Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Big Blank Off

Two men with a passion for rivers. A day's work under their belts, they'd join forces for a couple of hours in pursuit of predators. Who would earn the bragging rights?

A painfully clear Avon was the venue. However, with a good depth and dipping light levels, a degree of optimism was daring to surface in both camps.

In the red corner, Mick had the run of the pegs down to the weir. In the blue corner, I took the pegs towards the upstream limit. Our paths never crossed, but updates were shared throughout.

It wasn't exactly a thriller down the river. A single chomped smelt dropped take for Mick. I'm claiming a single tentative enquiry that saw two solid short dips on the float about 30 seconds apart. That was it! A no score draw. 

Still, it was a nice enough evening for early October and much better than staying on at work. Even I'd take blanking over working any day!

Later in the evening I acquired some of my late father's old fishing tackle. My brother was having a clear out and offered it to me rather than just dumping it.  

My dad didn't have much gear and what he did have was rarely of any great quality.  Part of a large Irish family, brought up in the 1930s / 40s, he had a strong make do and mend attitude.

He never bought a rod in all the years I fished with him. He only had one and it hadn't seen the light of day for maybe 20 years. In his latter years I'd always encouraged him to use my gear - largely to stop him carrying his own, due to his health issues.

Taking his old rod from a damp and musty rod bag, I expected it to be rotten. Not so though. The blank itself remains in good nick. Some eyes have been knocked about and the cork handle is a little warped. 

It's not a rare or valuable high end blank, but the joints all slot together perfectly.  It feels reasonable enough and theres no structural damage.

The tip section looks like it's suspiciously short of a few inches though - evidence of the mend mentality no doubt. The handle is too long for my liking, but that's soon remedied (and would conveniently eradicate the warped area).

All things considered, it would probably still give some reasonable service as a heavy float rod for species like tench or larger bream. 

And so a plan is born. I've been looking at more and more retro / vintage tackle on Ebay recently and quite fancied a restoration project for later in the year when the dark evenings hit. This has dropped into place nicely, so I'm going to strip it back and attempt a full makeover. 

Hopefully I'll be putting it back into service sometime next year. It wouldn't feel right just consigning it to the local landfill site. That would surely amount to betrayal.

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