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Angling Tributes


Gone Fishing but not forgotten

With the passing of time, so we lose fishing friends old and new along the way. This page is intended to pay tribute to anglers who have made a remarkable contribution to our sport and who have recently passed on to that ‘great river/lake/sea in the sky’. It is not intended to be an encyclopaedia of the famous, rather an opportunity for friends and colleagues to mark the passing of those who touched their lives in a particularly special way. We wish bent rods and tight lines to them all for eternity.

Tony Williams

1935 - 2015

Tony Williams Picture x400pxRETIRED engineer and well known Isle of Wight angler, Anthony Hugh Williams, known to all as Tony Williams, died aged 80, on December 30th, 2015.

Born in Ryde, IoW, on July 8, 1935, he was educated at Sandown Grammar School, served an aerospace engineering apprenticeship at Saunders-Roe at East Cowes, IoW, before he gained a degree in mechanical engineering at Kings College, Durham, in 1958.

On completion, he began work at the Mullard Transistor Factory in Southampton, in 1961 prior to returning to work at Saunders-Roe for the remaining 26 years of his working life during which time the company became the British Hovercraft Corporation then a division of Westland Aerospace before becoming a division of GKN.
Before Tony retired from GKN in 1993, he worked on various projects, ultimately specialising in industrial research wave makers and test equipment.

He had met his wife, Pamela, on the island and they married in 1969. Together they had two daughters, Helen and Vivien.

His love of angling started when he would enjoy fishing with his father and he joined the Vectis Boating and Fishing Club (VBFC) based in Ryde, IoW, in 1952.

He was associated with the running of the club more or less continuously from the time that he joined. A meticulous record keeper, Tony was the club’s treasurer for 23 years and he also held the position of chairman for some time.

He enjoyed fishing from his dinghy in the Eastern Solent and also liked to fish from Ryde Pier where he was instrumental in securing access for anglers when the owners were looking to prohibit angling.

Following his retirement, he was pivotal in securing lottery funds for a new VBFC clubhouse, near Ryde Marina to replace the original clubhouse that had been on Ryde Pier. He oversaw the building and fitting out of the clubhouse.

Tony was an active member of various other organisations centred around his passion for the sea and angling. He was a long time national committee member of the National Federation of Sea Anglers and when that merged he became a member of the Angling Trust’s national Conservation & Access Group.

He was an active member of the Isle of Wight Marine Committee of the Angling Trust and acted as one of its representatives in stakeholder engagements with external bodies such as Defra, MMO, Natural England etc. He was a strident proponent of sea anglers’ interests during stakeholder discussions on south coast Marine Conservation Zones and on bait-digging restrictions proposed by Southern IFCA around Ryde

Tony also avidly represented the UK in international sea angling administration. He was awarded an honorary life membership of the European Anglers’ Alliance for his long standing services, which included preparing, with Roy Retallick, new statutes for the organisation after a number of national bodies had left it due to poor governance.

His breadth and depth of historical knowledge about sea angling matters enabled him to strongly express his views about conservation of fish stocks and the habitats they depend on.

Sadly a recurrence of an asbestos-related cancer in 2013 caused Tony to scale back on his activities and despite a brave fight, he eventually succumbed.

Recreational sea anglers owe him a big debt of gratitude. His contribution to ongoing issues will be sorely missed.

Alan Deeming & Mike Heylin OBE

Peter Mohan

1930 - 2015

Mohan x400pxPeter Mohan was an iconic figure in the early days of modern carp fishing. His many books and writings, including the acclaimed ‘Cypry the Carp’, were inspirational to a generation of pioneering carpers as can be seen by this touching tribute from fellow carp author Tim Paisley

There is always a universal feeling of regret when a high profile figure passes away, and Peter Mohan, who died in December at the age of 85, was one of the more prominent members of the world of carp fishing. Peter was an extremely influential figure in carp circles, and certainly someone who had a major influence on my life.

In 1969 Peter co-founded the BCSG with the late Eric Hodson. The BCSG was looked on as an elitist group for experienced carpers, so in the early 70s Peter formed the Carp Anglers Association (CAA), which was open to anyone. The CAA came into existence at a time when I was becoming captured by carp fishing, and I attended the inaugural meeting at Billing Aquadrome in May 1974. Mike Starkey was Peter’s second in command at the time and he was at the meeting. In reality it was my introduction to the wider world of carp fishing, and also to the world of publishing, in that Peter had with him the page proofs for his book Carp Fishing Step by Step at the meeting, to run through with Mike.

CAA members were encouraged to write for the CAA Newsletter, and tentatively I submitted a couple of pieces, both of which were used. They were of little consequence in the greater scheme of things, but seeing them in print was an encouragement, and gave me the confidence, and belief, to continue putting pen to paper, and rattling away on the typewriter. I became a branch secretary for the CAA, and met a number of my current friends from the world of carp fishing at those 70s’ meetings, including Greg Fletcher, Kevin Clifford and Rod Hutchinson.

Peter was a great organiser, and launched the national conferences that are now a familiar part of the carp scene. He could be a tad dictatorial, back then, and even his best friends would admit that he could be difficult. He was inclined to fall out with people, and it was the rumblings about some of his policies, in particular his declared aversion to angling politics, that led to the formation of the Carp Society in 1981, at the instigation of me and Greg Fletcher. The formation of the Carp Society led to the publication of Carp Fisher, ultimately the trigger for the glossy carp magazines of today. The Society’s Carp Fisher triggered the launch of the CAA’s The Carp Catcher (‘They fish for them, we catch them!), and through those two magazines, and the later commercial products, writing and photography have become an extensive and influential by-product of fishing for carp. It’s fair to say that Peter helped put that progression in motion, and I am not alone in thinking that he was the springboard for any publishing and writing success many of us may have had in carp fishing. Peter undoubtedly helped launch the carp-related careers of Mike Starkey and Kevin Maddocks, and ultimately numerous other carp writers, carp consultants, and tackle and bait manufacturers.

Peter was a man of many talents. He was an international table-tennis player, and played for Uruguay in the Stockholm World Championships (via a residential qualification when he lived in Uruguay for a few years). He was also an international bridge player and represented England in tournaments in several countries. He launched the first carp-only magazine, the BCSG private circulation The Carp, and had a number of books published between 1972 – 'Carp For Everyone' – through to his final, fitting book, published in 2014, ‘A Life for Carp’. Peter was an achiever whose influence will be felt in carp-fishing circles for as long as carp anglers meet, and read carp books, and magazines.

I attended Peter’s funeral at Bedford on 7th January, which was well attended by many of his old friends, from both carp-fishing and bridge circles. It transpired that his organisational skills had made themselves apparent in the world of bridge-playing in his last few years, and that he had even published a book on the subject! He was a man of many talents, but first and foremost he was a dyed-in-the-wool carp angler, from an era when such people were thin on the ground. The titles of his first and last books make a fitting epitaph: Carp for Everyone could be said to be prophetic, at a time when it was actually for comparatively few, and A Life for Carp was a fair reflection on Peter’s raison d’être. Thanks for the heritage you have helped create and pass on, Peter Mohan. RIP.

Tim Paisley

John Maitland

1st April 1933 - 13th August 2015

John Maitland-small

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that John Maitland died peacefully on Thursday 13th August 2015 in Peterborough Hospital having endured very considerable challenges with illness and mobility, for many years.

He was born on 1st April 1933 and commissioned in to Royal Air Force in 1953. During his very successful career as a both a fixed-wing and rotary-wing pilot, he became a popular Chairman of the Royal Air Force's Competitive Angling Association not least because of his love and passion for all types of angling and, in particular, fly fishing.

During a career spanning 39½-years he qualified to fish for the England International Fly Fishing Team. Following retirement from the Royal Air Force in 1993 in the rank of Group Captain, he became a very supportive member of the English Fly Fishing Association (EFFA) and held the position of EFFA President from 2009 until 2011.

In addition, he was elected as Chairman of Rutland Water Fly Fishers and remained its Chairman for a remarkable 18-years until 2013. Living in Oakham, he was frequently seen on the banks of Rutland Water with rod in hand.

His love and passion for fly fishing made John an extremely successful fly fisherman, exemplary fly tier, distinguished author and excellent company. He was a much loved husband to Jan and father to daughter Julia.

His gentlemanly qualities and stoic, Churchillian attitude of 'never giving in' regardless of the circumstances serves as a splendid example to us all. He will be greatly missed.

Stephen Ottridge

Frank Guttfield

1939 - 2015

Frank GuttfieldIntroduction by Martin Salter

Just before the start of this year's river season the world of angling lost one of it's 'greats'. Frank Guttfield, author, broadcaster, and an old school specimen hunter, who fought and subdued many big fish in his time, finally lost his battle with cancer.

I can't remember exactly when it was that I first fished with Frank - probably around 17 years ago when I joined the Red Spinners. We both enjoyed fishing the smaller Thames tributaries around Oxford. Sadly they were already in decline but both the Windrush and the Evenlode still held a few fine specimen chub, roach and perch if you knew where to look. That was one of Frank's great strengths, he really was quite expert at not just catching fish but at tracking them down. For several years he ran a small syndicate on the Windrush of which I was a sometime member and he guided me on to a number of very welcome two pound roach which are still my favourite species today. But I guess it was chub fishing that was Frank's speciality and he was certainly one of the finest exponents of light ledgering that I've ever seen. He knew how to balance the weight with the flow and would angle the line so that even a shy pick up from a big wary old fish would result in a gentle and hittable drop back bite rather than a sharp nervous pull and ejected bait.

Frank was a man interested in many things including politics and persuaded me that I should have him up to lunch in the House of Commons during my time there. I was happy to oblige and I shall never forget him pulling out a musty old file and regaling me with some conspiracy theory he had about corporate wrong doing that I should be investigating. I asked him when all these shenanigans were alleged to have taken place and he said: "Oh .. sometime in the 1960s but I was just waiting until I met the right person to take this on!" Although I politely declined Frank's kind offer to immerse myself in a 30 year old case many miles from my own constituency we remained on good terms and he particularly enjoyed fishing with some of my angling MP friends including Charles Walker who now chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Angling. Frank even persuaded me to offer a work experience placement to his super bright young son Max who proved to be a great asset to my parliamentary office.

Frank could be awkward and irascible, charming and warm, grumpy and witty but there was scarcely a dull moment when he was around. There was always something going on in that sharp brain of his and it is a great shame that he has fished, written, spoken, loved and laughed for the last time.

Martin Salter, Angling Trust National Campaigns Manager.


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Read the full tribute HERE.

Shane Patterson

6th December 1964 - 19th March 2015

Shane PattersonA Tribute by John Cheyne

Shane Patterson cared a lot about fishing. As Chairman of the Angling Trust North E Forum he ran meetings with a relaxed charm all of his own. He didn’t have a typical chairman’s manner, he just spoke to the anglers in the room as if he was chatting to them on the bank.

Shane turned up at the very first Angling Trust Forum meeting that I ran back in 2012 and immediately got involved and volunteered to help. I don’t think it was even a conscious decision; it was just in his nature to try to help. Since then he had been a constant positive influence at meetings and chaired forums for both the Tees and the Wear catchments. Shane was the kind of guy who ALWAYS greeted you with a smile and wanted to talk about what you’d been catching and where you’d been fishing before there was any talk of fishing politics.

He will be greatly missed. But I only knew Shane for a very short time and so I’ll leave it to his close friend and former AT NE Chair Darron Nixon to write a full tribute which you can read as attached below...

John Cheyne, Angling Trust National Regions Manager.


Read the full tribute HERE.

Keith Speer

November 1955 - February 2015

Keith SpeerA Life Well Fished by Martin Salter

There are people in this wonderful world of fishing who we might not know personally but whose exploits, comments and interviews leave us with the overwhelming impression of not just an angler with exceptional ability but of a really lovely, warm person who is liked and admired for all the right reasons. I only met Keith Speer a handful of times but for me he typified all these characteristics, and many more besides.

Sadly Keith passed away, all too soon at the age of 60, beside the banks of his beloved Upper River Lea in Hertfordshire, the scene of some of his phenomenal catches of specimen roach, chub and barbel .

Keith’s float caught specimen list will probably never be bettered and includes barbel to 17lb 15oz, chub to 7lb 3oz and a three pound river roach. He was also a keen predator angler with many big pike, perch and zander to his name.


Read the full tribute HERE.

Joseph P. (Joe) Murray

2nd July 1929 - 16th February 2015

Joe MurrayA Tribute - by daughter Josie Murray

Dad really enjoyed his fishing and was always keen to share his innovations with colleagues as well as encouraging others to participate in fishing. Not always successfully in the case of his children but we all spent many a night and early morning awaiting the tide.

He was a proud member of the NFSA & EFSA and dad represented England on numerous occasions particularly during the 1980s & 1990s (& probably also Ireland when in European teams as he was Irish by birth), which he was very proud of but never arrogant about - it gave him the opportunity to fish in the company of friends.

Joe was born on 2nd July 1929 and died peacefully on 16th February 2015 aged 85yrs with his three children around him. His funeral will be on 16th March 2015 at 2.30pm at Chelmsford Crematorium, Essex.

Roger Wyndham Barnes

1948 - 29th July 2014

Roger Wyndham BarnesA Life Well Fished - by Martin Salter

I can think of few more appropriate souls whose passing typifies the allure of this shared watery world than Roger Wyndham Barnes – the last of the Thames professional angling guides whose death, following the diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2013, prompted a flood of affectionate tributes from far and wide. John Bailey, Keith Arthur, Jon Ward-Allen, Keith Elliott, Ian Welch, Steve Wozniak and many more have penned generous memories of this lovely man. But we start with the words of his good friend John Buckingham.

"Roger was many things, artist, writer, bluesman, biker and great storyteller, but above all he was a natural countryman and had the ability to read a river or a landscape. He wasn’t just in the countryside he was a part of it, and the spirit of the river, its moods and its seasons, flowed in his blood."


social-media-icons-wordpress Read the full tribute HERE.

Michael Stratton

1935 - 2014

Michael StrattonWorld Record Holder, Antique Tackle Dealer and Fishery Owner.

There was standing room only in the West Berkshire Crematorium as friends and family were joined by many from the world of fishing to pay their respects to Mike Stratton - the former Reading tackle shop owner, well liked countryman, one time world match record holder and, in his later years, a canny and renowned antique tackle dealer and successful fishery owner.

Mike was the eldest of two sons born to John and Winifred in 1935. He attended the prestigious Blue Coat School in Sonning from the age of 11 to 18 years where he became known as ‘wee Mick’ due to his size. A popular boy, who was extremely sporty and who loved to play cricket, he rose to become Head Boy of the school.

Michael wanted to pursue a career in farming but he contracted glandular fever and sadly had to give it up and instead decided to join the family retail fishing and gunsmith business with his father John and brother Peter.


Martin Salter - March 2015

With thanks to Michael's daughter Clare and to Bill Green his long serving work colleague and loyal friend who continues to bailiff and tie flies at the Haywards Farm Fishery.

200px PDF IconRead the full tribute HERE.

Professor Barrie Rickards

12th June 1938 - 5th November 2009

Barrie RickardsFrom The Times - November 21st 2009

Richard Barrie Rickards, or Barrie as he was more usually known, was born in Leeds in 1938, the son of an engineer. A boyhood freedom to roam over the Yorkshire countryside nourished a talent for observing, documenting and interpreting the natural world.

The young Rickards was a distracted pupil at Goole Grammar School, showing more aptitude for sports than for academic study, helping it to win the Northern Schools Cross Country Championships and going on himself to have trials for Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Kept in the sixth form by his headmaster for his running prowess, Rickards excelled at chemistry and graduated in geology from the University of Hull with a BSc in 1960 and a PhD in 1963. He specialised in graptolites, an extinct group of zooplankton, which thrived in the Ordovician and Silurian periods (488-416 million years ago).

Read the full obituary HERE.

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