In the 1950s, my father was a keen carp angler. My first angling memories are of being taken by him on the back of his bicycle to a local lake that contained wild carp. My fathers tackle was a split bamboo salmon spinning rod and an Ambidex reel. His landing net was a large round aluminium one. Sometimes, my father used a swan quill float but mostly he free lined. When fishing at night , he used a bite alarm. The line was clipped between two contacts, and when a fish moved off with the bait, the line was pulled from between the contacts and the bell sounded. This was made from one he had seen in the book Confessions of a Carp Angler. The bait was usually bread paste flavoured with honey.
Whilst fishing for these carp, my father used to set me up with a garden cane, at the end of which was attached about 4 feet of line together with a float, weights and hook, and the bait would be some of fathers honey paste. I would catch rudd after rudd whilst my father waited patiently for a carp.
I was not allowed to go with father on his night or early morning trips and used to listen in awe of the tales of another water that he was fishing that contained large carp. It was when he returned home one morning that he told me that two other anglers were fishing the lake that night. They were Richard Walker and Maurice Ingham.How was a young five year old to know that in a few years he was to become very good friends with Maurice.
As I grew older I joined my father on his early morning fishing trips when we fished mainly for tench. Our tackle was now MKlV carp and Avon rods made from kits supplied by J B Walker.
While I was at secondary school, I entered for the Duke of Edinburgh award. For the hobby part of the award, I chose fishing. One of the tasks that I had to perform was to make a fishing rod. Since those days, I have always fished with traditional fishing tackle. I still use rods and reels that I had in my teens.
Although I have caught heavier fish, one of my most memorable catches was a brace of perch 4lb and 3 lb.
In the eighties, I ran my own tool making company. It was at this time that I was looking for a split bamboo fly rod with which to fish a small river. Kits were not available as they were in the 60s, so I decided to make the rod myself and to enable me to do this, I also made the necessary equipment comprising of a precision milling machine with which to mill the triangular strips, metal adjustable hand planning jigs, glue binding machine and oven. I first made rods for myself then for friends.Gradually demand grew and in 1992, I decided to make split bamboo rods and other traditional fishing tackle full time.My rods are now sent all over the world. I also give rod making demonstrations at countryshows and for various clubs.
These days, I am involved with the Salmon and Trout Association and I am the area organiser in Lincolnshire for the Association.I spend a lot of time during the year attending country shows promoting the Association and recruiting new members. One of the main aims of the Association is to get both juniors and adults interested in game angling. I am a qualified game angling instructor with GAIA and hold the GAIAC for single handed rods.and organise training days and one to one instruction in casting and fly fishing.
I am also a very keen fly dresser and again like to dress traditional patterns. I am involved in the running of a local fly dressing club, and I am a member of the Fly Dressers Guild.