Speakers’ Night 2016 – Another Success!

The fourth NPS Speakers’ Night, held on Wednesday, 2nd November in a new venue – The Cedric Ford Pavilion at the Newark Showground – was eagerly anticipated by both members and their guests. The headline speaker, John Bailey, is well-known for both his writing and his television appearances, most recently in his series following in the footsteps of the iconic Mr. Crabtree.  Paul Floyd is perhaps less well known but his reputation in the world of barbel anglers promised much.

It was clear from the outset that this would be a popular event. The car park was full and as soon as the doors opened the stalls – and the bar – were busy and the room hummed with the conversations of anglers seeking out old friends, quizzing the stall-holders and hunting for the piece of gear or bait which would transform their catches – and if it was at a bargain price, so much the better.

The compere for the evening, Bob Roberts, eventually established ‘order’ so that John Bailey could lead the first session. Speaking without notes, John distilled his extensive experience both at home on the Wye and Wensum and abroad in pursuit of the fabled mahseer. His message was that the angler should seek ways to minimise the resistance the fish feels on taking a bait – whether by touch-legering, trotting or laying-on with the float. Even the use of the old-fashioned dough-bobbin indicator should not be ignored.  For John believes that old, big fish are wise fish and learn from being caught – hence the fact that many of the biggest chub and barbel are caught at night when fewer anglers fish and so the fish are less wary. He also has clear views on the impact of otters. In the areas where they are established, especially on small rivers, these nocturnal hunters have changed the behaviour of fish. The Wensum chub are now to be seen more in the shallows and are reluctant to feed at night. Finally, John turned his attention to the effect of a foreign invader, the signal crayfish. While they are not yet apparently widespread on the Trent (although there is an established population on the Greet), they have become the chief food for bigger fish on many rivers. Surveys of the Wensum have shown that small invertebrates, the main prey of crayfish, have almost disappeared – due to crayfish predation – but crayfish form the main diet of both chub and barbel.

John Bailey shares his experience

John Bailey shares his experience(Bill Blake)

In his conclusion, John argued that we should not be pessimistic. Our rivers are always changing; while the ‘barbel boom’ may be over on some, we should enjoy the Trent’s peerless barbel fishing while we can and, as the fish become more elusive, we should adapt our methods. He also pointed to the history of roach fishing in East Anglia. Once the home of many specimens, big roach almost disappeared from the Wensum but John reported that the two pounders are back and are being caught again in numbers.

Unfazed by being introduced as someone else, Paul Floyd took a very different approach to his subject. Having established his credentials as a successful angler, he spoke to a Powerpoint presentation which was full of practical details of tackle and bait for the successful pursuit of baarbel: strong hooks (not too big) with a beaked point, blockend feeders, the use of butt rests, using a variety of baits (not just pellets and boilies), micro pellets as feed. He moved on to discuss how watercraft can identify the fish-holding spots before describing, with the aid of clear diagrams, his own favoured rigs for feeder-fishing, trotting and rolling baits. Despite the intensely practical nature of his talk, Paul was keen to point out the importance of enjoyment for the angler and the pleasure to be derived from helping others to enjoy the pastime, too. This was re-assuring for those of us who rarely catch the size or numbers of fish which our more skilled friends achieve.

Paul Floyd starts his talk (Bill Blake)

Paul Floyd starts his talk (Bill Blake)

How can one assess the success of the evening? It is always fascinating to listen to experts and both our speakers gave us much to think about – and different approaches to try. Both spoke with passion and conviction – and without any reference to ‘king this ‘king that. Many went away with new toys to play with – always a delight – and five lucky winners of the raffle each took home a car boot full of fishing tackle, permits and bait. The raffle raised more than £1400.  In addition, the Notts and Lincs Air Ambulance received a cheque from this year’s President, Dennis Betts. The Air Ambulance was on hand when Dennis suffered a serious accident at Muskham while on one of the Wednesday work parties he leads. We may all be grateful for this entirely voluntary service at some point. It is a worthy recipient of our donations.

NPS President, Dennis Betts presents a cheque to a representative of the Notts and Lincs Air Ambulance

NPS President, Dennis Betts presents a cheque to a representative of the Notts and Lincs Air Ambulance (Bill Blake)

Hon. Sec. Dale Whittaker, John Bailey, Bob Roberts and Paul Floyd

Hon. Sec. Dale Whittaker, John Bailey, Bob Roberts and Paul Floyd (Bill Blake)

Finally, we should not forget all those who worked to stage this event for our benefit. Kevin Stephenson was again the chief organiser – and he had to suffer a day’s fishing with John Bailey as well! As Hon. Sec. Dale Whittaker pointed out in his recent email; ‘There are too many to name individually from organisers, compere, merchandise providers and sellers, raffle ticket sellers and folders, doormen etc..  They all played an important role on behalf of the Society and our thanks go to each one.’

Finally, we must thank those whose generosity made the raffle prizes so incredibly attractive:

Bob Roberts / Daiwa UK – 12’ Diawa Infinity barbel rod worth over £250

Dynamite Baits – Pellets, glugs and boilies

Tony Porter/ Future Fishing – Shimano reels and tackle

Shimano – Reel

Open Water Angling – Fishing tackle

RG Baits – £100 bait vouchers

Gerry’s of Nottingham – Fishing tackle

Match Man Supplies – Fishing tackle

Nottingham Piscatorial Society – 2017 Membership or East Stoke Membership

Mr Alan Rawden – Books

Mr Ian Wall (Member) – 4 Reels

Walkers of Trowell – Fishing tackle

Climax Tackle – Fishing tackle

Andy Parker/ Trent View Fishery – 2x 48Hr Tickets

Barnsley and District AA – 2017 Yearbook

Mr Dave Turner, Nottingham AA – 2017 Yearbook

The Bait Box – Fishing tackle

Quest Baits – Carp and barbel baits

Custom Angling Solutions – Fishing tackle

Fiskey’s Fantastic Feeders –  Feeders and leads

The Hook Bait Company – Carp and barbel baits

Specialist Fishing UK – Fishing tackle

Cult Baits – Carp and barbel baits

Mr Andrew Field – Floats

Frisby Lakes, Leicestershire -2 x 24Hr Tickets

Please support these companies and organisations as they support us.