For those in the know, this was a book that had been talked about for years. Spoken about in hushed tones, every so often you'd chat to someone who had a Tom Bankes story.. even better if it was a first hand one - it was the stuff of legend, and folklore. The biggest question was always 'would it ever happen?'
The copy that is finally in our hands bears testament to the fact that it has eventually happened, and Tom's writing, amazing old shots and illustrations are now something that is no longer just part of folklore, but something real and tangible.
There's a few things absolutely worth mentioning here - one is that the reproduction is incredible, to our mind, some of the very best that is out there. The colours, paper stock and layout is all immaculate, and does the shots and stories every bit of justice. The fact that many of Tom's shots are self-takes, and all will have been 35mm film or slide back then just adds massively to the sense of atmosphere and quality. Every one of them oozes character, and there's not a self conscious or styled shot in sight, many are oddly framed, and oddly held but each and every one tells a unique story.
'Every one of them oozes character, and there's not a self conscious or styled shot in sight, many are oddly framed, and oddly held but each and every one tells a unique story'
The stories themselves are as unique as the shots, written in a unique style and language that set it apart from everything else out there. At times it doesn't make it the easiest read, we will admit, but at the same time its originality is worth every second of the effort.
The big Pike fishing chapter was an unexpected surprise, and again adds greatly to the book - rather than a parade of some of the same big carp you've seen again and again elsewhere, there's likely nothing in here you will have seen before. And it reads in a way that makes it all seem fresh and brand new as well.
Not only is the book written in a very particular way, but Tom has illustrated it himself. Beautifully thought out and careful graphite drawings wind their way through the pages and add another layer of originality to it.
This isn't a parade of big carp, nor is it a technical insight. It certainly isn't a tour de force of the 'circuit', nor a book for everyone, but what it is is original, and entirely unique. Savay, The Cotswolds, College Reservoir, Yateley Match Lake.. The first of a possible trilogy, but certainly a two part epic, the second of which is due out in 2023. It is a book that is surely destined to become a classic and collectors item.
Image captions like 'old as driftwood', 'ultimate headless chicken antic', 'through bloodshot eyes of marble', 'from amongst the stalemate','as grand as the area it fed from' give you an idea of the flavour
Find the link of dealers on the website below and grab a copy while you can, if you're into this sort of thing..
'This isn't a parade of big carp, nor is it a technical insight. It certainly isn't a tour de force of the 'circuit', nor a book for everyone, but what it is is original, and entirely unique'