Every year this fantastic show explodes into life bringing customers from all over the civilised world (i.e. S.E. England) and even from the very edges of the Earth itself(Wales, Cornwall, Scotland etc). Yet it always leaves me stupefied as to why the angling world does not give it the attention it deserves.

Almost every other stand at the show had small - and sometimes not so small - craft with affordable (and sometimes not so affordable!) price tags. Almost every stand also carried advertising pictures depicting happy boat owners afloat on balmy, idealic days; attractive females sunbathing in bikinis whist handsome men cast masculine lures at a romantic setting sun. Hmm.

So, assuming that the merchandising crowd know what they are doing; that angling is a desirable activity to be engaged in whilst turning ones back on a luscious member of the opposite sex, why on earth were there so few stands with extensive angling content? If it's pretty obvious , even to some jumped up clot with a ponytail and media studies degree that boating people are also angling people - why is it less obvious to the angling fraternity? Where were the fishing stands?

There were one, or perhaps two. The guys on the Stateside Tackle stand looked a bit smug. So they should, they probably paid a small fortune for the stand but had virtually the entire boat fishing community to themselves. I doubt they will have as much as a hook left by the end of the show and good luck to them! At such a quiet time in the angler's calendar, it is ludicrous that a much bigger deal is not made of this show by the tackle trade. (Next year I guess we'll have 1000's of them after that plug!).

The boat angler's usual suspects were lined up as expected. Orkney, Warrior, Zodiac and the like; the outboard power unit stands competed for maximum exposure. The star-ships of the Princess class towering above tiny inflatables and dinghies - like a scene from a StarTrek movie. The crowds moved like shoals of brightly coloured fish, weaving in and out of the keels beneath the towering hulls.

Boats? Me? Well, I know nothing Senior. Well, other than they make catching fish a lot easier and a lot more fun at times. Actually, I thought I knew a bit but having had my head turned by several dozen alien concepts today I realise that I am, as usual, a trifle behind the times. Cavorting and cavitation I can handle with ease; WAP and weather websites start to get confusing and by the time we hit radar and GPS I'm looking for help. Got to learn this stuff, stay on top, keep taking the fish-finder lessons.

A special point of interest for the travelling angler at the show was the Clam-boat. With so many anglers, myself included, shooting off abroad to sample the much better angling opportunities that seem to exist in every other European country, the advantages of a toy like this should be obvious. It is an old idea which has been reworked into a very tasty tool indeed. It's a full-on folding boat which converts from being a small trailer into a real work-horse boat, the equal of those (actually a lot better) of which many trout reservoirs supply. It takes two minutes to get off the car and into the water. I say 'off the car' because there is no trailer. The towbar detaches to be left in the car and the boats wheels are integral, folding up into the bodywork for use in the water. Naturally, it costs a fraction of the price to put on a cross-channel ferry as that of a conventional craft of the same length.

The Clam-boats I saw at the show seemed to be a little on the light side but I was assured that a slightly heavier yet much stronger polypropylene version is on its way - I would prefer that if fishing a swiftly flowing rocky river. I hope to be trying one out shortly so watch this space