Neville Merritt has been around angling forums for more time than he probably cares to remember, I should think. He's one of those that website owners notice, as he gives good advice and knows what he's talking about. He doesn't see a question, rush off to Google it and then profess to know the answer • he replies if he genuinely knows the answer!
So, it was genuinely nice to hear that he'd written a book. I thought that I had a good idea what it would be like before I even saw it. I was right.
Angling Boats (A guide to owning and running a small boat for sea angling) is a 144-page manual aimed at those who have either recently purchased a small angling boat, or those thinking about it. It is not a book about angling itself, so please don't expect to find chapters on rigs, baits, etc.
The book covers a wide range of subjects, starting with reasons to buy (or not buy!) a boat and the different types available, right through to what to do if things go wrong at sea and basic maintenance.
Each chapter is written in plain English, with clear diagrams where necessary. Safety at sea is not something that should be wrapped in waffle and over-complicated with tricky illustrations. Neville seems very aware of this and tells it to you straight. It's almost like a text book in that regard, at times; the kind of book that often accompanies RYA training courses. I think that's what the author set out to achieve....at least, I hope it is, or he won't like this review much!
I've completed the RYA Powerboat Level 2 course and, although it's a very good course, this book gives me a clearer picture of some of the areas that the course brushed over. Areas that are more specific to sea anglers than everyday boaters. For example, anchoring. It would have been very handy for me to have had this book when doing my course. It will also come in very handy when I eventually get my own boat in the water!
Angling Boats will become one of those books that will be on the 'recommend' list of any boater, when a friend tells them that they're thinking of venturing into the realm of boat ownership. I can see it selling well for many years for that very reason.
It would be nice to see Neville attempt a 'part two' next, either on his own or with other authors, covering the angling side of owning a small boat i.e. The baits, rigs and methods not mentioned in this one. If it was written and presented in a similar style, it would make compulsive reading for beginners, especially, as well as experienced boat anglers.
Angling Boats is published by Arford Books (ISBN 0-9553242-0-3) and has a cover price of £20.00. Look out for it in book shops and chandlers, or click here to view it on Amazon.co.uk