Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone Fishing series 4 interview

Time to escape to the country with Bob and Paul

Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing series 4 interview

by Angling Times |

THE much-loved pairing of Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer are back on the nation’s TV screens for the fourth series of Gone Fishing.

The first of the six new episodes aired on BBC Two Sunday evening (August 29), with viewers treated to more bankside laughs as well as a beautiful and varied panorama of the British countryside.

Following the same format as the previous award-winning seasons, Paul is the expert angling tutor, whilst Bob provides unique cuisine and accommodation choices for the pair.

Angling Times was lucky enough to catch up with both Bob and Paul recently, to talk all things fishing. Here’s what they had to say…

AT: So, here we are again. Season four, what can viewers expect, and did you ever think you would get this far?

Bob: “They can expect a real variety of species and venues, including a 1970s-style fishing trip on the Norfolk Broads. We didn’t expect a second season, never mind a fourth, so are very grateful for the support.

“We try to show angling in its true form and share what would be pretty ordinary fish, otherwise youngsters would be expecting to catch giants every time they go out. We have also cut down a lot of the gear and are using simple, classic tactics.”

Paul: “A cornucopia of fish in this series. We have some days when we bag up and some when we struggle. We are pleased with the results, because we only get a maximum of 10 hours fishing on a trip and with cameras in our face, catching isn’t always easy.”

AT: Any highlights or hiccups from the coming series you can mention?

Paul: “The Burghley House episode is certainly one to look out for. We normally fish venues that everyone can access, but on this occasion we had to get special permission and ended up catching some amazing tench.”

Bob: “In the first episode I’m a disgrace. I lose a sea trout, causing much shouting and swearing from Paul. I’m still sorry about it.”

“In the first episode I’m a disgrace" - Bob Mortimer
“In the first episode I’m a disgrace" - Bob Mortimer

AT: Fishing is currently booming. How does it feel to know your show has likely played a part in getting more anglers on the bank?

Bob: “The more anglers there are, the more people there are that care for our rivers. That is a great thing.”

Paul: “Anglers are the first line of defence on our waters, so if we have helped there be more of us, that’s brilliant. We would like a cut of the rod licence income and Angling Direct’s sales, please.”

AT: You have taught Bob a lot so far, but is there a style of fishing you wouldn’t teach him?

Paul: “I wouldn’t fish anywhere near him Spey casting again, in fact, I think I would be on another river entirely. I would like to see him progress a bit more with a fly rod, but he probably needs a better teacher than me.”

AT: You fish some stunning waters. Will we ever see Bob and Paul head to more gritty urban venues?

Paul: “The Norfolk Broads was a bit like the M25 when the boat traffic got going! We caught a lot of different species, but it was carnage once the day got up and running. We even ran into Bob Nudd and his white cap. I think that is the closest we have been to urban. I wouldn’t have a problem drop shotting in London, but I’m not sure our non-angling viewers would appreciate it.”

Bob: “We could go to some urban environments, but the show is so much about showcasing the British countryside. We think we could end up disappointing people if we took this aspect out.”

"The show is so much about showcasing the British countryside"
"The show is so much about showcasing the British countryside"

AT: You have been fishing together for a long time now. If you could pick another dream bankside companion, who would it be, and why?

Bob: “I’m intrigued by the Fonz. He’s a big Hollywood star who’s very into his trout and salmon fishing. It would be great to get an American’s views on our fishing, techniques and countryside.”

Paul: “I’d love to get more actual fishing time with John Bailey. Also, a chap called John Hall, who runs the Broadlands syndicate on the Test. Or just anyone who can teach me how to Wallis cast in seconds.”

AT: Can you rate how Bob’s fishing skills have developed since season one?

Bob: “It’s a very flat curve! But I can set up a feeder rod now.”

Paul: “Well, his playing of fish is still shocking. He just winds and winds. It hasn’t registered with him, so that’s got to be a 2/10. However, his appreciation of fishing is a 10/10 for me. As wise Bob says, ‘the best anglers are those who get the most enjoyment out of it at the end’. He’s even taking his son carp fishing on local commercials. His fly fishing I’d give a 3/10, with the occasional pinnacle of a 6/10.”

"The best anglers are those who get the most enjoyment out of it at the end"
"The best anglers are those who get the most enjoyment out of it at the end"

AT: Food is an important part of the show too. Is Bob still coming up with the goods?

Paul: “You get hungry when you go fishing, to the point where you could eat your bait – maggots, bread, whatever. But Bob’s food always tastes fantastic, whatever it is. I’d give him a solid 8/10 for that.”

Bob: “There have been a few questionable ones I think Paul has been polite about. I don’t think he liked the mashed potato I made from crisps very much.”

AT: Angling isn’t without its share of problems. Where do you see the future for the sport and what priorities should anglers be focusing on?

Paul: “We have to really look at the water quality around us. It’s insidious, not like the old industrial pollution. De-oxygenation, abstraction, effluent from water companies – it all needs better regulation. Cormorants are another issue too. As anglers we need to start forming alliances with all the groups that require fresh, clean water. We don’t have a divine right to our rivers.”

Bob: “River pollution needs addressing. The answer is every single person that cares about the rivers should write to their MP. I think me and Paul should also set up an online petition that can’t be ignored. If we could get the correct wording, I think we would get somewhere.

“Other than that, it would be nice if we could see more anglers going back to a traditional style of fishing. A lot of them miss what’s going on around them, as they are looking at their phones with their rods on bite alarms. Carp fishing is great, and I’m fascinated by the techniques, but for youngsters, you can’t beat watching a float.”

"As anglers we need to start forming alliances with all the groups that require fresh, clean water"
"As anglers we need to start forming alliances with all the groups that require fresh, clean water"

AT: Some of our readers may not know what else you are up to these days. Is it a busy schedule for you both at the moment?

Paul: “I’m back doing Only Fools and Horses in the West End in October. Rehearsals start in September. It’s great to see everything opening up again and venues full of people.”

Bob: “I’m watching a lot of TV and also have a new book called ‘And Away’ coming out!”

AT: On the theme of Only Fools and Horses, what character would Bob be?

Paul: “I think he would be Del Boy, maybe Trigger or Marlene. Actually, he’s probably an Uncle Albert type ‘during the war’.”

"He’s probably an Uncle Albert type ‘during the war’"
"He’s probably an Uncle Albert type ‘during the war’"

Quick-fire Reader Questions

Is there somewhere you would like to fish but haven’t?

Bob: “The Tyne for an English salmon.”

Paul: “The River Spey in Scotland and a bit more sea fishing.”

What is your most outstanding catch?

Bob: “I catch the British record minnow in this series!”

Paul: “The pike on the fly or tench at Burghley House.”

What is the nicest thing you have ever said to each other?

Bob: “Here Paul, have some mashed potato made from Walkers crisps.”

Paul: “I’ll get you a salmon babes.”

What annoys you about each other?

Bob: “Paul telling me to ‘mind the rod’ when I am already minding it!”

Paul: “Bob winding when he doesn’t need to wind me up anymore.”

Why don’t you weigh your catches?

Bob: “We try to keep the fish out of the water for the absolute minimum of time.”

Paul: “We put the fish back quickly, or better still, don’t take them out at all if it isn’t really necessary.”

Will we ever see Bob and Paul Gone Fishing abroad?

Bob: “We hope so, yes. If we get another series, maybe in Slovenia.”

Paul: “Perhaps it’s time to go carping in France, Bob...”

Will we ever see Bob and Paul Gone Fishing abroad?
Will we ever see Bob and Paul Gone Fishing abroad?

SERIES SYNOPSIS

EPISODE 1

The fourth series begins with Paul and Bob taking a trip to North Uist in the Outer Hebrides to catch fresh sea trout.

EPISODE 2

Paul and Bob fish the estate lake at Burghley House near Stamford. The target is bream, but who knows what else they might catch in this rarely-fished water?

EPISODE 3

The intrepid duo visit the glorious Lake District, which still holds a special place in Bob’s heart, thanks to his memories of teenage holidays there in the 1970s.

EPISODE 4

Full of the joys of the first day of the fishing season, Paul and Bob head to the Norfolk Broads to fish for rudd.

EPISODE 5

Paul and Bob head to Wales on a quest to catch a wild carp. They have netted some good carp in the past, but a ‘Welsh wildie’ is a new and intriguing target.

EPISODE 6

Paul and Bob are on the mighty River Severn, fishing for one of the UK’s lesser-known species, the zander. This Country star Charlie Cooper visits them bankside.

The fourth series begins with Paul and Bob taking a trip to North Uist in the Outer Hebrides to catch fresh sea trout
The fourth series begins with Paul and Bob taking a trip to North Uist in the Outer Hebrides to catch fresh sea trout
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