Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Birth of a Love Affair

 Two men were influential in my passion for the sport of angling, my Dad , Mr Walter Clarke and my Granddad , Mr Jock Blair. From the tender age of 7 these wonderful men introduced me to the world of 'stripeys' ( perch) 'redfins' (roach) and trout. They each had a slightly different approach to the sport and each had their own methods of teaching. For example before my Dad let me near the water he made sure I wasn't going to be beaten by a tangle by bringing home as many 'birds nests' as he could find and having me spend hours at a time working my patient way through them and removing any hooks and or shot I found.
Some ten years ago both these wonderful men passed out of my life within a few short months and both left me a split cane rod. From my Granddad came a rather stiff unnamed rod that I've been led to believe is a cheap version of the Avon Mrk IV . So far this tree-branch like beast has landed me several skimmer bream, 1 perch and a carp of around 8lbs. The carp was a specially satisfying catch coming as it did on the first anniversary of his death.

 From My father I recieved a rather short (6ft) rod that I was told is a japanese reproduction made circa 1950. I have fond memories of using this rod as a bairn catching stone loach on the local canal.At that time I never dreamed that one day I would own it.Since then I've been surprised at some of the fish it would handle, especially when coupled with an old wooden starback centrepin I bought at a carboot sale. For example I set out to catch perch with it once, fishing just 2 foot deep with a perch bobber float and a size 20 hook using a small red worm as bait. The resultant catch was my PB carp to date, an arm-breaking, heart-stopping beast of 12 pounds! The fish gave me one of the longest and most exhilarating fights I had ever had and after that I was hooked on the feel of a big fish on a cane rod. Nothing compares.
 Since then I have purchased 2 more split cane rods for an absolute bargain price of just 5 pounds each, One is about 7 foot long and was used for spinning for pike by the gentleman I bought them off. The second came in a bag the old fella assured me was its original, a bag with the legend " Aspindales" on it. A little research has led me to believe its an Aspindale 12ft General Purpose. Its also one of the lightest and 'whippiest' rods ive ever owned.
 Along with these rods I also became the proud owner of the old gents bamboo handled landing net and a speedia centrepin. Unfortunately the reel doesnt spin too freely so its been relegated to a purely ledger fishing role.
 I then set out to buy myself a more functional centrepin and opted for a Leeds reel, simple, easy to use and understand.
 Since then I have fished several places using the cane and pins and on each occasion that I've landed a fish, be it a commercial fishery carp ( Llyn Y Gors in Anglesey ) a roach of 1lb or more ( Renny Lakes in East Harlsey) or a wild chub of around 3lb (The River Tame at Stockport) , I have enjoyed every minute of the fight and thats just what each fish has given me. None of this hook it , crank the handle and have it on the bank in 5 minutes business you sometimes get with more modern tackle but a " wow look at that rod bend now play that fish" scrap every inch of the way.
 After reading a certain chaps blog I'm now looking forward to fishing the medlock with my old cane tackle and seeing how I do.
 Tight Lines all

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