My Fishing Mate Whitehouse

J

John Bailey

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It’s a funny piece to write this one as I don’t want to sound starry, or celeb dominated. I’m not trying to say “look at me” or “I’m so clever, I’ve got famous pals” or anything like that at all. What I am trying to do is to pin down what a fishing friendship is all about and what you might care to look for in one. I’m the luckiest fisherman I know largely because I’ve got the best fishing mates around me that it is possible to have. They are true angling friends, men, and women, that I’d be lost without. They make my fishing what it is, just so special to me. I could talk about Pingers, Ratters, Clarky, Bond, JG, and the team but I’m choosing Paul Whitehouse because on the back of Gone Fishing or The Fast Show I have probably grabbed your attention and made you want to read on. Cunning eh? But I’ve landed on Paul for lots of REAL reasons too. In my book, he embodies pretty much everything that you should be looking for in a fishing partnership.

Paul is a celeb, awful word, but you’d never know it when you meet him. You don’t want airs and graces in a fishing mate, just a real person, down to earth, someone you can bare your soul to. Paul is absurdly funny but he’d never say that is a talent better than being a brain surgeon or a bus driver. He’s completely honest, and you want that, and that is why in large part Gone Fishing is the success it has been. With Paul and Bob, what you see is how it is with no fancy editing or dressing up. For four years nearly I’ve loved being Fishing Consultant on the programs but most of all, I’ve got to know Paul as a true friend, and here’s why.

For me, constant contact is important. Not a day goes by without me phoning Paul or him emailing or texting. It’s something I have come to rely on, something I look forward to. Okay, we talk about Gone Fishing but all the other stuff of life as well and, post-Covid, that hasn’t always been easy for any of us. Perhaps above all, I can tell him about my little triumphs, knowing he’ll care and celebrate with me through and through. The other week I fluked my first 7-pound chub and he was honestly, truly, 100% made up for me. That is how a best mate just has to be. I guess the word is trust.


And of course, Whitey makes me laugh. A lot. It can be a voice – what a mimic he is. Or an observation or a joke or mostly just a comment. If you are serious about your fishing, you need humour to get you through the tough times and blanks – and there are plenty of those in Gone Fishing, as you’ll know if you have watched it. There are times I can feel low after a hard day but a laugh with Paul and I’m right as rain again.

Having a shared background helps. Just this morning he was talking about one of his great days when he was six, down on the Old River Lea. Paul was with his Dad and his sister and they had a net full of gudgeon. Not F1s or five-pound mirrors or stocked rainbows but good old gonks. I told him about my best day, or one of them, with my Nanny on the River Aire just outside Bradford. I had 33 gudgeon from a boat she was rowing and I can see those beauties now, coming up through the shafts of sunlit water. Paul’s first fish was a roach. So was mine, even though I caught it in a net and it was blind in one eye. The whole point is here we have shared references. We know what it is to struggle for fish and all those years on, whatever we catch, we treat like gold.


A shared background often means shared goals. We both worship natural fish, fish that have come from the spawning beds, not the back of a lorry. Paul’s favourite species might just be a salmon and mine might just be a roach but they are equal in their wildness, in their glamour and mystery. That’s why, through Gone Fishing, Paul and Bob don’t always catch much. It’s because Paul sets top targets and if a fish is a sucker and easy, then it’s not for him or the show. That’s why it’s an impossible job to get Paul to pose with a fish for the camera. To Paul a fish is priceless and it goes back as pristine as it came out, whatever a director might ask for.


With a best mate, you don’t have to talk, you just inhabit the same wavelengths. Way back in Series 1 we were after tench in October and they had mysteriously switched off completely. The whole shoot was an impossible struggle, and then, just as the cameras were packing to leave, Paul and I looked at each other. The wind had lost its edge. There was a fly hatch and a fish rolled. The tiniest patch of bubbles fizzed to the surface and I saw him tense. Not a word passed between us but we both knew and fifteen minutes later, the float sank and a tench was in the net and in the can. In Series 3, Paul hooked a big fish on the Wye. As soon as the rod bent, he caught my eye, and his brows raised. Barbel. No doubt. And, best of all, he played it so perfectly, so expertly, I knew the fish I longed for him to catch was as good as on the bank. Over all the shows, there has rarely been a moment when I would have fished differently. Perhaps we are very good or very bad and that does not matter. The point is that we are totally in sync with each other, just how it should be in a fishing partnership destined to last.



Gone Fishing has brought me immense benefits. The crew are great, the production team too. Mr Mortimer is a gem. The travel has been never less than interesting and the ups and downs of TV make life eternally vivid. In Paul, I’ve found one of the really accomplished anglers of my experience but none of this counts for anything compared with making a friend, I hope, for life.


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Chicharito

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Mmm, The lack of replies to that article sums it up for me!
Nothing like self promotion, name dropping drivel!
Did I tell you about the time that I met Matt Hayes at the local tackle shop and we have remained good mates ever since. I will dig out some photos of me looking longfully into his eyes with my arm draped round his shoulders. Oh happy days!
 

Andrew B

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Bob Mortimer does not look well at all. How that ghillie didn’t lose it on the Junction pool when being smacked in the head I’ll never know? Some folk just can’t be taught lol.
Bravo for getting a fishing program on TV in between all the truly awful stuff that goes under entertainment nowadays.
 

happy days

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It’s a funny piece to write this one as I don’t want to sound starry, or celeb dominated. I’m not trying to say “look at me” or “I’m so clever, I’ve got famous pals” or anything like that at all. What I am trying to do is to pin down what a fishing friendship is all about and what you might care to look for in one. I’m the luckiest fisherman I know largely because I’ve got the best fishing mates around me that it is possible to have. They are true angling friends, men, and women, that I’d be lost without. They make my fishing what it is, just so special to me. I could talk about Pingers, Ratters, Clarky, Bond, JG, and the team but I’m choosing Paul Whitehouse because on the back of Gone Fishing or The Fast Show I have probably grabbed your attention and made you want to read on. Cunning eh? But I’ve landed on Paul for lots of REAL reasons too. In my book, he embodies pretty much everything that you should be looking for in a fishing partnership.

Paul is a celeb, awful word, but you’d never know it when you meet him. You don’t want airs and graces in a fishing mate, just a real person, down to earth, someone you can bare your soul to. Paul is absurdly funny but he’d never say that is a talent better than being a brain surgeon or a bus driver. He’s completely honest, and you want that, and that is why in large part Gone Fishing is the success it has been. With Paul and Bob, what you see is how it is with no fancy editing or dressing up. For four years nearly I’ve loved being Fishing Consultant on the programs but most of all, I’ve got to know Paul as a true friend, and here’s why.

For me, constant contact is important. Not a day goes by without me phoning Paul or him emailing or texting. It’s something I have come to rely on, something I look forward to. Okay, we talk about Gone Fishing but all the other stuff of life as well and, post-Covid, that hasn’t always been easy for any of us. Perhaps above all, I can tell him about my little triumphs, knowing he’ll care and celebrate with me through and through. The other week I fluked my first 7-pound chub and he was honestly, truly, 100% made up for me. That is how a best mate just has to be. I guess the word is trust.


And of course, Whitey makes me laugh. A lot. It can be a voice – what a mimic he is. Or an observation or a joke or mostly just a comment. If you are serious about your fishing, you need humour to get you through the tough times and blanks – and there are plenty of those in Gone Fishing, as you’ll know if you have watched it. There are times I can feel low after a hard day but a laugh with Paul and I’m right as rain again.

Having a shared background helps. Just this morning he was talking about one of his great days when he was six, down on the Old River Lea. Paul was with his Dad and his sister and they had a net full of gudgeon. Not F1s or five-pound mirrors or stocked rainbows but good old gonks. I told him about my best day, or one of them, with my Nanny on the River Aire just outside Bradford. I had 33 gudgeon from a boat she was rowing and I can see those beauties now, coming up through the shafts of sunlit water. Paul’s first fish was a roach. So was mine, even though I caught it in a net and it was blind in one eye. The whole point is here we have shared references. We know what it is to struggle for fish and all those years on, whatever we catch, we treat like gold.


A shared background often means shared goals. We both worship natural fish, fish that have come from the spawning beds, not the back of a lorry. Paul’s favourite species might just be a salmon and mine might just be a roach but they are equal in their wildness, in their glamour and mystery. That’s why, through Gone Fishing, Paul and Bob don’t always catch much. It’s because Paul sets top targets and if a fish is a sucker and easy, then it’s not for him or the show. That’s why it’s an impossible job to get Paul to pose with a fish for the camera. To Paul a fish is priceless and it goes back as pristine as it came out, whatever a director might ask for.


With a best mate, you don’t have to talk, you just inhabit the same wavelengths. Way back in Series 1 we were after tench in October and they had mysteriously switched off completely. The whole shoot was an impossible struggle, and then, just as the cameras were packing to leave, Paul and I looked at each other. The wind had lost its edge. There was a fly hatch and a fish rolled. The tiniest patch of bubbles fizzed to the surface and I saw him tense. Not a word passed between us but we both knew and fifteen minutes later, the float sank and a tench was in the net and in the can. In Series 3, Paul hooked a big fish on the Wye. As soon as the rod bent, he caught my eye, and his brows raised. Barbel. No doubt. And, best of all, he played it so perfectly, so expertly, I knew the fish I longed for him to catch was as good as on the bank. Over all the shows, there has rarely been a moment when I would have fished differently. Perhaps we are very good or very bad and that does not matter. The point is that we are totally in sync with each other, just how it should be in a fishing partnership destined to last.



Gone Fishing has brought me immense benefits. The crew are great, the production team too. Mr Mortimer is a gem. The travel has been never less than interesting and the ups and downs of TV make life eternally vivid. In Paul, I’ve found one of the really accomplished anglers of my experience but none of this counts for anything compared with making a friend, I hope, for life.


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When are yous getting married ?
 

Editor

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Mmm, The lack of replies to that article sums it up for me!
Nothing like self promotion, name dropping drivel!
Did I tell you about the time that I met Matt Hayes at the local tackle shop and we have remained good mates ever since. I will dig out some photos of me looking longfully into his eyes with my arm draped round his shoulders. Oh happy days!

Wow, that’s a bit harsh! I thought it was a lovely article.
 

Safranfoer

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I enjoyed reading that. I know one of the cameramen on the production and want to ask him about what it's like on location, if I ever get to see him again. You've given a little window.
 

keirstream

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Interesting piece of sycophancy.
I wonder if it works both ways?
If I met Paul or particularly Bob in a pub I would look to have some good craic if they were up for it.
But lifelong friends and soul mates in total synchronicity with each other afterwards?
I think not.:)
 

seeking

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Interesting piece of sycophancy.
I wonder if it works both ways?
If I met Paul or particularly Bob in a pub I would look to have some good craic if they were up for it.
But lifelong friends and soul mates in total synchronicity with each other afterwards?
I think not.:)
Must admit I enjoy the programme, not so much for the fishing side (I do all sorts of fishing myself anyway), but for the comic side of the double act. In fact it's about the only fishing TV/vid that my better half can cope with, for reason of the inevitable mirth.

I'd really like to spend some time in the company of Bob, fishing or no, pub or no. Has me in absolute stitches all the time, whether it's Gone Fishing (you can see how much he must wind humourless folk up) or "Would I Lie To You". :cool:
 

Chicharito

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Must admit I enjoy the programme, not so much for the fishing side (I do all sorts of fishing myself anyway), but for the comic side of the double act. In fact it's about the only fishing TV/vid that my better half can cope with, for reason of the inevitable mirth.

I'd really like to spend some time in the company of Bob, fishing or no, pub or no. Has me in absolute stitches all the time, whether it's Gone Fishing (you can see how much he must wind humourless folk up) or "Would I Lie To You". :cool:
I love the series and think Paul and Bob are a real good laugh.
But that article! Well I have said what I think of it and won't repeat myself!
 

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Alright stop it now please, you’ve made your point. It’s really disappointing to see such negativity on here.

This was originally written for Fishing Magic but I posted it to here because I thought it might be of interest. It’s been very well received on all of our other forums so I’m surprised. John will be writing more pieces for us, maybe I should think twice next time.
 

Chicharito

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There doesn't seem to be a lot of favourable responses besides yourself and Saffy.
Quite entitled to my opinions as you are too!
 

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There doesn't seem to be a lot of favourable responses besides yourself and Saffy.
Quite entitled to my opinions as you are too!
Never said you weren’t! If you were to look at the other forums there are lots of positive responses there.
 

Chicharito

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Yes maybe. I think the SFF members are a a more discerning bunch. Funny I have never heard of John Bailey before and I have been fishing as long as him. Let's hope the proposed articles are better received than this one!
 

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Yes maybe. I think the SFF members are a a more discerning bunch. Funny I have never heard of John Bailey before and I have been fishing as long as him. Let's hope the proposed articles are better received than this one!
Seriously you’ve never heard of John Bailey? He’s a real all rounder and fishes for just about everything that swims.
I’d say his exploits on fishing for Ferox long before the Ferox club is what stood out to me.
 

seeking

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PS - re the OP, that's a great perch. Filleted and fried in butter 😋

One of my all time favorite fish.

Same for the bass (or "Sea Bass" to the unintelligentsia), though I note the fun police have banned their widespread sustainable consumption by anglers, yet allow foreign trawlers to pillage...
 

Andrew B

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Alright stop it now please, you’ve made your point. It’s really disappointing to see such negativity on here.

This was originally written for Fishing Magic but I posted it to here because I thought it might be of interest. It’s been very well received on all of our other forums so I’m surprised. John will be writing more pieces for us, maybe I should think twice next time.
Anyone who can make angling appealing to the mainstream should be applauded.
I think the point of the show is how angling has helped two folk who’ve undergone serious health problems which is a good thing no?
 

Chicharito

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Seriously you’ve never heard of John Bailey? He’s a real all rounder and fishes for just about everything that swims.
I’d say his exploits on fishing for Ferox long before the Ferox club is what stood out to me.
Oh right! Seriously underwhelming!
 
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Chicharito

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Anyone who can make angling appealing to the mainstream should be applauded.
I think the point of the show is how angling has helped two folk who’ve undergone serious health problems which is a good thing no?
I have nothing but admiration for the show. Paul and Bob have overcome their health issues and that's great news.
The article however was best forgotten!
 

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Yes maybe. I think the SFF members are a a more discerning bunch. Funny I have never heard of John Bailey before and I have been fishing as long as him. Let's hope the proposed articles are better received than this one!

You've never heard of John Bailey? Iv watched loads of his TV and video stuff and read loads of his books. First time I saw him was in 80s when he did a documentary in India after Golden Mahseea. I loved his 'in the footsteps of Mr Crabtree' teaching young kids to fish Crabtree and Peter style. I for one will say I loved the article Kirsty shared, a difference to the norm and great read. I'd like to see more! Please Kirsty post more if John writes again. Whilst it may not all be Salmon many of us love all types of Angling so all round articles are more then welcome IMO
 

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I remember his mate Paul Boote on various forums over the years!
 

Andrew B

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You've never heard of John Bailey? Iv watched loads of his TV and video stuff and read loads of his books. First time I saw him was in 80s when he did a documentary in India after Golden Mahseea. I loved his 'in the footsteps of Mr Crabtree' teaching young kids to fish Crabtree and Peter style. I for one will say I loved the article Kirsty shared, a difference to the norm and great read. I'd like to see more! Please Kirsty post more if John writes again. Whilst it may not all be Salmon many of us love all types of Angling so all round articles are more then welcome IMO
Here here. We live in an age where folk are getting tired of celebrities virtue signalling and being out of touch with reality. If there’s one thing about fishing it can break down all that crap.
I once asked Beefy Ian Botham how the Tyne was fishing whist in a que at old Trafford and I got the impression he was more than happy to talk fishing as oppose to cricket lol.

I know where Chicaritos coming from though, and in the words of Bob Dylan when asked about how to interview him or talk to him? He said “don’t introduce yourself or act like a fan as it’s embarrassing”.
 
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