David Bird, one of the most charismatic and powerful angling spokesmen and campaigners of the past 30 years, sadly died on August 18, 2010.

He had done it all in angling, been a successful match angler, match organiser, club secretary, National Federation of Anglers rep, president of the NFA, conservation director of the Angling Trades Association, chairman of the Specialist Anglers Alliance and finally chairman of the Fish Welfare Group, of which he was immensely proud.

Here in part one of a our special tribute, Angler’s Mail magazine’s deputy editor, Paul Dennis, casts his personal memories of the man he got to know through fishing  many years ago.

David Bird (far right) with Starlets back in the days when Paul Dennis (two to the left of David) fished for the super West Midlands-based squad. Captain, as now, was Mark Downes (second from left).

The other David Bird

I SUSPECT that many words will be written about David Bird, the angling administrator, but it is David Bird the angler that I will remember.

Latterly his interests were in big game fishing, something that he discovered in the 1970s and which became a passion, but it was as a match angler that I first knew him, and a very underrated one at that.

Back in the 1970s when the range of tackle was far more limited, he was one of those anglers who could design and make brilliant tackle items, his floats in particular were superb, and far better than you could buy in tackle shops.

He had an astute tactical brain and played to his strengths, becoming very knowledgeable on his favourite venues and always being thoroughly organised. Nothing was left to chance.

This was typified in the 1978 Rye Super 4 team match on the Kentish Rother – organised by David, who was also a member of our four man Starlets team. We three team members were charged with attending to bait and tackle, while David left to run the draw.

David Bird (right) has a laugh down on the Rother, where Paul Dennis (second from left) enjoyed the match festival.

With bait fresh riddled, prepared and divided, we arrived at the draw to discover that our pegs and sections were already drawn and allocated.

David gave us a run down on each of our sections, and suggested a slight re-distribution of bait to suit the species we would be targeting.

‘We have a good draw today. I expect you boys to bloody empty it. We ARE going to win!’ he thundered, before seeing us off to our sections.

I’m glad to say that we didn’t disappoint him, but it was David who played the captain’s innings, winning his section with ease as we totalled 190 points out of a possible 200.

I don’t know if it was one of David’s proudest match angling moments, but it was one of mine.

Paul Dennis is Angler’s Mail deputy editor.

  • Part 2 of our David Bird tribute is available in our News section to read now.
  • There’s a special website set up in David’s memory, and you can donate to his chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Relief, too. Visit the site by clicking HERE
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