A personal take on tackle development

The history & development of fishing tackle part of the forum.
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Peter Wilde
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A personal take on tackle development

Post by Peter Wilde » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:22 pm

I wonder if anyone else has a personal history of fishing that might (kind of) recapitulate the actual historical development of tackle and techniques ..?

My early experiences probably happened that way because nobody in my family fished. So when I took it up - more or less by accident - there were no sources of advice, hand-me-downs, or short cuts. To explain:

It began on a seaside holiday in France, when (at age 11 or so) I found a bit of discarded line on the beach with a hook attached. There was also a little jetty nearby with small fish swimming just below. Tying some string to the bit of nylon line, I caught one. Then it seemed an obvious step to add a "rod" at the top of the bit of string; using what was to hand, which was a knobbly bit of tree branch a few feet long. That did seem to help, though I did not know anything about striking.

Back at school in the autumn, there was a small group of boys that fished, inexpertly, in the school pond. Joining them, I bought a few hooks and some line (actually a totally unsuitable combination, 9 lb line to a 14 hook - how did the thick line even fit through the hook eye, one now wonders!). This outfit was completed with a thin whippy green bamboo, clumps of which grew very conveniently in the school grounds, with my short line tied to the tip. Plus, at first, a bit of twig as a float. A few small roach on bread paste did fall to this outfit, though there were lots of nibbles and not many fish caught.

My next steps were to buy a proper float and shot, then a basic (Eton Sun) cheap centrepin "boys reel". That reel was crudely lashed to the butt end of my bamboo, with a few taped-on rod rings made from bits of wire. This resulted in more and bigger fish from the pond, including some tiny carp, and much more obsession!

After that I bought my first proper rod (an Edgar Sealey "White Wonder" in solid glass). The subsequent collection of more tackle (and know-how!) followed more conventional lines; though I still like making and repairing bits and bobs.

Apologies if this post is a bit off topic and not very erudite. I look forward to some gems aboout the real history of tackle development!

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by Catfish.017 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:43 pm

Peter no gems concerning the development of tackle to add but a coincidental experience with the line and hooks. We lived about three miles from Swansea and the nearest tackle shop, Atkinsons Sports. My elder brother, nine years my senior, agreed one Saturday to drive in and get me some tackle. I ordered as well as floats and shot, some 9lb line and 14 hooks. This time the line, Pescalon wouldn't fit through the hook eyes. My brother returned to the shop and complained rather stroppily to be given some instruction in balanced tackle. He returned with 5lb line which is what I relied on for several years

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by John_Moore » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:19 am

Good idea Peter!
It brought back some memories of when I was 9.
My parents had moved to a mobile home park in Essex with us three kids.
In the middle of nowhere with farmers fields around for miles what do kids do!
Myself and a couple of mates travelled around the land where low and behold, a stream (wow).
Looking into the clear flowing water we oggled at all sorts of creatures, so next day a small plastic net was gotton hold of with some pocket money I hadn't yet spent and an empty glass jar from the kitchen and we were away.
With the summer sun shining us kids scooped up all kinds of water life. I knew what a snail was but as far as anything else I was clueless, there were lots of other little critters that went into the jar but it was that little thing swimming around with the spikes on that took my interest, my mate pointed out it's a stickleback....
That was it, the net came of and some string went on the end of the bamboo with a bent pin attached.
My friends and I went for weeks through sun and rain trying to catch that humble stickleback but to no avail.
Not surprising really but that's what lads used to do in the late 1960's.
A lot more went on in the following years over the surrounding fields, streams and rivers ofWaltham Abbey but that's is another story.
Brought my first rod from a mate for a pound when I was 12, a 13' Kingfisher cane and split cane, hav'nt used it for over 40 years but it's still in the same untouched condition as when I got it in 1970.
Strangely enough I have only held a hollow glass rod once, a green coloured 10' Richard Walker carp rod which was the owners pride & joy in 1973, for some unknown reason I didn't get on with it.
Apologies for the grammar and I hope I haven't gone on to long and thank you all for reading.
How things have changed.
To be continued...... ????

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by Cat » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:06 pm

I taught myself to fish as no one in my family did (nor did they have any interest what so ever in it). I wouldn't have believed that 43 years on that I'd be using Hardy, Walker, Allcocks cane, and Hardy, B&W glass rods, along with Abu, Hardy, Mitchell and DAM reels. All of which were out of my budget all those years ago, and kept in the glass cabinets behind the counter.
Regards Cat

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by Banksy » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:33 am

Yes, the old tackle shop on a Saturday morning, the smell of linseed oil, freshly made groundbait and maggots.
The floats on the counter, the shiny rods in their racks.
And hours spent gazing in wonder at the contents of those sacred, forbidden glass cabinets...
I was grounded for a week when when I told my mother that it was my idea of going to Church. :Scared:

I suspect my tackle journey was similar to most, starting with a garden cane, a 5' solid glass "Pennock" rod, a tank aerial, a 9' greenheart trout fly rod given to me by an uncle, a 12' unnamed, delaminating split cane rod from "Johnny's Junk Shop", an 11' green fibre glass rod I made myself from hollow glass blanks - the cork handle was about 2" diameter, the ring spacings suspect and my whipping something to behold, but it worked!
I gained useful employment, and acquired, used and passed on or sold dozens of rods, finishing with some wonderful car*** rods, such as the Titan 2000, Daiwa Connoisseur Z and the Acolyyte.

Then somewhat jaded with my fishing about five years ago, I started to regress (that is the wrong word).
And rediscovered the real joy of cane, with some of those rods which I could worship from afar but never touch, on the racks of my "church" shop as a kid.
Almost a full circle, apart from that aerial which should have remained on the tank!

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by Marc » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:15 pm

I came late to fishing by most standards. The autumn of 93' a fresh faced 13 year old chanced upon a class mate float fishing in a small pond on the edge of our farm. There were, and still aren't, any anglers in my family so once I'd stood with my friend and he reeled in a silver wriggling fish I was at his mercy. Luckily he was a friend of mine and I had a small go there and then and then met him next week for another. My birthday was in November and tackle was top of the list (a sky blue 9ft fibreglass rod and reel set from Argos turned up) and the happy accident of APFA being aired that autumn lit the fire that still burns today.

I went fishing every weekend for the next four years with Darren (closed season not included) and we watched that series until the double VHS practically wore out. He took on the persona of Bob James and I always leant more towards Mr Yates.

After four years he suddenly gave up fishing and I bought a lot of his gear and I haven't seen him since. His tackle raised mine to new heights. I'd been surviving on a cevron match rod and a zebco reel from a carboot, having destroyed the blue rod on a rock in season 2. His parents had seen fit to furnish him with carbon wonders in match, ledger and carp varieties.

Fast forward to having my own income and I set about buying every bit of kit available. It was at the time my dad died of bowel cancer in 2011 that I realised that I didn't like fishing much. I had amassed mountains of tackle and none of it made me happy. Feeling down and nostalgic one day I ordered the DVD of APFA and then it struck me like a thunder bolt. I could regain my love by stripping away the modern and getting back to the romanticised view of what first drew me to it in the first place. Id lost sight of why I loved fishing. The wild life and wild places, not the flash rods and latest gadgets.

Having just turned 40 and possibly uniquely on TFF, it was APFA that ignited my love of fishing and that rescued it from oblivion. It can be a bit sycophantic to hero worship and I certainly don't hold CY, BJ and HM on pedestals in the lofty heights of my father, Sir David and Robert Plant, but they certainly have earned their place at the table.
Marc. (Prince of Durham)

“A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless'...”

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by Rod » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:58 pm

Hi, I know what I am about to add to this thread, I have already stated in my "20 questions", but it seems to be relevant.
I started many years ago going after Sticklebacks in one of the tanks they built during the war, to hold water for the fire brigade, it was almost stagnant, but a garden cane, some strong thread, and a bent pin, with tiny worms as bait, it worked, sort of.
Then the thread was replaced by a six penny float rig, (from a hardware shop) ready with shot and hook, still using the garden cane, but now progressing to the Grand Union Canal, at the Little Venice, bait was maggots we collected from dead Pigeons on the local bomb sites. What we caught was enormous, all of two inches, but to us those Perch were Whales. Up till then no one in my family took much notice of my like of angling, but my step father must have noticed that I was spending so much time down the canal, cos he went and got me a cane rod and centre pin reel from some where, and started taking me to the Thames, we never caught that much, but again what we did get was humungas, that meant they were all of three inches, might even have been four inches.
From there things progressed, and the fish got a bit bigger, till years later, I was showing my own kids how to fish, using all the modern gear, including the kitchen sink, (ie Carp fishing), then one day I realised I just wasn't enjoying myself, so thought of giving it all up, till I saw an item on you know where, I took a chance and bid, I won, so now I was the proud owner of a 12ft split cane rod, so I bought a Dragon centre pin, and gave it a go, and there I was hooked again, so now I have a shed full of cane and decent reels, make all my own floats, and have even refurbished a few rods, I now consider myself to have regressed back to my childhood, and I have never been happier with myself and my angling.
An old man, who's only pleasure left in life, is sitting by some water, fiddling with his maggots?

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by Willsmodger » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:47 am

Nobody had one of those Woolworths fishing kits then? Two piece 6' rod, little reel with 50lb b.s. line on (possible exaggeration there) bung type floats, plastic and hooks suitable for shark fishing.

That was my kit. I got very bored very quickly. I didn't get into fishing until my late teens and as I was working, my first 'proper' rod was the Shakespeare Alpha, 13ft in honey coloured polyestel.

That was pretty much the last knockings for glass rods I think. No doubt there were later models from various manufacturers made, but as the 80's dawned, everybody was going on about this new stuff called carbon fibre.

My armoury circa that time was the Alpha, a Bruce and Walker flyer, a Hardy fibatube(?) and a Shakespeare Europa ledger, Brown, 9' long and was sort of a Freddy Foster swingtipping job.

I've longed to find Shakespeare catalogues from the time, just to see if there were indexed avon and ledger models more suitable to Severn barbel fishing but I haven't found any yet.

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Re: A personal take on tackle development

Post by Stick » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:55 pm

Fortunate to have a fishing father my introduction was at a local reservoir fishing a slider, 10' 6" Sealeys whole cane with split cane tip and a Mitchell 300, flake on the hook and breadmash groundbait prepared the night before. I was 5 years old and I think you can guess it made a lasting impression?

At the age of 10 I was bought my own set of tackle a "Vealsown" and Mitchell 320, one spool loaded with 2lb line and the other with 4lb, two porcupine quill floats and hooks (Sundridge specimen!) in sizes 18, 14 and 10.

The next significant event was being bought an Olivers rod kit for a glass Mk IV type in a green blank when I was 16. This was used for all my heavier fishing for many years. Years later my father-in-law shut it in a car door.....I still have the rod in its damaged state. I also still have my father-in-law in case you were wondering?

It was aorund this time a retired teacher of German passed me a cane fly rod and a basic plate wind reel which introduced me to fly fishing. I couldn't afford fly lines so just used a heavy braided terylene line (backing line?) with crudely hand tied flies (think small mackerel feathers). There was a stream that flowed from a local trout farm and the drill was to work a length of line out, hold the rod at arms length and walk. I believe some now call this bank trolling? If you want to catch small rainbow trout it works quite well.

My next rod building projects were for my physics teacher who was the fishing pal of my father (also a teacher). I believe he still has those rods and at some point I will diplomatically enquire about whether I can have them.

Fast forward quite a few years and the same long since retired physics teacher passed me a Marco Test in 12' in tatty condition and that was the slippery slope more than any other that led me in back to cane rods. I now have quite a few....

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