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Author: Medlar Press
Publisher: The Medlar Press & Waterlog, Aug 2003
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 0-MPWL-0020-0

Waterlog, since its launch in December 1996 has proved itself one of the finest angling magazines of all time. Published bi-monthly by the Medlar Press, & co-edited by Jon Ward-Allen & Chris Yates, the magazine features some of the best descriptive, humorous & incisive writing on angling. Beautifully produced, with superb photos & illus; 8x11 inches, 63 pgs.

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Of Graylings large and Small - William Caine
A Midsummer Night's Bream, or was Shakespeare an Angler? - John V Day
The Sliding Confidence Rig - Dexter Petley
Into the Unknown - Chris Tarrant
Shetland Skirl - Lesley Crawford
Bream Team - Gainsborough Leach
The Waterlog - Chris Yates
The Bridge - Andrew Herd
The Water Guardian - Salmon and Trout Association
The Thames at Richmond - Stephen Hodges
Fisherman's Weather - Ken Cameron
O The Gallant Fisher - Venator
The Philatelic Angler - Keith Harwood
Book Reviews - Andrew Herd
Of Crazy Coots and Mere Farragos - Paul Schullery
Fishing With Padraic - Stanley Salmons
Three Memorable Chub - Malcolm Greenhalgh
Rudd - Goran Grubic
Letters - Waterlog Readers
Fighting for the future of game angling and the environment - Salmon and Trout Association

There is a certain amount of dissension about the matter at Waterlog Towers, editors are reasonably united in the belief that it was Humpty Dumpty who remarked that a word could mean whatever he wanted it to mean - unless it was John Lennon. If it was Lennon, and lets face it, it might very easily have been, then the question is what prompted him to say so. We are all a bit vague on the subject, but present opinion is that the trigger may have been that time he tied himself up in a bag with Yoko Ono. Half a day in a bag with one another and you would be lucky to get any kind of sense out of us, either.

So, to drag this leader screaming back to the subject, have you ever experienced an awkward moment when some smart-looking cove asks what sort of fisherman you happen to be? The wisecrack reply is, a good one, but so often the response is a slightly apologetic, Actually, Im a coarse fisherman, as if saying so is some kind of admission of defeat. Now and again you see someone throw down the C-word as if they are challenging all comers to take them on, but the one thing you virtually never hear is a game fisher sound as if he regrets admitting to it.

Game and coarse might be just words, but Waterlog is a magazine that prides itself on having a broad readership, and we think we are in a unique position to host a debate on the subject; so, after a little bit of background to get everybody up to speed, do remember that the letters page is only a second class stamp or an e-mail away.

The origins of the game/coarse split lie way back in the enclosures of the eighteenth century, when land began to be fenced around, with the result that the system of common grazing which had held sway for centuries rapidly imploded. With the fences came denial of right of access and a whole way of life passed away, much of the rural population moving into the cities. In this environment it didnt take long for the concept of riparian ownership to become established and needless to say, the most valuable waters were those in which salmon nets could be operated. Fishing rights were fiercely defended and poaching attracted serious penalties, the result being that when salmon fishing with a fly became popular in the mid-nineteenth century, rents on the best waters went out of sight. When, shortly afterwards, the dry fly craze descended on the chalkstreams, the circle was complete and a social chasm began to open between fly fisherman and . . . what?

This one has gone back and forth around the office, but none of us are really sure when the word coarse first came into common use. Clearly, there was a need for a collective noun for all the fishermen who fished with bait, but quite why coarse found favour, we have no idea. We dont think that the bait men voted it upon themselves, given its pejorative sense - and neither can we understand why the fly men attracted the game handle, with all it implies, because it doesnt really make any sense either - not unless they were comparing salmonids to lion hunting. Perhaps they were.

Though a word can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean, we think that these two words are past their sell-by dates and need retiring. Fly can replace game without any problem at all, but what are we going to do about coarse, chaps?

By the way, have a great Christmas and a happy New Year!

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