Reviewed by: Spindle
This is not going to be easy. Reviewing what is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest angling books of all time, and doing it enough justice.
Modern carp anglers have it easy. High-tech lines, carbon rods, giant fixed-spool reels, and a vast array of readily available boiled baits. The weekly angling press is full of giant carp, 30 pounds or more in weight, caught by anglers spending days and weeks by the water.
Imagine, then, a time before all of this. Before Richard Walker came onto the scene and revolutionised Carp Fishing, and before he caught his 44lb record carp from Redmire Pool. A time when big carp were considered almost un-catchable, and a fish of 30 pounds virtually unthinkable.
At the same time, imagine an England very different from the one today. Where cars were rare, the bicycle being the transport of choice for short journeys, and the steam train for anywhere further afield. An England finally at peace after the Second World War had ended.
This is the world described in wonderful detail by Denys Watkins-Pitchford, better known by his pen-name, BB.
Written in the late forties, and first published in 1950, Confessions Of A Carp Fisher sets out to describe the experiences of BB, and others, in trying to catch carp.
BB takes us fishing on warm summer days. He describes beautifully the lakes and surrounding countryside, the sounds he hears, and the atmosphere around him. It is this, above all else, that makes the book so wonderful. BB’s words take you into this world, and make you feel you are there angling with him.
No, I can’t do this book enough justice, but maybe Fred J Taylor can, in his foreword to the book:
’BB’ is adamant that his book is not about tackle, but about the fish itself. It is for “those who know the hush of summer night when every bush and tree takes on a watchful shadow”. You do not have to be a carp devotee to appreciate those comments but, if you are, you will agree that there is indeed more to fishing that catching fish. ‘BB’ always knew that.
Confessions of a Carp Fisher is available from Merlin Unwin Books – www.merlinunwin.co.uk – priced £20, though Amazon www.amazon.co.uk have it for £14 at the time of writing this review. Click here to check the best price for this book on Amazon.