Screenshot 2014-12-17 13.51.16For the last episode of series 2 we wanted to have a look back over the great Summer we had Fishing in the Footsteps of Mr Crabtree with John and James.

It wasn’t just that we wanted to do a reflections show on the past five episodes but also, whilst looking through edits with our excellent editor Luke Thompson, I realised that there were some really good sequences, shots and pieces that hadn’t yet featured within the framework of the other 5 eps.

The stand out piece for me was the stately house lake in Brinton, with the beautiful old boathouse and stunning scenery. The original plan was to use this piece as part of our Casting for Gold episode but because we had so much great content from the Surrey shoot at Godalming AS Johnson’s Lake it didn’t fit or quite work.

Because it was such a beautiful venue and a perfect Crabtree setting I didn’t want to leave it for the cutting room floor or as a clip out for a DVD. Also James and John had some great fun catching those lovely Rudd close in which really showed James enthusiasm and how they both got on. It wasn’t the only time we got to see JB’s unbridled joy for fishing and for how good their chemistry was.

My intention in this series was for you the viewer to see John both as an expert guide but also as a mentor and to see the development of the angling friendship that played out between he and James over the course of filming this Summer. It was one of the reasons we chose James as the ‘Peter’ for the whole series, because we then had the opportunity to share in and watch this camaraderie develop.

Because this diary is going out weekly to accompany the Director’s Cut and because it has only just transmitted on Sky Sports, I’m not going to rehash my thoughts or diary pieces on episodes 1-5 but rather I’m going to concentrate on the bits that haven’t featured until now and the other stand out moments for me.

I wanted to involve more characters into this series for a few different reasons, it reflects what happens when we go fishing, in that we meet other anglers and people along the way, it gave a chance to introduce some expert anglers with specialised knowledge of a particular species, technique or of a particular water.

It also is in keeping with the Crabtree ethos of teaching, learning and sharing of knowledge. It’s not just the Crabtree way, it’s something most worthy and decent anglers would agree is important and would encourage. On visiting a new water there is nothing more useful than meeting a fellow angler happy to share their knowledge of the lake or river and the going baits and techniques.

When I was a kid anglers would happily encourage and share information and look to help you catch fish. It’s the way new people or youngsters come into and stay in the sport. If you don’t catch fish or enjoy yourself you are unlikely as a youngster to stay at it. Even more so if no one offers a bit of advice or support.

So with this in mind I asked several top angling mates to fish alongside James and John on their summer adventure. You have already seen the likes of Alan Blair, Alan Stagg, Adam Penning, Scott Maslen, Simon Pomeroy et al but in this episode we get to meet up with Enterprise Tackle owner, founder and imitation bait guru Chris Hornsby, Predator and lure expert Mark Kitson, Big fish hunter and lake owner Dave Lidstone and top Carp man Frank Warwick.

Chris and Frank joined us down at Emperor Lakes in Devon which is a fantastic water and offers a variety of specimen fish on some stunning lakes. We didn’t do anywhere as well there as we expected although we did have a great little fishing match and James had a PB Eel. Because we didn’t get the action we wanted on this shoot it meant that some really great pieces, how tos and interviews weren’t placed within the other episodes. We filmed some great stuff with Chris Hornsby who is the originator of imitation baits (if you have any imitation or fake corn, pellets or dog biscuits in your tackle box, I bet it’s Enterprise tackle) and, in an ever more competitive marketplace, is still the top man.

He continues to innovate and develop the very best imitation baits that are an essential item to all Carp anglers, but as John says has had a massive impact on his own fishing and has revolutionised his presentations for Tench, Bream, Barbel and Chub. In Gold we took two lovely Carp off the surface, both on Enterprise imitation dog biscuits. In Dawn and Dusk we caught all of the big Bream and Tench on Enterprise imitation maggot and when things required a change, it was Enterprise imitation corn that did the trick. Look out on this site for various ‘extra bite’ clips and footage to get an idea about the range of product available from Enterprise and to see how effective it is. if you don’t already have imitation bait in your armoury then get hold of some as I and all of the top anglers I know, use it in their angling.

Frank Warwick is a big mate of Crabtree and is also an expert in the use of imitation corn. A good mate of Chris Hornsby, Frank also helps to develop and test the Enterprise range and it is well recorded how successful he has been using the Enterprise corn in particular. Crabtree isn’t a big how-to type of series and we don’t focus hugely on specific rigs or bits of tackle but I will just say that very many fish were caught in this series on the Enterprise gear and, as John will tell you, much of his fishing incorporates Chris Hornsby’s inventions and product.

On the note of partners and brands (I’m on a roll now…) do look at our partner pages and the various bits around the Crabtree site whether it be interviews with our brand owners, endorsees etc. We get inundated with product and sponsorship offers and can afford to pick and choose the brands we use and work with. We have a great relationship with all of our partners and only use the products that we are happy to use, feature and talk about. Bernard Venables would never fish with a product he wasn’t happy with and certainly wouldn’t endorse something he didn’t believe in. We at Crabtree and John himself, feel the same way and so we are happy to endorse all of the brands on this site.

Mark Kitson may not be known to many of you but has been around the predator and lure fishing scene for many years. He is an expert guide and designer of tackle and he is the owner of Sovereign Superbaits which is a veritable emporium for the predator anglers out there. Mark joined us on a couple of shoots and both times brought a boatload (literally) of tackle, rods and reel – and boxes and boxes of lures and spinners. He also very generously gave James a load of kit to keep.

Although you don’t see much by way of our lure and Pike fishing attempts (it was incredibly hot when we attempted this) James did bag a few pike and had some follows from a very big fish, we had great fun and got to see plenty of Mark’s lures in action. Do also have a look at the Sovereign site and give Mark a call. He is always on hand to assist and help. We will be having a real go for monster Pike and also looking at lures in greater detail in future series so we will be seeing Mark again.

My last stand-out moment from filming at Emperor was the Crabtree fishing match. It was just done for a bit of fun at the end of a hard shoot but as you will see it was great fun and everyone involved had a laugh. It was an impromptu get together but has given rise to us creating and producing a full on Crabtree Cup – Fishing match. So look out for entry details and more info here on the site.

Two people who were ever present on location and are both very good anglers who should also get a mention are Graham Harman and Rob Buckley – without them we wouldn’t have made this series on time or so well. They set everything up and never stop working and were often at hand to help with a variety of angling situations that required assistance. You see them in shot every now and again and they are top blokes. Graham owns Lac Meunier that featured in this series and is a Crabtree angler because he keeps it simple and he catches a lot of fish. Both he and Rob were always calm and didn’t throw me in even when I was at my most bossy in the Director’s Chair….cheers chaps!

Also I want to thank Paula Battle our head of communications. Paula is a partner here at Crabtree and is responsible, along with her team of Katie and Victoria, for a whole load of aspects including the book, this brilliant website, our social media and she also works with me on the TV side. I don’t pretend that I understand all of the things that she does and I am sure I will have missed out a couple of key aspects and these areas often go unheralded or are overlooked. Not by me though because without all that she has done and does, we wouldn’t have any of this. She has been key in bringing Crabtree back and has helped me massively. Paula had a pretty tough Summer away from Crabtree but still ensured that we got everything delivered. Thank you Paula!

I hope that I have offered a bit of an insight into our thoughts behind the filming of this series and that its a worthwhile read. We are considering offering the chance for a couple of lucky people to attend the filming of series 3 so that they can get to see all the workings behind the scenes. I hope that I have said thank you and credited everyone that appeared in the series and all those people that work behind the camera, without whom we couldn’t make these shows. It only leaves me to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to say look out for news of series 3 in 2015. If you are going fishing over the festive period wrap up, say safe and tight lines.

Cheers, Lester