IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog on this new-look Angler’s Mail website. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell (right).

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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TIME for a rant. And all because of John Bailey’s new TV programme on Mr Crabtree!

Now you are all thinking ‘he’s going to have a right go at poor old Bailey’. Wrong – even though he is a Manchester United fan.

First a pat on the back for JB for getting angling on the telly.

Second another gold star for portraying us in a good light.

Third, thanks for showing that you don’t need lorry loads of gear and a pair of bivvy slippers to catch big fish or have a great day out.

John Bailey and his Crabtree crew are doing things the right way.

So where’s the rant? It’s because JB has reminded me of what is so wrong with many aspects of angling at the moment.

I am convinced that for many anglers the joy is no longer there. They go to win at all costs – and I don’t just mean matches. Big fish or bust, setting new personal bests and chasing named fish appear to be the be all and end all for many anglers.

What’s wrong with them? Why can’t they – like JB – just get on the bank and enjoy the surroundings, the weather, being in the countryside and then celebrate every fish caught.

I confess that I used to make my box heavier, stuff more rods than I will ever need for a session into my holdall and then cram my netbag full of stuff that ‘might come in handy.’

Match days now all but over it’s great to ditch a lot of that stuff and just go to the bank without wrecking my back. In fact I love the days when I can take one small bag, bait, landing net, one rod and reel.

I don’t care too much whether it’s hot, cold, flooded, low, although near-perfect conditions are a massive bonus.

As always, I love being on the bank. Like spotting the wildlife, seeing sunsets (even heavy rain can be fun at times), soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying fresh air.

I can get just as excited at a bulging net of bream from an Irish lough as I can with 4lb of hard-earned roach to caster on the local canal.

A 1lb roach is now just as exciting as it ever was. And anything that can genuinely be called a specimen of any species, even if it is nowhere near a personal best, is celebrated with a smile.

There’s more to angling than buckets of fancy baits and latest rigs.

JB is also showing that traditional methods and baits (with a dash of the modern) are just as good as ever. Watercraft never changes but it is becoming a forgotten art.

You don’t have to cast to the horizon or lash bucketloads of bait into a venue to catch fish. Swim selection and reading the conditions are more important.

Likewise, can anyone fish nowadays without pellets? Don’t get me wrong, I use my fair share of them and think they are great. But there is a time and a place…

My local canal responds to all the natural baits you would expect but numerous anglers are pitching up with bags of pellets and then wonder why they can’t catch. They have fed every fish for miles!

I also wonder how many younger anglers (oh god, now I am old…) actually know what a stick float is. And if they do, can they actually use one?

Smiling? You wouldn’t be in you had talked to the youngster who collared me down the river the other week. He told me that I was fishing the stick wrong as it should have been fastened bottom end only…

He also said I should be on a self-hooking feeder rig to beat the shy roach! I was diplomatic and asked him how many fish he caught from the venue…not a lot was the reply.

I seldom use a keepnet nowadays or I would have been able to show him a nice bag or roach, dace and a few other species that actually liked maggot under a stickfloat attached with three rubbers.

John Bailey doesn’t have John Wilson’s wicked laugh; he isn’t attempting seek glory like some TV presenters; and he doesn’t have the same loveable eccentricity of Chris ‘Passion for Angling Yates.

He is just a guy who goes fishing, values tradition and loves his sport. Good work fella….



The latest Mr Crabtree show joined young Tadhg – click below to watch his home-made trial video. He went on to win through via Angler’s Mail to be one of the “Peters” in the series.




Related posts

Watch Mr Crabtree kids’ trial videos

All Colin Mitchell’s pleasure fishing blogs


Be sure to get this week’s new Angler’s Mail – and get set for what February will throw at us all! The magazine is a big value £1.80.