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Carping Aside: Don't Write Me Off By Bob Morris
Carping Aside: Don't Write Me Off By Bob Morris
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This beautifully presented tome contains many anecdotes and glorious images from well respected angler Bob Morris across more than two hundred and fifty pages.

Available as a 'standard' hardback, special edition and leather bound,  the volume is sturdily bound, and the heavyweight pages are filled with prose inked in clearly readable text. Every image which accompanies the script is annotated to describe the capture or surroundings which the author describes and is completely appropriate to each chapter. A ribbon becomes the readers 'reminder' and (hardback edition) a durable dust jacket protects the inlaid embossed emblem of the publisher to keep the book in pristine condition.

Many similar works follow an established pattern of youthful reminiscence, developing skills and descriptions of serenity as the author explains his angling journey; however these musings become a meander through Morris memories which are both pleasing to read and impossible to put down! With odd exception, each chapter is a complete narrative of a tale considered worthy by the writer which reflects an aspect of angling to which the reader can relate. There is no fear of controversy either; tackle theft, underhanded tactics, blatant lies and 'the trade' are all discussed with frank abandon which compliments rather well the more familiar chronicles of big fish, methods and other anecdotes which form the remainder of the contents....

There are tales of childhood reflection. Travels to the waterside in a neighbourly angler's Ford Popular, visits to tackle emporiums full of mystique and the excitement of that first fish all have their place, but it may be references just as familiar which really take the reader back to their own earlier experiences. Mere mentions of tackle long forgotten do much to transport the avid student back to times when angling seemed so much simpler; Sealey Speedbarb??Slycast? Heron? How about Intrepid Regent?? Each is lovingly remembered as are recollections of summer evenings waiting in anticipation of the glorious sixteenth, inlaid with classic quotes which refer to waiting with "...bated breath and baited hook" or descriptions of pike as ".....surfacing like a wounded U-boat" and others to which we can all relate.

Meetings with Fred Wilton, explanations of the HNV theory and subsequent success fill a number of pages which the modern carper will absorb in awe as the progression from potato and free lined bread baits to the modern boiled concoctions of today are revealed. The reflections where much is learned from Wilton and the snaffling of a few pieces of kindly offered 'special' baits, the sessions alongside his hero and the capture of fish which resulted are all recreated in detail; beautiful to read and even better to imagine!

As the  narrative unfolds, huge catfish, specimen bream, carp, tench and other species are explored as each takes its place in the annals of an extended career. When divulging the tale of a record barbel from the River Medway in the early nineties and the rumours, smears and lies which followed, the anecdote is beset with a hint of understandable bitterness. A superb fish, caught with stealth and skill, devalued by the jealous amongst us.... Still a factor of fishing today, and one which besmirches angling through the ages and which will no doubt continue ad infinitum. The sadness is apparent as Morris regrets the claim made on the record; it also provides a defining 'what if?' moment which every angler has considered....

Bob Morris Tackle, not just a shop, but an extension of the Morris rod building enterprise for which the author rapidly gained repute, provides a plethora of characters to which merry sketches are applied. Each is portrayed both as comrade and worker, idiosyncrasies defined and amusing moments articulated, but it may well be the underhand tactics employed by competitors which provoke most insight. Accounts reduced or removed, materials unobtainable, mistruth and subterfuge are all  evident as success breeds jealousy by those once regarded as colleague or friend; intriguing indeed. Morris recounts all, and decides that the tackle trade hasn't changed much over the years; those who know the trade will agree, those who don't will be enlightened!

Further chapters review trips abroad, the pleasures of a fine wine whilst enjoying the sun setting over waters filled with promise and monumental captures of beasts unthinkable in this country. Baiting at range in rickety boats, river disasters, strange encounters concluding in the hysterical 'Battle of the Boar' all contribute to an angling journey well worth sharing. In the absence of a chronological account, it is possible to dip into the contents at leisure, select an episode and enjoy without fear of losing either plot or place. Consider it perhaps a wander along the river, with the reader choosing a likely pool in which to enjoy an hour of delight before moving downstream....

To conclude, Morris conveys angling from a perspective which every reader, whether expert or enthusiast, can share. Told with amusing style, the passage through an angling life is both informative and enjoyable and contains instances easily comparable with our own which are imparted in his own inimitable manner. By the end of the volume, I would suggest the angler within might wish that the meander travelled with Morris was longer, and the chapters into we which we dip together were perhaps able to  enchant us further.....

Limited Signed hardback copies in stock available - Please ask when ordering.

35 leather bounds (£220), 35 special hardbacks (£85) and 450 hardbacks (£30).All plus P&P.

A few leatherbound editions and Special Hardback editions still available.We have decreased the limitation to 35 of each.

1 Product Reviews - Average rating 4 / 5 (Show All)

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And now for something completely different

- 03/03/2014

Not the "standard" autobiography but an interesting mix of stories. I enjoyed the older stuff more but those from the later period still held some interest. I also discovered an edge/mild anger in some sections that seem to have developed in the 30 years since I last met Bob- but then I have developed into a bit of a "grumpy old man" as well so it fits in well!

A good read and well worth having in the collection

make volume 2 feature more of the old stories please Bob

Ian McDonald

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