Mick Brown is a household name among Britain’s anglers. Thanks to more than 40 years working in the media, the man known as ‘The Duke’ has become arguably the best-known predator angler ever.
Now, though, he’s decided to take a back seat. In an announcement made on social media, Lincolnshire-based Mick said: “I’m retiring from the mainstream tackle and media business, but not from life or fishing. Apart from a few commitments, I’m a free man to do as I like. Some fishing now and again if I feel like it, playing a lot more rock and blues music on my guitar and generally chilling out and going with the flow.”
This week, in celebration of a pike-fishing legend we take a look back at some of Mick Brown’s words of wisdom…
On becoming a professional angler…
I just evolved into it. I wrote articles, then videos started coming out and I was asked to make a few of those, then I was asked to write a book. My big break came when I bumped into Matt Hayes in the 1990s. It was at a pike fishing event and neither of us had a boat partner for the day so we teamed up. Matt suggested that I join him for a bit of filming when Total Fishing first came out. I think a few of us were being vetted to see if they could go further and luckily Matt chose me and we then did a series together, Wet Nets. All of a sudden I was exposed to the public and I became valuable to the tackle trade and that’s when the offers came in.
On his favourite TV show ever…
It’s probably the one where we catch the smallest fish, the stickleback, for the Great Rod Race. We had such a laugh, and I hope it came across, creeping about with a matchstick for a float. At the other end of the scale I’d also say the night Matt and I caught a brace of 60lb catfish from Wintons Fishery. There was something magic about that night, we didn’t know if it would happen but it did like clockwork.
On his relationship with Matt Hayes…
I’ve a lot to thank him for. He helped to carry me along and he was setting up the shows which helped to put me where I am today. Matt is a very ambitious and very capable person, and a top notch angler. We’ve done over 90 shows together and we still fish regularly when he’s in the UK. I think over the years I’ve had a chance to become my own person.
On becoming a predator angler…
It was in my late teens and I was fishing for roach with some mates my friends at a Birmingham park lake. At some point, pike started attacking the roach as we were reeling them in so we thought about trying to catch one. We were just float fishing great big lobworms and using chopped worm groundbait which would draw them in, information on how to catch certain fish wasn’t anywhere near as readily available as then. That’s how I caught my first double, it all snowballed from there.
On fishing and life…
Fishing brings something to everybody’s life. It’s just something you have to feel, you don’t have to be a professional and you can’t explain that feeling to anyone. I could have been a very successful engineer, and a lot richer than I am today, but I wouldn’t have had that sense of achievement. It’s made my life worthwhile!
10 tributes to Mick Brown
Glyn Darby: You will be missed deeply by a lot of people. Even non-anglers like my wife enjoy watching you.
Dave Harrell: I pity those poor pike now you’ll have a lot more free time.
James Anthony: A proper gentleman.
Jan Porter: I’m privileged to have you as a friend, an angling buddy and someone I can enjoy more time with in your ‘retirement’. My hero, the people’s champ!
Philip Cairnduff: The legend will live on from all you have done for pike fishing.
David Thompson: You have been an inspiration to a lot of people throughout the world.
Robert Mason: From the first VHS video to your latest book, I have been an avid fan.
Richard Thurston: I have learned loads from you. It was your tricks and advice that made me land my first pike.
Andrew Brown: Thanks for all the great work you’ve done, whether it’s your books, DVDs, TV work or the personal advice I got from you.
Warren Lewis: Spent hours watching and Matt entertain with your fishing and laughter. Happy retirement Mick.