IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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Colin (right) and son Glenn stop by at the Angler’s Mail stand at The Big One. If you look carefully you’ll see John Bailey just behind them, chatting to visitors.

IT WAS the Big One that didn’t get away – the fishing show at Farnborough last weekend which has now become an established part of the angling calendar.

For me it’s not so much seeing new gear or the vast array of tackle that is being sold off, more like catching up with friends.

Like everyone who went I opened the wallet to buy a few bits and pieces and grab a few deals from the bargain bins. The amount of gear on show was staggering!

But more important it was nice to see so many old faces (and yes we are now old faces…).

I’d hardly got in the door when I said hello to former World Champion Tom Pickering, still looking as tall as England striker Peter Crouch and not appearing to age! He’ll never shake that Bionic Bleaker tag…that mention should keep it going for a few more years.

And Tom: I did hear you tell my lad to take care of me! I am not that old just yet…

Angler’s Mail magazine will have exclusive full coverage of the team’s highlights from The Big One show in the next issue – on sale Tuesday, March 5. It’ll be a cracking read with great pictures too!

Then it was a quick hello to Dave Harrell and his pretty useful looking river floats and to Garbolino’s Darren Cox, another like me and Mr Pickering to hail from the north.

We can all trace our roots back to Yorkshire rivers. Although Daz and Tom are southerners compared to me!

Next a true Southerner, Keith Arthur, star of TalkSport and Sky Sports Tight Lines, and someone I can’t believe I have known for more than 30 years!

Keith’s always been good with the patter and despite the constant stream of people trying to chat to him he kept smiling and greeting everyone like long lost friends.

The so-called stars of some other sports should take a leaf out of “Keef’s” book and realise that the punters and fans are vital to their own futures.

And next another Southerner, all-time good bloke and pretty handy angler… Bob Nudd. Yes he was still wearing that trademark white cap.

I’ve had the pleasure to fish matches with Nuddy at many venues over the years, sometimes even pegged next to him (yes, I do even remember beating him once in Ireland).

I’d actually spotted our multi-World Champion on the Browning stand but saw his better half Bernie throught the massed crowds, and thought he might just be around!

Still fishing, still loving it and off to Ireland again soon for another huge chunk of the year, Nuddy is another great ambassador for our sport.

Next my lad, Glenn, dragged me off to one of the newer stars of angling, River Monsters presenter Jeremy Wade. We were glad to see he still had all of his limbs and hear that the new series airs next month.

Glenn dug into his wallet, bought a copy of Jeremy’s new book, got the autograph, handshake and then a picture that was posted on Facebook in minutes. New technology, eh?

Back to the old then and a quick greeting to Nick “Tosh” White, former boss at Willow Park and Raison Brothers tackle. Amazingly he was selling baits and not one of his trademark fireworks was in sight!

And last but not least it really was great to see the former man in red, now dressed all in green, the inimitable Jan Porter.

Jan really is a one-off in fishing. International match angler, specimen hunter, former tackle shop owner, would-be rocker…you name it and he’s probably tried it!

I could have spent the rest of the day on the Shimano stand reminiscing about the past, looking at the future, putting the world – and not just the fishing world – to rights.

It is a very long time since I had a day’s (or night’s) fishing with Jan. I hope we can get that in soon…

Well that was that I thought… but as we left the building (Elvis had already departed) it was yet another face from the past, John McCarthy, former tackle dealer and top matchman and a former Farnborough team-mate of mine.

Big John reckons he now loves a bit of boat fishing on the Thames with show organiser Vince Davies and Tosh White. Both Mac and Tosh said I should try it… that’s another day’s fishing to be sorted!

Meanwhile, if you didn’t get there this year it’s worth checking to see if Vince and Colin Rumney are gearing up for 2014…this show gets better every year.

PSSST! I hear their will be extensive coverage of highlights from the 2013 event in the next issue of Angler’s Mail magazine. Judging by what I saw, this will be an issue not to be missed!!




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