10 Top Waterside Reading Recommendations

tackle and books

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Everything you need for a fine day’s fishing…

Are you one of almost those anglers who love to pass the time between bites by sitting back with a good book? According to our Great British Fishing Survey, nearly a third of respondents are riverside readers who prefer forty pages to forty winks while they’re waiting on their bite alarm.

With them in mind, here’s our guide to the best riverside reads. Enjoy!

Learn from the best – The Adventures of a Carp Angler by Simon Crow

adventures carp angler

The trials and tribulations of an angling addict

Follow One of the world’s most experienced carpers, Simon Crow, as he fishes his way down the day-ticket rivers of England and out into continental Europe.

Chase legendary carp like Black Eye, Arnie and Yorkshire’s the Nostell Biggun with him as he tells the story of his life in fishing and talks openly about his angling addiction.

This easy-to-read series of adventurous tales will entertain and inspire experience anglers and novices too.

A good yarn – Crooked Lines: A Collection of Fishing Stories by Dominic Garnett

crooked lines

Upturn your peaceful afternoon with a little anarchy

Through barbed wire fences and holes in the ice, we follow acclaimed author Dominic Garrett from UK to New York and Poland, as he shows us real fishing, dirt and all.

None of that watery eyed, tweedy pin and cane prissiness here. This is dirt real!Idler’s Quest

A far cry from the idyllic images of angling painted by some other books, Garnett complements his quirky storytelling with beautiful original illustrations from Lord Bunn with original stunning photography.

One for the collection – A Flick of the Tale by Dave Lane

flick of the tale

Follow Dave’s big conquests

In this eagerly-awaited follow up to his first book “An Obsession with Carp”, Dave Lane details his relentless quest for big carp, visiting the Mere, Sonning and Conningbrook in search of his quarry.

the experience of reading the book is one not to be missed.” UK Carp Angler.

The Fat Lady, Black Mirror and Bruno are just a few of Dave’s enviable conquests. He recounts his adventures with such detail and humour, you’ll be entertained for hours. With dazzling photography to boot, this is definitely one for your collection.

For a good laugh – The Best of Barlow by Frank Barlow

best of barlow

Boris will have you in stitches

This collection of hilarious columns from legendary angling writer, Frank (Boris) Barlow’s 10 years at Angler’s Mail is sure to brighten up even the dullest of afternoons by the riverbank..

“I heartily recommend this book to any anyone who likes fishing and smiling” Against Men and Fish

Equally renowned for his comic genius as he was for his fishing accomplishments, The Best of Barlow represents Boris in top form. His tales of triumph and disaster are chock full of his witty ‘Barlowisms’ – whether you loved his columns or you’ve never heard of Frank Barlow, this book is guaranteed to make you chuckle.

Like a bit of mystery? – Fishing’s Strangest Days: Extraordinary but true stories from over two hundred years of angling history by Tom Quinn

fishings strangest days

Strange but true tales to keep you hooked

Fancy the idea of fishing bait made from the flesh of hanged criminals? This collection of extraordinary, but true, fishing tales will give you ample material with which to regale your fellow fisherman.

Take the nine year old who harvested a mussel filled with so many pearls, it made him a fortune. These fascinating short tales are great for flicking through between bites.

For traditionalists – The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton

the compleat angler

It’ll have you contemplating the bigger picture

In print for over 360 years, this classic angling work is one of the most famous and well respected fishing books ever penned.

Practical and inspirational, The Compleat Angler combines advice on catching fish and choosing flies and baits, with promoting angling as a way of life to be enjoyed with friends.

A celebration of the British countryside and the contemplative nature of the sport, it encourages you to stop and admire your surroundings, making the most of the whole experience of fishing, rather than just focusing on the catch. This one will make you think.

For wannabe historians – A History of Carp Fishing, Revisited by Kevin Clifford

history of carp fishing

A glimpse back in time to where it all began

Want to know how it all began? This comprehensive guide to carp fishing history in Britain is an update on the original, which was released to critical acclaim in 1992.

Renowned for his carping triumphs, author, Kevin Clifford was one of the top carp anglers of the 1970s. Here he indulges his passion for research, painstakingly cataloguing the origins of UK carp fishing, complete with detailed illustrations and photos.

“Undoubtedly one of the greatest angling books of our time.” Carp-Talk Magazine

Knowledge-hungry anglers will love this one.

If you’re a serious angler – The Complete Fishing Manual by Henry Gilbey

complete fishing manual

An encyclopedia of all things fishing

An encyclopedia of fishing, whether you’re into beach-fishing for sharks or fly-fishing in the rivers there really is something for everyone here.

There’s advice on fish anatomy, behaviour and habitat, step-by-step photo guides on technique, an illustrated fish directory and a complete destination guide.

This book is all you’ll ever need in a how-to.
Of course books aren’t the only angling reads to enjoy while you fish. Here’re two of our favourite fishing mags.

For some light entertainment – Carp-Talk

carp talk

Catch up every Tuesday

Carp-Talk is Britain’s biggest selling weekly carp fishing magazine. Out every Tuesday, it includes the biggest catches in your area, product reviews and competitions, as well as features from the likes of Steve Briggs, Iain Macmillan, Ian Chillcott and Simon Crow.

It’s engaging reading for a slow afternoon on the lake.

If you’re into the techy stuff – Crafty Carper

crafty carper

Learn how to get crafty

Improve your game and hear all the tricks of the trade with Crafty Carper. Each month, top UK anglers share their techy secrets – from methods to baits and tackle – to help you catch your dream carp.

You’ll also find plenty of product reviews, competitions, Q & A sessions and a Ticketmaster feature that highlights four different day ticket fisheries to try each month.
Next time you head out fishing, why not pop a book or magazine in your tackle box? That way, while you’re waiting for your bite alarm to go off, you can escape into another world, brush up on your technique, or simply enjoy a darn good laugh.


What do you think of our recommendations? Have we missed any of your favourites? Let us know on our Facebook page.