I quite enjoy using and accumulating fishing tackle from the same era as when I was a young lad, but at the age of ten or eleven most of the tackle I owned was hand-me-down rubbish, a pink solid glass rod paired with an Intrepid Black Prince reel was my only kit. With my inadequate tackle and limited funds the only ‘good’ items I could afford in my local tackle shop, Penfolds of Cuckfield were fishing floats.
When entering the narrow shop illuminated only by artificial light, carded displays in glass cabinets from various manufacturers covered one wall, it was always the Ultra range of floats that caught my eye. Neat rows of floats organised into models and then graded into sizes lined up like church organ pipes standing to attention as if on parade. To a novice angler the range was beweildering, I mean how many ‘onion’ floats do you really need, and how different are they from a ‘Ducker’? To understand the range was an education in how to fish, although attractive they all had a utilitarian purpose.
Thirty years on I still have a few remaining Ultra floats, a band of brothers that managed to avoid the pitfalls of being cast into overly optomistic situations, less lucky comrades were lost in battle, eventually washed away by the ebb and flow. Today though I was most pleased to find that good friend and dealer in nostalgia John Andrews of Arcadia had located a lost battalion of Ultras, locked away in a box for decades but now released, dressed in black (as I remember them) and the earlier olive-green version.