MOST anglers, I suspect, enjoy lingering in tackle shops. They are rarely the cheapest places to pick up bigger items, but the lure of internet bargains is no match for the atmosphere of a local shop where – to borrow a line from an old theme tune – everyone knows your name.
I just love them. As a boy, it was the smells of waxed cotton, maggot dust and float varnish which told me I was in somewhere special. Today, such aromas have been replaced by those of boilies and spod mixes, but I find these equally intoxicating.
Then there’s the unique lingo of these places; whispered conversations about a brace of doubles from the syndicate, an unexpectedly good Grannom hatch, or a big old Esox from a secret pit. As a small fisher-boy, I hung on these words from the local experts as I waited in line for my half-pint of mixed. I’m fluent in the language now, if not always the captures behind them, but it stills feels like stumbling upon a secret society – and one where no-one minds if you whiff a bit, or have holes in your army jumper. My kind of world.
When I first moved to the Water Park, I was pleased to see the hand-painted sign for the Tackle Den on the Spine Road. I’ve been lingering there ever since.
The Den is in the process of expanding to twice its original size, and so this week I popped in for a look. I was impressed. It has kept the cosy, local feel that the better tackle shops have, but there’s room now to display everything properly, including a bivvy or two. It’s a work in progress, but is already much improved.
There will be an official opening in April, but for now it’s good to know that a local business is thriving, and that the anglers of the Water Park and beyond will be well-served.
If I’m not lingering in the Den in the near future, you might just find me over at Whelford Pools. It has, by all accounts, been fishing superbly during this dreadful weather. The catch report for last week mentioned 22 carp, with 12 over 20lb. The biggest fell to James Winton at 26lb 4oz.
Now, I rather fancy some of that; I guess I’d better pop in to the tackle shop first, for a few bits and pieces...
Catch reports: firstname.lastname@example.org