We are sorry to bring you the sad news of the death of Dr Derek Mills, who died on the 29th of January, 2018. Derek was involved with salmon research from 1953 and was in charge of the Salmon Research Laboratory at Contin. He then became a senior lecturer and fellow in the Institute of Ecology and Resource Management at the University of Edinburgh. During his thirty years at the University he held a number of extra-mural appointments and served as consultant biologist to the Salmon & Trout Association. He set up the Scottish branch of the Institute of Fisheries Management and was its first chairman. He was a committee member of the Tweed River Purification Board and a trustee of the Tweed Foundation and Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trust, as well as being a River Tweed Commissioner. He served on the honorary Scientific Advisory Panel of the Atlantic Salmon Trust for over thirty years and was its chairman for ten. Derek also wrote many interesting articles on fish and fishing, not least in Waterlog magazine, and wrote two books for the Medlar Press - Saving Scotland's Salmon and Salmon in Trust. Derek passed away peacefully on Monday, January 29, 2018.
We have been exhibiting our books for many years at the British Fly Fair International in Stafford, and this year's event was bigger and better than ever. On the Medlar stand we had the pleasure of officially launching The Blacker Trilogy, with the able assistance of the whole team - Hermann Dietrich-Troeltsch (who was the man behind the project and who spent over twenty years of his life on it!), Andrew Herd (whose extraordinary research and writing skills will be familiar to most Medlar readers), and the incredible Alberto Calzolari, who demonstrated his wonderful tying skills by dressing Blacker salmon flies in the hand! I was completely bamboozled just watching him! Andrew also gave a fascinating illustrated talk on William Blacker and his life and times on both days of the show.
Above: Andrew Herd, Alberto Calzolari and Hermann Dietrich-Troeltsch and (right) Alberto demonstrating his magic . . .
And that was just the Medlar input. There were over 80 other exhibitors this year and a huge selection of fly tying materials. Apart from Alberto, there were over 50 international fly tyers from across the globe, a Fly Tying in Focus Theatre with live demonstrations, and a Fly Fair Forum with thought provoking talks and presentations. And if you needed a bit of help, there was a Fly Tying Clinic for those with queries. All in all, a great start to the new fishing season. The show is always a great place to meet up with old friends, talk about new projects with Medlar authors and get close to the experts. Thanks to Steve Cooper and his team for organising such a great show.
For more details on The Blacker Trilogy click here.
It's been a bit hectic over the past few weeks . . .
and Christmas appears to have arrived early here in deepest Shropshire . . .
But a bit of snow never stops us, so what news of our new books?
The Blacker Trilogy is printed and bound and just awaiting slipcases.
(the books will be sent out next week)
And another two new Medlar titles have also just arrived.
One is our first carp book for a few years
Jon Edy-Berry's Beside a Carp Water.
The second is Keith Harwood's The Trout Angler in Shetland.
Just published - three great new Medlar titles: a beautiful new hardback edition of the classic predator book Pike & Perch by Alfred Jardine: John Langridge's new book on fishing for the nine species of Spanish barbel; and last but not least, Pete McParlin's evocative tales of fishing in the North-East of England, When the Float Comes In.
'Because these sketches add up to an argument for general angling right round the year, and because the hope is to tempt many specialists to experiment with different kinds of fishing, we may as well begin just before midsummer when the great army of coarse-fishermen get out their floats and bottom-rods. And straightaway we will try to persuade them to try something else instead.
'It is true that coarse-fishing legally begins on the 16th of June and that, in the lakes and canals, the tench and carp are ready to be angled for; but in the rivers the roach are still haunting the weeds. It is hot weather, perhaps, and bright water. The underwater vegetation is swarming with larvae and shrimp and snails. Most of the fish are burrowing there and can't be reached with an underwater bait.
'But whatever he may be hunting below, the dace keeps half an eye on the surface . . . We will fish for these dace with an artificial fly.'
Hargreaves follows this with a very simple introduction to fly-casting for those who have never tried it: 'It takes one day to be able to cast well enough to catch fish and enjoy yourself'.
If you haven't already got this book in your fishing library, it's really worth considering - a wonderful read.
Adrian Latimer's new book Searching for a Rise receives great reviews from Salmo Trutta and Gamefisher:
'[This book] tells tales of fishing a heap of the world's most famed trout spots: Battenkill, Bourne, Chimehuin, Corrib, Itchen (and so on). He weaves these places with the experiences and thoughts of trout fishing's giants: Kite, Halford, Plunket Greene . . . , Sawyer, Sheringham, Skues (and further on). As a fisher, you will likely love this book. You'll be right there with Adrian through highs . . . and lows . . . The result is a great read that will keep you going for a good while. ' - Salmo Trutta
'Latimer has written extensively about his adventures in Argentina, Iceland . . . and elsewhere in a series of volumes including Fire and Ice and The River at the End of the World, and admirers of his high-octane prose style will need little invitation to snap up his latest offering. But it is somewhat different to the others, in that it seeks to relate his experiences to those of previous generations of anglers, who, like him, have been moved to lay down their rods every now and then and put pen to paper . . . .[In] Argentine Patagonia, . . . Latimer treads in the wader footprints of Ernest Shwiebert, Joe Brooks, Roderick Haig-Brown and other pioneers. The landscapes are as amazing as ever they were, and the trout fishing - if not quite as fabulous - is still extraordinary . . . Elsewhere he seems more subdued. His exploration of his chalkstream theme takes him to Normandy as well as southern England. But the rivers are too often degraded by our modern living . . . The legendary streams of the US Catskills . . . are similarly under pressure, and the sight of legions of fly fishers in Montana leaves him longing for solitude.' - Tom Fort in Gamefisher
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Fred Buller in February. Fred's contribution to angling was second to none - he was a great fisherman, prolific writer and one of angling's most notable historians as well as someone who took an active interest in tackle development, having founded the Moncrieff Rod Development Company with Leslie Moncrieff, Fred J. Taylor and Richard Walker.
As well as being a Medlar author and a contributor to Waterlog, Fred was also a personal friend and we will miss him greatly.
For further details of his life, please refer to our Author page and also to the appreciations written by Malcolm Greenhalgh and Andrew Herd in Waterlog no. 95 - the Spring Edition. That edition also features an article written by Fred about his great friend Hugh Falkus.
The Anglers' Bible received a great write-up in Classic Angling just before Christmas:
'Catalogues from 1847 to 1914 might not, at first glance, appear to be a subject that lends itself to much creativity. But even those who know their Ps from the Qs (the book explains why Hardy's chose to number catalogues between 1886 and 1914) will find much in this hefty tome (well-named as it's almost the size of a Bible) to inform and entertain. It's an important part of angling history, too. Until reading this, it had never struck me how Hardy's was really a mail-order business with a tackle outlet tacked on . . . And what works those early catalogues were! Yes, the very first ones were simple lists, but Hardy's supremely smart idea was to bulk them up with articles about fishing: 132 pages by 1888, 180 by 1897 and 400 by 1914 . . . The book refreshingly breaks away from the temptation of recording each new product as it came out, instead batching them into, for example, artificial baits, rods, reels or creels. It doesn't cover everything but pulls out highlights, sets them in context and carries numerous illustrations of relevant or interesting pages . . . This is a terrific read: indeed it is an essential one for anyone who collects Hardy tackle. You won't ever manage to find all those catalogues, but this is the next best thing.' - Classic Angling