Author: Dilip Sarkar MBE
Publisher; Harper Fine Angling Books
It has been a while since anything was written on pike
angling in rivers. The focus today seems to be solely on weight, which means
the big fish now seem to come from trout reservoirs where they are stocked with
trout which the pike gorge on and grow very heavy, very quickly. However, there
is still a breed of angler who regard river fishing as catching truly wild fish
and where a twenty pounder is still the fish of a lifetime. You only have to
look at the photographs to see that pike from rivers have their ideal body
shape, lean, fast and mean rather than pot-bellied fish. Those of you who have
visited River Reads will know we love pike having two cased ones in the shop –
Fred Beller’s biggest of 32lbs which is photographed in his “Domesday Book” and Fred J Taylor’s 28lb
4oz pike from Tring pictured on the front of “Fishing Here and There” so we keenly awaited our copy to arrive.
The book is in the main written by Dilip Sarker who was a
leading light in the pike angling club and now works for the Angling Trust. It
starts by explaining how Dilip’s passion for pike fishing started, his love of
the rivers Severn and Wye, and how his family have become just as enthusiastic
as he is about pike fishing in rivers.
However, with books
that are a compilation of works including several other authors such as this,
there is usually a problem with people writing with slightly differing
objectives. This book does suffer from this. One wonders if the aim was to be
biographical, a “Domesday Book of Mammoth River Pike” style of book, or a guide
to pike fishing on differing rivers. Perhaps it should have aimed to cover all
three in differing sections? It is not badly written, quite the contrary, but you
do feel the author/publisher could have possibly made the brief issued to all
the contributors tighter at the outset. It also is not intended to be a “How
to” book, but it does mention techniques used in differing places in the text,
and if they are worth saying, a quick diagram or description must be justified
for those looking at embarking on this aspect of the sport. If the author
doesn’t want to go down that route, then I don’t feel that techniques such as “
a sunken-float paternostered livebait
using a double float rig” should be mentioned, although the instances are
relatively few and do not really detract from the text.
The stories of the massive pike are well researched and
written in many cases by the captor which heightens the excitement felt in the
occasion, but also detailing the hours that they fished over the years, but
also being honest about the element of luck – right time and the right place
(although as one US president said, “the harder you work the luckier you get”).
There are one or two publishing flaws, a few typos and a
section seems to missing from the section about Karen Sarker. However, this is
a nicely produced book with excellent photographs written by an articulate
author which is refreshing in modern times.
I read this whilst staying in a cottage on the River Wye,
and it inspired me to try river piking one evening (it does say in the book it
isn’t the best time but needs must) and I blanked, but this wasn’t helped by
the three otters that didn’t see me and moved into my swim. Just remember that
this is a wild river and nature is all around you and this is why the author
loves the rivers, as I do.
To finish, any book that inspires you to go out and fish has
got to be worth buying. Perhaps that is the best recommendation of all.