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Chris Yates - Patron (from Feb 2016)

Christopher Yates was born on the 19th April, 1948, and spent his early years living near the old village of Burgh Heath, Surrey. He is one of three children, and both parents were teachers. Chris's mother taught French and spoke the language fluently, having studied at the Sorbonne, Paris, before the Second World War; his father specialised in English, and wrote novels and poetry. Clearly, Chris inherited his love of language from his parents, but his fascination with all things piscatorial began when he spotted his first big fish in the village pond near his home, and he would later write about this experience in the BBC book of the film, A Passion for Angling.
Chris's mother was an intellectual who recognised his natural ability, and it was she who encouraged him to study Art at College. The course included photography, and he rapidly developed a reputation as a professional photographer of note. Many of his stunning images have been used on album covers and dustwrappers of books. Take a look at certain Dick Francis novels - you might well find his name in the credits; and as his literary skills began to emerge, he successfully combined his creative talents.

In the hugely popular book of the television series, A Passion for Angling (BBC Books & Merlin Unwin, 1933) he wrote of his earliest recollection of a big fish: [...] this great golden creature leapt out of the water like a dragon rising out of myth.' This fantastic image is firmly embedded in Chris's childhood memory; the ethereal mystery of deep water, and the monsters which tantalise beneath the surface have never left him; they are ever-present in his writing which, though instructive, is much, much more than that. It has a wide appeal to anglers and non-anglers alike.

But it was his capture of the record-breaking 51lbs.6ozs.' mirror carp from Redmire Pool, Herefordshire in 1980, which catapulted him into the angling limelight. 'The Bishop,' as the fish was named, broke the previous British-held record carp of 44lbs. caught from the same pool in 1952 by the legendary angler and author, Richard Walker. (The name of that fish was Clarissa {formerly named Ravioli}).

Although 'A Passion for Angling' was Chris's first foray into film, he had previously written three books, the most significant of which is the evocative, and often humorous first edition of Casting at the Sun (Pelham, 1986). Denys Watkins-Pitchford (BB) the famous 20th Century writer of nature and children's book, wrote in the Foreword:

'[...] Your fisherman must also be a good naturalist: the author is such a man. I recommend this book unreservedly to all fishermen who can find the quiet hour by the pond or stream full of interest, peace and a deep enjoyment.'

But Chris's books have a much wider appeal because they are not just about fishing. His keen observation of nature, and the ability to convey that through his writing, sets him apart from his contemporaries. Casting at the Sun was published in a short print run, and signed copies are frequently sought after by today's collectors of his work.

It was four years before he wrote his next book, The Deepening Pool (Unwin Hyman, 1990), which was followed two years later by The Secret Carp (Merlin Unwin, 1992). Each of these titles sold so well, that they have been reprinted several times to meet the demand of an ever-increasing readership.

In 1996, he became editor of Waterlog Magazine, and between '96 and '99, he wrote and edited five titles. Falling in again was published by Merlin Unwin in 1998, and Four Seasons (1996), River Diaries (1997), The River Prince (Ed. 1998), and Shadows & Reflections (Ed. 1999) were published by Medlar Press, who, in 2006, produced The Waterlog Years, a compilation of Chris's articles from the magazine. At the outset, he made a decision not to continue beyond issue No. 50 of Waterlog, and after achieving that, ceased to write for the magazine, although some 'stock' pieces were used in later issues.

Then his career took an eventful turn when the editor of Idler Magazine introduced him to a leading agent, who felt that Chris's writing was of the high standard required by Hamish Hamilton, the literary arm of Penguin (Publisher of the Year 2007). In 2006, they published Chris's first book in a series, the title of which is How to Fish. The intial print-run sold out within a matter of weeks, and the book was reprinted twice, totalling 18,000 copies before being produced in paperback. It was a huge success. At the same time, he wrote a regular column for The Daily Telegraph, which he continues to do.

Out of the Blue was published on the 4th September, 2008 by Hamish Hamilton, and I was fortunate to read an unedited copy prior to the launch. I started reading this latest gem at 3.00 p.m. and finished at 8.30 p.m. Although not wanting to reach the end, I was compelled to read on to find out what he did next. His easy-flowing prose has lost none of its magic, and reading was like snuggling into a warm blanket on a cold winter's day, or meeting a dear friend one hasn't seen for some time. When I finally closed the book, though not an angler, I wanted to hurry down to the sea, rod, reel and net in hand in search of the magnificent bass, such was the evocation of his words.

It could be said that Christopher Yates has come a long way since those youthful days spent studying art and photography at College, and I'm sure that his parents would have been justly proud of their talented son's achievements as an intuitive angler, and acclaimed writer.

Having made the step-change from boutique to world-class publishing, I feel sure that this is just the beginning of what this great author will achieve.

Sandra Armishaw - Founder and Trustee

Sandra Armishaw FounderSandy regards herself as an unknown, so we thought that we should tell you little about her and why she feels it's so important to preserve angling history.

“I’m not an angler, but I have caught fish; from minnows in Black Country brooks as a child, to a chub of 4lbs. 4ozs. (after deducting the net weight!) from a Welsh river; black mahseer in Southern India (13 in total, albeit small ones!) and more recently, lizard fish and blue runners from the waters off Islamorada in Florida.

My passion for angling history is constantly fuelled by the people I meet. I’m married to a highly intuitive fisherman, and my eldest son Lee is an impressive angler, and naturally enough, all of our holidays tend to be located next to a river somewhere (birthdays and wedding anniversaries included). Most of my friends are keen fishermen, so it’s not surprising that my life revolves around all-things angling related. I’ve learned a lot, and seen some pretty impressive fish in spectacular locations, but my love of the sport is through the people I’m introduced to, and I’ve been extremely privileged to meet some of the very best in recent years.

For example, in November 2006, I made a recording of some of the recollections of the late, great Fred J. Taylor, MBE and our Patron, Fred Buller MBE. I did so because each possessed a wealth of experience in the world of angling, and I love stories of people’s lives; particularly the humour that abounds within them. I dearly wanted to preserve some of those memories and I didn’t particularly want to know about their biggest fish, some of which are on display at River Reads. What I did want to capture were those funny little stories which people take for granted and often forget. The kind that get handed down from father to son, brother to brother, friend to friend. I also wanted to know what each person felt had been their most significant contribution to the sport of angling.

We all had great fun making the recording, and the result is the commemorative edition of The Recollections of Frederick Buller MBE & Fred J. Taylor, MBE due for publication in December, 2009. Fred J. died on the 7th May, 2008, just as he was getting ready to record more of his memories and now it is too late. It has been said that we will never see his like again and I agree, for he was unique.

More recently, the sudden death of Professor Barrie Rickards leaves yet another void and it is only by recording people’s memories as an ongoing quest that, together, we can preserve just a little of that person’s life for posterity, in addition to all that they write. Modern technology makes it easier to do so, and what a joy it is to be able to hear people’s voices when they are no longer around to share their wisdom and wit with those fortunate enough to meet them. ANGLING HERITAGE (UK) was born from the desire to preserve something of the individual, from whatever walk of life in the world of fishing, and to ensure that the memory of them endures for future generations.”

Des Taylor - Trustee

Des first made contact with us at Angling Heritage when Barrie Rickards asked if he could record Recollections II about his life and times with the angler he most respected. des, who held Barrie in equal standing was happy to participate and as he became more familiar with the goals and work of the Trust thought he would like to help.

Des joined the team as Trustee in 2011 and is known throughout the angling world for his column in Angling Times taking over the mantle from Dick Walker. Des is never afraud to shy away from what he sees are the problems in angling, even if it goes against political correctness and has won the respect of thousands throughout the sport.  Des has also won the Writer of the Year award and Lure fishing trophies. However, he is keen to see that the history of the sport we all treasure is preserved as there is much we can earn from in history. In his brief time with the Trust he has expanded the press coverage that we have received

Reg Talbot - Trustee & Administrator

Reg Talbot Trustee and AdministratorReg has been fishing since, at the age of 4, his father took him out in a punt on the Thames at Windsor and, armed with a Woolworths 2ft long metal and plastic rod and some bread paste, he hooked a silvery wriggler (probably a bleak!) that flipped off the hook and back into the water. That lost fish was the spark that lit nearly 60 years of passionate angling. And it still burns.

In the early years, Reg spent a lot of time fishing in ponds, gravel pits and lakes in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire and on the Thames and Kennet. He was happiest catching tench in gravel pits that are now under the M25. A competitive streak meant that for many years, Reg’s main focus was match angling at club, open, league and national championship level, fishing alongside many famous names of yesteryear. He twice qualified for the Embassy/DFDS finals in Denmark and recalls beating the great Kevin Ashurst off the next peg in one of these.

Reg now travels all over the world fishing for exotic species such as Mahseer; and he is a founder member of the Mahseer Trust established in 2008. He has caught sturgeon, tarpon, salmon, tiger fish, several species of shark and a variety of other smaller species, but he still gets just as much enjoyment out of catching nice roach and dace from local rivers.

To Reg, fishing is as much about the company of like-minded people as the hope of catching a big fish or winning a match – which is just as well really, because his haul of specimen fish is limited to a few quality barbel. He is actively involved in running two angling clubs in the midlands and regularly organises fishing trips for members and friends.

After his geography degree, Reg gained a Diploma in Conservation and Ecology at London University and his interest in conservation has continued through his life. In his professional accountancy capacity, he works for the Cotswolds Conservation Board. He is a keen member of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and he is the secretary of the Campaign for the Leam and Avon Rivers, a group set up to counter attempts by the boating fraternity to open up these beautiful and peaceful rivers to navigation between Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick and Leamington Spa.

As a self-employed accountant and an experienced administrator, Reg adds a professional business edge to everyone's passion, so necessary when running a charity.

Ed Whitby - Trustee

‚ÄčEd has been working with the team at Angling Heritage creating and managing the Facebook site and became a Trustee with the reorganisation in 2016 and brings a youthful drive to the team.

Ed Whitby was born in 1982 in the railway town of Crewe in Cheshire.  He is the third generation of Whitby Morrison, the family’s successful business that builds and exports British built Ice Cream Vans all over the world.

Ed’s love affair with fishing began at around 5 years of age when given a cane fly rod and wooden centrepin by his Grandad.  From there, visits to local ponds progressed to canals, rivers and as far as the Pacific Ocean.  Recent years have seen Ed return to his roots, rekindling a fondness for a simple traditional approach using cane and pin once again.

Fred Buller MBE - Founding Patron

There was something of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot about Fred Buller, and more than a smidgeon of Colin Dexter's enigmatic character, Morse. I say that because Buller was an indefatigable detective; an historian, unrivalled in the world of angling. The result of his investigative mind are landmark books such as The Domesday Book of Mammoth Pike, (Stanley Paul, 1979), and latterly, The Domesday Book of Giant Salmon, (Constable & Robinson, 2007) the first 5,500 print-run of which sold out in the UK within a matter of weeks. An updated reprint was published in September, 2008 by Constable & Robinson. 1300 copies were for the UK market, with an additional 3200 copies being produced in Singapore by Firefly Books (US) Inc. The edition destined for the American and Canadian markets has a different dust-wrapper, and change of title to: Giant Salmon, a record of the largest Atlantic Salmon. The reprint contains corrections of the first edition, together with details of four more salmon records, which have been brought to Buller's attention since the first edition was published.

Each of his meticulously documented books is the cornerstone of research for anyone with the remotest interest in the stories of monster fish, which might otherwise have eluded modern anglers; but how did Buller, as he preferred to be referred to, develop such a fascination for the intricate detail which fuelled his quest for the factual data that is curiously so often obscure.

Frederick Henry Ernest Buller was born in London on the 12th October, 1926, and at the age of four, he and his parents moved from London to Kingsbury. As a young boy, his earliest memories of fishing are on the small pond near to his new home in the country, where he fished with a net for newts. In Recollections, recorded in November 2006, with his old friend Fred J. Taylor, MBE, who sadly died on 7th May, 2008 aged 89 - Buller recalls that he caught gudgeon and sticklebacks in a net from the River Brent, before changing to fishing with a two-piece Chinese cane rod. That rod came in a pack with float, line, hooks and shot, at a cost of around 1s.11d. (just under ten pence in modern currency!)

Buller was Grammar School educated, and although, in his words: 'I did not excel in any particular subject,' in the third form, he became top of the class. According to Buller, he did this to impress his form master who believed him to have hidden talents - doubtless because Buller, the school chess champion, was able to beat him (a retired Oxford Don) when they played! Given that his best subjects were Biology and Natural History, it is unsurprising that his first job was working for the Freshwater Biological Association on Windermere in the Lake District, where he enjoyed working under its inspired Director, Dr. E. B. Worthington. It was whilst gill netting pike and trapping perch on a large scale, for ecological experimentation, that Buller became particularly interested in big pike. When in 2006, the Recollections' recording came to an end after several very enjoyable hours, his enthusiasm for that species of fish is very clear - especially in the knowledge that it was undoubtedly the first species of fish that our ancestors caught on gorge baits: indeed, the connection with human beings goes back 40,000 years.

There is an undisputed and unfaltering exactitude in Buller's work and resultant books, which are sure to provide interest down the years for readers and researchers alike, but when asked by Keith Elliott, editor of Classic Angling magazine, what he felt was his most significant book, Buller replied - Dame Juliana, the Treatyse and its Mysteries.

Fred was awarded an MBE for services to angling in the New Years honours list published on 1st January 2010

Sadly Fred died in February 2016. He will be greatly missed, not just by Angling Heritage, for his knowledge and guidance to the sport in general.

Associate Members

In 2016 the Trustees decided to appoint two people to honorary positions to reflect the outstanding work that they have done for the Trust since its inception.

Dr Phill Williams

Like many youngsters, Phill started fishing within cycling range, which meant farm ponds and canals in West Lancashire. Then, at school, he signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme which widened his range somewhat, though still always coarse fishing. Only on holiday did he get to sea fish, including going shark fishing out from Looe when he was 16, which really was the catalyst for his future as a sea angler.

When he got married, his next door neighbour, who happened to also be a keen sea angler, persuaded him to join the Leyland & Farrington Boat Angling Club, and it was on one of their trips that he got to dinghy charter fish with Davy Agnew at Loch Ryan - his introduction to a lifetime spent fishing from small boats.

Since then, he has achieved a fishery based Ph.D. and has been a regular contributor on sea angling in virtually all the quality fishing magazines and has just completed a book on his lifetime in fishing during which time he has achieved the following:-

100 species of fish from British and Irish waters

300 hundred species in total worldwide

A 200 pound fish from my own trailed boat

A 200 pound fish from the shore

A100 pound fish from freshwater

A European record fish

A World record fish

Quite a formidable achievement, and one which in today's climate of over-fishing is made all the more daunting for anyone wanting to embark on a similar project.

Phill has also record over 200 fishing interviews, mostly on sea fishing which are now featured in the Angling Heritage website

Keith Armishaw

Keith was introduced to fishing at the age of 7 by his non-angling father, but it was being introduced to the works of Fred J Taylor as a schoolboy which lead him down the path of catching serious numbers of fish.  He then fished regularly through school, university and raising a family, but it was meeting and fishing with Fred J which inspired him to go adventure fishing and he has been doing it ever since in India, North and South, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Portugal, Spain etc etc and never travels without his rod and basic fishing gear.

Since the foundation of AH Keith has established the website initially PC based and then cloud based, set up the archive and has had the unenviable task of scanning, copying and uploading all the information.  A great task considering how much he hates computers and had received no training on them at all, and has never even owned a mobile phone.