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Angling Times - Des Taylor column
July 2009

Is this really what fishing is about?

Do you know the year when the England football team won the World Cup? Bet you do. Now do you know the year the England coarse match team won their first World Champs? Bet you don't. How about which football team Bobby Charlton played for? It's almost certain you know that too - but which very famous specimen group did Jack Hilton belong to? I'm certain the last one leaves you stumped, yet in angling terms Hilton was as big as Charton. I could go on and on, but the point I am trying to make is why so many anglers know so little about the fishing's history?
If you have a deep love of fishing you should want to know who's who and which men shaped the sport. But seemingly not. We appear to have reached a stage where there's only one thing that counts - and that's how many fish are in your net.
'How to do it' articles have taken over fishing and stories about fish, people and those great events from the past have been forgotten. All angling publications should have a page that celebrates our history, where anglers are educated about our great past. People should be able to read about the time when anglers found carp impossible to catch, when boiled potatoes were THE bait and the era before the hair rig was invented.
I know we don't want to go back to those days, but if you love the sport then it's important to know what happened in your father and grandfather's day - and before.
Recently Barrie Rickards and I took part in a CD for Angling Heritage, an organisation run by Sandy and Keith Armishaw that aims to record history aand talk to anglers that have influenced the sport. Note I said influenced the sport, not just caught loads of fish which, let's face it, is the way most anglers get noticed nowadays!
Just imagine how times have changed. Some matchmen catch more carp in a week the Dick Walker - the most well-known angler of all time - caught in his life. Wouldn't you like to learn why and understand how it happened?
The first CD for Angling Heritage was with Fred J Taylor and Fred Buller, two men who gave so much to us all. I'm glad someone has recorded those two guys so their thoughts and ideals can be passed on to future anglers. Within the next couple of years angling will go full circle and come out the other side of this commercial carp madness.
So imagine my joy when Angling Heritage wanted the second CD to be a conversation between me and Barrie Rickerds. what an honour for us both. I have read a lot of angling books and articles past and present and this has given me a true love of the sport and given me what I can only describe as an 'angling soul'. If you start with a whip or a pole catching 3lb carp and think fishing starts and ends with an article about how to catch bigger bags of fish, you are missing out on a lot of enjoyment.
The more you learn about this sport the more you will want to learn and that will make you a better and richer angler.

Des also added in an extract from his article:-

Angling Times - Des Taylor column November 10th 2009

Farewell to Barrie, a true angling legend.

'I think the lasting memory I have of Barrie, beyond the fact he was such a great angler and great author, is of the two days I spent with him in Devon during the summer. We headed down to Torrington to record a CD about our fishing lives for Angling Heritage.
Barrie knew at that point he was going to die. He wasn't sure how long he had left, but he knew the cancer wasn't going away. I think, in a way, knowing that fact freed him up a bit more than usual, and listening to his life story, especially one as fascinating as Barrie's, was a very emotional and enriching experience.
Normally if you are in des Taylor's company for 48 hours, 99 per cent of that time is spent listening, but in this case it was me who sat there silently, taking in everything this great man had to say.'

Note! This recording is being transcribed into a book by River Reads ( containing the CD's and a transcript with many unseen photographs and biographical data, to be published late in 2010. All nett proceed are being donated to Angling Heritage. If you would be interested in a copy, you should register this with River Reads as soon as possible because the print run will be very limited, The book Recollections of Fred J Taylor and Fred Buller was limted to 50 copies. This book is currently known as "Recollections II Barrie Rickards and Des Taylor"

Classic Angling March/April 2009 No. 58

Trust to preserve our oral history

A charitable trust that aims to preserve key parts of angling's history has been set up. It has plans to tape recordings of interviews with as many famous anglers as possible.
Angling Heritage (UK) has already recorded a day-long encouter between Fred J Taylor who died last year, and Fred Buller, and has a simlar session planned with Clive Gammon a pioneer of adventure angling.
The Trust, started by Sandra Armishaw and her husband Keith who run River Reads Bookshop in Torrington, Devon, south-west England, was founded on February 9th to coincide with what would have been Taylor's 90th birthday.
Fred B and Fred J "It's not just the great names such as Walker, Taylor, Stone, Venables, Buller and so on whose social history should be recorded," said Sandra. "We also want to include those whose lives have been dedictated to caring for our rivers, habitat and fish, like river-keepers, netsmen, ghillies and boatmen. Their social history needs to be documented and recorded before it is too late."
She has already built up a collection of rare recordings and records by anglers such as Bernard Venables and Richard Walker. The idea was inspired after she organised the recording between Buller and Taylor. "There was a lot of laughter as these two great men recalled their life's experiences and mutual respect for other angling giants such as Walker and Moncrieff.
"What emerged was a strong conviction the oral angling history, which is so easily lost, should be preserved for future generations of anglers and naturalists. Every person involved was giving their time for free to help in preserving books, recordings, photographs, letters and manuscripts of those whose lifetime's work had shaped the world of angling." she added.
The Trust had no intentions of setting itself up as a rival to any future UK angling museum, she emphasised. "In fact, I hope some of the things we do might have a place when such a museum gets off the ground."
Sandra has already recruited some big names for the Trust's board, with Fred Buller as its Patron and Chris Yates as a Trustee. Her husband Keith will be the researcher and archivist. She hopes to have a permanent base for the material at a local museum, though much of it is already on display at her shop.
"I hope we can cover all aspects of angling; game, sea and coarse," she said. "I'm hopeful that we may be able to put together a recording of match fishermen Kevin Ashurst and Bob Nudd, for example."
The first recording, which is dedicated to the memory of Fred J Taylor, is on two CD's. It will be accompanied by a leather-bound limited-edition book entitled Recollections. Containing a transcript, photographs and articles written by both men, it is limited to just 50 copies. Proceeds go to the Trust to fund future recordings and further items.
"If anyone can provide material for the archive, even if it is just a copy, I would be delighted to hear from them," Sandra said.

Classic Angling November/December 2009 No.62

The recollections of Des Taylor and Barrie Rickards

Des and Barrie and JohnTwo of the most prolific writers and successful British anglers, Des Taylor and Barrie Rickards, are the subjects of the second book in Angling Heritage's recollections series.
The duo spent a day discussing fishing and writing memories for the series, which aims to preserve UK angling's oral history. Rickards chose Taylor to share his recollections because they have been friends for many years. Rickards died shortly after the recording.
The conversation is being converted onto a CD and sold with a book containing unseen photographs of the two. In turn, this will raise money for future recordings. No price has been set but it will be in a very limited run and available next year (2010).

Angler's Mail February 2009

Anglers Mail archive launched