A review of End Peg by Peter May by the brilliant Dom Garnett

Posted by Lydia Unwin on

End Peg is superbly readable from the get-go. Divided into bite-sized chapters that can be read in one sitting, it takes the reader into the world of the keen amateur club and match angler. This is not competitive angling in the sense of next-level detail or headline events, but the far more relatable world of smaller competitions across rivers, lakes and canals. Even if you are not a match fisher, however, this is entertaining enough to appeal. In fact, even if you merely live with an angler, pondering their strange habits and the foul things they sneak into the fridge, it will get plenty of knowing laughs.

Will this book boost your performance with a 16m pole? Probably not. But the array of venues, mishaps and quirky local characters are perfectly drawn. From typical anglers’ jokes to the pranks they play on each other, any fishing club regular will relate. The accounts of each day’s sport, and that curious blend of affection and annoyance between those who fish together, are spot on. What you won’t get is an account of fine-tuning rigs or big-money wins. Instead, we get a warts-and-all account of days throughout every season, from trips where little goes right to those special days when that fancied peg finally comes out of the bag.

The whole book is peppered with great little asides, and the author’s best quality is his ability to weave interesting nuggets into the fabric of the book without ever dropping the tempo. Alongside various fishing contests, you’ll find a treasury of juicy bites of British angling history, and notes on the species and places we love best. There’s some great insight into the Thames, for instance, but the author also delves into common angling mishaps, finer points on gudgeon and even enters a pike match.

The angler’s interactions with  the other half and members of the public are particularly well drawn, it must be said, while the book is also embellished with cute pencil illustrations from publisher Merlin Unwin himself. Like a perfectly shotted float, therefore, End Peg is well-pitched, easy on the eye and likely to disappear quite quickly if you enjoyed it as much as I did.

You’ll no doubt find it from giant online stores, but why not get it direct from Merlin Unwin Books (merlinunwin.co.uk)? All royalties will go to charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is also a wonderful touch from the author.

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