“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
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”.