‘Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing’, the iconic tales of a father who takes his son on angling adventures, has been described as the best-selling book of all time.
It’s believed to have sold over four million copies and was brought to life in a six-part Fishing in the Footsteps of Mr Crabtree TV series fronted by John Bailey that hit the screens in 2013.
The series is now available as a heart warming double DVD as John takes budding young Peters to a variety of venues – stillwaters and rivers – to target barbel, chub, carp and tench and to learn about angling and the countryside.
There are three episodes on each DVD which runs to around 300 minutes in total.
Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing DVD Episode Synopsis
Ep 1 – Tench
The first programme in the series sees John Bailey fishing with 12-year-old Sam from the West Midlands. An accomplished young match angler already, Sam threw himself heart and soul into the filming, absorbing every bit of advice he could glean from John. In this episode we see Sam and John fishing predominantly for Tench using classic and contemporary methods alike and ringing the changes as they target their prey over a two-day period. We feel the palpable ‘tench’ion (sorry!) as they get ever closer to catching…. Will they do it?
Ep 2 – Rivers
Aka, Happy Dace are here again, episode two in the series welcomes 12-year-old Tadhg from Oxford to the riverbank for a series of lessons in watercraft and the signs of a healthy waterway. A largely self-taught angler, we see Tadhg revelling in the time he spends with John, obviously enjoying having access to John’s world of angling wisdom. The companions visit many stretches over their two days together, comparing urban and rural waters, discussing the evolution of a river and the positive impact of angling as a community builder. We witness their joy in the simple pleasure of an unprompted fishing match as the tutor takes on his young charge…. Who will win?
Ep 3 – Lakes
Where episodes 1 and 2 could have had us believing that we’d skipped off to film in the sun, there’s no doubting we’re in Britain for episode three, and experiencing the wettest ‘summer’ for the longest time. Any UK angler will empathise with the conditions they experience, but will be equally heartened by their tenacity and ultimate success. Thankfully, 9-year-old Henry from Devon is happy to fish in all weathers and his enthusiasm never wanes as he and John spend a contented two days fishing numerous lakes, deploying different methods and tactics depending on the environment and enjoying the natural world as they fish for all species.
Ep 4 – Carp
10-year-old Michael from Coventry comes to us wanting to catch Carp, and as with many youngsters today, this means BIG fish. This presents a complex quandary for John in episode four, not least because as the smallest of all of our ‘Peters’, the sheer physical strength needed to play a big fish is not necessarily a given. In this episode we see John visiting his friend and contemporary carp angler Alan Blair to talk about modern methods and to gauge where to start with Michael. We see Michael catch his big fish, and John’s internal wrangling over whether he’s taken the right approach – will he manage to convey to Michael the true joy of fishing in their two days together?
Ep 5 – Barbel
Jaynie, 14 and Claragh, 12 from Glasgow are largely sea and game anglers so placing them knee-deep in the Wye to fish for Barbel presented a big challenge. Add to that rising waters and swollen rivers and you can imagine how tricky episode 5 became. We see a more contemplative John in this episode, scanning the twists and turns of water he knows and loves so well for signs of fish and working constantly to guide the sisters in their Quest for Barbel. They find Chub, but will they capture the elusive Barbel?
Ep 6 – Pike
For the final episode in the series we’re back working a multitude of waters to find Mr. Pike. Fishing with 14-year-old James from Wales we feel the obvious sense of comradery present in two anglers with a common goal. John and James fish for Pike in rivers, lakes and weir pools; early mornings are obligatory and in this episode we join the anglers as the misty dawn breaks around them. As John discusses summer piking and the peculiar challenges it presents, we experience with them the agony of darting fish and missed strikes. They’re certainly working hard enough, but will they find their fish?