Another Chapman Peter Stone Ledgerstrike….


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I’ve recently seen another Chapman of Ware, Peter Stone Ledgerstrike rod listed on that well known online auction site. This one not with the provinance of being owned by the renowend angler but all the same made a good price, at £225 the bidding ended.

These sought after cane rods form Chapmans of Ware are still commanding good money, in fact I haven’t seen one change hands for less than £200 in recent months.

As the owner of several Chapman cane rods I have decided to let a few go as I can’t justify keeping them all, some will get used but others are now best passed on. Over the coming weeks I will list a range of vintage tackle to be sold, reels, rods, books and other fishing items. Out if my collection of rods will be a couple of Chapman 500’s in fine refurbished condition and a Chapman Shelford in mint original condition.

Like many an angler the lure of a fine rod is difficult to resist but it’s the storage of them which becomes an issue. Also we have found recently that we are using less than a third of what we own, some rods are so dependable that they are winning favour each time we go fishing. The selection process will be tough but we will need to pair the collection down to four trout rods, two Sea-trout rods, two salmon rods, four spinning rods, two sea rods, two ledger rods, two float rods and one stalking rod for carp fishing, the later being the Chapman 550 I gave to Paul Cook to refurbish. Even that list is extensive enough, it will no doubt end up being more as I just remembered four highly prized Hardy cane fly rods and a fine Sharpes Scottie featherweight that is a dream to use, so still I recon we will end up with twenty five rods between the two of us and if young Tales big brother ever gets involved we might just need to have a few in reserve, however at this stage he’s into buying cameras and film equipment.

Having just done a mental audit I think we’ll have at least a dozen rods up for sales and a least a dozen reels so watch this space or if you are in the market for some vintage tackle by Hardy, Sharpes, Abu, Allcocks and other notable tackle merchants then drop me a line, pardon the pun. 

I can see for miles….


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After an arduous journey across several counties and then across the Severn Bridge taking more than five and a half hours we arrived at Aberaeron for a weekends fishing on the Lower Aeron and Llanerchaeron beat to celebrate a decade of Young Tales, for it is his birthday on Sunday.

His love for fishing and wanting to catch a salmon or sea trout inspired a trip to the wonderful stretch of the Welsh Coast where many rivers feed into Cardigan Bay. Here you can fish for sea-trout or salmon for £10 per day on the Lower Aeron managed by the Aberaeron Town Angling Club, where tickets are available from the Post Office or the local Tourist Information Centre. All we hope for is that Young Tales lines are tight by sunset or soon after tomorrow.

As we broke through the mist just before 21.22 the time indicated on the cars navigation system we caught a glimps of the setting sun lowering itself into what can only be described as a boiling sea of gold, literally you could see for miles and miles. Aberaeron is a picturesque seaside resort, it brightly painted building reminding me of the buildings captured in The Prisoner, a series I watched as a child. 

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to report of a river of boiling silver. 


The Voice Of Game Fishing…


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As mentioned before in a previous post a sudden clatter of the letterbox and a thud on the floor alerted me to the fact that the June edition of Trout & Salmon had arrived.

With headlines of A sea-trouter’s guide to the Towy, Mayo’s Hidden Loughs, Mayfly Magic On The Wye and How To Fish A Cumbrian Gem makes this issue an interesting read. A call to action to celebrate the magazines 60th Anniversary of Save Our Salmon was quite apt especially in light that we have planned a trip to fish the Welsh Teifi at the end of the month.

As a monthly magazine it is good that young Tales picks it up and will read it cover to cover. I imagine he will read with interest the article on Which Fly a Colour for fishing in different light and times of the year. There is enough informative information to turn him into a very knowledgeable fisherman where he is happy to demonstrate what he has learned…such as upstream dry fly fishing.




Winter officially dead…


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Being the first day of May, with blossom on the fruit trees and the hanging baskets starting to flower Winter as we know it is over. The Willow trees are in bright green leaf and the streams are crystal clear. The warmer days of May will herald in the start of ‘Duffers Fortnight’, the time where any large fly presented to the water will be consumed in a frenzy of activity whilst the trout gorge themselves on these large terrestrial flies.

Over the Winter months vintage Wheatley fly boxes of Mayflies were acquired from car boot sales, online auction sites and tackle stores. In all honesty a single Grey Wulf will suffice but those classic patterns of yellow partridge usually account for the majority of ferocious takes from underneath hanging branches and trialling willows. As the silhouette of the fly skims across the water you can see the bow wave of the fish as they speed through the water to take and turn on the fly.

To all of you out there fishing this first day of May, may your lines be tight and heart pound with excitement.



The highs and lows…


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It is difficult to comprehend where the time has gone since I last wrote a post for this blog. The Easter break seems to have passed in the blink of an eye, the last day of coarse fishing season I noted but didn’t get a chance to get to the river even when it’s yards from my home. The start of the official trout season is underway however young Tales has notched up as many trout as his motor racing idol has won rounds of the F1 World Championship.

Over the Easter break we took to the shores of Suffolk and saw first hand the productivity of some of the fishing marks that one reads about in Sea Angler magazine. A ticking off from young Tales ensued as having decided not to pack a rod as I didn’t think we’d have time, I was to be proved wrong. Arriving  at Southwold on a turning tide I was to be escorted up to the end of the pier to see a couple of old salts land flatties on a cocktail of lug tipped with squid, ‘I told you to pack a rod’ exclaimed young Tales.

Interestingly enough where we stayed on the outskirts of Ipswich the hotel has a small brook that winds through the grounds. Fast darting shadows indicated that natural browns were resident in the clear waters. Each morning young Tales would head out of the French windows to run down a lush grass bank covered in a thick morning dew to stand on a wooden bridge to search the waters for fish.

We will return to this coastline which is of such historical importance to fish it later in the year, the rods will be packed for sure. 


How time flies


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I can’t believe that a full two weeks have past since I last updated my blog. In all fairness not much has happened and as work pressures put pay to any fishing before the end of the season for coarse fish we are now upon the start of the season for fly fishing for trout on rivers.

Over the winter months a few items of tackle were purchased and amongst those items were the odd fly box, namely vintage Wheatley alloy boxes and an interesting item for retrieving the odd fly out of overhanging branches. Having had the time to sort all the tackle out into boxes and mark them up accordingly I am further sorting out the fly boxes to contain patterns for the different rivers and locations we fish, well that was my reasoning to justify the acquisition of yet another fly box to Mrs Tales. This latest box made by Wheatley I assume is an early box but it does seem to have the more modern addition of a foam insert to the top of the lid. The compartment have the distinctive yellow celluloid windows however the compartments to the outer edge have oval shaped windows. It would be great to know if this really is an early Wheatley box, so any pointers would be much appreciated.

This box will be made up of flies for fishing the river and lakes of The South West and Wales as we may head there over Easter. Most of the flies used for Wales will be classic wets which fill form the contents of another box with clips.

In the last edition of Trout & Salmon magazine there was a feature on early season flies, most tied on size 14 hooks and forming a group of emergers. Out of a large collection of flies accumulated over many years I will try to put together a workable selection to cover early season needs for woodland and moorland streams, with a good selection of flies for lakes such as Bala or Tynconel.

It would be good to hear from any of you as to your early season choices of fly. 



From Luxor and beyond…


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Earlier today a package arrived containing a lure box by Pezon & Michel, Paris. Similar in construction to a Wheatley box but bearing the distinctive Luxor embossed logo to the front.

In another package 20 more sweet painted ladies arrived from North of the Boarders, these are now house in a vintage Edward Sharp & Sons Ltd confectioners tin appointed by the Late King George VI.





Sweet painted ladies…


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Each had it’s own unique decoration much like a row of ladies sitting on the underground. Their makeup painted on in different ways, colour and texture, however these are a mixed collection of Devon Minnows whose purpose is to deceive or attract the attention of the salmon.

Over the years I have cast many of these and on many an occasion retrieved them only to find that the triple hook had lodge itself into a sunken branch in much the same way that a well heeled lady has had the misfortune to get her heel stuck in the groves of the escalator or gap in the pavement, the difference though is that the later is retrievable where many a minnow has been lost to nature.

There are all sorts of Devon Minnow imitations. Here captured below are set of hand painted wooden and brass minnows each carefully decorated and now rare to find.


Other peoples junk…


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In my pursuit of finding good vintage fishing tackle I trawl car boots, on-line sites and visit a circuit of vintage tackle fairs. There are a couple of antique and vintage markets which always produce the odd reel, box of flies, fishing bags and spinners.

On a recent visit to a local car boot sale I found in the bottom of a cardboard box a metallic blue reel, a Mitchell Match 440A. Still in good working order it is robust and will last at least another 20-30 years. Also as detailed in yesterday’s post I found a large silver plate scallop shell platter which will be ideal for serving mixed seafood on a bed of ice served with a chilled glass of Picpoul de Pinet with its notes of mineral, white pepper and grapefruit tang, it’s a great wine from the sun-baked vineyards of Languedoc. I can’t wait for the warmers days to arrive but this wine when served with fish makes me think of balmy days near the Med.

Picpoul de Pinet 2020, Domain Félines Jourdan, Languedoc, France available from Berry Bros & Rudd, £8.95 or Picpoul de Pinet Prestige 2010 Domain Cabrol, Languedoc, France available at Majestic Wine

For Mitchell reels contact The Reel People – Jims Reel Shop



Building Blocks Part ii


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The acquisition of vintage tackle seems to form part of everyday life in the Tales household, either by the familiar thud on the doormat or having been tucked into an old Brady bag to escape the eyes of Mrs Tales and smuggled into the house, usually on the first Sunday of the month which coincides with a well known West London car boot.

Having received a package that contained a blue card box bearing the ink description ‘Building Blocks’ and containing a mix of vintage tackle on Friday I ventured out early on Sunday morning to the local car boot sale in search of vintage items for the home, vintage bar ware and vintage tackle.

First purchase of the day was a silver plate scallop shaped platter, large in size and interesting as to its intended use, any pointers would be much appreciated but I guess a platter for sea food? There was much on offer on this bright day in March, however I was focused on finding items that would help me with my gin presentations, and any items to go with my interest in Vermouth, a liquid which I sense my grow over the next few months. I did find three nickel silver Scottish spirit measures, typically large in the measure size but not a must have requirement.

As I scoured more boxes of castoffs, bric-a-brac and odds and ends I came across a distinctive blue painted Mitchell 440A, dusty, ingrained with oil and dirt but all there and when rubbed the blue paint was bright, the chrome un-pitted and the bail arm worked to a fashion, possibly in need of a service by James Partridge of Jims Reel Shop. For just over the fraction of the cost of a pint of Guinness I purchased the reel and tucked it away in my trusted Brady bag. Time was soon ticking by and I had promised young Tales a visit to Robins Wood, a favoured fishery and one he has started to understand how it fishes.

Clearly the teaching of recent years is paying dividends, it wasn’t long after having arrived at this picturesque Surrey trout fishery that young Tales was into a bright eyed fish, caught on a nymph that the fishery owner recommended.

Over the winter months much had been done to improve this fishery, new paths, bridges and some of the dense vegetation and overhanging trees having been cut back. It did give the fishery a tidy and manicured look without detracting from is pastoral feel, where a trickling stream dropping into lakes then down through woodland to make this an idyllic destination worth the 40 minute drive from South West London.

I sense we will be back before the official start to the trout season for young Tales to increase his tally and show that his youthful enthusiasm can out fish me again this season.






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