From today, A Man May Fish -or a woman. Women fish too. Perhaps you’re a woman who used to be a man, or vice-versa. I’m not judging. My customer base is very eclectic.
Public transport and excessive travel in your motor (the Bentley -you all drive Bentleys) are being discouraged in favour of locomotion independent of engines, not horses because they’re windy which is bad for the environment, and bicycles.
Bicycles like this one.
My friend Nigel Hudson is nuts about wild carp. When I first knew him, he was a gardener working at a nearby estate. On June the 15th twenty five years ago, before he could drive, he ‘borrowed’ his landlady’s bike (the one in the picture above) and cycled sixty miles to fish a lake on the opening day of the carp season -June the 16th. Chris Yates told me that Nige got himself and all his kit to the lake, caught a twenty pound carp and then collapsed from exhaustion. The lad was clearly a genius.
Nige is also known as Fennel, and in my workshop as Mrs Hudson, after Sherlock Holmes’ housekeeper -not Mr Hudson, the butler in Upstairs Downstairs. Nige isn’t Scottish. In my gaff, you’ve all got nicknames. You just don’t know it yet. The thing is, Mr Nige Fennel, or whatever his name is -I get confused, has written a fascinating and unusual book about Wild Carp. Like you, he fishes with Barder Rod Co split cane rods and eschews anything that jars against the essence of pure angling. He is to wild carp fishing what that bloke in Italy with the horsehair line and bamboo pole is to trout fishing. I urge you obtain his book by following this link:
Fennel and I are members of a rather quaint group called The Golden Scale Club. They made me the club rod maker in 1990. The 1996 AGM was held at the Mayfly pub on the Test near Stockbridge. At the front of the group photo are Bernard Venables, Chris Yates (then Hon. Secretary) and Maurice Ingham. I’m the hairy bloke fifth from the left eating an apple. Nige is the fair haired youth behind me and next to him is Jeff. You can’t see it but Jeff is cradling a Thompson Submachine Gun. He always came tooled up. ‘What kind of heat are you packin’ today Jeff?’ we’d ask excitedly as he unloaded the long flight case from the boot of his Bentley.
Every member was given a club name. Fennel, because he was big in aniseed, and in my case Putnam, which my Mum wouldn’t allow my Dad to Christen me. It’s an Anglo-Saxon name meaning ‘Dwells by the pond’. Perfect.
Best of luck when you go fishing and until next time, stay well and look after yourselves,
Edward Barder and Colin Whitehouse