Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sealey Octofloat De-Luxe - A Journey

The first cane rod I purchased was a Sealey Octofloat De-Luxe.  I knew nothing of canes' enigmatic attraction, it was a whim, a reckless ebay moment. Arriving soon enough, it looked sad though, unloved, broken, a split female butt ferrule. The bag was tatty, the rings were a mish-mash of different types. I was disappointed that I couldn't just put it together and angle. I lay it down in a corner of my home, ignored, again sad and unloved.
Other rods came, a long gangly Spanish reed and built cane match rod, the Milward Senior Featherlight, a well built wand but not to my liking, I never used it and gave it to someone who'd hopefully appreciate it.
 The Chapman 500 came next, used, loved, kept. A steely Avon rod, it suited my fishing, a great acquisition.
 It was around this time that ebay popped up a Sealey Octofloat De-Luxe with a broken middle section. What it did have was the correct rings and all the ferrules, a plan was hatched. I could cannabilise this already wounded rod for parts for my other one.
Duly purchased for a paltry sum and arriving soon after, I gave it the once over. The rings would be perfect but imagine my dismay when the only ferrule I needed was also split. I scoured the internet for ferrules wasting money on incorrect sizes....Admitting defeat, I placed the Sealey back in the corner and discovered a new love.
 I was to stumble across the bargain Allcocks Lucky Strike. It's state at time of procurement has been described as a 'Basket Case'.  Lovingly restored by my own hands it has become much loved, having 'the feel' like no other rod I have owned, a true joy to fish with. It has already repaid me tenfold for bringing it back to life.
 People started to hear about the odd fellow from the tackle shop, surrounded by spanky new carbon, yet fishing with old bamboo. Some gifted me their loft finds, a couple of fly rods came my way. One was passed on, a gift to a colleague, one  became the Sealey's mate.
 Then came the pair of Allcocks Nimrods, 8.5ft of lovely action and the perfect small river chub and perch rod, they'd easily handle bigger quarry. Eventually one went to my colleague Mike who has taken barbel on it. We have both never lost a hooked fish on these rods. The one I kept is a definite keeper and will always have a place in my armoury.
 Sometime later two very different items came along, a B. James MK IV Richard Walker carp rod. It is a rod that most lovers of vintage tackle would aspire to own at some stage, a true classic, I wanted it, I bought it. It has so far been used once at the fabled pool that is Redmire where I was (un)lucky to christen it with a personal best eel. It will hopefully soon be catching it first carp for me.
 The other rod that appeared was basically described as the bottom two sections of a float rod. No tip section, delaminated, knackered. I recognised it as two thirds of a Marco 'Test'. I don't know what made me  bid for it, I really don't. It cost me just 99p. However, that 99p shot in the dark has turned out to be a fantastic punt, because the butt female ferrule on that particular rod only turned out to be a  fit for the Sealey, not just a fit but a perfect, to the cane, popping to the male ferrule fit. At last, all the parts of the jigsaw were complete. My first cane rod, with donor parts from two others is complete, and ready for sunshine and green scaled beauties.
 I love the journey this rod has taken, it has now known love again and once again has a life..It is true, is it not ? That in restoring a cane rod, we take someone's past and make it our future.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Who Was That Chap?

Many years ago I was fishing for carp at the famous Tiddenfoot Pit. Fished and stocked by Jack Hilton many years before, it had seen many an experienced fisher since, not least for it's healthy population of Wels catfish.
 It was just gettng light when my left rod was away and I was into one of the resident hard fighting commons.
 The mist was just starting to rise from the watery mass and the birds were just starting their morning territorial chants.
 As I played the fish, looking around at the peaceful panorama, I noticed some movement.
 What can only be described as a quite portly gentleman, quietly made his way around the lake, passing the silent and still bivvies of the specimen hunters that frequented the lake.
 My fish was landed as this fellow in his big floppy hat and grey-white jumper set up directly opposite. He gazed over as I released my prize back to the depths. Watching, without acknowledgement, before setting up his rod
 Who is that chap?, I thought. He didn't look like any of the olive green battalion I usually saw. The only time we saw a float fisherman was when a cat angler fished for a livebait or on the odd occasional match. Most of these anglers struggled, which was why we saw so few try.
 Sitting on my bedchair, gazing over the lake, I watched attentively as the gent set up a float rod and threw out a couple of balls of groundbait.
 A first cast, a first fish, a second cast, a second fish and so it continued. I could make out  tench and crucians the likes of which I'd never seen here before, and the occassional large roach. It was as if he'd unlocked the secrets of the lake. I was en-tranced.
 Sitting there behind my alarms, I somehow felt inferior, this chap was 'angling', whilst I was just 'waiting'.
 It would probably have been around three hours later when one of the older members popped around for a chat. I told him of my observations, stating that, "That old boy over there could teach us a lesson or two."
"Indeed he could" came the reply, "For that is Fred J".