No 5 in The Angler's Bookshelf series in January Trout & Salmon magazine - Kingsmill Moore.
News and reviews from Coch-y-Bonddu Books
No 4 in The Angler's Bookshelf series in December Trout & Salmon magazine - Alfred Courtney Williams.
After weeks of working on my catalogue I am planning to get away from my desk more from now on. Today was our first day at the pheasants in Llanbrynmair, and a splendid day it was! The weather held fine and we have a great stock of birds - everyone shot well and we had a fine bag.
I finished the day by taking some corn to a small flight pond that I have discovered. An odd mixture of woodcock and bats were flying around as I arrived in the dusk, but I left both in peace, instead bagging a rabbit. I don't get many bunnies and was pleased when my snap-shot at its bobbing scut bowled it over. Then I waited to see if anything was visiting the pond and was rewarded with a brace of mallards. Rico had a lot of work this morning so I'm glad his rabbit and the ducks off the pond in the darkness were straightforward retrieves. He's sustained a few cuts and bruises today, but will have a week to recover before our next day out.
I'm off to the Fly Fair in Galway next weekend, but after that I hope to be either be shooting or picking up several times as week - and then I need to go grayling fishing!
Coch-y-Bonddu Books Autumn Newsletter
Paul is just putting the finishing touches to our annual catalogue before heading off to the Irish Fly Fair in Galway on 10/11th November. By the time he gets home you should be seeing the catalogue popping through the letterbox. In the meantime here are a few of the great books that have been turning up in the last few weeks.
Tales of the Big Game Hunters
Incidents from an Elephant Hunter's Diary
by W.D.M. Bell
A brand new compilation of Karamojo Bell's short stories, all previously unpublished. Once again the legendary Karamojo Bell marches through the wilds of Africa - traversing a land virtually untouched by modern civilization in search of adventure and ivory.
Mint new hardback in dust-wrapper. £35.00
£35.00 £35.00 £35.00 £50.00
Hunting, Shooting and Fishing on Five Continents
by Peter Hathaway Capstick
A good selection of Capstick's otherwise unobtainable magazine articles. From adventures with Cape Buffalo and lions to bow-fishing in Brazil. An excellent book now available at a great price.
Mint new hardback in dust-wrapper. Previous price £19.95.
Now only £9.95!
Now only £9.95!
Now only £19.95!
Now only £19.95!
Now only £25.00!
UK Game Shooting, working dogs and other field sports The Pigeon Shooter's Diary
by Tom Payne
Tom Payne commences his Pigeon Shooter's Diary commences descriptions of the quarry species, equipment and accessories followed by an in-depth guide to fieldcraft, reconnaissance and shooting instruction. The Diary runs through the calendar year detailing the different techniques and skills needed for the changing conditions, all topped off with personal observations and special days in the field.
Mint new hardback in dust-wrapper. Previous price £20.00.
Now only £7.95!
Pest and Predator Control
This comprehensive and practical book provides a basic guide to all aspects of control. There is detailed guidance on shooting, snaring, trapping, the use of dogs and humane dispatch. The law governing pest species is covered in detail, particularly with regard to the general licences which are frequently misunderstood. Detailed instructions are provided on the effective and legal use of snares and traps with photographic sequences to show how they should be sited and set. An invaluable guide for all those involved in pest and predator control.
Mint new hardback. Previous price £16.95.
Now only £7.95!
Now only £9.95!
Now only £9.95!
Now only £9.95!
Now only £9.95!
New stock is coming in almost every day at the moment. Pictured below are a few recently published titles such as George Daniel's latest book, Nymph Fishing, and the superb (and huge!) four volume falconry set, Raptor and Human. If you wish to keep up to date on all of the latest books as soon as they beome available then keep an eye on the Newest Listings section of our website - updated daily.
£19.95 £14.99 £35.00 £150.00 And finally, coming soon...
Several new books are due from the printers in the next month. They are not available yet, but will be in plenty of time for Christmas! These include a new Coch-y-Bonddu Books edition of Colin Willock's classic wildfowling book, Kenzie: The Wild-Goose Man. An excellent new book on the history of punt-gunning and wildfowling titled Saltwater, Webbed Feet and Blackpowder by John Richards and Julian Novorol; and, due to popular demand, a revised new edition of Colin Innes' already sought-after and collectible book on Dee salmon flies, The Lost Salmon Flies of Balmoral.
£19.95 £40.00 £20.00
Paul is writing a monthly fishing book price-guide for Trout and Salmon Magazine. It's pretty basic, but a good opportunity to pass on some information about books. Here are the first three. Click on the image for greater detail.
Autumn has come to Mid-Wales and suddenly the woods are full of fungi. This year two of my most productive woods have been clear-felled but yesterday another spot yielded a great flush of Slippery Jacks and other assorted boletes, plus a few chanterelles. The best find (not photographed unfortunately) was a mass of Hen of the Woods. I wasn't 100% sure, but I am now - and they taste great. Luckily there are lots more, and they are quite young, so I'll be back. Five trays in the dehydrator and a pan-full for breakfast!
Another success is dried shrimps. I took Dewi down to the shore on a poor tide, hoping for shrimps. Not sure whether it was the small tide or the lateness of the season but the grey shrimps were not around. There were plenty of prawns though, and I put a tray of the smallest of them in the dehydrator. Instant umami!
Today Bethan and Dewi arrived from France - to live once more in Machynlleth. Well, it will be a first for Dewi, who has lived all his life in France. He starts at the Machynlleth high school in a few days. We celebrated with a meal entirely from the garden, except for the mackerel I caught this morning and mushrooms picked just before dinner.
We had a wrecking trip planned for today, but a dodgy forecast relegated it to an inshore trip. Then, once we had crossed the bar it became apparent that it would be much too rough to anchor, so we had a couple of bumpy drifts for mackerel before calling it a day.
We've had lovely water on the river, but it is behaving oddly. I've had two or three short sessions, losing another salmon, but seeing no sea-trout at all. I've seen and heard of several more salmon caught, but the sea-trout run has dried up - at a time when they would usually be prolific.
Where do I start? Well, with the mullet, i suppose. I went to the Broadwater with Duncan, only to discover that i had taken an empty rod-tube! So, i was a spectator. My mate, Tommy, was also there (he is ALWAYS there), and I watched as he and Dunc covered hundreds of mullet with every conceivable fly. As on Dunc's previous visit, they were touching fish continually, and sometimes hooking one, but despite the occasional follow, the mullet were not taking the flies. I went again a day or two later, taking a light spinning rod, some tiny Mepps and Droppen spoons, and worms. i had exactly the same experience with baited and unbaited spoons, touching fish continually, but never actually hooking one, and never having a genuine take. So I'll leave them alone for a while!
Following the rotten auction results mentioned in my last post, Trout and Salmon Magazine asked me to do an article on book prices. Initially I refused, but on reflection I decided that it would not do any harm to write about individual authors and their books, together with a price guide. So here is what I came up with - It is good discipline to have to fit everything into a half-page:
Pondering on who to discuss next, I delved into Richard Waddington's books on salmon earlier this week. The British Library Catalogue says that Waddington was also the author of Teach Yourself Fishing by "Tom Rodway." I had my doubts about this, as Waddington was a wealthy toff, an expert on salmon and grouse, but hardly interested in the bream and pike that occupied Rodway. Anyway, to make my point I compared the two author's writing on salmon, and one point of difference was that Waddington always insisted on playing a salmon until it was on its side, then hand-tailing it; whereas the only method of landing a salmon mentioned by Rodway was the gaff.
There is a point to all this! We have had a drizzly week and the river, while remaining clear, has livened up a little. Determined to have a cast, but still troubled with my shoulder, this afternoon I decided to take my everyday trout rod (5-weight with a floating line, 6lb leader) to look for a sewin. I fished a team of three flies for an hour, catching about twenty yellow-fins but nary a sea-trout. Then, at the tail of the second pool, as I was about to pack up, a salmon took my middle dropper, right under the rod-tip. I was on a fairly high bank, without a landing net, but the fish had plenty of room to run, and there were few snags (apart from the other two flies on the cast!) Waddington's words rang in my ears - "Once the fish is on its side it is beaten and easy to tail by hand." Well, of course, he was quite right, and it was. A nice 8lb fish, not very fresh but still a salmon! On a #12 fly - I suppose you might call it a pearly-bodied Wickhams spider.
No trout fishing at all, though I did winkle out a 3lb sea-trout on a Rapala on a small flood a few days ago. It is turning out to be a mushroom year - every time I venture out I come home with something. We've had a good lot of field mushrooms this year - so many that I have invested in a dehydrator - the first batch of mushrooms and tomatoes went in this evening.
Half a year has gone, with little sport to report. A damaged shoulder has made both fishing and shooting difficult, and a serious case of laziness has curtailed my diary-keeping.
Two major irritations today. First I heard - too late - of an online auction in America of a serious collection of angling books. I looked at the site and the prices realised were pathetic. Presumably that is down to poor advertising by the auctioneers. Certainly , had I known about it, some of those books would have fetched higher prices.
Then, against my wishes, Amazon refunded a customer in Alaska. He had given me a street address to which, he afterwards told me, USPS will not deliver. So not my fault, but it cost me a hundred and fifty quid!
We're just home from the Game Fair at Ragley Hall. It was blazing hot on Friday, high winds on Saturday, and pouring rain on Sunday - normal Game Fair conditions, and we didn't do too badly. Takings are about half of what they were ten years ago, and the stand prices are only double what they were.
No sport to relate. While at the Northern Ireland Game Fair at Shanes Castle I had a couple of hours on the marvellous River Maine. During a dusk caddis hatch I caught fish continually - roach, perch, trout from tiddlers to a pound or so, and finally, as it got dark, four dollaghan, each over a pound. I've never known such a density of fish. Of course, the shoulder suffered for a couple of weeks after that!
Drought has kept me away from the Dyfi. I missed a tiny spate over the weekend so I went for a look last night, but only came home with mushrooms. Tomorrow I have planned a mullet hunt. I'll keep you posted.
Now that the powers-that-be have completely banned anglers from taking bass, the estuary is full of them. Those with commercial licences continue to take hundreds, while the holidaying angler cannot take one. There are boats fishing over the reef every day, livebaiting and lure-fishing for bass. I assume that they are putting them all back.
The rash of pheasant farms across Mid-Wales has its benefits. Apart from providing road-kill breakfasts for a host of kites and buzzards, the hordes of pheasants filter down the valleys providing much sport for the rough shooter. Mind you, it takes the fun out of poaching, when there is a pheasant under every bush.
There is plenty of work for beaters and pickers-up on the commercial and syndicate shoots, and such a surplus of game-birds that even I am being choosy about how many birds I take home. I pushed Rico too hard on an early shoot at Llynlloedd, when we were picking up for a whole team of guns. He was exhausted next day, and an infected foot swelled up for a few days. After a week's rest he was back at work, though I have been careful to keep in in as much as possible. He was apparently fully recovered, but after a run by the river last night I discovered that he had lost a claw from the infected foot. He seems happy enough, though, and we are both looking forward to our second day at Llanbrynmair tomorrow.
I had hoped that we might see a duck or two flight in the dusk, but not one came, though I did see a couple of woodcock out over the river - safe enough from me! A few snipe were scarping about, too. Maybe it's time to dig out the number sevens and try to bag one or two. Every visit to the marsh in the dusk reveals something different. Last night, as I sat under a high bank with my feet in the river, I spotted a water-rail skulking along the shore, then as the light faded, I was surprised by a kingfisher trying to land on my gun barrels. It crashed into my hand and I almost fell in the river! Years ago two young kingfishers together landed on my rod as I waded down a narrow Shropshire stream - only for a few seconds but long enough to put a bend in my old fibreglass rod - but that's the first time one has taken my gun for a branch.
Today I attended the funeral of my old friend David Duncalf from Conway. David was one of the last real sportsman-naturalists, sharing my interest in all aspects of the countryside, from serious gardening, cooking and preserving, to game and sea fishing, wildfowling and game shooting, and, of course, sporting art and literature. He was the founder of OFFA, the loose organisation of sporting gentlemen with whom I occasionally share a day with rod or gun, and his funeral had something of the feel of a day in the countryside with good friends. Even the setting was appropriate - the ancient church of St Mary at Caerhun, set among ancient yews on the site of a Roman fort overlooking the river Conwy.