I see Thomas Turner is selling an Edward Barder Ltd Edition Bernard Venables 8’6 “bamboo fly rod. It was ordered October 6, 1996 and completed the following year. Its description looks tantalizing and the pictures show just how good it is. is mint in every way. Only about 20 were made by Edward, so that’s a hell of a findâ¦ and so it should be priced at Â£ 2450, but again, why not? One of my experts financial tells me inflation is about to hit hard, so maybe money is better in cane than cash. Whether you use it or cherish it, it doesn’t matter. importance in terms of fun in the rod, I guess. You can watch it adoringly inside or out, but wouldn’t it be nice to land a single wild brown trout there, just once in its? life ?
I guess the idea behind the rod was one of many to help BV financially in his later years. Edward could tell us, but I’m sure the big man did well, so the cane has served many purposes in his life already! In one of my roles as editor, I discussed with BV the possibility of resuming his autobiography, which eventually went elsewhere. Mr. Crabtree goes fishing was also reprinted in the 90s and it would be interesting to have the figures for this company. What has served BV well, I think and I hope, is the book Red letter days (Crowood Press 1994). I managed to order it and it was a compilation of fishing tales collected by Pete Rogers and illustrated by the late John Searl. It was greatly appreciated and worked well.
My personal knowledge of BV was limited to many encounters during the last ten years of his life. He was frequently a guest of honor at angling dinners, where he spoke fondly of angling and its role in its life. It would be wrong, in my opinion, to think of the old BV as a kind of grandpa, all cuddly and resembling Santa Claus. He had strong opinions on how the fishing went and he particularly disliked the Richard Walker world of big fish and big fish hunting which he felt had diminished the magic and mystery of the angling.
He furiously disdained the specialized fisherman who focuses on a single species. In BV’s opinion, every fish and every method had its merits, and a true fisherman loves and practices them all. This was highlighted at his commemorative celebration in 2001, where we received a beautifully produced booklet of Bernard’s words on the aspects of angling that ringed most true to him. A piece that I have always felt particularly splendid, capturing the essence of Venables’ message. I will quote it more or less in full.
“Angling never stops for me
âAngling, for the versatile angler, never stops. It’s like the traditional idea of ââroyalty – a king can die, but royalty continues. In March, says the versatile fisherman. âCoarse fishing is over! Welcome to trout fishing!
âNow is the dreary closing period for those who only find pleasure in coarse fishing, but it is the climax for a more Catholic taste. Every day is a day of trout fishing. The dunes hatch and drift with the current under the opening leaves, the gentle plops of soaring trout add excitement to the dreamy peace of the aquatic meadows.
âIn trout fishing, time is now abolished. The smoldering fly and the singing lark are more important than the affairs of nations. But it is around this time that a small note resonates in the mind of the fisherman. At first it’s a faint sound far away in his consciousness, then it grows and swells over the weeks.
âIt’s the highlight now: the pink and white hawthorn buds: the scent of heavy elderberry in the air, joys sufficient for any reasonable standard. But June follows May, and on the 16th big game fishing returns – not the big game fishing left in March but a different kind, that of midsummer dawn and dusk.
“It is the thought that begins to act now in the versatile fisherman, a slight ringing of the thought bell at first, but which grows and widens within him until the sound is so jubilant that it fills his mind. consciousness. No less is his joy in the spring and his own special peach, but there is also no sadness in him for his passing. The spring fishery will be over. Welcomes the summer one.
I don’t know who will buy this Barder / Venables masterpiece, but I do know the big man would prefer it to be his “all-round fisherman” who enjoys tench as much as trout!
Perhaps this is a postscript for you. I have mentioned the efforts of many to help BV financially in its declining years. These initiatives must be seen as deserved because, after all, BV has put many of us on the path to angling in what many of us would describe as the truest of ways. Crabtree was a testament to beauty, nature, compassion, generosity and friendship in a way few fishing books have come close. I suspect that many fishermen, say over fifty, owe the best of their fishing ethics to what Bernard suggested to them in their youth? For that alone, he deserves to be remembered even today and then deserved a financial boost.
That he needed a little support shows just how rarely angling has paid off. If John Wilson had been a footballer rather than an angler, he probably wouldn’t have driven a fifteen-year-old car. I suspect the only people in the angling business who’ve made any money are the tackle makersâ¦ I wouldn’t mind being a million pounds behind Peter Drennan for one.
Mind you, I’m not suggesting that we should feel sorry for Bernard in any way – and he would have hated that thought. He lived his life almost entirely on his own terms and, as far as I can guess, he mostly did exactly what he wanted.
Anyway, to the point of it all. Thoughts of the rod, of Barder, of Bernard, of Red letter days, led me to my drawers of odds and ends where I come across an old b / w photograph, poorly reproduced here. My recollection is indeed fuzzy, but I suspect the image shows the big and the good gathered somewhere on the Avon (maybe?) In order to celebrate the publication of the book itself. I was invited, as the curator of the book, contributor and passing friend of the man himself, but I got halfway there before the weight of the traffic meant I would have arrived when all the world was leaving. Unfortunately therefore, I missed the event and therefore you will not see me in the photo.
If indeed this photograph records what I think it does? Any ideas there?
And who are the fishermen gathered there? I can make out BV himself, Maurice Ingham (in wheelchair), Chris Yates kneeling, Gerry Berth-Jones behind him and Pete Rogers behind Gerry. Many of the other faces look familiar to me, but time has tarnished my memory of the names behind them. It would be nice if either of you were there, or could fill in the blanks for us. It was obviously a happy occasion from all points of view!
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