Bouncing Betty…


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Contained in a vintage plastic lure box that had a U.S. Patent No. A selection of wooden and metal Devon Minnow lures with traces and a single ‘ Bouncing Betty’. Why these lead controller weights are called Bouncing Betty’s slightly baffles me as the term was usually aligned with land mines . The use of a ‘ Bouncing Betty’ can be highly effective when spinning for salmon as it allows you to locate a lure in a swim or pool and let the current spin the lure allowing slow and effective coverage of a holding pool.




Back to the beginning…


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Looking out across the the water to what is known as the Deep End it is difficult to work out where some six years has gone for it is here young Tales got his first introduction to sea fishing.

We return here to Seaford most years to fish from the beach for bass, flat fish and in the summer months smoothound. I have to say we have caught little from this renound Sussex beach, you can count on one hand our success however that is not a fair summary of the productiveness of this long shingle beach.

Our day actually started by fishing the West arm of the Marina in Brighton but that soon came to an abrupt end when the waves started crashing over the concrete wall soaking us. Young Tales enthusiasm took a turn and he asked to drive over to Seaford. Upon arriving we saw several rods dotted along the beach, all close to known hot spots that fish well. In fact most sea angling comps are held between The Buckle and Tide Mills so no prizes as for guessing why.

We set up our rods just in front of the Martello Tower, here the sea is deep enough at high tide to get amongst feeding fish as the waves crash onto the beach. Unfortunately nothing was interested in our rag worm offering. We also fished Beach Comber Gully but I couldn’t get my rig out the the 80-100 yard mark for it to be productive.

As the sun started to drop away we took up fishing a favourite mark but it can be a graveyard for terminal tackle and yesterday was no exception when we lost several rigs and weights to the submerged pipe that runs out to sea.

On reflection it didn’t matter that we blanked, there were certainly fish there as a couple of guys had takes from bass, for us it was just a sheer delight to be able to spend time together hoping of catching that PB and recall the years spent fishing at this gem of a Sussex resort. For here at Seaford is where it all began.






Getting ready…


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As the brown Jiffy bag landed on the floor I knew exactly what it contained, three lures and an aluminium container that held within it four small screw top  acrylic tubes each containing different terminal tackle, small trebles, swivels, fly connectors and an assortment of hooks.

With only a couple of days left before young Tales breaks up for his summer holidays thoughts now turn as to how to entertain him. Kicking a football in the park, playing tennis, swimming, karting, cycling along the river, camping and fishing, but with nearly five and a half weeks of holiday ahead of us I’m already exhausted at the thought.

We have planned a trip to the coast next week to fish for bass and bream so I have been adding to the range of surface lures we have for bass and purchasing some well made bream traces, all very important when planning an expedition to the East Sussex Coast. I found some Yo-Zuri lures on line that were keenly priced, in fact I got three for a little more than the normal RRP for one. The selection offered also caught my eye so hopefully they will do the same for a scavenging bass.

Earlier in the year a fishing trip to Brighton Marina ended rather abruptly when the tip of young Tales’s Ron Thompson Tyran spinning rod snapped when casting a 20gms Savage Gear sand eel. The rod was more than capable of casting this weight but something caused a 40mm section of the tip to break clean off. My suspicion was that braid line had possibly wrapped over the top eye and the unforgiving nature of the braid when being cast put too much pressure on the tip. The Ron Thompson Tyran rods are well made and elegant, however the very fine tips to the blanks are so fine they will not withstand much abuse. Having purchased the rod from Farlows of Pall Mall there was a no quibble exchange for a replacement rod, and with experience on our side we decided to increase the length and casting weight if casting 15-30gms lures for bass was going to be required.

There will be a trip to the Lizard in Cornwall in August, last year we purchased a great value Rovex spinning rod which is possibly better suited to young Tales than the more delicate Ron Thompson which had been my choice for working small sand eels in the gullies of the rock of the South Cornwall coastline around Falmouth.

I think we are pretty well set up for most fishing conditions for the summer so hopefully it will be a memorable summer for young Tales. 


Patience is a virtue….

Not sure where the time went but the weekend passed all too quickly. 

We attended our village Fayre with a Medieval theme on Saturday where the whole community turns out to browse the many stalls selling all manner of things from bric-a-brac, cakes, plants, vintage clothing , recycled sail cloth bags, cakes, juice stalls and promote local clubs and societies.

What I did find on my travels around Barnes Pond was a stall selling French collectables, in a canvas holdal similar to the Efgeeco rod bag I found the previous week was a collection of French cane rods, few of the canes matched up so I asked if I could just buy the rod bag, a bit of haggling took place and after a 25% discount was offered I became the bags new owner. From another stall I purchased a cobweb ridden Brady game bag, once dusted down it was in fine condition with all leather straps intact, pleased with my £10 spend before the masses descended I headed home in order to collect young Tales for a day of fun in the park in the bright warm July sun.

Having agreed with young Tales that we would go fishing on Sunday the weather had changed overnight, for Sunday morning it was overcast with heavy cloud, a fine mist of drizzle filled the air and on reading the Tackle Box blog report both walls were closed at Brighton Marina the chosen venue for a days fishing by his Lordship. As new plans had to be drawn up we decided to head South to fish the Itchen on a stretch were we know it can be productive. After an hours drive we arrived at the River Itchen, dizzel still fell from the sky and dotted along the bank were several fishermen.

We first opted to set up with a fly rod but soon realised that if we were to catch anything we would need to rely on a float or ledger set up with maggots, which was fine except we didn’t have any maggots. Improvisation is something we are use to so the other option was to seek out some worms from beneath fallen branches however a young lad was fishing close by and we asked if we could buy a handful of maggots as we tend not to over bait the water and fish sparingly with just a float and a couple of maggots suspended beneath or a small weight with a maggot on a 10-12inch trace. At this stage things were looking up as we’d witnessed several other anglers catch chub, perch and lampreys. Unfortunately for us we decided to fish the opposite bank and within 20 minutes of setting our swim was to be bombed by a young lad to ran from behind us and jumped fully clothed into the river. The next annoyance was a dog owner who decided to throw a stick into the rive infront of us followed closely afterwards by a black Labrador ….if that wasn’t enough 5 canoeists turned up and paddled straight over the submerged line, you could see the frustration on the face of young Tales however he was patient enough to continue for a while longer hoping that the fish would come back, sadly they didn’t.

There is a fine balance on sharing the water with others, however it would be nice if members of the general public had a little more respect for anglers, surely common sense would prevail but seemingly not to be the case.



Edgar Thurston of Twickenham


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Whilst discussing the state of the tidal Thames with local piscator Brian and tactics of how to fish it successfully,  he showed me his recent tackle acquisition a Shimano 4000D BTR, what was interesting was the 60’s vintage olive green Edgar Thurston & Co reel case in pristine condition. Edgar Thurston of East Twickenham was run by Dave Steuart a well respected tackle dealer and fisherman.





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It’s not only cane rods, bank sticks and landing nets that use bamboo but in far flung places they use bamboo to construct their home from and other homewares.

Featured here is a handmade float tube or safe as sometimes referred to.



Vintage Chapmans Fred J Taylor Roach Rod…


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Over recent months I have noted the price that Chapman rods fetch along with those by the sought after B. James of Ealing. With the vintage fishing tackle scene still capturing the hearts of many a fisherman cane rods are still in demand.

I took note of the recent sale of a Chapman The Fred J Taylor Roach Rod made of honey coloured cane with deep crimson aged whippings, the cork handle in fine condition with its period blackend alloy reel fittings. These rods in good condition are hard to find, having said that they come up on a regular basis but always get good money.  Other recent Chapman rods for sale such as ‘The Amwell’ 11ft float rod, Dennis Pye 700 Pike Rod can be purchased at a reasonable price , £75 for an Amwell and £120-150 for a Dennis Pye 700 Pike Rod in good condition. Most of the available now are either in original condition, so will need a level of refurbishment or you will find them restored.

The interesting trend is to see the B James rods command much higher prices with an Avon or Kennet Perfection costing £250-295 and an Avocete demanding a good £100 more. With reference to the Fred J Taylor Roach Rod the final trading price was £148.90 for a usable rod inclusive of a rod bag.

One point to make is that many cane rods look attractive but on closer instruction will need new whippings, rings and a good coat of varnish, that’s as long as there are no cracks or de-lamination of the cane segments. Most cork handles stand the test of time and can be cleaned with a mild solution of bleach…unless the varnish fairy has cast its spell which was all the rage in the 70’s it seems.

If you are in the market for a Chapman or B James cane rod then I hope the above is of some help.

A trip over the bridge…


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Having basked in temperature in excess of 25c over the last few days, the sky this morning was overcast and rain threatened to dampen the monthly stalling out at Chiswick Car Boot.

I was accompanied this morning by our new neighbours who were intrigued to visit this monthly sale of an eclectic mix vintage collectables and bric-a-brac. Much like Sunbury Antiques Market held at Kempton Race Course you can literally have a wish list and find most of it.

I had a few items on my list, hand Shears to trim my Box plants, items of vintage tackle, and some vintage tools, did I need any of it, not really but if I was to acquire anything then those were the items.

After a quick walk around the stalls there seemed little that would make me part with my money. I found a lovely Scarborough reel, a vintage bait tin which was simply too expensive to give a second glance, a Rimfly Classic fly reel with line, several rods – none of which inspired, an eel and minnow trap and a few multiplier reels together with a box of minnows and Hardy spinning weights. No matter how tempting I passed up on most of it, difficult that it was when you have the vintage tackle bug.

On a second pass of stands beneath the trees I found box containing some Burgon & Ball Classic Garden Shears, these I purchased for £5. Further along I noticed a large black umbrella that sheltered a range of vintage items, what I did notice was the familiar shape of an Efgeeco rod bag under the umbrella. I asked the vendor about the bag, he replied ‘it’s for the umbrella mate’, I knelt down turned over the sipped opening for it to reveal the signature black printed logo of Efgeeco No.244, 5c on the distinctive olive green canvas. I asked as to the price for the bag and at £35 inclusive of the umbrella which it housed a reasonable price, after a bit of haggling which would give me enough to buy a celebratory pint I walked of with the Efgeeco bag over my shoulder. Leaving the field it started to rain, with a cheeky grin across my face as I headed home to watch the British Grand Prix and the thoughts of a bit of fishing later in the day.






Sea Trout running in the Thames…


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It was reported yesterday that a 3lb Sea Trout was caught in the River Thames from a mark close to where I live in Barnes. Taken on a trotted maggot in the margins at low tide in the evening as the sun was setting, this gives me great hope that these bars of silver will continue to thrive in this main artery of our land.

As now is the time when Sea Trout seem to run from the sea I will venture out this evening to see if I can tempt one on the fly.


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