Home Made Boilies - The Complete Collection

Are you into making your own baits? Well this book may just be the answer to your prayers!

Written by Anthony Wood, who I initially started following on social media, before beginning to chat properly with this very knowledgeable fellow. He's also written a couple of articles for this site, on active groundbaits and grub lures, so check them out in the blog section.

Anyway the book, as the name suggests, is a compilation of volumes 1, 2, & 3 of Anthony's recipes for making some very effective baits, and at very little cost, compared with buying off the shelf.

Taking us from the 'Science bit' as he calls it, through to base mixes, additives, texture, and then into making one of the most popular baits around, the boilie.

There's a section on making some of the main ingredients for the baits yourselves, with an explanation of what these and other constituents actually do within the boilie itself.

Next comes the recipes, and there are plenty, starting with basic boilies and leading through to advanced mixes that will keep the fish searching for them season after season. From Coconut Cream, to Squid and Scopex, to Hotdog, there's a wide range of flavours and with all the ingredients listed alongside the correct amounts the recipes are easy to follow. The section finishes with instructions on making your own pop-ups and pastes.

Following on we have chapters on groundbaits, spod and sticky mix, making your own luncheon meat, cheese paste, and flavoured breads, then some handy tips on preparing hemp and tiger nuts.

With bonus chapters on float making and bottle cap lures this book is perfect for the angler who likes a bit of DIY bait making.

The book is priced at £9.99 and is available here.

One Man's Passion For Carp - Norman Symonds

It may be this is really a history book as opposed to a fishing book, if it wasn't for the fact that the man whose life is relived within these pages has had such a huge impact on carp fishing in this country… probably as much as any of the legendary names associated with the sport.

We are taken through the life and times of Norman Symonds, a man who many of us might not be too familiar with, but mention Waveney Valley Lakes, Homersfield, or Fishers Green, and you might start to realise how influential Norman became in shaping the carp scene as we know it today.

The book is written by none other than John Wilson MBE, who became great friends with Norman, and his late wife Vera, enabling him to recount many a humorous story from their many chats together.

Starting with his early life working at his uncle's flower nursery, Norman soon got into the veneer business… and this would change his life.

Then with chapters on the War years, his return to business, buying his first house with Vera, and promotions at work, we begin to see how Norman used his keen business mind to advance his career, and his personal goals.

It was during a business trip that he happened upon a book about breeding carp that impressed him so much, that his mind was then set on having his own fishery one day.

An aerial view of Waveney Valley Lakes

An aerial view of Waveney Valley Lakes

A 36lb'er on its way to Waveney

A 36lb'er on its way to Waveney

And later, noticing an advert for the sale of Waveney Valley Lakes, it wasn't long before he became owner of half the venue, comprising of six lakes, and was soon stocking them with some very large carp. That was in 1963, and by 1967 he had bought the rest of the site. History was in the making.

With Fishers Green purchased in 1972, and then Homersfield in 1978, all the waters began to receive more big fish.

So being a bit of an all-rounder and not a full time 'carper' it's still great to read about the whole host of top carp anglers that were attracted to these waters specifically targeting 20lb fish, but with the hope of catching a '30'.

Waveney Valley at one stage had 30lb carp in all of its lakes except one, not that they seem huge by today's standards, but this was 40 years ago!

Names like Rod Hutchinson, Kevin Maddocks, Rob Maylin, Chris Yates, Jim Gibbinson, Andy Little, John Bailey, Lennie Middleton, and Tim Paisley, all caught huge fish there and generally learnt their trade.

It also became a hot-bed of innovation with baits such as 'Black Magic' being created, and probably the most important invention for the carp angler, Lennie Middleton's hair rig.

This is not your usual fishing book as such, but it deserves a read, and to borrow one of Mr Wilson's lines 'And the irony of it all is that Norman was never a keen angler anyway'.

The book retails at £18.99, and is available from http://www.calmproductions.com/acatalog/onemanspassion.html

Andy Little in 1992, with a 41lb 8oz mirror from Yew Tree lake, the largest carp caught at the Waveney

Andy Little in 1992, with a 41lb 8oz mirror from Yew Tree lake, the largest carp caught at the Waveney

Norman (far right) chatting to syndicate members at Homersfield

Norman (far right) chatting to syndicate members at Homersfield

Fishing In The Footsteps Of Mr Crabtree


Fishing has always been an emotive sport, the feeling that 'there's more to fishing than fish' can be so true, and with the sometimes overwhelming sentiment of just being 'out there', us as anglers, are allowed the opportunity to take in the many splendours of the natural world as we sit waiting for those few minutes of exhilaration when a fish has finally been tempted to suck in one of our baits.

And wasn't this the magic of Bernard Venables, as creator of Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing? That when we looked at those simple, but beautifully drawn cartoon strips, it evoked in us an image of all that was wonderful about fishing, with idyllic settings, a knowledgable guide, and plenty of obliging fish! 

Many anglers today, who are young in years, will not have read the original strips, or perhaps even seen the Mr Crabtree books, but this has not stopped its legacy from seeping into angling folklore, and how many of us still get to one of those perfect spots we've wanted to fish, and label it a 'Mr Crabtree' swim?

So this new book by top angler, TV presenter, and fishing guide John Bailey, comes across with a lovely mix of old and new. With John instructing his own 'Peter' on the contemporary ways to catch most of the common species, and each chapter is beautifully illustrated by Robert Olsen, with John and his young sidekick shown in cartoon strip form, echoing back to the days of Mr Crabtree.


There's contributions from some of the most well known names in the sport, like Hugh Miles, Chris Yates, Kevin Nash, and Keith Authur, on how from reading Mr Crabtree, or knowing Bernard Venables in person, they have been inspired to follow their own angling dreams. And with other modern day leading lights, including Ali Hamidi and Terry Hearn, who admit to not having read many of his adventures, if at all, but still find they have been influenced by this legendary work.

I think the book has something for everyone. The novice will glean a lot from John Bailey's skills and techniques, that he passes on in great detail, it will certainly help many a new recruit to enjoy our pastime. For the more experienced angler, there's always something new to learn, and with an interesting insight into the life and times of Bernard Venables, plus unpublished photographs from his private collection, it's a great read. 

The book is priced at £26.99, and is published by Mr Crabtree Publishing. For full details on the book and other related products try http://mrcrabtreegoesfishing.com/the-book/


Catching Memories


What do you want out of a fishing book? Stories of incredible fish? Legendary locations? Tips on catching? Bait secrets? Rig advice?

Most of that practical stuff is readily available on the internet nowadays, so I like to read more about the planning, the anticipation, the excitement.. and about being there, which Jerry delivers in heaps!

His new book Catching Memories lets us follow Jerry from his early sessions on Hainault Park lake, to the more famous venues such as Yateley, Sutton, Tolpits, and Church Pool.

Jerry starts by telling us of the cementing of life long friendships in his early angling days, and some of the crazy pranks, him and his mates, got up to that helped bond this carp mad group of lads. Indeed, there are some personally written chapters from a few of his friends included in the book.

Obviously 'Catching' contains many great stories about some of the amazing carp Jerry has caught over the years, from Horton's Woodcarving and Shoulders, to Tolpit's Plodder, and Sutton's Heart Tail Gertie.. his first 40-pounder! And throughout, you can almost feel Jerry's determination and drive when targeting his chosen quarry, and it's great to read about.

The book also recounts some of the funnier fishing moments, including the annoying 'tree root' tale. It seems Jerry just couldn't walk along a certain path at a peaceful Horton, without catching this root and tipping up his barrow, sending everything crashing to the ground.. usually behind the head bailiffs bivvy! The bailiff got so used to it, that instead of jumping up to see what had happened, he just used to call out, 'Is that you Jerry?' 

Whether it's massive commons, or huge mirrors, Jerry recounts come amazing captures

Whether it's massive commons, or huge mirrors, Jerry recounts come amazing captures

For those of us who are lucky enough to know Jerry personally, his straight forward, but friendly approach, comes across on every page, in fact there's one point where he writes 'I don't like to keep on writing - and then my rod ripped off - but it's the truth, that's exactly what happened', as if he's embarrassed to tell us of another great fish capture! But that just shows Jerry in his true light, not as a 'I've caught them all' star, but as a great angler, happy to tell us of his fishing exploits!

Dream fish, Shoulders, going 43lb 8oz, from Horton

Dream fish, Shoulders, going 43lb 8oz, from Horton

With even a chapter dedicated to, what some might find surprising.. his acting career, he gives us a real insight into what being Jerry Hammond, the 'compulsive angler' is all about.. as well as being a fishery owner, a husband, father.. and now grandad!

If you want a good fishing read, get Catching Memories!

The book retails at £27, and you can order your copy from http://www.calmproductions.com/acatalog/Catching_Memories.html

Second time round, the recapture of Sutton's Cluster

Second time round, the recapture of Sutton's Cluster