ANYONE with a fondness for stepping back in time will enjoy Bob Buteux’s nostalgic account of his visits to the Hampshire Avon’s Royalty Fishery over 60 years.
It was in 1956 that Bob first made the 230-mile round trip from his home in Walthamstow on a Triumph Tiger 110 motorbike, dressed in wellingtons and an ex-army tank suit.
One trip took six hours just to get there, to fish in gales and rain, before a similar journey back.
Even in deepest winter he made the trip, to use his Wallis Wizard rod and Ambidex reel to leger bread flake or cheesepaste, made from a whole loaf and a pack of Dairylea triangles.
Double-figure barbel were a rarity, and a 5 lb chub was a specimen, but the Royalty was frequented by famous anglers, such as the Taylor brothers, Peter Stone, Peter Drennan, Bill Quinlan, Len Arbery, Jack Hilton and Fred Crouch, and was where in 1953 Dick Walker and Tom Sails fished the final round of their famous challenge.
Bill and Sonny Warren spent much of their time on the banks, and this book came about to record some of the stories about them and their remarkable catches, which included ten 2 lb roach in a day by Bill, who is famous for his record chub of
7 lb 6 oz, and Sonny’s habit of returning fish unweighed, one a possible record chub.
Bob charts the changes in the flow and clarity (and carp) of the river over the years as he tells his stories, and the book is full of old photos of Royalty highlights from a previous era, complemented by colour illustrations by Maurice Pledger, with guest chapters by Royalty Museum curator Tony Timms, and by angling friends Len Arbery and Pete Cranstoun.
(The Little Egret Press) £24.95 from www.littleegretpress.com or