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The alarm went off at 4am, dark with the sound of rain on the slate roof we had exactly an hour to pack the car and head to Redditch for The Vintage Tackle Fair. Hosted by the well known and respected John Andrews of Andrews of Arcadia, it was to be a jamboree of forty plus dealers selling their treasure troves of tackle, books, cased fish, art, floats and journals.

Young Tales woke at 4.15, pulled on his clothes, yawned and sat on the edge of his bed as boxes of tackle collected over several years were carried down the stairs to the car. Our trusted silver arrow with its cavernous boot was quickly filled to the gunnels. With a flask of coffee, some ripe bananas we took the long road to the Midlands, the heart of the English tackle industry to take rods and reels back to where they were made.

With professionalism young Tales helped stall out, unpacking Hardy, Abu, Sharpes, Allcocks, JW Young, Efgeeco – reels , rods, bags, nets, fly boxes, lures and objects of piscatorial interest. With 9am fast approaching there seemed to be a level of pre-viewing by other dealers of what we had, some so eager watched us as we unpacked, scanning each item with an intensity that you could hear ‘mine, mine’.

As the doors opened to hoards of anglers, collector and other dealers there was a buzz in the air. Eyes scanned the table like it was a game show, trying to memorise what we had on offer before heading to the next table like bees collecting pollen from flowers.

Comparing prices, condition and range seemed to be order of the day, then like bees returning to the hive the odd buyer would come back to haggle, clearly a good number were out for a bargain. Some buyers from Norway and Germany were focused on buying quality rods and reels, we were lucky to trade a couple of Chapman and an Octofloat rod at sensible prices where both seller and buyer were please to trade. A few vintage books sold and smaller tackle items. We had one client who decided to adorn his coat with a few spinners as he reached across the table to look at a clean and free-running Speedia, later to be purchased and on reflection was my own personal reel put out in error which will be missed as many a good story was linked to that wonderful reel, I hope it’s new owner looks after it. Also my trusted Hardy Ultralite Salmon reel found its way onto the table. It caught the eye of another dealer who passed by the stand several times, the early start took its toll on us all and without thinking clearly the haggling dealer like a predatory big cat, stalking to the last got the deal he’d been clearly after. A lesson learned not to put your own kit in with your for sale items, that was a costly mistake.

Overall it was a pleasant affair, familiar faces and busy enough not to allow me time to spend the takings on a wish list of reels and other items which Mrs Tales reminds me that I don’t really need. I also need to thank her for reminding me of that and for her help on the day. My gratitude to young Tales who endured the whole day with such enthusiasm, engaged with customers and put the whole thing in context saying that things were there to sell and the more we sold the further afield we could go on our next fishing adventure, clearly influenced by watching Big Fish. He noted that even if we sold all the table we could still catch fish with a stick, a length of line, reed, stone and a hook. It’s very wise words from such a young soul that it’s no good having lots of tackle in boxes if you can’t get out to use it.
Interestingly enough he did his own trade with Mr Andrews and came away with a bonus for his efforts.

The next National Vintage Tackle show will be in May 2016…if we sell all we have the question will be where will we be heading to fish?

The day was long and an even longer road home

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