Into a "specie"

My fishing career began when I was about 7 in the local park lake catching tiddlers putting them in a "jam jar" but letting them go, when the other lads took them home. I was lucky we had a tackle shop at the top of our street and Frank Ledger who ran it took me under his wing (though I never saw him fish?). He would tell me, what to fish for and how and what float would be good for each particular place I fished (no legering in those days) he would tell me where the best places were to go. So Saturday morning off I would go on my bike "loaded up", rod (2 piece bamboo and glass tip),a small landing net (both tied to the crossy), little tackle box with my precious floats (bobbers,quills) and a few lead shot and eyed hooks (in little paper packets), a metal bait tin with my 1/2 pint of white maggots (no coloureds those days) all this in a bag hung over the handlebars. I never went to far mainly the local drains catching roach and rudd with the odd tench among them Oh! yes and eels bloody loads of em!.

As I grew older (about 13 I think) Frank told me of some gravel pits 20 miles outside of Hull that had some better quality fish in, so Sunday mornings from then on were a 3 mile walk into the centre of Hull, catch the no 24a Hornsea bus, get off at Catwick Lane end and walk 2 miles to the ponds. I did catch a lot more fish from there, perch, better sized roach and pike, that kept trying to get a free meal when I was reeling in. I did this for a few years then found another couple of interests (beer and women!) but still went fishing occasionaly.

Then when into my 20's I met up with Terry Milsom and his brother Gerald, we fished with Armstrongs Fishing Club from Beverley and I learnt about "rivers" the "stick" and the "pin" and the importance of feeding "correctly", Gerry was a "spiv" with the pin and Terry not too far behind. I sat behind Gerry watching his technique at holding back and running it through, the way he fed his swim, This was usually on the North Yorkshire rivers, the Swale ,the Wharfe and the Nidd , I saw my 1st proper river fish here chub, dace but can never remember seeing any barbel.

We also ventured to the Trent, in its hey day the best roach river in the country. bags of 10 and 20lb and more of pristine roach all taken on the pin and stick. I loved the rivers even then.

By this time I had my own car and Terry and I went all over the north up at all hours and home late into the night. Armstrongs closed down and the fishing club folded.

In the mid 70's while fishing East Park lake I got talking to another angler called Billy Bassett, he had recently been de-mobbed from the army and we struck up a friendship that was to last for over 10 years. Bill introduced me to "sea" fishing and we spent many happy times in the middle of winter on the Holderness beaches and up the River Humber..

We joined the Double Seven sea angling club and fished their winter league beach matches and then when the summer came I was introduced to "boat fishing". We went far and wide over the whole of the country, Fleetwood, Aberystwith, Plymouth, Littlehampton, Lowestoft, Bridlington, Filey,Scarborough and Whitby. I enjoyed the boat fishing with lots of species of fish I had never seen before,ballan wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, pollack, coalfish, ling, conger eel, rays, turbot and shark.

My highlight was 1976 when we were in Plymouth on a long weekend's wrecking, the weather was too bad to go the usual 25miles off so we ended up fishing the Eddystone Reef and I had a 47 1/2lb conger eel, it was also the weekend of the European Conger Championships so I would have been "European Champion" that year (if I had entered) but it gave me my membership to the British Conger Club and was the 2nd largest reef fish that year winning me a NFSA specimen medal and the Double Seven fish of the year.

I was Treasurer and match organiser for the club for many years. As a club we started off one of the 1st "Open" matches on the Holderness Coast, this turned into the biggest beach match on the east coast (now known as the Feedex) upwards of 3000 anglers turned up in its hey day. with prize money running into £1000's. After I left the club in the early 80's I still did a lot of beach fishing but turned also to "tournament casting" enjoying the "dry" fishing and hitting 200yds in the early days.

I came back to coarse fishing in the early 80's when I moved out into the sticks, one of my early memories was my 1st carp caught on floating crust one early morning.

My fishing tailed off for the next 10years as it took a back seat to family life.


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page last edited 27 07 05

© Mike Berridge 2005 - 2017