Angling: Bernard’s Mr Crabtree is back in the picture

SINGLE-MINDED: A solitary angler tries his luck on the River Wharfe at Boston Spa, near Leeds.
SINGLE-MINDED: A solitary angler tries his luck on the River Wharfe at Boston Spa, near Leeds.
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Those of us who are a bit long in the tooth will remember a series in the 1950s which appeared in a national newspaper illustrated and written by the late Bernard Venables.

It was featured weekly in the paper and was entitled “Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing”.

The article featured a mythical cartoon-type character who took his young son, Peter, under his wing and in the weekly instalments the boy was shown the rudiments of angling.

The series was extremely popular and ran for 25 years. It was eventually published in book form and 50 years later, in 2005, was reprinted, again with great success.

The good news is that the pair’s adventures are to be adapted for television with Norfolk-based angling expert John Bailey taking the lead role in a show to be entitled Fishing in the Footsteps of Mr Crabtree.

producers of the show are looking for four boys and girls aged between 8 and 14 to take part in the new series, which is scheduled to hit the screens in the autumn.


The original series inspired thousands of people to take up the sport and the new one will, hopefully, be following the same trend but by updating to more modern methods and fishing tackle.

If any children in the mentioned age group are interested in taking part they should contact on Twitter @ mrcrabtree and the Facebook page/mrcrabtreegoesfishing. all the applicants must obviously have an interest in fishing.

* I must admit that I was amazed by the announcement of a new law from the Irish Inland Fisheries to ban the use of treble and barbed hooks and also worms as bait in certain venues.

These laws have been brought in, to use their own words, “in the interest of protecting salmon stocks”.

But there is a knock-on effect here which would prove vital to both anglers and local industry who rely on the income generated by the visitors on the tackle, hotel and guesthouse trade.

I do not know what the figures are but how do the anglers in pursuit of salmon compare to those who fish the vast bream and tench shoals and also pike which are resident in the Emerald Isle?

Barbless hooks are no problem but treble hooks are essential when fishing for pike, as are worms when setting your stall out for bream for they are used not only as bait but also when chopped up as an additive to ground bait.

Certain areas have been announced where these bans will take place and these are on the River Fergus system in County Clare, which includes Billyteigue, Dromore Lakes and Ballyeighter plus Leixlip Reservoir and the River Liffey.

It could have been much worse, however, for on the original list were the rivers Shannon and Erne and only after a great deal of discussion were these two removed from the list.

There have been many calls from various angling clubs in Ireland for a complete review of this controversial new policy, which they fear may greatly threaten much of the tourist industry on which the local trade depends.

Angling representative John Champers is confident that when the full implications are realised of what these new rules will do to the economy there will be a drastic rethink on the whole matter.

But it does raise an interesting question – which group of anglers generates the most income, salmon or coarse? My money is on the latter.

The Environment Agency are working together with anglers on the River Nidd.

Environment Agency deserve credit for their work on the River Nidd