DAYS ON THE BANK WITH THE LEG­ENDS OF ANGLING

Martin M reacrotiunn Bowler Btso mwelem­rorable re­counts mem­o­rable meet­ings with the sport’s char­ac­ters

Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

SOONER or later we all be­come his­tory – but a few great an­glers leave a last­ing legacy that be­comes part of the fab­ric of our great sport, now and for the fu­ture.

I have been blessed to share not just days with some of these men but a last­ing friend­ship too, and

as time passes I re­alise how lucky I’ve been.

Wilsh as Un­cle John’ on‘ al­ways been part of my angling life. There could be no bet­ter ad­ven­ture for a fish­ing-mad boy than spend­ing sum­mer hol­i­days fish­ing his lake in Nor­folk.

John is, in fact, my sec­ond cousin who well be­fore my time used to visit the River Lea with my grand­par­ents Joe and Ethel. An early mem­ory is be­ing taught to tie a blood knot by John, as I found it im­pos­si­ble to land his carp on the grannies I favoured back then. Count­less trips fol­lowed in pur­suit of Wen­sum chub, Bed­ford­shire rudd, Wye bar­bel and even mon­sters in Thai­land! Yet it would be hard to bet­ter the days we spent to­gether on the Great Ouse, pulling out its huge perch.

Ev­ery 4lb fish that came over the net was greeted by that fa­mous laugh, which scep­tics be­lieve to be forced but is as real and un­af­fected as his love of angling.

On and off cam­era, noth­ing was ever staged, and this is why John’s Go Fish­ing TV pro­gramme was so pop­u­lar. When I was a child John helped me to be­come ob­sessed with angling, as he did thou­sands of oth­ers who en­joyed the Wil­son magic on the telly.

B’so inbfl Cuhe­un­r­c­ceh on game fish­ing is un­ri­valled, and he was the first to of­fer me a job in the angling trade. In busi­ness our paths di­verged, but our friend­ship con­tin­ued to grow. Never have I met a man with a deeper love of angling. Bob ran a suc­cess­ful tackle com­pany – who can for­get those wax cotton one-piece suits? That, a glit­ter­ing trout match ca­reer and an Angling Times col­umn over a quarter of a cen­tury puts him among the greats.

On a per­sonal note, Bob in­stilled in me a love of salmon fish­ing when I ac­cepted his in­vi­ta­tion to the River Ness in Scot­land.

Ever since then, when­ever a sil­ver tourist safely makes it into my land­ing net, I say: “Cheers Churchy!”

BHeurgn­hard Crib­bins and M wiol­erksed to­gether to cre­ate A Pas­sion for Angling. Hugh’s cam­era work and imag­i­na­tion, com­bined with Bernard’s in­stantly recog­nis­able voice and pre­sen­ta­tion skills, made this an all-time TV clas­sic never to be bet­tered. I worked with both men on Catch­ing the Im­pos­si­ble and learnt that hard work and pro­fes­sion­al­ism go a long way.

A favourite mem­ory was the first time I met Bernard while try­ing to stalk a carp: “Don’t push!” was his re­ac­tion to me shov­ing him into

“When I was a child John helped me to be­come ob­sessed with angling, as he did thou­sands of oth­ers”

Crib­bins Dren­nan Yates Church Miles Lam­pard Wil­son So­many­pre­cious days with John Wil­son.

Rain­bow war­rior – the won­der­ful Bob Church. I am so lucky to be able to count Bernard Crib­bins as a friend. Salmon on the Spey with Bernard Crib­bins.

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