In a distant corner of the land there was a gathering of the brotherhood of fishermen and ladies in a hall in Romsey. There, knowledgable folk presented the wares of times past when tweeds were worn and hats adorned the grey matter.
This was a gathering of dealers, collectors and those that have the illness known to many women of piscatorialitis, where one rod, reel, float or fly is never enough.
On the outskirts of this Hampshire market town signs adorned the lamp posts to guide those with a passion for angling to see refuge in a school hall aided by cups of ‘victory gin’, builders tea and to exchange thoughts and knowledge on angling and all that is associated with it.
There were the familiar faces of John Andrews of Andrews of Arcadia, Jeff Della Mura, author of Hooked on Floats, Richard from Robins Wood Fishery, James Partridge of Jim’s Reel Shop, David Townsend of Fishing Tackle Antiques, Michael Fanner of The Reel Thing this list was extensive in the who’s who of vintage tackle or as my wife would term it stuff from those that have flung their last cast….now in fishing heaven.
Tables were full of vintage tackle, books, ephemera, cased fish, landing nets, flies, collectables and a fine assortment of ‘sticks’, fly and coarse fishing rods to those of the passion.
Fine leather boxed Hardy Perfects, Allcocks Aerial and Populars, Speedias, Trudex, Rapidex, Ambidex and many other classics filled tables along with cases of Classic Abu 6000 multipliers. There were classic rods that have graced the Test and Tay, those that have rested on the banks of the Avon and Frome, now the rest on the finest cotton velvet with prices ranging from under £50 – £850. The assortment of rods available covered every need and made from those bastions of the hay day of Redditch to the House of Hardy in Northumberland, custom built rods by Barder to one from that eccentric dealer Ben Maurice Jones who once traded from a shop in Portobello. Sadly like many of the classic fishing tackle shops that nestled in the streets of London and other metros is now nothing more than a memory.
For those of you that suffer from the incurable ailment of hoarding tackle there is another fair to be held in Redditch on Sunday the 11th May.
My only however was the purchase of a small brass and steel priest for Young Tales. On my journey home via Winchester I stopped off to pick up a pair of vintage Keenfisher studded waders I had purchased via that well known online auction site, they were a bargain and in nearly new condition. What I did do as promised was not to buy anymore ‘sticks’ for fear of being beaten by with them upon return to thee Tales household…..it was very difficult as I did see a fine roach rod not to forget the fine split cane fly rod by Ben Maurice Jones for £150.00 or the bargain of the day was a fine roach rod by W B Clarke of Redditch for a mere £38 made of two parts cane with a split cane top, it was in magnificent original condition and sold by Michael Fanner of The Reel Thing…oh how I could kick myself for not buying it.