FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 117

Heritage Is Important
(Left) Horseshoe Lake, early eighties.
Hat-trick of fully scaled.
(Bottom left) Roughgrounds early
(Bottom right) Simon Taylor in action
at Roughgrounds, early eighties.
usual minnows and sticklebacks as
well as bullheads. We used to catch
them by turning over stones and
catching them in our hands. I suppose that was when the fishing bug
bit, and it wasn’t long before I was
crazily tying string to a cane with a
bent pin for a hook (never did catch
anything on that, surprise surprise!).
My parents must have felt sorry for
me because one day they presented
me with one of those all-in-one fish-
ing kits you could get back then,
which consisted of a little rod and reel
with a few bits and pieces for end
tackle. One of the things they always
put into these kits was a spinner, and
it was spinning that I first used to
really enjoy. Now my dad had done a
bit of fishing in his youth, and he
worked for ARC, the big gravel company. This meant he could take me
over to the pits they had on their site,
and we used to go spinning for the
perch, which were in these pits, and
also for the pike if we were lucky
enough to latch on to one of them. It’s
funny but most of my early fishing
memories are of spinning, and then
piking with sprats in the wintertime.
After that I progressed to fishing
the Thames, and caught loads of
small silver fish and gudgeon
(remember bronze maggots!). I must
admit that I was never that successful
on the river (perhaps it was the 8lb
line and size 12 hook!). I moved onto
catching chub on the river Evenlode,
and I was a bit more successful with
those. The best method my mates and
I found was to lower a piece of floating crust off a bridge on the river
Evenlode, and let it drift downstream
until a chub took it. Now obviously
you were never going to be able to
land one from up on the bridge, but
we had a cunning plan! One of us
would go down to the water’s edge
by the bridge with a landing net when
one was hooked and land them for the
lucky captor. I remember trying this
method out off the toll bridge over the
river Thames at Eynsham, and hooking a massive chub only for the lockkeeper to spot us and come running
up the path so we had to scarper! The
other excellent method for the chub
was to trot cheese or luncheon under
a self-cocking float down in the current.
After that, for some strange reason,
I really wanted to catch a bream (can
you believe that today?). Most of my
mates had caught one from the


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