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It takes me back many years!
Angling Apprentice by Michael Pickford
This has immediately become my favourite angling book. It tells the story of how a boy discovered fishing and his progress over the years before he emigrated to New Zealand. At last, here is a different sort of angling book! There are no monster carp or pike, no long lists of end-rigs and high-protein baits – just a reminder of those days when we ourselves were learning to fish and everything was fresh and exciting. Like the ‘Trent Otter’, Mike has the rare gift of being able to describe his surroundings and his feelings so clearly and atmospherically that you feel you’re on the bank with him.
The first part of the book, before Mike goes further afield, describes fishing in the Kennet and Avon Canal before it was muddied by boat traffic, and the Bristol Avon, where he caught his first and only barbel. Later, he fishes the Dorset Stour and Hampshire Avon and explores the marvellous River Shannon. There are further adventures in Essex, Yorkshire and Scotland. The book’s 180 pages contain plenty of black and white photographs, some sharp, some less so. They might well have been in sepia to reflect the nostalgia of the text.
I enjoyed this book because I share Mike’s fishing values and have fond memories of the same sort of places. The book celebrates the delights of being beside the water, with an occasional fish, big or small, as a bonus. Mike has already begun work on a sequel, describing the fishing he now enjoys in New Zealand, coarse as well as trout. It is a country of huge lakes and splendid rivers that he lives in now, but his account of his apprentice experiences in UK and Ireland in this book, ‘Angling Apprentice’, is loving and nostalgic, just the thing for Christmas!
Peter Rolfe
Guest | 01/12/2021 11:38
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