Fishing Lines: Trophy featuring the funny fish proves to be no laughing matter

Looks like I've lost my job as Commissioner of Trophies. There's been a rebellion in the Angling Writers' Association ranks. Sadly, my concept of what should sit proudly on someone's mantelpiece differs from most of the membership (or more importantly, their wives and girlfriends). I'm out on my ear, my duties confined to the ceremonial ones of chairman.

Others, it appears, do not share my enthusiasm for the singing waterfall style of award. Chris Sandford, one-time actor (he was Walter Potts, the singing window cleaner, in Coronation Street) and pop star (who can forget his 1963 hit 'Not Too Little, Not Too Much'?) collected the runner-up award in last year's humorous writer of the year category. However, he was so appalled when he saw what was going to grace his riverside stately home that he "accidentally" left it behind. I offered to drop it off several times, until he cut me to the quick by saying: "Keith, I'm afraid Gelly won't have it in the house."

The trophy at issue was a gaping pike's head, mounted on an oak shield and displaying its impressive dentistry. If you've got a vivid imagination, it looks like the fish is laughing (though it's got little reason to do so).

Can't see anything wrong with it myself. It seems to encompass the essence of the award. But Sandford, so-called humorous writer, didn't find it funny.

I've been quite proud of the originality in some of our citations. I've generally tried to account for female sensitivity by choosing, for example, tasteful ceramics, like a Capo di Monte angler or a Royal Doulton trout. I admit it hasn't always worked. Anglers are notoriously clumsy. A porcelain rod looks less impressive snapped in half, a leaping trout without its tail rather misses the magic of the original.

I also tried to create a few practical mementoes. One was a shoal of carp on a wooden base. The trio each had a slit in their backs to hold letters. One fish could scarcely hold a couple of days' post; three meant you could store a decent batch of mail and have a constant reminder of your writing prowess. Clever, huh?

This annual shindig takes place at Caer Beris Manor in Builth Wells. The venue has several attractions. One is its owner, Peter Smith. He's a keen angler (he was "big" in the early carp-fishing scene, and Chris Yates caught his first 20lb carp on Peter's rod) who has decorated the bar area, to which writers invariably gravitate, with cased fish, photos and framed flies. Feels just like home.

Best of all, though, is the fishing. The hotel has nearly a mile of the River Irfon, where salmon and shad spawn. It also has access to seven miles of the nearby River Wye, which holds everything from trout and grayling to barbel and pike.

At one stage, we had a serious conference: speakers every 90 minutes, that sort of thing. Waste of time. Now we just go fishing, have a dinner and prizegiving in the evening, drink a lot and everyone's happy.

Or maybe not quite everyone. What will Mrs S say if her husband is again adjudged runner-up in the humorous writer category? As chairman of the judges, some jiggery-pokery may be in order. Or who knows, maybe I'll be lucky enough to win it myself.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant in secondary school Manchester

£11280 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Teaching a...

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits