Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Review of Classic Angling (Jan-Feb 2011)

A Review of the Latest Issue of CLASSIC ANGLING

Yesterday the mails brought a welcome distraction from the horrible weather we are having--the latest issue of Classic Angling. It is the January-February 2011 (No. 69) issue and I knew I'd like it because it has a painting of Lord Nelson on the cover.

Back when I was first starting graduate school, I spent a lot of time researching and writing about the Royal Navy--in fact, my Master's Thesis was on the origins of the first all-big gun battleship, the H.M.S. Dreadnought. I have an almost completed book on the subject sitting a shelf waiting for me to return to it one day...

Anyway, it certainly was not a secret that Lord Nelson was an avid angler, but Tony Bird reminds us just how much of a fishermen Nelson actually was in his very entertaining cover story "Lord Nelson, the Keen Fisherman." There's a reason Nelson's Column presides over Trafalgar Square. The article underscores why Classic Angling is unlike any other magazine out there. Only here would you find an article of this kind, and there's a reason the magazine was named magazine of the year by the U.K. Angling Writer's Association.

While there are so many small articles and blurbs it would be impossible to give a full run down, I will concentrate on outlining the features of interest. And no story is more interesting, or sad, than that of Edwin Rist, a world class musician and fly tier at the tender age of 20. In an audacious move, he broke into the Natural History Museum and stole 300 rare bird pelts, ostensibly to use and sell as salmon fly tying material. Now 22, he was captured after selling many of the rare feathers, and now faces sentencing. Very sad indeed.

Geoffrey Bucknall penned an article questioning British pike legend Dennis Pye's record northern catches. It would seem that Britain and Ireland are not immune from the controversy surrounding big catches just like the famous cases surrounding American musky anglers Percy Haver, Art Lawton, and Louis Spray.

Barrie Welham profiled caster Tommy Edwards, the always delightful Neil Freeman on the season of the coarse men, John Bailey on golden times at Magic Lake, and Judith Head on the papers of the Houghton Club.

Finally, Tom Kerr's second of three parts on the Conroys is a welcome piece of research. Classic Angling had earlier excerpted the chapter on the Conroy-Welch debate from my book Forgotten Fly Rods so much of this section will be familiar to readers of the journal.

All in all, it was another great issue. The magazine is ably edited by Keith Elliott, and is available through subscription by Clicking Here.

-- Dr. Todd

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