Caught by the River

River Reads' newsletter

6th December 2009


November was a sad month for us following the death of Professor Barrie Rickards. Over the past year we got to know Barrie quite well, culminating in the recording of him with Des Taylor, as part of the Recollections’ series being produced for the Angling Heritage trust. He was an outstanding angler, author of many titles, and also the world expert on graptolites in his role as Professor at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge.

His funeral service at the chapel there was very moving, with the University choir present, together with the masters and peers from both the University and angling. It was like a scene from the iconic television series, Inspector Morse, and a fitting way to celebrate the life of a man such as Barrie.

We have attached a sound clip of the recording we did with Barrie and Des on the biography section of our website. His bibliography is also available to check for your missing titles.

One of the happier events was attending John Searl’s book launch of Chalk Stream Roach, a fish greatly undervalued and probably my personal favourite species. The launch was attended by many high profile angling figures, and can be seen in the diary section. We have signed copies of the book in stock, and also Kevin Grozier’s Avon Days and Stour Ways which was also published in November. Both are well worth adding to your Christmas list. We will also have copies of the book on Ari’t Hart’s reels, and the classic work on Mitchell fishing reels, written by Wallace Carney and published by the Mitchell Reel Museum available in the next week or so.

The weather hampered my fishing activities during the month with only cod fishing in the Thames estuary of note. It was interesting talking to John Rawle about the cod, as he believes the catches are better, and the fish bigger than the previous year which would logically suggest that more are breeding than are being caught having time to grow larger, which can only be good.

Recollections, our book of the recording of Fred J Taylor, MBE and Fred Buller has finally reached the binders and is set for publication in December with a book-launch organised for January 2010 for those who have purchased this unique book. It is the culmination of three years’ work for Sandy, and we have both learned a lot along the way. Barrie Rickards and Des Taylor’s recording will be volume II in the Recollections’ series and a list is being compiled of interested purchasers for this latest work. We are also in dialogue with other iconic angling figures for future volumes in the series – watch this space.

The Angling Heritage website has now been launched. This is the trust which Sandy founded; it is supported by Reg Talbot, Chris Yates and Fred Buller (Patron) to preserve angling history through oral, photographic and written material. If you would like to support the work of the trust, visit our website in the first instance. ( and help us if you are able.

Finally, we have also made subtle changes to the website following customer feedback. The estimated price for postage of individual books is now shown, but when multiples are purchased, the weights are still combined to give the economies of scale when checking out. We have also added a line of text on the vintage tackle section to advise viewers to click onto the photographs for more information as it was felt the system was not intuitive enough.

Have a great Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Best wishes,

Keith & Sandy Armishaw, River Reads