Fishing Lines: Champagne moment was a coarse joke

The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre owe me a darned good lunch and several glasses of champagne. That's what I was expecting when I travelled to a Rugby hotel for the launch of a new fishing magazine. What I got was an empty car park and apologetic staff.

"I'm afraid the launch has been cancelled. We've no idea why."

I was hungry and cross and uninvited. The publisher was only about 10 miles away. I drove there and demanded: "Where's my champagne?"

Turned out he was just as peeved as I was. The occasion should have been David Hall Publishing's biggest launch, the highlight the advertisement that will be appearing 143 times on TV over the next few weeks. Or would have been, except the BACC didn't like it.

"One of their queries was: 'How do we know these are great anglers?'," said David Hall, spitting blood. "Three solid days of dealing with things like that meant we had to call off the launch. We just didn't have an agreed ad to show." The launch of Total Coarse Fishing, however, is going ahead, ad or no ad. The momentum is too great for a few bureaucrats to derail it now. Hall owns Britain's largest angling publisher, but he is still a minnow. His new magazine is going head to head with the star angling title of Emap, one of publishing's monster pike.

Sounds like a good way to lose his hand-made shirt. But Hall is determined, smart, quick-witted - and he knows all the advertisers. He is still hungry, and he wants those 75,000 (and more) readers that Emap's prize monthly once boasted. He has even recruited Gareth Purnell, the former editor of the Emap title.

The launch marks a new level for Hall. Just a decade ago, he owned one small magazine that was going nowhere. He looked to have his best years behind him. At 28, he had been the managing director of an international company, with all the trappings: London flat, E-type, first-class travel. One day he phoned up and said: "I'm not coming in again. Ever."

He sat around for a year, then did what he wanted, which was to launch a fishing magazine. He knew nothing of publishing, print, editing, libel. But Coarse Fisherman was like a burst of sunlight on a stagnant market, and he got the chance to meet his heroes.

For 20 years, he drifted with the current. Then he realised that he could achieve a whole lot more. He told me, only half in jest, a couple of years ago: "I'm building a dynasty." He now employs 70 people, nearly all in their 20s.

"The best thing I ever did was going with youth," he said. That said, he believes that most readers of the new title will be older, people who don't want to catch lots of fish, but bigger ones.

"The market's also changed," he said. "It has to look fantastic, but these days, anglers don't just want how-to-catch-'em [articles]. They want some stories too. At least, I hope so. Otherwise I'm stuck with £250,000 worth of line for cover mounts."

Then the phone rings. The advertisement has finally been cleared. Can Jack slay the giant? At least he's got permission to plant the beanstalk.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Service Engineer - Vehicles

£25000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's premier supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate