Going fishing was a huge part of my childhood, from the early years going with my dad to riding off for the day in the summer holidays as a teenager with my gear strapped to my bike. While I haven’t been for the past few years as children and work took over my life I have every intention of introducing Matilda and Henry to this sport sometime soon.
My approach to fishing isn’t just about catching the biggest fish though (although that is of course always fun), it’s about the experience of being out in the peaceful countryside. Watching the animals and birds that live in that environment and maybe even spotting a kingfisher. To those of you who also fish it will therefore be no surprise that my favourite fishing book is Mr Crabtree goes fishing written by Bernard Venables. Released over 50 years ago it has remained a classic book and inspired many children to get out fishing. You may even hear people say when out fishing ‘this is classic Mr Crabtree’.
So it was with much excitement that I took delivery just before Christmas of the newly released and updated version of this iconic book which is called Fishing in the footsteps of Mr Crabtree. It was a great relief to see that the publisher has resisted meddling with the structure or format and instead gone for some gentle modernisation. This is evolution not revolution so all good so far.
The book begins with a number of forewords written by famous anglers telling their own individual stories about how the original book influenced their lives. It’s fascinating to see how for so many people this book was part of the reason that they started fishing, but also of course makes this re-release even more important.
The structure of the book is then a chapter on each species of fish. John Bailey, the new author, writes a section in each chapter of how similar or different techniques are today for that species compared to the original book and then some suggestions on tactics. Beside this is the same black and white style cartoon strip seen in the original book but featuring the new Mr Crabtree and Peter. In the age of bright colours and digital media it’s actually really nice to see simple black and white and surprising how much mood and feeling can be communicated this way.
As a fisherman and a Mr Crabtree fan I’m delighted to see this book reborn sympathetically and without changing the ethos of the original. I look forward to being able to read it with Matilda and Henry in years to come and hopefully share with them my passion.
If you don’t already fish and want to do something in the fresh air with your children that will teach them not only a great sport but also about the natural environment then you could do a lot worse than start with this book.
If you’d like to buy a copy you can simply click here, or on the photo of the book on my homepage.
The book has also been made into a TV series so if you’re interested in understanding more about Mr Crabtree and what it means to find a ‘classic Crabtree swim’ then tune into the first of six episodes which airs tonight (24th January 2013) at 9pm. You can find it on Freeview ch 38, Sky ch 154 or Virgin ch 179.
Further information can be found on the Mr Crabtree website.
I was sent a free copy of this book to review but all words and opinions here are my own. I am also part of the Mr Crabtree affiliate scheme and receive a commission when someone purchases a copy after clicking through from my blog.