‘Romancing the Carp’ by David Jones. Reviewed by Lewis Read
It’s not often that I impulse buy a book, but a chance flick through the pages of David Jones’ ‘Romancing the Carp’ whilst enjoying the usual witty banter with Charly and Kingie at YAC a few weeks ago when I was dropping off the usual Thursday evening delivery was just enough to trigger a little intrigue.
So much about ‘Burton-on-Sea’ has been written over the years, but I was really interested to see whether this publication would fill in some of the informational void between the old days, when the water was at its pinnacle and it was being frequented by the crew comprising anglers such as Ball, Little and Glebioska (who fished there pre-catastrophe) and I wondered, or rather hoped, if it would offer a glimpse into what had been going on in the years afterwards. During its subsequent slip into carefully closeted secrecy – a secrecy and protection that was ingrained and (should local rumours be believed) brutally administered to the point that openly discussing the lake’s remaining jewels was all but forbidden. A secrecy that protected these very special remaining Galician mirrors from the potential ravages of anglers that may not be so carp care focused.
All too often we read historical articles that have a ‘woolly’ feel about them – and it’s not surprising. I know for one that on those occasions when I am forced to trawl my beleaguered memory banks for a historical capture to write about, I neither enjoy it, or feel I have ever quite done the story justice. It’s just that too much intrinsic detail has been eroded by time to write convincingly…
This is where David Jones has most certainly succeeded.
He has been able to encapsulate minor details into the fabric of his early adventures in such an extremely fluid and atmospheric writing style that the finished book is one of the most entertaining and interesting books I have read in a long time.
I’d wanted to read more about the Galician legacy at Frensham, who amongst us doesn’t? However, in hindsight if it had been written in a more matter of fact ‘came down, put in 5Kg and waited’ way it would have certainly detracted from the impact of whole story. Instead David eloquently describes the smells, sights and sounds that obviously made up the vital peripheral experience in a way that enables you to build a wonderful mental picture of each pivotal session.
‘Romancing the Carp’ draws together the emergence of the great fish that prospered in the waters of Frensham in a way that oozes of a great love for the lake, its surroundings and its inhabitants, and the author weaves them in with the equally fascinating story of how he and his brother Rick helped to bring life to a couple of other waters in which their angling life became inexorably intertwined.
You do get a couple of glimpses of the methodology used, and the lengths that David would go to present his hookbaits on good ground; the bait (though details are wonderfully vague) and some nice angling wisdom related to barbless hooks shines from the pages. Of course there’s much more, but these are the things that spring to mind right now…
There is an abject lack of commercialism – that in the context of the angler and the venue genuinely benefits the book. Even the photography has a simple charm that I found endearing (though this was reason for doubt when I first weighed up whether to buy the book off the YAC counter) as having read it front to back its obvious way more thought was afforded to the carp’s welfare than filling the pages of a glorious photo album.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely and whole heartedly YES.
Why has such a good book stayed under the radar?!
Romancing the Carp by David Jones
Published by Freebird Publishing
Get your copy HERE
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