When I first received this book for review I wasn't sure I was going to like it.
This was mainly down to my own preconceived, and rather naive thinking, that a book without big names probably wasn't worth reading!
Compiled by Chris Currie, Finding The Time To Cast is a collection of carp angling stories written by... well, no one particularly well known!
It's a theme that came about as Chris became more and more frustrated as the carp mags propagated the 'time equals fish' theory when they kept reporting on the full-time 'names' and their big fish captures.
But what about the average, weekend carper, or solitary overnight boys who still put in loads of hard work, with limited time, juggling work, partners, mortgages, and kids, yet still put some stunning fish on the bank?
Well this led to a two year search to find just those sort of anglers who could write some down to earth, but superbly entertaining chapters for this book.
Which led to excerpts like...
'I remember being quite calm that September morning and I didn't allow myself to become overawed during the weighing and photographing ceremony.
It's not a nice feeling knowing you are grappling with 53lbs 12ozs of wet and slimy carp, the strength in your back and forearms slowly draining away while also trying to soak up those brief and timeless moments - the pinnacle of your angling life.'
And there's recounts of many a stunning capture...
'Talking to myself like a bonkers person, I winced and I coaxed, then winced and frowned as the fish powered away into the unseen distance once more and I had to haul it back. I love playing fish, it's one of the most exciting parts of what we do, and this fight had my adrenaline levels close to overdose, but I wanted it over and the fish in the net.
Every minute seemed like ten, and each new surge from the carp brought a 'nooooo' from me, but eventually, in the pitch-black darkness pierced only by my head torch, I finally managed to persuade that huge mirror to swim into my net.'
Of course there are funny stories too...
'We took no notice until the following Friday when we were all plotted up, chatting and putting the world to rights, like you do, and one sheep broke away from the pack and walked over to my mate, and he stroked it like a dog!
I'm sure I saw them both smiling at each other, and he even started feeding it Rich Tea biscuits.'
And the just plain comical, after hearing his buzzer scream...
'I moved quicker than my cheap and cheerful, £20 Argos sleeping bag could retract the zip. I stumbled off the first step, hit my set-up on the next ledge, and going in head first with sleeping bag in tow straight into the pitch black water.'
The contributors are candid enough to relate plenty of silly happenings (that we've all done ourselves!), as well as the magic moments, as told by author Chris Currie himself...
'We then set about weighing the fish accurately. The scale swung round to an amazing 44lbs 10oz leather. I was ecstatic and both the bailiff and I were shocked by the weight.
'Never seen that one before, and I've been fishing here for six years. Are you going to name it... and publicise it?' All the questions were met with a resounding 'no!' And then he said 'How long have you been here?'
It was just over an hour, but thinking he may well have been there a number of days, I tactfully chose not to answer.
So by the end I really enjoyed the read, with lots of top waters fished, plenty of big carp on the bank, plus loads of personal thoughts on our chosen hobby, and life itself... and there's not a supposed 'name' in sight!
The book retails at £27.99 and is available from http://www.calmproductions.com/acatalog/findingtimetocast.html