Colin Whitehouse Angler’s Catapult c1998.

Extremely rare, this is a particularly nice example of the best angler's catapult ever made.


My friend and colleague, Colin Whitehouse, made a very small number of these superbly well designed and practical catapults. Most were made from the mid-nineties into the early part of the new millennium.

This one has a very well figured Yew wood handle and a steamed Elm fork. The jointing is particularly nice and reinforced with a split cane dowel. The elastics are connected to the fork via split rings and swivels, protected and cushioned with hand cut leather discs. The pouch has a leather thong to draw it back with. These elastics were fitted by Colin yesterday (the 12th of October 2022) because the originals had perished slightly

My catapult is from the same year and I used it all the time, mostly for baiting up swims, but sometimes for self-defence. It will cheerfully redistribute conkers, crab apples, acorns, black truffles (a particular favourite) and various other projectiles.

The squirrels and deer here have eaten every single conker that’s fallen from the horse chestnut opposite our workshop. Last night, after work, I had to drive to a quiet spot I know where there’s an avenue of conker trees. There, in the gloaming with Lord Alfred looking on, I filled my pockets with conkers. Like Chris Lythe, the master reel maker, I love conkers. Who doesn’t.

Conkers are redolent of autumn, the polished dashboard of the Daimler Double Six that we used to travel to school in, vicious conker fights, the nasty bread made from horse chestnut flour that we had to eat at around the time the Daimler Double Six had to go (you have to bake the conkers first to reduce the emetic effects of the aescin they contain, but it does ease the effects of piles, so it’s not all bad). Chris Lythe, the reel maker from the previous paragraph, strews conkers about his house to deter spiders. This is supposed to work. I like spiders so I haven’t tried. Sounds like folklore crossed with a trip hazard to me.

I’d seen come crab apples in the lane too. When we got back to the car it was dark so I found the apples by smell alone. Top tip: don’t use a torch. It’ll ruin your night vision and obliterate the unique pleasure of staggering about in the dark, on your own, in a wood.

Colin tells me that he would rather eat crab apple and conker salad than make any more catapults so this is your chance!