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Andrew Pilgrim

What a T.A.R.T

Firstly I need to apologise to the regular readers of Essex Anglers who have contacted me wondering where my weekly blog has gone. Sadly I have to report that due to other writing projects and work commitments I just don’t have time to produce weekly content for your adoring eyes, but ‘worry ye not’ I shall be popping up from time to time on here as a Guest blogger.

During lockdown I have been doing alot of reminiscing……… Angling has certainly evolved tremendously over my lifetime. I remember my first fishing rod back in the early 1960’s. It was a two piece metal rod made from an old Tank aerial paired with a small green metal centrepin reel. I loved that rod and was in tears when I somehow managed to irreparably bend the top section. (I have managed recently to accquire a couple of old tank aerial rods whick has somewhat dulled the pain). I was given a replacement in the form of a 10ft solid cane rod with a spliced cane top section, and for my birthday I received a brand new Intrepid Black Prince reel. I thought I was the bees knees with this, “grown up” gear and although I struggled at times wielding the heavy cane implement I was a very happy young man. The next major change came in my teens when I was lucky enough to take ownership of a Shakespeare Alfa 12ft Glass Fibre rod. Now this along with a Mitchell 300 reel was a huge step up tackle wise. Around the same time my old battered wicker basket was upgraded to the super modern Shakespeare plastic seat box with two side trays. I was in angling heaven.

shakespeare seat box With Octoplus System

In my late teens and through my 20s more upgrades to my gear took place inline with my increasing match fishing exploits. A Diawa Cavalier rod, Mitchell 440 match and Abu closed faced reels. An aluminium ‘Continental’ style seat box with a platform. Things got radical with the purchase of an early glass fibre Roach pole that at its full length of 10 meters weighed a ton, was floppy and bent like a banana. But it paid for itself when it won me a match at Attenborough Gravel pits on its first outing. Upgrades continued through the 1990’s with lighter, longer poles, modern Japanese reels and a Maver Allborella 6mtr whip which I loved. The 1990’s also saw me drawn to Carp fishing and all the extra tackle that that entailed, Shimano Baitrunner reels and 2.5 TC rods, Pods, Bivvy, Optinic alarms and all the camping gear. For some unknown reason I still have all this.

So on to this millennium. My pole has become longer, stronger and lighter. Reels are super smooth top end Diawa and Shimanos. My rods of choice for float fishing are Drennan Acolytes, Greys and again Shimano. My seat box is an all singing Preston On-Box with so many attachments that quite frankly I have no idea what half of them are for! Add these to the many Avon rods, Dropshotting set ups, pole rollers, cupping kits, spare top sections, method feeder stuff, boilies, a virtual smorgasboard of groundbait, pellets, pastes etc and that’s before we start on the Fly fishing rods and various lure and predator set ups not to mention all the sea fishing gear and you can see why I am starting to think that things have, over the years, got somewhat out of hand as you can see!

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So what, you may ask, is my point?….. Well, dear reader, my point is this. I am tired…. so so tired……. I’m tired of trying to keep up with the latest trends not only in tackle but also in baits (what the dickins is a Wafter?) and rigs (Kebab rig?… eh!… what?) I truly yearn for the days when fishing was a simple pastime and the equipment needed reflected this. So to this end I have decided that this year I shall be having quite a few outings with ‘Traditional Tackle’ and I have to tell you that the thought of this quite excites me.

An afternoon rummaging in my tackle den had uncovered a few old gems in the shape of a couple of old Cane rods, my trusty old Speedia Centerpins and as you may recall, from previous musings, I have a fondness for collecting old Mitchell reels all of which will soon be seeing the bankside again after many years.

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To complete my Traditional set up I have been raiding E-Bay with some success. ……… Feast your eyes on these beauties.

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A wicker basket with built in tackle storage in the padded seat for £10 BARGAIN!

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An imaculate hand built Bruce & Walker 10′ compound taper Glass Fibre Avon rod… Legendary !! (less of a bargain!)

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And amongst other items of miscellaneous tackle I treated myself to this.!

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Any readers under 50 years of age are now scratching their heads in puzzelment while the more mature anglers may have a tear in their eye.

Its an aluminium bait tin, once used by almost every angler in the country. Millions were made and they were in popular use right up to the 1970s when the new and exciting plastic bait boxed arrived in tackle shops.

Vintage Fishing Bait Box Efgeeco Tackle 1

These plastic ones were great, easy to use and easy to clean but when winter arived they did become somewhat brittle and were prone to cracking.

So there we are, I am a Traditional Angler with Retro Tackle (T.A.R.T.) and I’m not the only one. there is a growing movenment towards this style of fishing just check these pages on FaceBook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/tartfishing https://www.facebook.com/groups/233269043432046 https://www.facebook.com/groups/126743532441127

I am sure that many of you won’t get this concept and will dismiss my latest fad as the ramblings of a deluded old man so let me ask you this. What is the better car, a brand new Focus ST or a 1960’s Ford Lotus Cortina? The answer is of course the Focus ST. It is quicker, quieter, more comfortable, safer, handles better, etc etc but that’s missing the point. Every weekend you will see old cars from the 50’s/60’s and 70’s being driven about on our roads. Why? Because whilst modern cars are undeniably much better all round and have so many luxuries and driver ‘aids’ as standard they are lacking in one thing. Driver involvement! Give any racing driver a choice of two cars in which to take for a couple of laps – a new Ferarri or a 1960’s E-Type, a new Porsche or an old Aston DB5 and I guarantee they will snatch the older set of keys from your hand with a huge smile on their face. Simple, no fuss, involving and uncomplicated. And thats what I want from my fishing. So hopefully lugging this lot round for a relaxing days fishing will be a thing of the past.

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So go and get rummaging in the garage or shed and see what you can find, ask your Dad or Grandfather if they have any old tackle hidden away that you can have and get out and give it a go. Trust me, once you have played a good fish on an old cane rod you will ‘get it’! And if you don’t then give me a shout and I will come and give the old tackle a very good home.

FOOTNOTE….. I have just explained this simple fishing theory to my beloved Sheena who said, and I quote ……………………………

It’s just an excuse for you to buy even more tackle”…. She may have a point!

2 replies on “What a T.A.R.T”

Can’t agree more…and it’s not just the tackle it’s the methods as well like the lift method for Tench using a goose quill…undeniably more fun than sitting behind a bite indicator alarm of some kind and missing those tiny knocks while you wait with anticipation.

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