In a moment of late night EBay bidding I found myself driving down to Brighton to pick up a job lot of fishing tackle. It was quite clear that the original owner of this gear was a fanatical match angler including some nice examples of early glass fibre match rods (all painted matt black) hand-made floats and centre pin reels. Overall the gear was well looked after with plenty of improvised DIY going on, but for me the clincher on the lot was the little two tiered tackle box with aluminium shot tins, there is something about these tackle boxes I find really quite personal…
Finding suitable receptacles for fishing tackle can be a challenge, perhaps nerdy but ultimately good fun. Artist boxes are a good option as the outside finish is normally well polished which keeps the rain off in more extreme outdoors situations when angling.
Here I have an example of a small artist box that takes a modest tackle collection and will accommodate some floats where once brushes would have laid. Pictured here the box has some old tackle along with a collection of past fishing licenses. Dabs of oil paint cover the lid from a previous artists journey into colour and composition, brightening the greyest of days while out on the river.
Like most fanatical anglers buying tackle is an addiction especially those with a taste for cane rods. In an ideal world a rod room would be appropriate but with my current moving from one abode to another and roving small hands, a safe but fitting way to store cane rods is in an old Victorian or Edwardian rod box.
Back in the day one would lift the solid pine box laden with salmon rods onto an awaiting carriage and there onto Paddington station, then take the night-sleeper to the North West of Scotland in anticipation of a salmon or two. Well those days are long gone but these well-built boxes still exist and you maybe lucky enough to find one still covered in the old transportation labels of yesteryear and possibly the initials of a previous owner. The ends are normally reinforced with metal on the outside and internal brass fittings on the inside, the hinged lid held down with leather straps buckled around each end and a built-in brass cabinet lock to secure it, these boxes were built to last!
The insides are plain apart from some retaining leather straps to hold the rods in place. These days a Cordura covered aluminum tube have put these old boxes out to grass, but may I suggest for home storage these boxes are beautiful to look at and perfect for the task of storing old rods. For the purist, one can place brass hooks on the inside so to hang your beloved cane rods but I gently pack them full so that they stay together in a neat straight bundle.
I have two rod boxes, both with leather handles just like an old suitcase, one is five feet six and can take all my ten foot two piece rods, the other box is a bit of a monster at seven feet but comfortably takes all the longer two piece eleven foot six rods I possess. The larger of the two have the monogram ‘O C B’, I’m afraid I have no idea who that person was but he or she must have owned some seriously long salmon rods, possible spliced rods?
The smaller box which is a really nice size and still has the Paddington station railway label stuck on the box from many moons ago.
Stuffing all my terminal tackle in a Oxo tin leaves one item of tackle un-protected, the float. Long waggler’s are always vulnerable to breakages so the Palmer Float Case is ideal, light and strong and can hold up to ten 14″ floats.
To store shorter floats I have come up the rather ingenious (I’ll say it myself) solution of using a cotton surgeons tool roll which looks like Efgeeco themselves could have stitched it together. It can take up to around twenty floats and rolls up into a neat little bundle, this one is made by S Rampling of 8 Market street, Cambridge.
The carp fisherman of the 1950’s had different requirements to the usual float angler, the Oxo tin was the perfect size to take a selection of hooks, numerous weights and spools of line. Just like the carp scene now, fashions prevail, so once the Oxo tin was seen in a few Redmire photographs the tin and specimen hunter became common place on the water’s edge for another decade in search of Leney’s.
This season (2012/13) I’m trying the Oxo tin myself, aside from floats, it can take all my terminal items plus a torch and two bite alarms. My angling this year will be very much grab it while I can approach, one small bag, a net and a rod (maybe two).
Gerry Berth-Jones is sited here with what I believe to be an ‘Oxo’ set up and a ‘Pup’ tent also an essential part of my 1980’s carp outfit. Pre sun-lounger stuff, I believe.
There was a time when the majority of the nations anglers were firmly sat on creaking willow but some had taken on the wooden seat box as an alternative, perfect for the river rover or carp stalker who requires the occasion resting perch.
I’ve seen an example of this box in a photo gracing the banks of Redmire in the 1950’s, if I can recall it may have belonged to John Nixon? So in homage to its pedigree my example contains the content of my 1980’s carping tackle, Les Bamford Optonics, monkey climbers, a pair of Cardinal 55’s, Zip leads, boxes of Nash hooks and old bubble floats.
With the removable tray and space for line winders down each side this could have be designed for earlier tackle or even for the sea angler? Until someone puts me straight on this I shall picture this in Willow Pitch with a motionless angler perched on top with a Ambidex and Hardy L R H No 2 in hand.
I pretty much dragged this box around lake and river throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, it could take a lot of tackle and an impressive float collection. It was only when I discovered a low-fi approach to angling that this box was shelved, but it still remains the tackle box that has shared more personal angling experiences than any other. The interior wood is still stained with strawberry flavourings from my early days of carp fishing on a small pond near Ansty in West Sussex, in search of my first ‘double’. Eventually with the help of Carp Fever it did happen, a 11 1/4 lb specimen.
Even now, twenty five years on a light waft of strawberry essence mixed with pilchard oil lifts the nostrils as the lid is opened and a memory ignited, this box shall never be passed on!
Jacks stepson Simon, kindly sent me this link recently on river management. Although the snow is receding here in London, there is a cold wind keeping me inside tonight, so a spot of Jack seems to be in order in between conserving an old Hardy’s rod box. The box sourced by Mr Andrews of Arcadia, a fine service in keeping with the quality of the box itself.
So, as I prepare to travel to the Isle of Bute this weekend, my pike rods are to be sent in a plastic drain pipe via Parcel Force tomorrow morning and not in a rather battered but beautifully crafted pine box on the night sleeper to Glasgow.
Not strictly a tackle box but it is included under the ‘fisherman’s tackle kit’ banner and what a beauty! I don’t want to get weepy over a plastic container that is intended to store gentles or worms but this Marco version is the only one I have ever seen. I grew up using (as did millions of anglers from the 60’s and 70’s) the Efgeeco bright green and cream version but this one is a rare breed.
Just to top off the bait box rare breed piece today at the tuesday swim we also have the dark olive green Efgeeco bait box. Some rare nostalgia to place your gentles in…
With the trout season now put to bed for the winter your fly boxes should be cleared out, properly dried and stored away from moths for the next few months. Here we have a natty little Malloch’s fly box suitable for a selection of small dry flies or nymphs.
The spring clip fly box can be a fiddle to use compared to modern foam versions but on special occasions when a small fly box is required that fits into your shirt pocket, this is ideal when stealing a quick hour or two on a small stream in the summer months. Measuring just 2 1/4 x 3 1/2 inches this little fly box is perfect! A small box, for small flies, for delicate presentation.