Found on a table at a sale of vintage and collectables this disguised Abu Toby lure. Clearly decorated in the original owners favourite colours I wonder if this was for predatory fish or for a Spring or Autumn Salmon. I guess the only way to find out is to fish with it, but in the meantime it can be used as a decoration on the tree, once the treble has been removed.
Under bright skies the farmers market was quieter then usual, some new vendors stalled amoungst the regulars and the usual banter filled the air, then one stall holder shouted ‘Downton how are you?, that’s the nickname given to me by Ed the purveyor of Sushi, I have to say it is rather good, better than what you’ll get in M&S, Yo Sushi and other fast food outlets.
Having spent a good part of the morning in the loft looking for the Christmas decorations and trying to have a good tidy up, just that I need to find some space to store things before Mum comes for Christmas. Having a passion for collecting art and an eclectic mix of decorative items I’ve seemed to have collected enough to fill Downton Abbey let alone our humble home which is comfortable but a bit on the small size, I guess that’s the compromise for living in this leafy part of London. Amoungst all the boxes of collectables, paperwork, mirrors, old furniture and obsolete electrical goods. However, in one area of the loft are several boxes of Speyside Whisky, a collection put together over several years and have remain unopened for at least a decade.
I have always had a passion for whisky in fact I was fortunate enough to work for the well respected merchant of fine wines and spirits, Berry Bros & Rudd. The heritage of the company in St James’s spans over 300 years and the owners of the Glenrothes brand and that familiar tipple when on holiday, Cutty Sark, which they have now sold on. For me the crisp winter nights becon a dram or two of a fine malt and a dash of Franklin & Sons Artesian Water which comes from a well know Scottish spring. I’ve still not acquired any whisky stones yet as I have in the past used a large round ice mould to chill my glass down so maybe a trip to Whisky World this week to see what new releases there are to add to the Christmas drinks list.
I’m behind this year on my writing and sadly I’m behind on my Advent posts so I will aim to put one together for tomorrow. With the loss of my father earlier this year, a new job which has become all consuming and with little opportunity to fish, source vintage tackle or walk the shoreline I’ve been short on inspiration, hopefully I’ll get back to more activity in the New Year. For now I’ll raise a glass of the fine spirit and think about returning to the water over the Christmas holidays for an early frosty and crisp mornings Perch or Grayling fishing…now there’s a thought.
Having not really invested in any vintage tackle this year I couldn’t but help notice the sale of a Chapman of Ware cane fishing rod on thatcwell known online auction site.
Having followed it over a few days I noticed that it sold for £162.50, a good amount and more than I sold mine for a year ago at the Vintage Tackle Fair in Redditch. My pristine example was purchased by a German collector for £135.
In early November those of the brotherhood of the angel will take to the roads early in the morning and head to the Mecca of all things piscatorial for the Vintage Tackle Fair, however tempting it is, but I realise I’ll come back with more than I left to sell and that doesn’t please Mrs Tales.
I do have four Chapman rods to sell, a couple of Chapman 500’s and a sought after 550 which was refurbished by the respected Mr Paul Cook, which reminds me I have a Hardy LRH cane Salmon spinning rod to refurbish and a friends Farlow Elf that needs a new top section.
With little fishing done this year I’ve decided to reduce the amount of rods and reels in the collection, even young Tales realised that although it’s nice to have a cane rod the practicalities of a more modern rod means that you’ll use it more, much like the classic car only being driven on dry days.
Well it’s time to head to bed to read the most recent copy of Trout & Salmon, scroll through the feeds on the twitter account and look at all those lucky enough to be Grayling fishing this week.
After a slow start to the day we eventually get ourselves together and made our way to Seaford for an afternoons fishing. The forecast was promising, a late high tide and the wind that blew for most of the day would drop by early evening. With a brief stop at Newhaven Angler for some lugworm we were set for a good afternoons fishing.
We set up a couple of vintage rods, an Abu Atlantic 4 paired to a Cardinal 759 and an old Masterline spinning rod paired to vintage Mitchell reel that was acquired a couple of years ago from a car boot sale in Norfolk.
As a good couple of hours passed by with not even a knock it was clearly going to be a tough afternoon. Young Tales, kept his focus , as dusk set in he was rewarded with a Horse Mackerel
Over recent months it has been noticeable of the absence of Andrews of Arcadia, no longer a dedicated piscatorial stall fills a space at the far end of the market, no more mugs of victory tea, banter, stories of trips to the ends of the island in search of ‘Vintage Tackle For The Soul’ – this an now only be found by viewing on my iPad.
Spitalfields Market always excites me in much the same as Sunbury Antiques Market who’s home is Kempton Racecourse. You simply never know what you may find but if you wish for something you’ll always manage to find it.
Having attended a meeting at Shoreditch House I decided to stroll back through the Market towards Liveool Street Station. Dealers sat chatting to each other and punters browsed the eclectic mix of items, boxes of bone, silverware, vintage watches, paintings, glassware, vintage furniture, shop fittings, clothing – yes this list is endless.
Having picked up a vintage Festival of Britain branded glass and a 50’s button badge from someone’s holiday souvenirs from St Ives I came across a table of odds and ends and a handful of vintage lures. Some whittled from wood, others a combination of wire and lead weights, others vintage manufactures lures, similar to Heddon and one painted Abu Toby, this I had to have. What intrigued me most was that someone had taken the time to sit and make some lures that they thought would deceive a fish…today they caught the eye of a fisherman, as my wife say’s, tackle is there to catch fishermen not fish.
It’s frustrating when whilst I the middle of a writing a post it seems to disappear, however I will have another go. Fishing trips have been far and few between this year in fact I’m not even sure we’ve been on one. I know we’ve put the rods in the car, bags and all the other stuff, but the time spent by the water fishing just hasn’t happened.
Also in my pursuit of all things vintage there have been no trips to Sunbury Antiques Market and I think I’ve only been to my favourite West London Car Boot once. I’ve purchased a couple of things out of local charity shops, these being an Intrepid Gearfly Reel and Spool along with a pristine Diawa Salmon spinning rod.ba recent online purchase of a colapsable canvas fishing creel from the turn of the last century was a good find, made by the Planet Co of Westfield, Mass. Planet seem to make a range of colapsable canvas fishing items, bait buckets, minnow traps and a creel. Although missing it’s carrying strap it looks like new, no faded material and the metal struts in good condition. It was listed as a live bait bag but after having done some research it was note as a Creel and across the Pond a valued item trading at $145 in fair condition.
My other recent purchase has been a ‘New Era’ Bruce & Walker Fly Rod #7/9 an ideal Sea -Trout or Grilse rod. This rod I want to try out on a West Wales river before the season ends. Having purchased some Sea-Trout flies from Dai Jones, serviced the Gearfly reel and cleaned the lines ready for use, I just need to pick up the rod from Toby on the South Coast and head for the hills of mid Wales. For over two seasons your Tales and I have talked about a trip to catch a bar of silver out of a Welsh river but to date we just haven’t found the time to do it. In fact we had also discussed a trip up to the Tay in Scotland, once an annual pilgrimage for myself to fish on the Kenmore stretch of the river during the end of September or early October.
Having taken on the role of launching a new range of tonics and soft drinks under the Franklin & Sons brand who’s heritage dates back to 1886, the precious time I once had to fish with young Tales has now been absorbed in attending Gin Festivals across the country most weekends. Hopefully, whilst the summer holidays are upon us we’ll get the odd afternoon to head South to the Itchen on the outskirts of Winchester to fish, there a couple of seasons ago young Tales caught his first Sea-Trout, an experience he will never forget or will I.
Fishing in what ever form has been a great pastime for us to enjoy, building lasting memories and bonding us together in a way no other sport has done to date, well except our love for cars and motorsport but it’s not quite the same. I do hope we can enjoy more time by the river or sea together- simply we need to make time to do it.
During the late 70’s and early 80’s I recall a range of reels by Gladding and Sheakspere all denoting ‘ Made In England’, they were robust solid reels if not slightly too heavy against the more expensive a sought after Hardy and Orvis lightweight reels that I aspired too. It wasn’t until after I started my first job in a design studio in Covent Garden could I afford to part with the money for a Hardy LRH Lightweight reel, a reel which I still fish with to this day.
My reason for featuring the Intrepid Gear Fly is for the mere fact that I found a spare spool in a local charity shop the other week which then prompted me to think about finding a reel on that familiar online auction site, more to reminisce about those days in the early 80’s when I would fish the Queen Mother Resevoir near Datchet and Latimer Park Farm with a 10ft John Norris of Penrith rod paired to a Beaulite reel, which served me well for many years until I then decided to fish light on chalk streams in the South and smaller lakes. It was late summer last year that I decided to have my old John Norris rod refurbished by my dear friend – Richard the Fish. Not only did he rewhipp the rings but also upgraded some of the parts such as a keeper ring and nickel silver suround on the joint if the rod blank and cork handle.
These classic reels, although seen as an entry level offer were so solid in their construction that many survive in good condition today, much like this Intrepid Gear Fly featured. If you want to put together a more than adequate sea-trout package these reels paired with a good graphite or even fibatube rod and #7-#8 line means that you won’t be worried when scrambling about in the dark on the river bank rather than risking damaging a reel that cost you several hundred pounds. To be honest I agree with Mrs Tales on her view that as long as it holds line and you can reel in why spend a fortune…
I need to dig out my old Shakespeare Beaulite and Gladding Rimfly reels which are still very usable – bit like an old classic English Sports Car, a TR2 or 3, solid old pieces of kit…’Made In England’
Today saw the return of a certain West London car boot sale. I guess I was a little excited when I drew back the curtains to see blue skies and the glow of winter sun. A mug of tea was downed and a layer of thermals put on as although the sun saw out a brisk wind barrel up the river.
Joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers turned the towpath into one of Boris’s super-highways and the river was a hive of activity with rowers as they skimmed their oars across the water. I made my way over Barnes Bridge via Duke Meadows past the Civil Service Sports Ground where a procession of Range Rovers, Astons, Maserati Quattroporte, Ferrari 456, Porsche Cayenne and mid range executive cars ferried their occupants to a rugby tournament. Hastily on foot I made my way past the engine noise of V8’s, V10’s and turbos.
By the time I past the allotments I knew I was only a few minutes away from the car boot sale but o was later than I wanted to be as the trade descend on this venue early in the morning in order to pick up the best and most desirable items, however it seemed that they had stayed away today as it was quiet compared to other days.
I was after picking up some vintage gin and whisky miniatures as I know they turn up, today was no exception as soon after scouring the ground with my eyes I found three cardboard apple boxes full of someone’s collection. clearly made up of collecting souvenir miniatures from their travels. Nothing really stood out though I know many are still prized by bar tenders, bottles of vermouth , Benedictine , Camus Cognac, J&B Rare and Sandeman Sherry. One miniature that did stand out was a co-branded BOAC Fino Sherry, clearly a First Class complimentary aperitif. Even for the £1 price tag I declined to load my backpack, foolish I may be but they turn up time and time again.
I know my dealers well, so I call on the usual suspects however didn’t find what I was looking for or had I…I can’t help myself with vintage tackle, I do pass up on most of what I see but did part with £8 for a Efgeeco rod carrier and a vintage fibreglass Cardoc Three Fishes leger rod, both items in clean usable condition, not on that we’ll know online auction site could you buy these a £4 per item.
Having browsed several isle of stalls I came across a stall of vintage glass ad ceramic bottles, none of the old gin or whisky bottles but I did clock a black- japanned time with the distinctive label BACC JUNIPERI. The tin had a flip top hinged lid which revealed a bright clean interior, this I had to buy. On the same stall was s box of vintage hand-made floats all beautifully made the paint and varnish still crisp and clean. There were Spanish reed floats, chubbers, avons, fluted, quill floats, antenna and wagglers, a box full of over 50 floats all marked up at £2.50 each, I was so tempted but knowing I have boxes and boxes of vintage floats I passed on these, however on the walk back past the allotments I wished I purchased a handful.
Maybe next month I will find more treasures but in the meantime I hope to get out on the river to give the rod I purchased today a chance to bend whilst playing a river roach or dace.
To all of you brothers of the angle, shutter and paintbrush, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, may you all find peace and love not only over the Christmas season but for evermore.
For those of you heading to the river or sea tomorrow may your lines be tight and smiles put upon your face.
I bless you all for a prosperous New Year.
Between the rain showers and the warm glow of winter sun we dashed around the village doing the lasts bits of shopping before retiring to the pub for a beer and a bite to eat in order to give us energy to wrap those Christmas gifts for young Tales, it may take some time.
The years seems to have passed all too quickly, possibly because we’ve done a lot but more than likely because we are getting older. During the year we went West Wales for young Tales birthday to allow him to fish for sea-trout, went to a wedding in St Ives, visited Mrs Tales birthplace on the island of Cyprus, retuned to Bexhill – a place I spent time at as a young teenager to fish, stalled out at The National Vintage Tackle Fair, worked on some new projects and now it’s Christmas.
As it’s time to spend time with Mrs and young Tales on this Christmas Eve I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you who have taken time to read my blog a very merry Christmas.