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.

Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
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: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003