I dare not tell you exactly how many copies of BB's 1950 classic "Confessions of a Carp Fisher" I have in my angling library, but it is quite a number - these photo's are just the tip of the ice berg!
Each copy has a particular story attached to it - the one I take fishing with me, one that belonged to my good friend the Norfolk carp angler and lovely gentleman Dick Kingsley Kefford, one from BB given to me, various reprints and favourite copies and so the list goes on. In a moment of poorness I did part with my prized copy of BB's proof for the second edition, but when you are young and a house renovation needs to be paid for such things do happen.
I know exactly what it is that grips me with this particular book - a book I am dipping into again on these cold and dark evenings fireside. That is the mark of a good book isn't it? One you return to and one that still stands the test of time after all these years. This book has been a minor obsession of mine since I first read it in the school library in the early 1980's. That was a reprinted copy (1970 edition to be exact) with a contribution by Dick Walker on his record carp capture. That particular book, the very book I read at school is now on my shelf and the copy I always re-read. It formed part of a school library sale a few years later - and so its journey continues. A constant in my life. I thanked BB many times for being that spark at thirteen and I often wonder how many other poor souls have similar stories to my own.
The evocative and descriptive way that BB takes you down long winding lanes to tree girt pools shrouded in mist at dawn struck a chord with me at thirteen and it still does now. The hopes and expectations of a carp that you may be lucky enough to land after it takes your simple bait that you fish for with a float. The shaking hands as a shadow beneath the surface film of the lake comes into view and starts to feed over your bait. You dare not move, you cannot move until the bait is taken and the line stirs - you worry that the fish can feel and hear your beating, thumping heart. The day that stops is day the magic is lost and is the day I stop fishing.