'You Should Have Been Here Last Thursday'
Reviewed by Allan Sharman
Former keeper on the River Itchen at Martyr Worthy, Ron Holloway tells of his life on the river and of the life of his river!
>From the books press release - 'This book is not a 'how to fish' book. It is a story about a chalk stream river by a professional riverkeeper who has spent 30 years maintaining the self-sustaining wild brown trout beat of the Upper River Itchen at Martyr Worthy in Hampshire.
>From the last ice age to the present day an informative picture is painted of the river's heritage, development, management, land use practices, man's influence upon the river, what a chalk stream is and how it works.'
I found this a very difficult book to review. It contains a great deal of detailed information relating to the geology that created the Hampshire chalk streams in the first place and how man has influenced them over the generations. I am sure however that this will be of great interest to the dedicated chalk stream angler and wild (or native) brown trout officianado. For the more general reader this part of the book may be found to be too detailed and several areas are covered more than once as you go through it.
The anecdotes of events and anglers fishing the Itchen at Martyr Worthy (including a visit from President Carter) make for lighter reading and more of these would I feel have helped with the 'digesting' of the 'meatier' parts of the book. Also I would have liked more detail on the flora and fauna of the area. Ron leaves you in no doubt that he was in favour of any improvements only being made as part of a catchment management system. His knowledge and experience in these areas has been used in America and Canada and some of the projects are explained in the book but again several areas are dealt with more than once.
Better editing could have resolved some of this re-iteration. It might also have noticed that G.E.M. Skues (who's name is mentioned many times) has had in most instances (including the Index) his name spelt Sques.
A little hard going in places but with enough information and lighter moments to help you get through it. At the end of the day you won't find a more detailed account of life on a river than this.
Published by George Mann Publications
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