Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

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Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

Post by Mark » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:42 pm

Poles Apart by Michael Nadell

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I eagerly collected the book from the post office this morning which had been sitting there for three days, as I was not in when the book was originally delivered and due to my working hours I could not collect until today. Today it is raining outside so I have done nothing more than to sit down and read this delightful book, with some very nice cups of tea I might add. When I got home from the post office I excitedly opened the outer cardboard wrapping to find the book wrapped in traditional Coch-y-Bonddu fashion, brown paper, I do think that gives such a personal touch to the book and reminds me of opening parcels as a child. On unwrapping the book I was confronted with a lovely colourful front cover from a picture named 'A Pegged Down Fishing Match' by Walter Denby Sadler. Originally painted in 1884, it is a fishing scene inspired by a London Angling Society outing to the River Lea, the Sussex Ouse or the Thames and depicts a friendly fishing competition amongst it's members. Page 92 in the book shows this picture with more details as it is too wide for the front cover to show it all. It is a good quality sturdy book of some 178 pages and is published by Coch-y-Bonddu Books (Machynlleth) http://www.anglebooks.com/

The books starts with a foreword by Keith Elliot the Editor of Classic Angling Magazine, then the acknowledgments, a short introduction by Michael himself and then starts the first of the 15 chapters, 'The Boy's Beginning'. The book also has three appendix's, a Bibliography section and an Index, I do like an index in a book. The photos are by David Watson and illustrations by Paul Cook. Poles Apart is the only book ever to record the Sowerbutts and Evans families, they were the best pole makers in London. There is even a Sowerbutts family tree list in Appendix 1.

I did not realise just how many varieties of poles there are, from the Lea pole to the Thames pole, the pole rod, poachers poles, travelling poles to name but a few, there is even a ladies pole that has a short mahogany butt. The book goes on to discuss the cane preparation the tools they used and the artwork on the brass and nickel butt caps. The early poles were engraved by hand in a beautiful flowing script with the makers name, sometimes their address and the owners name if requested.

I found the detailed history chapter of the pole makers very informative, especially the section on the Sowerbutts family with it's lovely old pictures. The chapter continues with information about the Evans family and many more of the pole makers, again I never knew there were so many.

The book also discusses at length the floats and the winders they used, the plummets, pole rests, bait droppers and other items of tackle all used in conjunction with a pole and all with lovely colour pictures. It goes on to discuss the baits that were used at that time too from gentles to bloodworms, grubs, barley and bread flake. There is small chapter on the different pole methods, 'shot legering', 'holding back' and my favourite term 'swimming the stream'. This chapter also explains how these methods are used and all are accompanied by diagrams.

Then there is a list of the past masters of the pole, I counted 30 plus names, the majority of which has a small section dedicated to them which describes each angler. It then goes on to discuss the great fishing competitions that they use to fish, the fashion of the day and many many other subjects. I must confess that I never new much about the old pole fishers and their fishing tackle and methods but this book has certainly opened my eyes to a new world that I never really gave much thought to.

This is a great book not only on the history of the poles and the pole makers but also on the history of the fisher of that time, the tackle and bait they used and how they fished. A wonderfully written and presented book that anyone who is interested in the history of angling will appreciate, a creditable book to be sitting in your collection.

The book comes in three formats:

The Sowerbutts Edition - Large very high quality hardback in dust-wrapper with pictorial end papers based on an old advertisement.
http://www.anglebooks.com/product.php/4 ... -edition--

The Author's Edition - Large very high quality hardback in dust-wrapper limited to only 220 copies of which only 200 are for sale. It has green patterned end-papers carrying a beautiful bookplate which has been signed and numbered by the author and has a folding plate loosely inserted at the front.
http://www.anglebooks.com/product.php/3 ... -edition--

The De Luxe Edition - Fully bound in the finest leather and presented in a matching cloth-bound slipcase, limited to 35 copies (only 30 for sale), each signed and numbered by the author and with an extra folding plate.
http://www.anglebooks.com/product.php/3 ... oach-pole-

Taken from the Coch-y-Bonddu website.
Poles Apart is the definitive history of London roach poles and the men who fished them. Michael Nadell, the foremost collector of antique roach poles in Britain, takes us on a fascinating journey through the art of pole making and introduces us to the the great craftsmen who hand-built them. He covers the different methods of fishing the pole, the social influence of ‘poling’ in Victorian times, the champion roach fishers and their incredible fishing matches. It is unlikely there will ever be another such detailed history of this intriguing subject in piscatorial history.
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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Reivew

Post by DaceAce » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:38 pm

Top class book; one of the best angling books for 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Reivew

Post by Luke » Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:33 pm

Really glad you like the book :Thumb:

I know Michael looks in on this forum from time to time and I'm sure he'll be happy with a review like that :)

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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Reivew

Post by Moley » Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:37 pm

The book of the year as far as I am concerned....truly superb.

Written by a man who knows his subject well and uses the tackle he writes about. A truly inspirational book by a man who makes cakes and fine pastries for a living....what's not to like!

I would urge all those who have an interest in Angling History to purchase this book because as they say 'the Devil is in the detail' and this work is devilish good!

Inspirational and aspirational....I want a Traditional Roach Pole Now!

More expense for the Fat Mole coffers to bear the brunt of but whatever you do, don't tell Matron :Scared:!

I have read this book so many times now the pages are looking distinctly grubby with tea stains and cake crumbs, like the owner....I heard that!......Pardon?

As ever,.....

Mole Power!!! :Sun:
Say aye tae'a pie!

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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

Post by Martin James » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:03 pm

A great read well illustrated, my great grandfather and grandfather would have enjoyed this book as I did, I love my pole and use it often.

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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

Post by Wallys-Cast » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:57 pm

One of the best books I have bought in a long, long time.


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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

Post by Olly » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:16 pm

An exceedingly nice "gentleman" is the best way to describe him!

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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

Post by Crucian » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:14 pm

Having read the above review and comments, I ordered a copy, which arrived today. I simply can't put it down, even got told off for trying to read it during dinner...going to try and ration myself to a chapter per day, just to try and make it last a bit longer.

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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

Post by NiceRoach » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:48 pm

Wonder if Michael Nadell modelled himself on the guy fishing on the book cover? :tea: ( or vice versa )

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Re: Poles Apart by Michael Nadell - Book Review

Post by Gobio Gobio » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:08 am

Just got the book, all I need now is the pole; Im on the hunt.

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