November 27, 2012


Saw my first Christmas tree in somebody's window today - you've never got a hand grenade when you want one.

November 18, 2012

Fifty Shades of Cane

Visiting a Vintage Tackle Fair is akin to porn for the emotions of lust and yearning it provokes. Today I was just a voyeur and I did not get 'involved' with any of the teasing rods flirting from the ranks of stands or the blatant flaunting of the tables full of seductive reclining centre pins - but it took some self control I can assure you.

I first visited the Redditch event a couple of years ago when I was a mere novice in the ways of cane. I was seduced on that day and took home a rod of great beauty to accompany my other cane rod that was waiting for some company. They now seem to have formed quite the family as I have added more and more during the last year or so, a thinning out must soon take place. I digress, to wander around so many stands where so many bright things catch the eye, the rods, reels, floats, lures, books oh the books! Too much to take in, too much choice. 

I did a lap, interrupted by meeting up with friends not seen for a while and new ones too, guys from various forums that converge on such gatherings. One guy recognised me and spoke - "Where do I know you from?" I asked, "We fish the same syndicate lake..." I'm useless when I meet people out of context, I've only ever seen Steve behind a set of rods or drawing up at the lake with a car loaded for a session. Still, we had a good chat. Then it was Kevin Clifford, I haven't spoke with Kevin for a while and it was good to have a natter, well, two natters. Gary, who I'd driven to the event was eager to meet Kevin so I sought him out and duly did the introduction, Gary grilled him on carp history for some time.

Trevor King and his lovely lady Lynn were there too, its been a while since we last met. His taxidermy, fish models and now his wood carvings (especially the perch) are just mouth watering, expensive but oh how I covet such perfection. He's also making hollow cane rods, an eleven foot barbel version just had to be flexed.

Andy Sliwa was there, which was just as well, he had a couple of rods of mine that he's been working on and I left him with another that needs his expert touch. I also borrowed his own 11' barbel rod which I intend keeping until its been well and truly flexed - best not tell Andy that just yet though eh ;o)

You know when you've had a really enjoyable day when you feel like smoking a cigarette and sleeping for a few hours when it finishes but as a non smoking designated driver I had to join the heavy traffic and wend my happy way home.

November 14, 2012

Autumn Colours

I squished down the rutted, muddy track through puddles and around fallen branches then crested that last rise before the scene opened before me, the lake in full autumn colour. There wasn't a breath of wind and nothing stirred the surface, the world and its reflection an invisible distinction.

Out went a trout and a lamprey deadbait. One was on a cane rod, I've not had a pike on the cane yet - no, hang on. I bought a rod out of pocket money and holiday earnings once. I couldn't quite afford the new fangled hollow glass rod by a few shillings so had to make do with a compromise. I selected a three piece rod with a butt and middle constructed from split cane whilst the tip section was hollow glass, it was light, soft and as I only ever caught small fish, ideal. On the first trip out I had a number of dace and small roach each bending the rod beautifully, I was happy with my day when I was suddenly attached to something much heavier and faster. A pike of three or four pounds had lunged at the small fish around my bait and had become caught on my little hook which was stuck to its pectoral fin. It was a mighty tussle which I won - it was my first ever pike.

Nothing moved, there was no signs of where or how to fish and the lack of wind meant I couldn't drift a bait around to explore the lake. I got out the lure rod. I love lure fishing and my newly acquired baitcaster reel performed admirably sending a variety of metal and plastic across the water. I cursed myself for leaving the spinner baits at home, I have ultimate faith in their gaudy appearance and have taken many pike and perch on them. I eventually found one in a tangle of lures in one of my boxes and attached it to the link swivel. Second cast and I hooked something that came off after a second or two, I think it was a perch.

By changing lures and moving up and down the dam wall I had another pluck and a swirl as a fish turned away at the last second. Still the floats were motionless.

Eventually I opened my 'Toby' wallet and picked out a copper and red design that has often provoked a reaction from a pike. I cast it across a shallow area of the bay to check out its action and thought it unusual that a small lure would create a large bow wave - it was of course a pike following it. Next cast and I had my only take of the day, a small pike that shook its head and tore around angrily but which never really tested the tackle. I was however delighted that I had caught something, the day had felt like it was heading for a blank.

My plan was to fish on toward dusk then have a walk around the small pond and spin for perch but that was rapidly altered when a fleet of 4x4's rolled past and a shooting party alighted. I don't think that Harvey would be very good around gunfire, he isn't the bravest of hounds after all and quite frankly, I didn't want my day disturbed either so I did the sensible thing and went home.

Whilst on the subject of Harvey, I've come to the conclusion that he's a little bit like owning a classic car. When the Mondeo or Vectra driver get's home he just locks the motor and leaves it by the road satisfied that it will start first time in the morning and every morning without much fuss. The classic owner with his old MG or Triumph will have to clean the car, chamois it off and place it carefully in the garage where it will need further fettling and greasing before the next outing - yep, that's my dog.

Because his hair had been allowed to grow we recently learned that he is a scruffy hairbag that is impossible to keep maintained due to his hatred of being brushed and his coat's habit of forming dreadlocks whenever he walks within thirty yards of a puddle. We had him clipped - well, shorn really. The poor girl that did it took much longer than expected and she looked exhausted when we arrived to collect him. He went from this,

to this......

and when I got home believe me he took a lot of maintenance!

November 10, 2012

Win Some - Lose Some

I've not fished for a while, I think I'm just sulking after a horrible summer and can't summon the energy to face a wet autumn. Also, to go pike or perch fishing will require a massive search for the necessary tackle and, well, I'll get around to it.

What I have been doing though is buying books and tackle, well it has to be done doesn't it? You don't need to use it, buying the stuff is great fun. So I am awaiting delivery of an Allcock Lucky Strike and have just received three fishing books. Then I went to the auction...

I love auction rooms but they do require the strongest self discipline as it is so easy to get carried away. The one I've been at for the last couple of days is at Ludlow and is one of the bigger tackle auctions around. I was there yesterday for the viewing which was followed by the book auction, back today for all things fishy.

I came home with lighter pockets yesterday having secured a copy of Redmire Pool by Kevin Clifford and Len Arbury. I've wanted a copy of this book for years and although I missed out on the signed edition, I was delighted to get one along with a very saleable salmon book so it could work out as a good deal. I also stumped up £15 for a ten book lot, one of which I wanted and the rest will be sold off. It could have all gone wrong though, I was bidding on one item and decided I had reached my cut off point and duly shook my head to tell the auctioneer only to find Nicky, sat next to bidding away like a good 'un. We did get our act synchronised eventually and it did get a laugh.

Today I had my eye firmly on two objects, a brand new multiplier to replace my ageing Shimano Bantam which is starting to rattle and a Sharpes, Scottie Impregnated salmon rod that looked perfect for barbel and carp work. I got the reel for a song, less than half the new price - which was a result but despite bidding beyond the top estimate for the rod, I had to sit back and watch another £60 get added to the bidding. I was amazed, it is a rod I've seen go fairly cheaply before and I thought I'd pick it up easily, just goes to show I suppose. The rate the lots were going at and the massive prices paid for anything Hardy was mind boggling, I don't think I'll ever be a trader.

Nicky and I won one and lost another hedgehog this week. Its that time of year when anything less than 500 - 600grams in weight is going to struggle to get through the winter so, when we found a little heggie on the lawn that weighed just 240 grams we knew it had to come inside. It was fed and kept warm for a few days until I could take it to the chap in a nearby village that takes them in. He had 32 under sized hedgehogs already as well as a few other waifs and strays, ours seemed in good condition and I am confident it will survive to be released in the spring.

Yesterday a neighbour found what I would imagine is a sibling to the first. It was wandering during daylight, always a bad sign and she brought it to us knowing that we'd have some idea what to do. Again, we gave it food and a bed but I was worried that it seemed lethargic and had little appetite. Sure enough, this morning I found the little chap had died. Its always a shame when this happens but I suppose if they all lived we'd be knee deep in hedgehogs.

If any of you find a hedgehog wandering during daylight or one that looks underweight, please take it in and contact one of the many hedgehog volunteers, the RSPCA or a local vet, they do need a helping hand.