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always something new to learn, and with an interesting insight into the life and times of Bernard Venables, plus unpublished photographs from his private collection, it's a great read.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