Reviewed by Malcolm Clarke (Natlu)
Well I guess after all the recent hype surrounding this book, someone had to do this review.
First off would just like to say yes, I have met the Author, once!
This chance meeting came about on last years BFW fish-in at Throop. Rayo, JW and I spent a very enjoyable and informative 40 or so minutes chatting to Steve and his friend Dave, about various fishing related subjects, top of which was the pleasure of being in such beautiful surroundings.
I suppose you could say another connection I now have with Steve (if that's what you can call it), is the inclusion of a few pictures of mine in the book. As no doubt most of you will recall Steve posted on BFW back some time ago asking if anyone had Barbel/Fishing related pictures they wished to be included in the book. After viewing any submitted, the ones he deemed suitable and space permitting may be used in the book. Now having viewed the recently instated Gallery board here on BFW and judging by its contents (which are superb) it's plain to see that, with the price of a decent digital camera being what it is today, then the opportunity for any Barbel/River angler to get that photograph of a lifetime is there for all. But!!!!!! - The likelihood of that photograph being published in any book usually remains nothing more than a dream for most of us, so I was more than happy:
1. To send a few pictures of mine to Steve
2. With the fact he decided a few of these pictures were suitable for his book, I just thought I'd mention this connection as if anyone of you decide to buy the book after reading this review, you don't look at it as .No wonder he said that.
Now, the book. For those of you who are familiar with the three previous books written by the author 'The Ultimate Big Barbel Experience' 'Barbel: Mysteries, Theories & Tactical Solutions' and 'Barbel: The Immortal Challenge' then you will find as quite clearly stated inside the book cover that here we have a trilogy of all three books, with most of the material from these previous publications present in this trilogy but as the author states in the book, Revised, updated and extended, with lots of new material added.
The book size is A5 and contains some 320 pages most of which contains some very informative writing on this wonderful hobby of ours, Barbel fishing, I say most as also contained within its 320 pages are some 29 stunning colour photographs (I would say that) of Barbel, rivers and various rig designs, complemented with numerous black & white photographs throughout the book.
All aspects of Barbel fishing are covered in the book some of which include: Watercraft & Swim Selection, Baits & Rigs, Winter & Summer Fishing, The Barbel's Sense of Smell, along with a number of guest writer's contributions, covering such topics as Barbel on the Float (Paul Owens), Braids (An Interview with Dave Chilton) and Moon Phases (Andy Humphries).
In each of these chapters and the ones not mentioned here, the reader is given an in-depth understanding of the author's knowledge and experience relating to each of these subject areas, this knowledge and experience gained after some 21 years fishing for Barbel.
Many of the newer more modern methods of today's Barbel fishing scene are covered in the book, but also a clear reminder is relayed throughout the book not to forget some of the more traditional approaches to Barbel fishing - in particular a very interesting chapter on meat baits in all there guises, one I'd wished I had reread before the end of last season as I'm sure it may have saved me blanking for the last six weeks of the season.
All items of tackle that are required in pursuit of Barbel are looked at in the book, with the author quite clearly stating "in most cases" his preferred preference and reasons why for each item of tackle he uses. As to be expected from an author who attempts to make a living out of this hobby of ours, a lot of the time these recommendations are products that the author may be connected with in someway, "so he would recommend them". But what really comes across IMO is any item of tackle that is recommended in the book, the purchaser can rest assure knowing that, that item of tackle will perform and do its job as expected, as the way I see it anyone with a passion for Barbel as Steve obviously has, will only use equipment that they know is suitable for there capture.
The book itself is written IMO in the authors usual, no nonsense, straight to the point, matter of fact style of writing with one or two humorous tales added for spice. With every angle (pun intended) relating to Barbel fishing covered within its pages then even the most seasoned of Barbel angler should find something in the book of interest.
Oh yeh and ''The Rig' - Well come on now - you never for one minute thought I was going to give a detailed description of the rig did you? As I've mentioned before on these boards that would be totally unacceptable and unethical of me even without copyright law. What I will say about the rig is, yes, in the right circumstances and certain conditions then the rig will/should give you another method that IMO can only help you in pursuit of that fish of your dreams. As for the rig making blanking a thing of the past - well would you really want that anyway?
Would I Recommend It?
I would look at this from two different viewpoints:
1. If you have one, two or all three of the previous publications by the author, then you know what to expect and you do get what it say's on the tin. That being an updated version of all three with quite a bit of new fodder added. This along with a collection of wonderful photographs (said it again) one of which is the most evocative river scene I've seen in a long time, may well make the book worth while investing in.
2. For what would be, first time buyer of any publication by this author, then yes I would recommend it as, IMO being a trilogy of the three previous books by this author, then you really are getting three books in one.
Also with such a wealth of information contained within the book then everyone can glean something from it and not just the inexperienced Barbel angler (Even if you will still blank on occasions).
With the recent article appearing here on BFW reviewing Barbel books I have been on a bit of an Ebay book buying shopping spree recently and have bought titles such as:
Barbel Mania - Dr Andy Orme.
Catch Barbel - John Wilson.
The Complete Barbel Angler - Roger Miller.
The Deepening Pool - Chris Yates.
Catch more Barbel - Ken Cope a fairly old title but what a fascinating little read that it is.
Along with these are some 10 other books that I own relating to Barbel fishing, and I would certainly put this book up there with the best of them. I just wish I had waited till the start of the season to have bought these books, as I'll no doubt forget all those "I must try that this year" scenarios that you get from reading such books.
Also the book is available in the BFW shop, Code BFWSSO at Â£25.00.
Go To The BFW Shop
Malcolm Clarke (Natlu)