UK Angling & Fishing Videos and DVD’s on the joys of being by the waterside with Chris Yates, Bob James and Hugh Miles.



A PASSION FOR CATCHING - STILL GOING STRONG



The iconic series first shown on BBC2 in 1993 to audiences of over six million
 
‘A Passion for Angling’ and ‘Catching the Impossible’ are still capturing big audiences, for they describe the magic of being by the waterside with a rod and line like no others.
 
'Catching the Impossible's' Martin Bowler with 44lb4oz common caught on a float
 
I’m bound to say that because I filmed and produced them, along with funding their production but because so many folk write complimentary letters constantly assuring us that they are the best fishing films that have ever been made, who are we to argue!
 
Bob James, Hugh Miles and Chris Yates with two of Bob's memorable catch of ten two pounders
 
We started filming ‘Passion’ on June 16th 1989 so it is remarkable that the adventures of Chris Yates and Bob James are still appealing to anglers … and non-anglers after all this time. Both series took more than four years to complete, not just because we wanted to capture the very essence of what it means to be by river or lake but because I had to do my ‘day job’ in order to be able to afford the luxury of being so particular about filming everything in the most perfect light.
 
You can't beat sunrise on a misty summers day
 

Filming mountain lions in the Patagonian Andes


I've been doing it for a long time but not often
enough in the African sunshine


The opening scene of 'A Passion for Angling'
- Chris on the famous dam wall at Redmire

For those new to our Websites and Blog, my day job is making wildlife films for a living and this enables me to fund fishing films. I could only do so as and when I had time in between expeditions to far off lands chasing exciting critters, so that is why the six hour long film series we made for BBC 2 ‘A Passion for Angling’ took over four years to complete. ‘Catching the Impossible’ with Martin Bowler and it’s nine one hour films for Ch4 took almost as long, partly because we were trying to catch ‘impossible’ sized fish. Martin did just that of course and most anglers now reckon that some of our targets would indeed be impossible.


So far as my day job is concerned, I won’t ever admit to having ‘retired’ but my body is so wrecked from staggering around in the mountains in pursuit of elusive big cats that I no longer have the joints to do so. Both hips have already been replaced and my shoulders are in line for becoming part of this moronic man, or should that read …


During our filming we certainly took infinite care to represent angling in a way that we felt did justice to the magic of the sport. In fact, Bob and Chris used to accuse me of being a perfectionist, Martin Bowler of ‘Impossible’ too but in Martin’s case that would be calling the kettle black. He was so professional in his approach to the challenges of catching giant fish that he almost put David Attenborough to shame, even if that would be impossible. Whatever we think, I hope that a couple of stories will help you to understand the trouble that we took to make both series as inspiring as possible.


We felt that the ‘Passion’ films had to include the famous record carp water, Redmire. In fact, my initial  plan was to only make one film but our time at that magical pool was so idyllic and so successful that I convinced Bob and Chris that we ought to make a series of six films. After a further four years of hard graft, they were both wishing that they hadn’t agreed!


Chris and his catches at the legendary Redmire were famous because they culminated in his record 51lb6oz carp, a fish that followed the even more famous capture of Richard Walker’s 44lb monster. 

Richard Walker with his
historic 44lb record carp






The scarecrow assembled in the Redmire shallows

So with so many happy memories of his time there, Chris was keen to return, not so that he could catch yet more big carp but so that he could finally try out his eccentric idea of a fishing scarecrow!

Chris had harboured this crazy idea for years but had been ‘dissuaded’ by the various syndicates to try it. I was much more liberal and jumped at the idea. The plan was to place a manikin in the shallows in the area where he had caught his record fish. It would be dressed in Chris’s coat and hat and be holding a rod. Once installed, we baited the spot for several days and the carp became habituated to this silent, stationary ‘angler’ and ended up feeding within a couple of feet … a lesson there for our modern day impatient and noisy angling.

At what we considered to be the most opportune moment, Chris replaced the manikin and stood stock still, [probably because he was stuck in the knee-deep mud]. He didn’t have to wait long before several carp approached him for a feed and I’ll always remember the magic moment when what appeared to be the manikin actually moved. It was Chris swinging his bait gently into the path of a feeding carp and he promptly missed the bite!

Unperturbed, the carp were quick to return and Chris didn’t miss the next time, battling a spirited common towards Bob who was waiting in the nearby reeds with a landing net. Chris was understandably pleased to prove that his madcap scheme would work and that we had another magical sequence in the can. In fact it was one of many, for Bob and Chris each caught two twenty pound plus carp, all using different methods, including Bob’s hooked from a tree and having to join the beautiful leather carp called Raspberry by jumping out of the branches into the water and deep mud.


 
Waiting for the carp to arrive

The jump, illustrated by Rodger McPhail

We also filmed a gudgeon match ‘to the death’, the pair reluctantly punting out into the hallowed waters through the mist as the sun was rising. Chris doesn’t do early mornings so it was a struggle, even if we did capture the most evocative summer sequence in the whole series.

I still love that sequence, even after twenty five years, for those misty images accompanied by Jennie Muskett’s perfect music and Bernard’s dulcet tones of narration capture the very essence of the magic of angling.

  If you wish to purchase the DVD of the six film series of 50min films, then please visit www.passionforangling.info

You can also purchase Chris Yates' film on escapist carp fishing 'Caught in Time'. It's a perfect hours viewing with the maestro doing what he does best. 

If you buy the 'Passion' DVD you can have a free 'Catching the Impossible' book - just the £4 postage to pay. 
   
Sue sending out the 'Passion' DVD's and 'Catching' books

Our website includes  instructions on what to do to get Sue up and running with your order. She sends them out almost every day but please don’t leave ordering until a few days before Christmas as she will be busy cooking up a storm for the festivities and I hope to be out fishing.


‘Catching the Impossible’ is a different kettle of fish, intentionally of course as I felt it ridiculous to try to
emulate or even repeat the success of ‘Passion’.

This is a series that follows the adventures of Martin Bowler as he attempts to catch some of the biggest fish in Britain, the targets for the many species being of a size that might attract the impossible tag. Of course, nothing is ‘impossible’ and I hoped that Martin would prove this to be true! He is accompanied by narrator and ace angler Bernard Cribbins … when Bernard had the time to spare from his hectic schedule, especially when filming Dr.Who  … and as they say, “didn’t they do well’!


Bernard with his beautiful 22lb snapper - it grew on to be over thirty pounds and was named Bernard!
 
Martin caught so many big fish that it’s difficult to believe but I was there with the camera to record the truth and we all know the camera never lies don’t we! Among our targets was a forty pound carp on the float, a fifteen pound barbel, a seven pound chub, a one pound dace, a ten pound tench, a thirty pound pike and a perch of over four pounds.
 

Martin with his awesome 32lb 6oz monster from an estate lake
 
I mention the perch last as Martin had already caught twenty-three perch of that size and we thought it would be easy to achieve. Wrong! The challenge nearly broke our resolve but in the end we didn’t just hit the target, Martin actually caught a perch of five pounds four ounces. The Angling Times informed us that it was the biggest perch ever caught from a river, [not any more], but at the time we were blown away by it’s size – and we still are!
 
What a fish! Martin with his 5lb 4oz Gt.Ouse perch
 
A three-pound roach was also on the list and at the time was far from impossible. After all, even I had caught four of that size so Martin raised the stakes and decided that the challenge should be a three-pound roach … but from a river. Now this was impossible, for after the squadrons of killer cormorants had invaded our rivers, even two-pound roach are very rare.

We reckoned we would need help to even come close to the target so called up friends Terry Lampard and Tim Norman for back-up. We tried lots of places on both the Hampshire Avon and Dorset Stour and caught some good roach but nothing even close to the target.

Then on a day of overcast skies, little wind and slightly coloured rivers, Terry and Tim tried the Stour while Martin and I tried the Avon. I was in one of my favourite swims and caught a 2/5 roach almost immediately, along with several others, then Martin called from downstream and said he had started to catch too. The roach were evidently ‘on’ and this was confirmed when Tim called to say they had already caught a two pounder and suggested we should get over to the Stour pronto as Terry was feeling lucky!

We arrived in the nick of time as Tim had just hooked a good roach that was lost to a pike. He had to re-tackle so it was Terry’s turn to trot the hot swim. I filmed a few tempting trots with bread flake when the float buried and a large roach rolled on the end of Terry’s line. It was a good fish which became bigger by the minute and when Tim finally netted it we all realised it was huge. At three pound five ounces it equalled the biggest roach that Terry had ever caught and in truth it was probably the only three pound roach still alive in the Stour.


Terry with his 'lucky' 3lb 5oz Dorset Stour roach
 
There was much celebration all round and expletives from Tim about how lucky Terry was. If my memory serves me right, the words included jam and bar steward. What a fish and what an angler.
 
Sadly, as many followers of our sport will know, we lost Terry after a short illness a while back, just as he was completing his second book, ‘Last Casts’. His lifelong friend Tim Norman has supervised the completion of the book which describes some more of his exploits in search of a great variety of fish and if it’s anything like as good as his first book, ‘First Casts’ it will be a splendid read. This was one of the best angling books I’ve ever read, so if you want to share Terry’s adventures you can order the book from the following website :
http://www.terrylampardbook.co.uk/
 
Dear 'Lamps' sure was an ace angler - here with one of his many seven pound plus chub



Our big and colourful book of the series with it's three set DVD's

  The series comprises nine one hour films in sets of three on three DVD’s so you don’t have to buy them all at once! They are full of great fishing and some folk even prefer the series to ‘Passion’ but we’ll leave you to be the judge of that. There’s a splendid book describing our adventures too, full of pictures [400+] along with film clips and beautiful illustrations by the celebrated artist Rodger McPhail so you don’t even have to read it.

However you choose to spend your time, Sue and I hope that you have a happy and enjoyable Christmas and if out fishing, please catch one for me.

Then our garden is coated in winter magic I'm certainly not going fishing,
even if the countryside does look beautiful



NEWSLETTER - NOVEMBER 2015



This is the poster we made when first releasing the DVD’s of ‘A Passion for Angling’ and ‘Caught in Time’ and despite the many intervening years, both films are still going strong and available from this website.


‘Passion’ was first shown on BBC 2 in September 1993 and it’s remarkable that it’s appeal lives on so strongly. Most TV programmes are dead in the water within a year or two but in spite of the BBC investing heavily in a new angling series recently called ‘Earth’s Wildest Waters - The Big Fish’, it seems inescapable that any films on angling get compared to the attractions so widely shared by our Passion enthusiasts. Our star anglers, Bob James and Chris Yates are understandably honoured that so many folk think PFA is the best angling programme ever made. Having filmed, written and produced the stories, I feel chuffed that this belief among so many lives on.



Many of you will be less aware of the charms of our film ‘Caught in Time’ but it’s a classic story of
Chris Yates’s desire to catch a big carp from a beautiful southern lake. It’s much admired and
many folk keep on writing to us asking when parts two and three are going to be available.
Sadly for them, Chris and I have decided to go fishing instead of making more films for the series …
but one day maybe?!


Sue and I have had a most enjoyable year with one or two holidays in between many days spent
tending our large wildlife garden. It’s a lot of work but we love it and the digging certainly keeps us fit.


My fishing trips have been too infrequent but I’ve been lucky enough to snare some cracking
fish including perch up to 3/11, several specimen roach and rudd of over two pounds, an 8/2 tench
and a 13/11 barbel.


Even more rewarding are the catches made by friends while sharing the adventures, including my
computer guru Chris’s beautiful 22lb common carp, Gerry’s 14lb barbel, Mark’s cracking male
tench of over six pounds and Steve’s awesome mullet of 7/12 that fought for an eternity and circled
our boat three times.
 
I’ve been helping out friends Trevor Harrop and Budgie Price in their quest to reinstate self-sustaining
populations of roach into the once iconic Hampshire Avon. Having released many thousands over the
last five years, anglers are once again beginning to catch these silver beauties … so congratulations and
thanks to Trev and Budgie for their imagination and years of hard graft.


I use my blog to promote admirable activities like this, along with the work of the Angling Trust, the
Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Salmon and Trout Conservation charity, all of which I’m a staunch
supporter of and if you’re keen to offer help to our beleaguered rivers I strongly recommend you
join at least one of them.

I see from last years PFA Newsletter that my blog has grown from 67,000 views to 107,000 so is
proving ever more popular, even in countries as far flung as Alaska, Russia and Brazil. So if you’re
keen to join the readers of my ramblings on gardening, angling, wildlife and conservation then please
visit : http://hughmiles9.blogspot.co.uk/

Writing and illustrating the blog is time consuming and keeps me from my other hobbies but does
fulfil my need to be creative. It also partially replaces the loss of my travels round the world making
wildlife films. I miss my colleagues and all the great locals I used to work with in far-flung places
but at least sharing fishing with friends is really rewarding.



With Christmas approaching fast, please ensure your orders arrive in time for Sue to post them. Also,
if you want any for birthdays etc. please indicate that to Sue in the order so that if necessary she can
post them first class. She sends the DVD’s + books out virtually every day but please give her a chance
to meet your deadlines.

Post and package charges are always changing, especially when sending abroad, so please check the
details on the order form.

If you don’t want to send a cheque or postal order, you can buy PFA from Martin Bowler’s on-line shop and use PayPal. He has lots of other first class items too, including his two film series and books. His recent book, ‘Totally Immersed’ is a great read as well as wonderfully illustrated.

Visit www.martinbowler.co.uk for those Christmas presents.



Sue and I hope you enjoy the festivities and
you all have a thoroughly happy and healthy 2016
…and if you’re into fishing, may your float sink more often and
your rod become seriously bent.


 
 
Caught in Time Chris Yates
A Passion for Angling
pasion for angling home page
passion for angling gallery Links Page Order


October 2014


Amazing really, for twenty one years after ‘Passion’ was first aired on BBC2 [Sept 1993] it is still going strong. Most TV programmes are dead in the water after a year or three but thanks to the fact that many of you still think these films are the best series of fishing programmes ever made, Bob and Chris and their adventures live on. We started filming in 1989 so as my wife Sue says ‘everything is a long time ago’!

Four and a half years in the making, we all took a lot of trouble to make the six films as well as we could and we are constantly grateful, even surprised that you think we made some good decisions.


Like all creative endeavours, making films is an inexact art, there is no right or wrong … which is probably why I was able to earn a living making wildlife films! I have made over sixty now, for all the worlds major TV companies, so I guess I got some of it right. Whatever the truth, it was a privilege to go to so many wild places to share my life with charismatic animals and meet so many great guys and gals.

I’m still trying to support the invaluable work of Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Salmon and Trout Association and Angling Trust by making films for them. Our rivers are in crisis and need all the help we can give them, so education is one way of making people aware of what they can do to help. However, when it comes to volunteering, Sue is trying to teach me to say no!


I was once super fit but my body is creeking  now, so much of it hurts, the price of chasing pussy cats in the mountains and sitting in freezing cold and wet hides. But given the chance, I’d do it all again. I have two new hips and they are brilliant, so I won’t hear a word said against the NHS. Much of the rest of me is painful … as they say, ‘if it doesn’t hurt it doesn’t work’ so I have a season ticket with my physiotherapist Vicky. I’m retiring bit by bit, trying to do less work and a lot more play and fighting back by walking and digging.


Sue and I have a big garden … it seems too big on some days … so that keeps us fit and healthy. Then she has lots of friends and hobbies and I have fishing and birding … so there are never enough days in the week.

My fishing this year has been remarkable, for I have been lucky enough to catch three PB’s as anglers call them … meaning the biggest of a species in a lifetime of trying … and after sixty years of dangling a worm in the water some of the species I concentrate on take some beating.


Only yesterday I caught my biggest ever barbel … but as I seldom fish for them – why not I always think when I have such golden beauties on the bank, landing a PB wasn’t difficult. It was only 11lb 2ozs, not big as barbel go but I was delighted to see such a lovely fish, so much so that I took no proper pictures in order to return it immediately to the river.


More remarkable was the fact that it came from a swim just thirty yards downstream of where Chris Yates and young Peter caught a barbel in the first programme of ‘A Passion for Angling’. It’s called ’Childhood Dreams’ and catching a barbel will always remain a dream, a happy one.


Just two weeks ago I was fishing with Chris on the River Wye and he caught his first ever Wye barbel … only 7+lbs but a beautiful fish in a glorious corner of our countryside.

I’m first and foremost a roach and rudd angler so was delighted in April when I beat my ‘best ever’ roach by an ounce, all 3lb 5ozs of silver beauty.


Then in July I fulfilled a fifty five year old quest to catch a rudd of over three pounds. At 3lb 9ozs it was a true monster and I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to see it slurp down my large piece of floating bread. It was raining at the time so no proper pics, especially as I wanted to release this golden jewel as quickly as possible.


As you are looking at our website, you will notice that we are giving away copies of ‘Catching the Impossible’ [just postage to pay] when you purchase the ‘Passion’ DVD. It was written by Martin Bowler and myself and charts an exciting journey through Britain in search of monster fish., accompanied at times by the legendary Bernard Cribbins.


We filmed it all for Ch 4, making nine one hour films and you can read more about it and where to purchase the DVD’s on our ‘Catching’ website : www.catchingtheimpossible.info

 

Some also claim  ‘Impossible’ to be better even than ‘Passion’, others disagree ; you’ll have to decide yourselves. Incidentally, we planned to catch a 3lb rudd for the series but that did prove impossible!


Sue sends out the DVD and books pretty much every day so please keep the orders coming in ; Chris, Bob and I need funds for Christmas! Do have a good one and a really enjoyable 2015 … already.


Where does the time go?!


If you want to read more about our year and conservation issues, please visit our blog … we have had 67,000 views already so some of you obviously have time to waste … http://hughmiles9.blogspot.co.uk/


H
ere’s wishing you all a good year … and here’s hoping we have as good a summer
as this last one … Hugh and Sue.







January 2013


 

 
It’s difficult to believe, but our series ‘A Passion for Angling’ was first shown on BBC 2 in 1993, so September this year is our 20th Anniversary.

  We actually started filming at Redmire on June 14th 1989 – no, we didn’t cast in until dawn on the 16th! – so it’s been a while. Some of Chris’s children hadn’t even been born and now they are all grown up … and as for us, we have grown old but certainly not wiser. Let’s face it, we haven’t even got the good sense to go fishing enough these days. The book of the series that takes us into another world might still be available on eBay.
Chris Yates on the dam at Redmire    

The important cause for celebration is that the series of six fifty minute films are unchanged with the passing of time, depicting a peaceful world when there were lots of fish in our rivers and seemingly more time to catch them.


 
Happy Days with Bob and Chris + 2lb roach of course    

  The DVD is still available – and always will be – and is still considered by many to be the best fishing series ever made. Sales remain strong year after year, with new generations of anglers discovering that there is a whole world of fishing out there that doesn’t have to revolve entirely around carp, bolt-rigs and boilies.

Ten 2lb roach - not a bad day!    

Sadly, production costs of the DVD and several postage increases mean the price for the complete set of six films is now £38.50 [incl. UK p&p and VAT]. This is the first increase EVER and we regret having to do so but Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon thinks it’s worth it!








Chris Yates film on carp fishing ‘Caught in Time’ is still £20 [incl. UK p&p and VAT]. We might add to this series one day, but book writing and film making mean we don’t have time at present.
 
   
Richard Benyon - a keen angler
  Both are available on our website – www.passionforangling.info


Close friends Martin and Jo Bowler have added the series to their on-line shop and they have PayPal set up too. [We don’t have enough turn- over to justify the expense].
www.martinbowler.co.uk

   
Anyway, Happy New Year to you all, even if the turn of the year seems a long way off already. May this year be better than the last for you … dryer and sunnier too hopefully.

Thank you to all our loyal customers. The appeal of ‘Passion’ never seems to wain and like fishing, is passed on from generation to generation. Folk still claim that it is the best fishing series ever made and though it’s not up to us to comment, it is gratifying that it still appeals to so many for so long.

Equally satisfying, it’s finding new audiences too and if it attracts anglers to a more varied and ‘naturalistic’ form of fishing on rivers and wild lakes then we’ll be pleased. There’s a whole world of wildlife out there to enjoy and our fish life is a vital part of our ecosystems too.

As mentioned above, 2013 is our 20th Anniversary and by any standards, that’s some kind of a record for a TV programme. We all hope it continues, for though it will never make us rich, it helps to eke out the meagre pensions of Bob, Chris and ourselves … ‘every little helps’.

Sue has done her best to make sure you all received your copies during the busy pre-Christmas period, though many more are throwing us a challenge by leaving ordering until the very last minute. You ‘must try harder’ this year! Almost inevitably it seems, a few orders went missing but for those unfortunates, we hope you got the replacements in time for Father Christmas. Sue sends out your orders more or less daily.

For better or worse, probably worse, we have decided to start writing blog  … “Hugh Miles –Wildlife Adventures”. We completed seven films last year for various wildlife charities, particularly our local Dorset Wildlife Trust along with the Angling Trust as part of our long running cormorant campaign. More of that on the blog but we’re hoping we might win a concession on their protected status that will help our precious fish life to survive.

http://hughmiles9.blogspot.co.uk/


The films we make are all gratis, (just in case you think we are trying to line our pockets at the expense of your subscriptions). It’s our way if you like of ‘putting something back’. Please join the Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association. They are doing a great job and without them our rivers would be in greater danger then ever. We’ll put the films we’ve made up on the blog so that you can see what the threats are to our freshwater world. We hope you have time to view them.

In the meantime, have a great year and be lucky. Here’s Sue and I with flags
– well it was the Year of the Olympics and we did win ‘everything’!

   
   
With our best wishes,
Hugh & Sue
 

'Made for the Dorset Wildlife Trust, this little film about our local River Allen is a celebration of our treasured and unique chalk streams. 'Liquid Gold' is the title and appropriate it is too, for the Allen is one of the finest rivers in the country - a real jewel in our crown'.

 



January 2012


We all say it, but what happened to last year? It just flew by! It's been so busy that I don't know how I ever had time to spend my life making wildlife films. But thankfully, the year has been a lot of fun, not only because I got to make a few films - I love it - but also went fishing...not a lot...but being out there is always a treat, especially with close friends Trevor Harrop and Chris Yates.


 

Just like everyone else, we were frozen up last January but an escape to the Indian sun with friends in February was more enjoyable than ever, with several large mahseer to over 30lbs falling to my rod and several over 50lbs to a few lucky ones. Two absolute monsters were hooked but they turned out to have legs! After long and potentially dangerous fights, the lines were cut, but not before one of the rods was broken in half. Scaly crocodiles instead of shaggy dog stories to take home.


 

My favourite roach received some attention in March and a memorable trip to Oxfordshire working on a feature for the Anglers Mail with Gary Newman produced several three pounders and big twos. What a great two days they were.


 

March also saw the start of a project that will run for several years, an attempt to highlight the plight of our rivers. "Liquid Gold" is a little introduction to our local River Allen, a classic chalk stream with a rich diversity of wildlife, not only otters and water voles but a healthy population of the native white-clawed crayfish. Beautiful brown trout and even salmon and sea-trout spawn on the rivers' gravel riffles that have been created by anglers. The rich variety of fish life in the river provides an opportunity to inform wildlife enthusiasts and school children about the importance of nature that they can't easily see. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is something I am passionate about overcoming in the years to come so the film has been made for the Dorset Wildlife Trust and Salmon and Trout Association. The Angling Trust are showing it on their website too.

 
 
     
   

I'm working on a film for the Trust this winter, highlighting the excessive predation of our fish life by cormorants and the long term damage this may be doing to our bio-diversity. Without fish, our herons, grebes and kingfishers might decline, along with bitterns, and who knows, even those perennial favourites, our otters and ospreys might suffer too. We need a "Royal Society for the Protection of Fish" and the sooner our conservation organisations realise the urgent need to protect our rivers and lakes, the more likely we are to save our diversity of wetland wildlife.

 
  Non-native cormorants of the continental sinensis race have colonised the UK in alarming numbers in recent years. Scientists have calculated that the numbers over-wintering total about 23,000 and that they need a pound of fish a day to survive...so they eat 23,000 lbs of fish EVERY DAY. This equates to about 12,000 two pound trout and/or 1,200 tons of fish every winter, twice the yearly tonnage produced by the largest trout farm in the UK!

There are also inland breeding cormorants, 2,096 at the last count in 2005, so the pressure on our freshwater fish is relentless and surely unsustainable. This is damaging our bio-diversity, and some rivers have already been denuded of their fish life. Members of the Avon Roach Project created a petition to attempt to change the law and make it easier for us to protect our wildlife from excessive cormorant predation. We plan to deliver the 16,000+ signature petition to the Fisheries Minister in February.

 

The Avon Roach Project led by friends Trevor Harrop and Budgie Price released hundreds and hundreds of three year old roach into the Hampshire Avon in December in an attempt to re-establish self-sustaining populations of this iconic species. The river was once famous for its' roach fishing and this is the best chance we'll ever have to see those glorious days returning. It might take ten years work, but we're up for the challenge. More details of this inspiring project can be seen on:
www.avonroachproject.co.uk   -  and the little film I made on this website too.

 




Most experiences are more enjoyable when shared with close friends and a May visit to Skomer Island with Robin, who I've known since childhood was particularly memorable, with puffins and flowers covering the island. Sharing the roach fishing with Trevor at Sway was always enjoyable and on two summer days I managed to catch sixteen two pound roach up to 2lbs 12oz, though the angling press ignored this story in favour of yet more carp stories - a sad reflection on their judgement of 'priorities' in angling.


 
     
 
     
   

Late May saw an invasion to our garden when our Corfe Mullen BioBlitz visited, experts identifying well over two hundred species of wildlife in just a few hours and a total of over seven hundred in the whole village; inspiring stuff.



In June I fulfilled a long held ambition to return to the Fens where I grew up. A 2lb rudd was my ambition and I caught an absolute beauty of 2lbs 4oz. The weather was gorgeous too and the wildlife better than ever, with lots of Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tits to enjoy, along with hunting Barn Owls in the early morning mist and evening twilight. I'll be back to my favourite "Land of Skies", for I met some really friendly anglers as well as catching lots of fish.

 


Also managed a few days fishing with friends in the summer. Our computer guru Chris Wild landed a PB roach of 1lb 15oz. Mahseer Magic pal Steve Darby joined me in some mullet madness, Gary Newman too. Martin Bowler joined me for some Avon barbelling and we had the rare treat of a get-together with Bernard Cribbins for a "Catching the Impossible" 'fluff-fling' on the River Test with friend John Slader. We caught lots of brown trout too.


 
     
 


Daughter Katie came to enjoy the sunshine and wildlife, though we have fewer fish in the garden now as an otter set up home for six weeks and caused mayhem in the ponds. Sad to see twenty year old fish maimed or eaten but we weren't alone as whole villages had their ponds emptied. It certainly points to an alarming imbalance of predator/prey relations in our wetlands, where lack of fish and particularly the endangered eels is putting pressure on hungry otters. Sadly, 'ours' was killed on the road just outside the garden.


 

In October we enjoyed a little holiday with Michael and Penny Richards on Islay, where 37,000 Barnacle Geese, lots of Golden Eagles and a total of 92 species kept our walks inspiring. I first visited the island nearly 50 years ago and each time it seems better than ever.


 

Looking back, the year does seem to be full of enjoyment - and it was - but I did do some work (which I enjoy too), finishing the River Allen film, along with the Avon Roach Project film, helped the BBC with one or two projects and made a start on a barbel film with Pete Reading and a predation film too. I plan to add to the chalk stream project, edit an otter story and maybe even make a bass fishing film, so watch this space.


 

On the dark side, we still suffer from pirates who illegally copy our series and these thieves are stealing the money that allows us to make films that in turn try to help our freshwater wildlife and especially our fish. So please don't buy these counterfeit copies. They might be cheap but they are of inferior quality and threaten to stop us making any more films because we can't afford to make a loss.

 

Thank you all for your orders of "Passion..." (and "Catching the Impossible"). Sue worked hard to make sure you received them before Christmas but some orders didn't even arrive until Christmas Eve, so I guess we can blame the G.P.O for that.


   

Do have a happy and rewarding 2012 and a fish filled one too if that is what floats your boat.

 

With our best wishes,
Hugh & Sue

 







Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
January 2011

 

A Passion for Angling Newsletter


Sue and I do hope you had a really good Christmas break, and that 2011 proves to be a cracker. We certainly had some really Arctic weather didn't we. In fact, Sue had to go by foot to the post each day with your orders because we were snowed in.

 


We really tried to get the films to you in time but the GPO were obviously struggling because one of your orders was posted on the 1st December and we didn't receive it until the 18th! Despite the difficulties, we hope you received your DVDs on time.


Copies do sometimes go 'missing' in the post, either lost or stolen and we are still plagued by thieves that seem to think that counterfeit copies sold on eBay are fair game, even claiming they don't infringe copyright. These criminals are simply stealing money from us, so please note that we are the only suppliers of "A Passion for Angling". Their copies are of inferior quality too, so please don't encourage them by buying their rubbish.

 


Going fishing is fun, especially with friends, and a days' roaching on the River Test with my pal Martin Salter was a real treat. Sue and I were honoured to join him and other fishing friends and VIP’s for his birthday party at the House of Commons. The dinner also served to celebrate all that he had done for angling during his 13 years as an MP. He's now in Australia catching many wonderful fish but "he'll be back" - and helping to support the Angling Trust and others in the battles ahead.


We have been trying to raise the profile of our beleaguered rivers and freshwater fish too, not only by keeping 'Passion' alive, but by spending six years making our series "Catching the Impossible" ...  more of which on that website – www.catchingtheimpossible.info - We also created the Salmon and Trout Association film for their website to promote their invaluable work and just recently, made a little film on the River Wye to celebrate it being voted ‘Britain's Best River’. I made this for the Angling Trust, the World Wildlife Fund, the RSPB and the S&T.A. in the hope that it would help to 'build bridges' between conservationists, something I believe is vital if our freshwater fish are to be respected as essential parts of our dwindling wildlife. Without fish, there would be no herons or kingfishers, bitterns or great crested grebes and eventually, that great conservation success story, the return of otters to almost every county in the UK might be cut short by a lack of food. Maybe it is our stand against the forces of "progress" that was the reason I was honoured with the Arthur Oglesby Award at the Game Fair for services to angling.


 


Taking friends fishing is always more rewarding than going it alone, so sharing "mullet madness" with Brian from Norfolk was especially enjoyable. Summer days spent crucian fishing with close friend Chris Yates are always a treat and I helped Annabelle and young Joe catch their very first fish and all washed down with tea and Sue's delicious Victoria Sponge.

 
     
 
     


You often ask, and yes, Chris and I are discussing making further episodes of "Caught in Time", but with so many pirates out there, I'm losing heart at the prospect of getting yet more DVDs stolen. Profit margins are so small that this can tip it over the edge. Maybe we should just go fishing more often!
 


The very cold weather was hard for everyone out there, especially our wildlife, and I was very sad when this lovely buzzard that had adopted us in the garden finally succumbed to starvation. We had kept it alive for weeks with scraps of squirrel and rabbit but the weather cut off our supplies and with a foot of snow and ice covering the ground, there was nothing for it to eat. However, we still have twelve long-tailed tits though, thanks to the RSPB's fat-filled coconut treats .... they love 'em



 

 

Have a great year and thank you for your letters of encouragement and support.

Hugh & Sue





Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
July 2009

 

Dear All,

Thank you for your continuing enthusiasm for what has become a cultural icon, “A Passion for Angling”.

The series of six one hour films was first shown on BBC2 in September 1993, and it is amazing that it is still showing on Discovery Channel after all these years. Few programmes can match “Passion” for television longevity, and considering all the changes that have taken place in the world and in angling these past sixteen years…not all for the good!...it is heartening that our portrait of the joys of angling can still pull the right emotional strings.

Your orders still arrive almost every day, often accompanied by charming letters, for which we are most grateful…and we always try to reply to the letters when we have a moment.

We always have stocks of the DVD, plus those of Chris Yates’ portrait of a carp lake, “Caught in Time”, and Sue tries to turn around your orders within a week, and quicker if we are asked to do so.

Work on our new series “Catching the Impossible” has been relentless, and we are delighted that the next three films of the series will be on sale at the beginning of August, and for more details and a view of some clips, visit www.catchingtheimpossible.info.

The response to the first three films has been the equal of your comments on ‘Passion’ and your enthusiasm has been a great encouragement to us in what has become a relentless but none the less enjoyable work load. Not much time for fishing, but I sure have been lucky when I’ve managed to escape. So thank you for your orders and encouragement…here’s hoping you are all enjoying life.


Avon chub of 7lb 1oz  

2lb 10oz roach
 


June 16th joy with Chris Yates + Sue’s Cake!


With our best wishes …… Hugh and Sue.

 




Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
9th. September 2008
 
Dear All,

Judging by all your complimentary letters and numerous comments on website forums and blogs, it seems that “A Passion for Angling” is still the brand leader when it comes to fishing films.  This is most encouraging of course, but as Sue and I are well aware, there will be many who do not agree with this perception, so we’ve been working hard to provide alternative “cannon fodder” for the critics!

As some of you will be aware, Martin Bowler, Bernard Cribbins and I have been working hard for more than four years to create a series of eight films titled “Catching the Impossible”.  These TV Programmes are a celebration of angling and Britain’s rich and varied freshwater world. 

It’s been an exciting journey of discovery and revelation, particularly of the underwater life of our treasured fish and along with a galaxy of good friends, we’ve managed to film the catching of some amazingly big fish.  Many of the pictures on this website are of those wonderful creatures, but if you want to see more, and learn more about the series, then please visit: www.catchingtheimpossible.info where we will be selling DVD copies of programmes 1-3 this autumn, along with the accompanying ‘book of the series’. 

I love writing, which is fortunate, because this will be my fifth book…..and the biggest!  Martin and I have contrived to write over 100, 000 words between us (….you don’t have to read them all!)….and the 372 pages are adorned with over 400 pictures, including the film strips of the actual images from the programmes.  We also have over forty illustrations from that leading sporting artist Rodger McPhail, so the book certainly looks good, and as I said, it is BIG!  In fact, if you have a boat, it will make a good anchor!

There is more about the book on our website, and we hope you’ll feel the films are a step up from the fishing programmes the TV companies seem to serve up these days.  Amazingly, “A Passion for Angling” is still showing on TV, fifteen years after first broadcast on BBC2, so we must have got something right.  We are certainly still selling lots of copies of the DVD every week and apart from sharing out the small profit between Chris Yates, Bob James and Bernard Cribbins, our share is being ploughed back into this new series.

We are still exasperated by the scum who steal from us by selling illegal copies on eBay and You Tube, but thank you to those loyal clients who have tipped us off when they’ve purchased these inferior quality copies.  Please note that we are the only suppliers of copies of P.F.A. along with the film I made with Chris Yates, “Caught in Time”.  The law will soon be pursuing those who breach our copyright, so you’d better stop doing it right now!

We plan to set up a credit card system for P.F.A. & C.I.T.  payments very soon, and this will be clarified elsewhere on the website. 

With all this creative activity, I haven’t had much time to go fishing….in fact I’ve only been twice this season, but I did manage to catch that 3lb 12oz PB crucian that heads this newsletter….a couple of years ago.  It’s time I went out again!

So, if you do go fishing, catch one for me.

With best wishes

Hugh & Sue Miles

   

 

Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
15th. September 2007
 
Dear All,

Do hope you avoided the worst effects of our wonderful “summer” and kept your feet dry. The lack of sunshine certainly made filming difficult but that is of little concern compared with you poor folk who got flooded out.

Firstly, thank you again for all your orders but above all for your many letters of praise and encouragement and even phone calls explaining your enthusiasm for “A Passion for Angling” and “Caught in Time”. I always pass these letters on to Bob and Chris and I know they appreciate them too. We’ll have lots of copies available for Christmas presents so if you have friends or fishing pals who don’t know where we are, please pass on our website details.

One point of concern is the continuing illegal copying of ‘Passion’ for sale on Ebay etc. This is against the law and is stealing, so any thieves out there making copies should know that the police are coming after you. But I feel sorry for those who’ve been unfortunate to buy these counterfeit copies because they will be of seriously inferior quality. We are the ONLY suppliers of these titles so don’t encourage the thieves by buying rubbish... and thank you to those customers who have kindly informed us of these illegal copies.

As the pictures alongside this indicate, we’ve been out with the cameras whenever the sun has shone to continue filming our new series “Catching the Impossible”. This portrait of angling has been three years in the making, with the eight one hour films revealing the underwater world of freshwater as never before, along with catching some seriously big fish.

The Spring sunshine saw us on the River Dee with England’s Youth Fly Fishing captain Lisa Isles and I’m happy to report that Lisa recently returned from the World Championships in America with a Bronze medal, the team having beaten the hosts into fourth place - so congrats to you Lisa. We also filmed her fly fishing at Lechlade with Des Taylor, catching some beaut. brownies.

May saw us in Scotland on the beautiful River Spey with Salmon and Trout Association chairman James Carr. The salmon proved elusive but we got lovely film of ospreys and red squirrels while catching brownies among the dippers and grey wagtails.

We caught some gorgeous carp with Frank Warwick at Linear Fisheries near Oxford. Then Bernard and John Wilson had some fun trying to catch carp using a fly rod... quite tricky when the weather is cold but lots of laughter too - yes that laugh!

Then we’ve just finished a sequence of ‘mullet mayhem’ in Christchurch Harbour, where the mullet gave us a serious beating... they sure can pull!

So we’re still on schedule to complete the series by the winter of 2008. Still lots of editing to do so in the meantime, please go and catch a fish for me and enjoy.

With best wishes, Hugh and Sue.

 
 
     

 

Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
22nd February 2007

‘Dear All,

Thanks to all your orders, Sue had a busy time before Christmas trying to ensure you all received your DVD's for the festive season... we hope we achieved that. Inevitably it seems, there is always the odd one that goes missing when with the G.P.O., or that have technical faults, so if you are one of the unfortunate ones, please let us know. But whatever the cause, we will always replace problematic DVD's... and we still have lots of DVD's (and VHS's if you'd prefer) of both titles.

As the new pictures indicate, we've been very busy filming the new series 'Catching the Impossible', our eight one hour programmes on the underwater world and the catching of some of Britain's biggest fish. Recent highlights included the madness of floodwater barbel fishing, inspiring underwater images of big carp wintering under some trees, big roach on the Hampshire Avon, River Wye piking, Young Abe catching his first... and second pike - a thirteen pounder, film of a kingfisher on the rod and Bernard Cribbins catching a large pike but more of that another time.

We've also been out fishing with that famous big fish duo and close friends Terry Lampard and Tim Norman and you'll notice on our website details of Terry's book 'First Cast' and where you can purchase a copy. I can assure you that it is the best assembly of stories about big fish that I've ever had the joy to share. I used to fish with Terry and Tim for the same giant roach that lived on the River Stour in the heady days when we caught three pounders and that chapter is as good as anything ever written about fishing. And it was wonderful that last winter we filmed Terry catching a 3lb 5oz roach from the River Stour, his first three pound roach since 1990 and equal to his largest ever, as mentioned in his book. It really is a great read.

Editing of the series is continuing day and night and the programmes are looking promising; we hope to have them finished by the winter of 2008. No time for me to go fishing but I'll be out roaching before the end of the season.
Hope you're all enjoying life too.
With best wishes,

Hugh and Sue





Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
25th November 2006



‘Dear All,

“I don’t go fishing, I don’t even like fishing, but I’m hooked” So wrote a viewer on a postcard after the first showing of A Passion for Angling on BBC2 in 1993. This series of six one hour films, a fishing adventure around Britain that I produced with Chris Yates and Bob James has since been widely recognised as ‘the best fishing series ever made’ and we still receive numerous letters of enthusiasm and gratitude. Many bear repeating but here are just a few clips...............and they aren’t made up!

“Thank you for changing my son’s life. Before seeing ‘Passion for Angling’ his favourite hobby was stealing expensive cars!”

“........now my wife understands why I have to go fishing”

“To you I say the biggest thank you of all for finding the time to film my dreams”

“My wife was diagnosed with cancer and through our darkest hours ‘Passion for Angling’ became a great comfort to us both, and still does”

“I am not a fisherwoman but I love watching ‘A Passion for Angling’. It is my de-stress material and being a mother of five children I need it!”

“Even though I’ve watched it so many times and know it off by heart, I never tire of it”

“Passion for Angling’ had a huge impact upon my life and turned a minor interest with fishing into an obsession”

“It really is the best fishing film/documentary ever made, I remember first watching it when I was 13 on TV. I’m 26 now and it still is”

There are many similar letters and I think you’ll agree that to receive messages like this is both moving and an honour. I’ve never made a film that has touched the audience so deeply or for so long as ‘A Passion for Angling’ and that’s despite a lifetime making wildlife films around the world.

Our recent snow leopard film received the honour of an EMMY nomination, which considering the number of TV films in America each year is pretty amazing. I have won EMMYs in the past, no luck this time but awards are always a pleasant surprise. The Special Achievement Award for Snow Leopard from the Japan Film Festival certainly was and winning Best of Festival in France came with a bonus - Euros! which I’ve already spent on our new series ‘Catching the Impossible’. Filming has been going well, and here’s a few images from this years adventures.
 

Every waking hour is spent editing on the computer and we plan to have the film available by Winter 2008.. We’ve had so much success that the series has grown from six to eight one hours, so we’ve got our time cut out.

We get lots of enquiries about ‘Caught in Time’ Part II, but sadly, completing that will have to wait until this series with Martin Bowler and Bernard Cribbins is complete.

As Christmas is coming up fast, Sue and I thought we’d assure you that there are plenty of DVD copies available of both ‘A Passion for Angling’ and ‘Caught in Time’ and for those still in the dark ages, we also have video/VHS copies of them both too. Sue can let you have them in a few days but as they make the ideal Christmas present, please let us know in plenty of time so the GPO don’t let you down. Sue and I wish you all an enjoyable Christmas and a happy and prosperous year. It’s all rush these days, so don’t forget to smell the roses along the way.....and go fishing.....it’s a wonderful world out there.

Hugh & Sue



Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
9th July 2006

Dear All,

We do hope you are enjoying your fishing while we have been busy on our new project 'Catching the Impossible'. I have managed a few casts while filming, including the capture of three true crucians over 3lbs to a "PB" of 3lb 12ozs from a beautiful little lake in the Cranborne Chase. We filmed there with Chris Yates and Martin Bowler last week for programme one, and in another lovely lake nearby with Bernard Cribbins for programme six. The film looks gorgeous...early morning mist, sun kissed lilies and golden crucians and tench...in true 'Passion for Angling' style of course.

We still have lots of copies of 'A Passion for Angling' in both DVD and VHS, along with the portrait of Chris (Yates') favourite carp lake called 'Caught in Time'. so any orders will be with you speedily as Sue turns them round at least twice a week. We hear of several 'pirate' versions which is quite distressing as we need the small profit from each sale to help fund this new production. We are the ONLY suppliers of DVD's and VHS's so don't waste your money on inferior quality copies or on expensive 'ebay' purchases.

A lot has happened since our last message in November '05. Chris and I haven't had time to do any more filming for 'Caught in Time' Part II but Chris has now finished his new book
'How to Fish' and it will be available in all good book shops from the end of September. Chris has written an account of a days fishing on a river which becomes a story of his fishing philosophy. Perch and many other fish swim through the pages and it's a cracking read.

Our Snow Leopard film went out on ITV on Jan 2nd and we recieved dozens of messages from folk about how much they'd enjoyed it, so thankyou for those. It is most gratifying after more than four years of hard labour in the mountains to recieve such encouragement so we hope you'll enjoy our new series 'Catching the Impossible' as that will take four and a half years too!

We are nearly two years into the project and during the last six months we have filmed some remarkable events. As you'll see from our previous message our targets included a 30lb pike and a 3lb river roach...'not just impossible but crazy'. Well, on Nov. 30th we caught a 32lb 6oz pike and on Jan. 18th we fished with Terry Lampard and he caught a 3lb 5oz roach from the River Stour. On Dec 22nd Pete Reading caught a near 3lb grayling and on Jan. 26th Martin caught a 1lb 2oz Kennet Dace, followed by a 2lb 15oz roach from a lake near Oxford. As if that wasn't enough, Martin then caught a 5lb 4oz perch frm the Great Ouse - the biggest ever from a river according to the Angling Times - it's capture on a pole sure makes an impressive sequence. Then Des Taylor caught us a 39lb catfish and to cap it all Martin caught a 44lb 4oz common carp from a beautiful lake in Shropshire - on a float - and an Osprey came and fished in the background. So the series promises to be memorable. We have at least two years work to go but will keep you informed of progress.

Hope you enjoy the pictures in the gallery of some of our lovely fish.

With best wishes,
Hugh and Sue


P.S.
We have just received some great news from the U.S.A., our ‘Searching for the Snow Leopard’ film has been nominated for an EMMY, in the category for outstanding achievement in science and documentary... so fingers crossed!




Message from Hugh & Sue Miles
5th November 2005

 

Dear All,

As a result of your enthusiastic response to “A Passion for Angling” and “Caught in Time” Sue and I thought you might like an update on progress with our various projects.

Firstly, for those logging on for the first time , we still have lots of copies of both DVD’s and VHS’s of both programmes, so those looking for Christmas presents, there’s no problem. Sue turns round your orders in just a few days so speed of delivery depends on the G.P.O. Best if you allow a week to ten days.

As a full-time film-maker, I’ve produced more than fifty wildlife films but I still suffer from “follow that!” syndrome, especially when a film has been an award winner. This was certainly the case with “A Passion for Angling”. It’s been so well received by so many it’s been described as a “classic” - whatever that is?! So for years Chris Yates and I hesitated before making “Caught in Time” Part I. We feared comparison with ‘Passion’ but needn’t have worried as all of you seem to love it. The film is a story of Chris’ favourite carp lake (which is also the location of his best selling book “Secret Carp”).

Many of you have asked about Parts II and III and though we’ve filmed some sequences for these, Chris is so busy writing a new book that we’ve had to put them on hold.

As some of you may be aware from the angling press, we’ve embarked on a series of six one hour films with Martin Bowler and friends called “Catching the Impossible” - impossible because of the size of fish we’re trying to catch. Our ‘targets’ would make a specimen hunters eyes water, but after our first years filming, we’ve got several ‘in the can’. 15lb. barbel, 4lb. crucian, 10lb. tench and a 7lb. chub. Then there’s several near misses... 2lb. 11oz. rudd, 12lb. 10oz. bream, 36lb. carp and 27lb. 8oz. pike. We’re after a thirty pound pike next week, and a three pound river roach before Christmas... not just impossible but crazy!

We’ve had generous help from many landowners and friends, including John Wilson, Des Taylor, Terry Lampard, Tim Norman, Bob Church, Chris Yates, Nigel Williams, John Everard, Peter Orchard, Peter Drennan, Frank Warwick, Pete Reading, Jerry Hammond, Terry Theobold and Bernard Cribbins, who actually gets to fish this time, so the whole series should be entertaining.

But there’s more to a fishing series than catching big fish, so the beauty of the lakes and rivers and its’ wildlife throughout the seasons is a major component, as it was for “Passion”. In contrast to ‘Passion’, we’re striving to show folk the natural history of the under - water world and the extraordinary fish that live out their unseen lives all around us. We are shooting this in the wild in the actual places we are fishing and so far the results are a revelation - and beautiful too. So we hope that like “Passion”, this series will appeal to anglers and non anglers alike. We’re hoping it will also benefit angling as a whole and encourage a positive attitude to the sport we love.

We have two more years shooting and a years editing so we hope it might be out on TV in 2008. We’ll keep you up to date with progress. In the meantime, enjoy your fishing and catch a few for me.

P.S.
If only to prove I occasionally get a cast, here’s yours truly with a lovely Kennet roach brace, best 2lb. 5oz. and a brace of perch, best 3lb. 1oz... and Sue and I with a brace of Bucks Fiz on her birthday!
Hugh MilesHughHugh and Sue

 

   

DVD’s


Bernard Cribbins
Bernard Cribbins.
5lb. Tench, Estate Lake.

films
Terry Lampard.
7lb.4oz. Chub, Dorset Stour.


Terry’s
3lb.5oz. Roach, River Stour


Martin Bowler with
32lb.6oz. Pike

Angling
John Wilson.
27lb.8oz. Pike, Norfolk Broads.

Pike
Bob Church with
16lb Pike, Bedfordshire Lake.


Martin and Des Taylor with
27lb. 8oz. Catfish


Martin with
10lb. Tench


Martin with
5lb.4oz. Perch, Great Ouse


Martin’s
44lb.4oz. Common Carp


Martin with
2lb 15oz. Roach

fishing
15lb.7oz. Barbel, Great Ouse.

Passion
Peter Orchard.
24lb.12oz. Common Carp,
Hampshire Avon.

Pete Reading
Peter Reading with
12lb.10oz. Barbel, Hampshire Avon.