Channel Zander

The chapters within this book are about just one river: The Great Ouse Relief Channel. The foreword by Neville Fickling recounts his angling exploits on the Channel from 1963 to present day. And then Barry McConnell recounts tales about zander fishing for several days at a time from a bivvy, with three or four rods and bite alarms.

However, this book is about more than just fishing. A passion for the Fens is portrayed, as much of the time is spent watching nature, the elements, and the great outdoors; enjoying night-time experiences that rouse nocturnal instincts; revelling in sunrises and sunsets so incredible they remain forever imprinted in the memory; and communing with the countryside and nature, as birds come so close to the bivvy you can almost touch them.

The bivvy is a hide and the angler on a nature watch; and so, the second part of each chapter in this book reflects this with its observations that describe in detail ‘the nature of the Fens’.

These true-to-life tales of epic

zander-fishing sessions, weave

a lyrical charm over the natural

surroundings and bring to life day

and night-time experiences

beside the river

Hardback copy - 25 plus 5 P&P


The Eel Angler

Leather Bound Edition

 The Eel Angler is a true-to-life account of the fanatical eeling adventures of Barry McConnell and friends, as he relates these riveting, and often hilarious stories of his eel-angling experiences. He is joined by Graham Howes, and later, by Peter Drabble, as they embark on a learning curve, and develop their eel-angling skills through hands-on experience and the capture of many big eels.

 Different waters throughout the UK are explored, and also in New Zealand and Australia, where a succession of double figure eels are caught to over 20 lbs. The habits and wariness of the eel as a species becomes apparent as the book progresses, and Barry’s search for the perfect bite indicator for resistance-shy fish results in his invention of ‘The Rollover Indicator’.

However, this is not just a book about eels; there is also a theme of natural history and the great outdoors throughout the book as the many birds, insects and creatures of the night are encountered; there is also much bankside banter and even the occasional eccentric social gathering with other eel-angling fanatics as they pursue their enigmatic and fascinating quarry.

Designed and produced by Stephen Harper at Harper Fine Angling Books, these limited
editions are produced to the highest standards and in the finest materials.


245mm by 190mm, 384 pages,
full colour throughout.
Cloth bound edition with
Dust Jacket,


Full leatherbindings with alternatives
of gold, silver or blind embossing
to front and spine. Special endpapers,
silk ribbon marker, coloured 'top and tails', special book-plate, to be numbered and signed by Barry in lined slipcase

Last 10 out of 50 copies, now half price

£35.00 plus £7 post


Bob Roberts - My Book of the Year

It’s highly unlikely that any more angling books will be published during the remaining days of December so perhaps this is an ideal time for me to consider what has been my favourite read of 2012. To be honest it was going to be a difficult choice but that all changed when Barry McConnell’s book, The Eel Angler, dropped onto my doormat. I almost put off reading it until the New Year because, let’s face it, most anglers do their utmost to avoid catching eels. What kind of barmpot dedicates half his life to catching them? Half-heartedly I flicked through the foreword by National Anguilla Club Chairman John Davis and that page alone was enough to stir my interest.

I learned that as well as being a worm farmer McConnell’s an inventor and manufacturer of exceptional fishing tackle. Davis then suggests McConnell combines free thinking with Gordon Ramsey etiquette while also being blessed with a magnificent sense of humour.

By now I was becoming intrigued, so I dipped into the first chapter. Big mistake. I’ve presents to wrap, cards to post, calls to make and there’s a danger I’ll be running late with this column if I’m not careful because my nose is stuck firmly in the book and will remain there until I’ve finished it.

The Eel Angler is a hefty old tome, running nearly 400 pages of quite small type face illustrated throughout with lots of colour photographs. The bloke’s clearly a nutter and prepared to travel anywhere in search of big eels, even if that means trekking off into New Zealand’s wilderness regions or being eaten alive by insects in Scotland. It takes a dedicated man to night fish on Scottish Lochs in summertime no matter how many nets and mozzie sprays you might have.

The thing I quickly realised is you don’t have to have the slightest interest in eels to enjoy this book. In the same way I read Brian Blessed’s Turquoise Mountain recently, a book that charts how a man who grew up in a South Yorkshire pit village attempted to climb Everest, you don’t need an ambition to climb a mountain to enjoy a book about mountaineering providing it is well written and interesting.

Don’t ask me how he’s achieved the miracle but McConnell makes eel fishing interesting, although you perhaps wouldn’t want to be locked up in a prison cell with him for the next ten years! I’m sure he’d drive anyone mad.

No, if you love fishing you’ll love McConnell’s book. It doesn’t matter if you fish for carp, pike, barbel or whatever else, this is a fascinating chronicle of a man who quite happily goes and fishes waters where no-one can actually be sure if the fish he hopes to catch even live there.

The Eel Angler is published by Harper Fine Angling Books, runs 384 pages, each 245mm by 190mm and is lavishly illustrated throughout in full colour. The cloth-bound edition of is limited to 1500 copies, with a dust jacket priced at £35.00 plus £7 post and packaging.

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