Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reading matters

I mustn't complain about working I suppose as I need two new carpets that will have to be paid for. But it has been frustrating not being able to sneak a day or two piking recently. From next week that will all change and I'll be back at 'em. No matter what the weather has in store - apart from solid water, of course! Time to stock the freezer with frozen fish I think.

If you like reading about pike fishing - in the UK and Europe - or musky fishing, and are cheap like me, the second issue of EsoxWorld is in production. It's free to subscribe. If you missed issue one it's available to read on-line or download and read at your leisure. Well worth a look, given the number of blog followers in the world people are already tuned in to reading about fishing on their computers and portable devices, so it could well be the future for specialist angling magazines. I recommend the download option as it's an image heavy 'publication'.

If you prefer your reading material to be a physical publication, enjoy a well designed and made book, and are interested in the history of pike fishing then there might still be time to treat yourself to a Christmas present in the form of Graham Booth's A History of Pike Fishing.

This is the first of two volumes on the subject and covers the earliest days, dispelling myths as it goes, up to the beginning of the 20th century when the author considers pike fishing entered a dark age. It is not an easy read, which is not to say that it is written in impenetrable language, far from it, rather that it is a scholarly tome in its construction. It is best read in stages, rather than from cover to cover. Taking time to digest each portion. My first reading will not be my last. I shall return to it and refresh my memory many times.

I found it to sag a little in the middle, spending a lot of time on the history of two major angling clubs which didn't always seem relevant to pike fishing to me. However, I think the reason for this may become apparent when volume two appears as it could have a connection to the schism in angling which is mentioned in this first volume.

Steve Harper is responsible for the design so it is a luxurious as you would expect. Lavishly illustrated with reproductions of photographs, paintings and pages from early books and magazines this book is a desirable object in itself. But it's real value is its illumination of our understanding of the development, and redevelopment, of the sport of pike fishing on the islands of Britain and it's challenging of accepted facts.

This is the first pike fishing book I have looked forward to in many years, and it is not one that has disappointed. A History of Pike Fishing will take its rightful place alongside the previous historical works of Fred Buller on the shelves of many a pike angler. I hope volume two isn't far away.