.....

....Justin & Jeff caught Crucians

They were a real surprise and it was such a beautiful place. Couldn't believe that day really. Read a mention of the ponds on the Waterlog forum and off we went to Hampshire.
It was midweek and the first day in ages that rain wasn't forecast ( it lied.). I never really mind the rain but after Glastonbury and the weekend that Andrew and I had just had in Dorset, I really fancied staying dry.

6.45 am and out of Shepherds Bush. An hour later and we drove off of the main road and into dense woodland. We parked up and were straight out of the car and onto the path in search of the water. What was suddenly revealed was mindblowing. A lake that fed a lake that fed another. Surrounded by trees. Tall, old trees with gorse and heather underfoot. We followed the water down the hill not knowing which lake to fish first, wanting to see them all before deciding.

At the bottom lake our minds were made up. "Look at all those Carp". Easy one.

There were six, ten, twelve of 'em, all grabbing some sun. Bugger, forgot the bread.

Justin started to set up and I took a stroll round the lake, baiting up a few promising spots. Under the tree, next to the lily pads, hemp, corn and caster. Other side of the raft of pads, red maggots. The place had a mystery about it, no doubt.

All the time, there were Carp swimming past on the surface. The sun giving the water a green glow.

Set up, with a small waggler a few inches over depth, Justin was first in. Maggots on the hook and a pinch thrown at the float. Straight away, a small Roach. In again, straight away, "what's this?". It was a Crucian. The one in the picture. Yes!! I love Crucian Carp but rarely fish waters that they live in. So, there are Crucians in here, some cracking Mirrors that may be linear and descended from Leney stock.....on cue, the bailiff arrived.

Brilliant, slightly bonkers bloke who asked our names (not for the ticket just a polite chap), told us his (I've forgotten. doh), then told us all about the lakes. He's a local, about 65 I reckon, known the place all his life. He's one of us but only on rivers. He confirmed that they bought Carp from Donald Leney in 1957. He couldn't remember how many fish, but he still has the receipt. He'll show me next time. He says that two or three of 'em are still alive. He's seen them in the water but not on the bank. Fifty year old, linear Carp, were in the lake we were fishing! He reckoned that all the Carp in there are descended from that original stock 'cos it hasn't been stocked since. With anything. That's Crucians ("you could fish for nothing else, all day"), Tench, Roach, Perch and Rudd. Last stocked Fifty years ago with all those species. "What about Eels?" asked Justin, bringing in a 12 inch 'lace. "no eels in here" he said. Said the same about Trout too and I got a six inch Brownie on a worm a little later. But as I said earlier, just bonkers, not a 'shitter.

The place is hardly fished. A couple of young lads came down with bread and biscuits and tried getting one off the top but were roundly ignored. One of the boys had actually had a ten a few weeks before, so it's possible, but it's the magical atmosphere of the place that's drawing me back. That and the fact there are mad old Carp in there. Obviously.

We got a couple more Crucians each, I got a couple of nice Perch, Justin had a bag of Roach, the surprise Brownie...then it rained. Absolutely pissed down.

Home. Listening to Joe Purdey, all the way back to the Bush. Knowing that I was gonna dream well tonight.


Wednesday, 11 July 2007