Monthly Archives: May 2014

  • Saturday 31st May 2014 - What, no fish?

    2014-05-30 17.57.44

    2014-05-31 09.35.11

    Life isn't all rabbiting and bird trapping - I have to go fishing some times too. Although I did bump off five little bunnies around my mother's garden one evening this week. The house sparrows are eating more corn than my chickens at the moment so I'm going to have to discourage them somehow. I used to use a catapult - that was fun but not terribly successful, and is probably now illegal. So I popped down to the taxidermist's shop and bought a sparrow trap. The plan is to catch as many as I can before we head off to a party over the hills near Llanidloes this afternoon. I'll mark their legs with nail-varnish and release them - then I'll know if they come back. I've got about eight so far - all hens - are the cocks too clever?

    Fishing? Well, we had our first sea-fishing trip with Charlie Bartlett a week or so ago. Mackerel and bream had arrived but were pretty thin on the ground and I had to make do with a couple of greater weevers for supper.

    I bought a switch-rod for the river and I've given it a couple of quick outings this week. One day I happened upon local instructor (formerly my dentist) Illtyd Griffiths and he gave me the benefit of a few minutes of instruction in spey-casting. I wandered off downriver and, totalling ignoring his advice, I soon managed to plant a size 14 treble in my neck about two inches below my left ear. Luckily I was able to catch up with Illtyd who soon proved his expertise by whipping it out. What good fortune! If he hadn't been there I would probably have finished up in Casualty in Aberystwyth. No more sea-trout yet.

  • Gierach has arrived!

    All Fishermen are Liars by John Gierach Mint new hardback in dust-wrapper. Signed by the author. £16.95

    The latest eagerly anticipated new book from John Gierach has just arrived. All of our copies are from the first printing of the first edition and have been signed by the author on the title-page. As with every other new Gierach book, these signed first printings probably won't be around for long!


    All Fishermen are Liars
    by John Gierach

    "In All Fishermen are Liars, Gierach travels across North America from the Pacific Northwest to the Canadian Maritimes to seek out quintessential fishing experiences. Whether he's fishing a busy stream or a secluded lake amid snow-capped mountains, Gierach insists that fishing is always the answer - even when it's not clear what the question is. All Fishermen are Liars covers fishing topics large and small: the art of fly-tying and the quest for the perfect steelhead fly; fishing in the Presidential Pools previously fished by the first President George Bush; and the importance of travelling with like-minded companions when caught in a soaking downpour... Gierach may occasionally lose a fish, but he never loses his passion for fishing or his sense of humor. All Fishermen are Liars proves yet again that life's most valuable lessons - and some of its best experiences - can be found while fly-fishing."

    "The master of fly-fishing." (Alan Pierleoni, Sacramento Bee).

    "What Gierach actually writes about is life, as seen through the eyes of a guy who spends a lot of his time with a fly rod in his hand." (D'Arcy Egan, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland).

    "All Fishermen are Liars is rich in the savvy, humor, and sidelong takes on our sport that have made all of John's books such addictive reading." (Paul Schullery).

    "John Gierach remains the most consistently eloquent fly-fishing writer of modern times." (James R. Babb).

    Mint new hardback in dust-wrapper. Signed by the author. £16.95

  • Monday 26th May 2014 - More rabbits

    Fortunately the explosion of rabbits in the surrounding fields has not spread into the garden. One ventured within 30 yards a couple of nights ago and paid the price. My trusty new-fangled pre-charged air-rifle does the job well at that range. At fifty yards or more I have no ideas where the pellet is going, but at thirty yards it is deadly. I think of it as new-fangled but I suppose I've had it for about twenty years - not bad on two bottles of compressed air!
    I left the bunny by the back door while I popped up to my mother's house, shooting another while I was there. When I got home a cheeky magpie had taken its eye out. Then, next day, I investigated a commotion being made by the blackbirds and the magpie snuck off, having just murdered an almost fledged blackbird. I quickly set a cage trap with the dead blackbird as bait, and within five minutes the culprit returned and paid the price.

  • Game Bird Diseases by Alan Pearson

    Game Bird Diseases by Alan PearsonThe latest book to arrive from Blaze Publishing is Alan Pearson's incredibly useful guide to game bird diseases.

    Game Bird Diseases
    A gamekeeper's guide
    By Alan Pearson

    "A practical guide to avoid and identify avian maladies."

    This is a pocket-sized book aimed at the working gamekeeper. A wealth of easily understood information is readily available at a moment’s notice. All the common and a number of the not-so-common gamebird diseases and other aliments are included in this handy reference guide. Game stock welfare, disease identification, prevention, and treatment alternatives are all suggested in a no-nonsense narrative that will aid today’s working gamekeeper or game farmer to raise and release healthy game stock. This is a publication that every low ground keeper should have at hand during rearing time and will also prove useful for the veterinary practitioner.

    "The book is split into two parts. The first is a practical reference guide to good game bird husbandry practices that, if adhered to, will help keepers maintain a sound health regime and avoid many of the problems that are contained in the second part. Part two is an alphabetical list of diseases, parasites and conditions. Gamekeepers will be able to return to the first section time and again to reinforce their knowledge... Equally, by familiarising oneself with the second section, a good grounding in what can go wrong and what to do about it will also be achievable thanks to Alan's easily understood narratives." (From the foreword by Peter Carr). Carr also edited the book.

    An immensely useful book on a subject poorly covered in the more recent gamekeeping literature.

    Mint new pocket-sized hardback. £14.95.

    About the author:

    Alan Pearson has been a practising vet for 37 years, and specialises in game birds and poultry. He has worked with some of the UK's largest hatcheries and rearing sites, and has been a regular contributor to Modern Gamekeeping magazine's game bird vet column.

  • Salmon Flies: Past and Present - Reviews

    Salmon Flies: Past and Present by Henk van BorkSalmon Flies:
    Past and Present
    By Henk van Bork

    Fine new paperback. £19.95
    De luxe leather-bound edition limited to 10 copies only with fly tied by the author. £SOLD OUT

    "Great book on salmon flies for beginning salmon fly tyers as will as advanced tyers . Super photos quality tyed salmon flies. Good step instruction . I be tying salmon flies for many years this is one of the best books I purchased in years." (Timothy Johnson, Amazon US review).

    "This is an English translation of a Dutch original, and as far as I can see/read, nothing has been lost in translation. Thanks to translator, Jan Willem Wijers, and editor, Keith Harwood, the book reads well. I found myself flicking through this, stopping whenever a fly or page of tying diagrams caught my eye: excellent design and graphics, high quality photography, well printed on decent, coated paper.

    Salmon Flies is a survey, a sampling of salmon flies from the early days up to reasonably modern. After a very potted sketch of fly-fishing history, the author gets stuck into the flies, and looks at four Blacker patterns, each fly is dressed and photographed to a high standard and the fly-portrait is followed by tying instructions and explanation. All the main featured flies are treated the same way.

    The next chapter, ‘The colourful era’, briefly introduces Traherne and Kelson, then ties eight flies in date order from 1840 to 1895. I liked that sense of tying through half a century of flies. With the flies tied the following chapter is devoted to framing, which seems to say quite a lot about this project. Classic salmon flies were tied for fishing. We now tie them mainly for display so framing is an essential part of the process.

    The remaining chapters continue into the 20th century, introducing hair-winged flies, Dee and Spey flies, Shrimps & Prawns. The final chapter is ‘Contemporary Salmon Fly Dressing’, which had me expecting contemporary fishing flies, but is really a sampling of modern creative flies tied in the style of classic flies – some beautiful tying!

    The author (and editor) have chosen and assembled a teasing introduction to classic feather-winged salmon flies. To my mind the hair-wing chapter could be taken out of this and used as the base for a similar survey/introduction to modern salmon fishing flies, the feather-winged flies are about enough for me. A little gem of a book!" (Magnus Angus, Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine).

    Salmon Flies: Past and Present - De luxe edition

  • Sunday 18th May 2014 - Sheltering from the sun!

    Well, of course I had to go back with the fly-rod the next day. It was delightful to have the river to myself, but I never saw a sign of a fish. I had been very lucky to drop on that one the previous day.
    The weather has been so good that I have been busy gardening. I've taken a chance on planting out runner beans, courgettes and gherkins - and moved the jackdaw outside to his summer quarters. Let's hope I don't regret it! Yesterday I dismantled the defunct greenhouse in readiness for the delivery of a new one at the end of the month. In the meantime the one usable one is full to overflowing.
    I have neglected the hill lakes so far this year. This afternoon we will head to Llanbrynmair to rectify that. Right now it is warm, sunny and windy, so the evening should be perfect - watch this space!
    Later... It was beautiful up at the lake. No spectacular rise, but a good ripple to search with a team of flies. I caught four trout in a couple of hours, all over a pound, and they all picked out the tiny muddler on the point. Here it is...

    Well it used to be a muddler minnow. Well it used to be a muddler minnow.

    Gwyddior brownie Gwyddior brownie

  • Salmon Flies: Past and present - de luxe edition

    Salmon Flies: Past and Present - de luxe editionSalmon Flies: Past and Present
    by Henk van Bork

    Flyfisher's Classic Library de luxe edition
    Limited to only 13 copies, only 10 of which are being offered for sale.

    Hand-bound by Phil Parkins, at Ludlow Bookbinders, these books incorporate all that is best  in traditional English Craft Bookbinding. Signed and numbered by the author. Presented in a solander box, this book is bound in  finest scarlet-coloured goatskin leather with three raised bands on the spine, gold foil blocked on spine and front, with a blind frame on front and back cover, with an inset image of the Spirit Fly.

    Incorporated within the solander box is a beautifully executed cloth-bound presentation folder which holds an original salmon fly tied by the author. The folder and solander box are made from complementary scarlet cloth and the box is lined with watermarked silk.

    Destined to become one of the scarcest and most collectable of salmon fly books.

    A couple of comments on the book:

    "I received the book this morning, and the first 5 minutes I was out of this world, wooouuuw what a nice job you have done. Absolutely wonderful..."

    "What a wonderful surprise! Thank you so much... Your bookbinder from Ludlow has done a superb job and the book will take pride of place in my angling library."

    Only a few copies remain - first come, first served! Price £495.00

    UPDATE - Only one copy left! Please contact us soon if you would like to reserve the final copy of this beautiful de luxe book.

    Salmon Flies: Past and Present - de luxe editionSalmon Flies: Past and Present - de luxe edition

    Salmon Flies: Past and Present - de luxe edition

  • Where Eagles Hare

    Where Eagles Hare by Thomas Carnihan

    Where Eagles Hare
    by Thomas Carnihan

    Recently arrived in stock is this beautiful new book from eagle falconer, Thomas Carnihan. All of our copies have been signed by the author.

    "This definitive book portrays one man's incredible experiences, driven by the desire to own and train a captive-bred Golden Eagle. The journey starts in the UK and travels across Europe into Slovakia. It interweaves sadness and joy with a humour that is purely the author's own. The enchanting prose is supported with the most stunning, first time published, photographs, all taken by the author."

    A privately published book of beautiful photographs and accompanying text telling the story of the author's experience training a golden eagle with the eventual aim of flying it at Slovakian hare, a notoriously difficult quarry.

    Mint new hardback. Signed by the author. £45.00.

  • Tuesday 13th May 2014 Lake Vyrnwy

    The annual Falconry Fair came and went. We had great weather for an outdoor show and I sold a few more books than I bought - which I count as a success.

    OFFA (The Old Farts Fishing Association) met at Lake Vyrnwy on Thursday. The weather was rotten but we made the most of our short sessions in between breakfast bacon sandwiches and pie & chips for lunch. Once again I had the honour of sharing a boat with the Chief Old Fart himself. His ancient shoulders aren't great for casting and retrieving a fly so he chucks his deadly Green Goddess into the water and leaves it there while I drift and cast into the shoreline. The consequence of this is that I catch lots of little brown trout which I return, and he catches a bagful of fat rainbows - more than all the rest of the O.F.'s put together.

    I've just returned from the Redditch Fishing Tackle Fair where, as usual, I bought rather more books than I sold.
    It has rained all weekend and there is a lovely flood on the river. I did mooch down a couple of pools yesterday, throwing a spoon, but saw nothing - just as well, in short wellingtons and with no landing net. I'll try another session today, while the water is right. I hardly ever get a May sea-trout, but if I do, it is usually a big one.

    Later.... about twenty minutes after writing that last sentence I threw out a plug on Llyn Morgan. Three turns of the reel handle and I hooked my May sea-trout - seven and a half pounds, sea-liced, carrying a few net-marks  - a lovely fish to start the season. I almost went straight home, just to say that I've been fishing and only had one cast, but I stuck it out for another hour before heading back to work.

    My May sea-trout! My May sea-trout!

  • The Lost Diary by Chris Yates

    The Lost Diary by Chris Yates The Lost Diary by Chris Yates. Mint new copy and signed by the author. £12.99

    The latest book from Britain's most collectable angling author has just arrived. Best of all, all of our stock has been signed by Chris himself! Click here for further information or to order your copy of The Lost Diary by Chris Yates.

    Or, if you prefer, have a read of an excerpt from the book courtesy of the publisher, Unbound.

    "Monday the 13th of July

    Took the punt out after my meal, and cruised gently into the weeds where lay, basking, the carp. The fish didn't seem to mind me, and I was able to drift right next to a Mirror of maybe 30 pounds, and a very big Common. Suddenly the potential in my position was realised, and I gently made for shore. Once there I hurriedly got a rod, net, and a tin of maggots, and after baiting up, drifted back into the weed beds. The sun was hot on my back, and my heart began to pound as I dapped that same big Mirror Carp with a bunch of maggots. But the punt drifted just too close, and the fish became wary and cruised off. They didn't go far, though - they came to rest next to the large Common carp just to my left.

    I paddled as quietly as I could and then dropped the bait onto the Mirror's nose from about 15-foot. It just hung there in the weeds, and the bait was clearly visible, right next to its face. The boat began to drift away in a gentle breeze, and I had to use the paddle with one hand and hold the rod with the other. The fish seemed to understand what was going on, and once more it swam quietly away, though the Common remained, and I dapped for him, but with no result.

    Eventually the breeze came up again and I couldn't hold my position. The carp sank from sight as I put the paddle in the water. I went on up the lake, and found a couple of fish who bolted as I approached, making huge swirls and opening up holes in the weeds. From above, it looked like a typhoon in a forest, as the long fronds of hornwort swayed around and around in the turbulence. I found a big dark looking fish, and dropped the maggots next to him. Straightaway, he began to back, and then turn towards the deep. But then that devilish breeze sprang up, and began to push me straight at the fish, just as it was rising once more. He sank, but then seemed to decide that he wanted the maggots anyway, and turned back for them. Too late: the punt was suddenly over him, and I couldn't keep the bait in the same place. That was my last chance. The breeze remained steady, and it was hopeless trying any further. I paddled for the willow pitch, floating over the crystal clear depths, with the long weed-cables reaching up to the surface.


    Later, it being a warm evening, it seemed a good idea to have a glass of ale at Langrove.

    "How's Jack?" I asked the landlord, as he poured me a glass of the excellent bitter, much improved since last time.
    "He's there, behind you."

    So it turned out to be two or three glasses of ale, as old Jack rambled on about his various adventures - some happy, some sad. He'd been getting a few good trout from the garron.

    "Always carry a bit of tackle in my pocket," he said. "But never use a rod. You're buggered if you use a rod! The keeper will see you. He's got a good dog who sits with him while he fishes, and cocks his ear for the slightest sound." ("I'm not fishing, I'm just taking my dog for a walk," he would say, if the keeper came along.)
    "Remember old Bunting, Dave?" he said, turning to Dave, who was sitting at the table next to us.
    "He used to go and move the dead carp that rolled up after spawning at Red Mire. He was in the punt one day, and a fish came up with its head one side of the punt and its tail on the other. That must have been a a big 'un," he said.

    And then he turned to me, with his one grey eye, and his one green eye, and he said, "You going to write a book someday?"

    The Lost Diary by Chris Yates
    Mint new hardback. Signed by the author. £12.99

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