An Evening with Chris Yates

In 1986 I remember eagerly collecting my copy of the book ‘Casting at the Sun’ by Christopher Yates. I read the book enthralled  from cover to cover as it described angling adventures on mystical lakes where great carp glided through mysterious waters. In my view the book is the best piece of angling literature ever written encompassing much of anglings true essence.

Thirty odd years later Pauline and I set off to listen to a talk by Chris at Pentridge Village hall in Wiltshire.

We left our farmhouse B & B on a  wet and misty evening in late November driving through tree lined rural village lanes. On such an evening the sat nav was a welcome guide to our destination. As we entered the village of Pentridge we were guided by signs to Chris Yates that eventually brought us to a chaotic assembly of randomly parked cars.

We entered the village hall that was packed with an audience predominated by men. It was pleasing to see a wide mix of ages with several younger faces smiling enthusiastically as they chatted, swapping tales of a predominantly piscatorial nature. The hall proved the perfect venue with its high ceiling and timeless décor that would I imagine have changed little in recent decades unlike many village halls that have been modernised and sanitised.

This was the third evening talk featuring Chris with each event selling out and raising substantial funds to assist in cancer research. Anglers had travelled from far and wide to listen to the talk with visitors from the Netherlands, South Wales and North Yorkshire to name a few.  What entices people to travel so far on a cold wet November night?

Chris arrived receiving a warm welcome from the packed hall and chatted warmly to all signing books and other paraphernalia. Winners of an auction to spend a day fishing with Chris were given special certificates and raffle prizes were announced as those present dug deep into their wallets in the hope of winning a valuable prize.

The event organiser Neil Martin introduced Chris to the audience who immediately adopted a hushed tone of anticipation. And so, the talk began with Chris announcing that he was not sure where the talk would lead. Starting off with his latest passion for marsh harriers Chris delivered a mesmerising talk that flowed easily reminiscing about fishing in rivers and lakes whilst weaving in fascinating stories of ghosts, lost friends and other adventures. The core essence of Chris’s delivery was one of fun, humour and a connection with the natural world.

After a lengthy break with more book signing it was time for the raffle draw with some stunning and memorable prizes on offer. I was delighted to win a Lucky Crucian carp float donated by Chris. A treasured memento of a special night.

The raffle was followed by a fascinating question and answer session between Chris and the audience covering more fishy tales, tactics and ghostly goings on.

And so, the evening drew to a close and we set off into the night our minds swimming with fish and countryside visions. Mr Yates is certainly an antidote to the negativity of this modern world.

Below – My recent book ” I Caught A Glimpse” Is available from – https://thelittleegretpress.co.uk

Angling Heritage – Preserving Angling’s Rich History

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Angling Heritage is a not-for-profit, charitable trust, founded in 2009 in memory of Fred J. Taylor, MBE. The purpose of the trust is to preserve written, oral and photographic history of anglers from all walks of life.
The foundation of the Trust followed a recording of a conversation between Fred J. and Fred Buller (later awarded an MBE). That recording was later produced as the first of the ‘Recollections’ series of books, and the net proceeds from this collaboration was used to initially fund Angling Heritage. Fred Buller who was the Patron, has now passed away and his role has been taken by angling legend Chris Yates. The Trustees are Sandra Armishaw (Founder), Des Taylor, write and one of the greatest angling all-rounders in the country, Reg Talbot (Secretary and Treasurer) and Ed Whitby.
As previous attempts to establish an angling museum had failed, Sandra decided to make a start on preserving angling history in a way which did not require huge amounts of money and so the quest for old photographs, videos, recording and articles began.

From that modest start, the Trust has developed into a fascinating website based archive which is open to all and the recordings continue.

‘Recollections II’ was Barrie Rickards and Des Taylor; ‘Recollections III’ was Len Arbery and Bob Buteux and currently in the pipeline are recordings between the late John Goddard with Brian Clarke, and Dave Steuart with Bob Church. These give an unique glimpse into the lives of these famous anglers, and also add to the funds available to the Trust

Dr. Phill Williams has contributed significantly as the Trust’s “Roving Recorder”. He has interviewed the great and the good of the sport and added his sea angling expertise. Ed Whitby, who brings his youth and enthusiasm to the Trust by managing the Angling Heritage Facebook page, constantly updating it as things progress.

The website www.anglingheritage.org now has over 200 video clips, even more interviews, and a growing array of photographs and has grown to be one of the largest archives on angling. Access is available to everyone for a nominal fee of 1p per token to see a photograph, approximately 15 tokens for audio tracks and around 50 tokens for a film viewing. Tokens are available at £5 for 500 tokens.

You can see footage of Richard Walker’s record carp, ‘Clarissa’ and listen to Chris Yates talking about his book ‘Nightwalk’ at a fund-raising book- signing for the Trust. In addition, there is a range of films on many aspects of the sport and the characters that have been such an important part of angling history.

The audio recordings range from sea fishing skippers, to fishery scientists, especially those working on conservation, and even old recordings of the Gerry Savage radio shows which was the first significant radio show dedicated to the sport.

However, to continue to grow, the Trust needs support from the sport too. We simply need access to old photographs, recordings (audio or old videos) which we borrow and scan to digitise the information to add to the archive. We would also like any historical data or articles that you may wish to write about the sport, which, subject to editorial overview, we can publish on the site.
To preserve material for posterity, the Trust doesn’t need to keep items, just to borrow them, record the content and return them to the owner, which an acknowledgement of the contribution to Angling Heritage added to the website. The Trustees have found that many people discard items thinking they are of little interest now, but ‘today is tomorrow’s history’ and in a 100 or more years’ time, may well be even more significant in terms of social history.
The message is loud and clear – don’t throw angling related items away, contact the Trust and let Angling Heritage preserve them. If you want to discuss the work of the Trust, ring Sandy or Keith on 01805 625888 and be aware that the Trust is not only interested in the iconic angling figures, but anyone with an interesting story to tell, whether they are river owners, keepers, netsmen, anglers, or poachers, or you may have information about your angling club, which are after all, the heart and soul of the sport and have been so for many years.

When added to the online archive, all of this information provides a more complete history of the sport and preserves it for future generations of anglers and those with a keen interest in fishing.

During the short time the Trust has been established, it has accumulated items of ephemera, and has an agreement with Torrington Museum to allow the Trust space to display them. This will form an integral part of an angling museum when coupled to the website and will fulfil the aims of the Trustees who believe that donations in whatever form MUST be made available to the public for both research and interest.

We need your help.

Join Angling Heritage Today

 

You may not know much about Angling Heritage. And you can be forgiven for that. But it’s a worthy operation that exists to preserve written, oral and photographic history of anglers, and anyone can join.

You can become a friend of Angling Heritage by joining the membership scheme on line. For an annual fee of £25 you can have unlimited free access to the data on the site, and enamelled badge, and an annual magazine together with preferential access to Angling Heritage special events such as book-signings with our Trustees. Just visit www.anglingheritage.org .

Chris Yates signs as a trusteeA