“Ignoring the fact that just stripping the line off the spool gave me tennis elbow I started to cast.
The 1976 Sharpes responded like a limp piece of spaghetti”
Vintage Fishing tackle and the mid life crisis
Fishing with vintage tackle…written by James (Boo) Gilbraith.
The cliché is a fifty-year-old man on a Honda Fireblade. Using his fifty year old reflexes to control a wild stallion doing one hundred and forty miles an hour. In his head he is glorious. In his head he is eighteen. Meanwhile his neurotransmitters are freaking out and eating themselves. At 140mph reality doesn’t just bite. It devours. If he survives, the bike will be on Ebay in under two weeks.
My mid-life crisis ran in the opposite direction. My question was this – just how slow can I go? I didn’t purchase a Fireblade. My buy was another kind of custard.
Treasure from the car boot sale
At a car boot I bought a Sharpes of Aberdeen – Scottie spliced thirteen foot double hander and a Beaudex reel by J.W Young & Sons.
The rod was lovingly cleaned. The reel was greased, and a new line was added. The combo looked better than Maradona in a Napoli shirt.
Secretly I imagined my friends faces when I turned up bankside with my new outfit like a spliced version of Isaack Walton and Mr Crabtree. I would revel in my authenticity. Enter Isaack Crabtree.
That was the dream. The reality was something else.
The Romance of fishing with vintage gear…or not
As I get older, I cannot resist a rummage at auctions or flea markets etc. Anglers have to be optimists and every time I find myself rooting through birdsnests of mono and rusty corroded sea hooks, I am convinced that in the next box will be a Vintage Hardy Cascapedia or a Gregory lure. Most of my buys are purely to look at and to save so that time doesn’t blow them all away. Wistful nostalgia and a collector’s drive can transport you further than dynamite will blow you.
So, on a day in October that boasted a rare day of perfect conditions I found myself on the club car park assembling my new vintage outfit. Feeling proud and excited in equal measure I made the mile walk to my favourite pool hoping for a late season salmon. Cunningly I had engineered a gap in time to steal my way to the river. Summer had left me almost bereft through a lack or angling opportunities, so I was full of vigour to use this outfit and create a graceful ballet in split cane.
Lowering myself into the river I stripped line off the Beaudex and listened to its great throaty pawl. Ignoring the fact that just stripping the line off the spool gave me tennis elbow I started to cast. The 1976 Sharpes responded like a limp piece of spaghetti. Changing my style to a slower action the line eventually went out (ish) but within minutes I had realised that four hours of Spey casting would have sent me to the A&E Out Patients at my local hospital.
In A&E I would have to get creative and tell the overloaded nursing staff that I had hurt my back while heroically saving a child from a high scaffold. And not by poncing about with vintage fishing tackle.
As my friend Lamont recently told me. “I’m hanging on in there with carbon fibre. Sure, I’ve seen chop sticks but I’ve already got a fork”.
Essential Reading from Boo Gilbraith
Hooked on Hope Is the follow up book to 2014s Terminal Chancer Silver Seasons Atlantic Salmon.
Emancipated from the drudgery of nine-to-five and buoyed by the flexibility of self-employment, Boo resolves to take his newfound freedom and use it to navigate the predictably unpredictable waters of the River Ribble, where success comes to only the most committed of anglers.
Flanked by a colourful cast of characters, not least the eccentric and excitable Lamont, Boo enters the fishing season feeling a sense of optimism that comes with knowing that the reward is the journey rather than the destination, although he wouldn’t turn his nose up at a massive Ribble salmon.
Anarchy Pie follows on from where Terminal Chancer and Hooked on Hope left off. Boo Gilbraith emerges from lockdown after choking on the splinters of Covid. Armed with a new resolve to fish more and to reinforce his own small mundane world.
Join him and his conflicted and dislocated associate Lamont as they search for life’s treasures along the banks of the river.
Expect – ghosts, witches, mortality, grief, romans, folklore, killer dogs, giant salmon, epic trout, stupidity, wisdom and lots of laughter