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   Old Thread  #86 30 Nov 2016 at 5.01pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #85
George Clooney...my arse!

Yes, Adam, the boat was named after the Boscastle river. Though that awful flooding took place over 12 years ago I can remember it as if it was yesterday. My mum was suffering full blown dementia at the time and she was convinced I had drowned in the floods, even though we lived on the south coat (Boscastle is on the north!) and there was no loss of life that day, a miracle in itself.
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   Old Thread  #85 29 Nov 2016 at 7.49pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
You really should bring a book out Ken, the ladies will love it with all those old photos with you looking like the thinking man's George Clooney
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   Old Thread  #84 29 Nov 2016 at 7.40pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Thanks for sharing all this Ken,especially of interest is the Royalty piece,it was a place where I spent a lot of time in the 70s with my father...he caught a huge ,for that period barbel from the Royalty well over the 11lb mark in the early seventies' on bacon rind,he was in the angling press for it...

I can still remember the anticipation of going into Davis's tackle shop nearby...Also.....back in the eighties my father left Cornwall...never to return just to fish the Avon at Christchurch,he used to fish there regulary ,weekly until his passing..

Also the Valency,was she named after the trout stream in Boscastle,the river that destroyed the lower part of Boscastle along with the Jordan and Paradise streams which form the catchment into the harbour..it flows under my mothers house...!!!!!
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   Old Thread  #83 27 Nov 2016 at 5.11am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
A very fine finnese history, love the pics of you at Keston . Thank you Ken an Tat for sharing your amazing well documented adventure.
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   Old Thread  #82 25 Nov 2016 at 3.21pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Back in Fowey I had left John's boat and was now running a 32 foot crab boat called the Valency. Using the years of knowledge passed on by John I too started running angling trips but the call of carp fishing was persistent. I ran the boat for two seasons then went back with John as the money was better and I got more time off to go carping!



Meantime I enjoyed my free time fishing for carp at Rashleigh and Salamander, but John and I also spent time on the Rivers Fowey and Camel fishing for sea trout and salmon. This was then (and remains) my biggest salmon, a fish of 13lb from the Fowey at Lostwithiel.



John was never far away from a fishing rod and to relax after several days at sea he and I would often collect hard backed crabs and climb down to the end of Dodman Point to fish the deep gullies for ballan wrasse. This is a small ballan from one of our favourite (and secret!) marks.



Trev always liked to come fishing with John and me and when we went up to visit him and his missus in Hampshire he would always put us onto some good fishing. Sadly Trev died in the early 80s but his name lives on in the shape of his son Russell who is widely regarded as one of the finest big game crewmen in the world. Russ is as much in demand by marlin and sailfish hunters as any of the top skippers and I am sure he owes this to the part his dad played in his life, for Trev was a world champion marlin, shark and sailfish angler.

OK, this is not a huge tench but it came from a gorgeous lake in the grounds of a very exclusive golf club to which Trev had sole access.



I love bass fishing and while I am not been the greatest bass angler in history, I have had my share. I have never killed a bass, ever. They are far to precious a sport fish to kill. Though they are delicious to eat the farmed alternative is, for once, a perfectly acceptable substitute for the wild fish. Put them back!



I realise this must have been a crushing bore to some of you. If so, well done for getting to the end! However, I wanted to make the point that far from being a one dimensional, blinkered carp angler, in fact I have served my apprenticeship and cut my teeth on many other species and types of fishing. I hope therefore that reading this has done something to dispel the image you may have of me as some past-it old codger who doesn't know what he is talking about!

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   Old Thread  #81 25 Nov 2016 at 3.17pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #80
Another big pollack comes aboard. John is checking the echo sounder to see if we are over the wreck. All our wrecking was done on the drift, which is what made it such hard work. We would drift over the wreck, catch what we could, then reel in from as much as 50 fathoms so as to motor upwind to start another drift. The tide was forever pushing the boat around with the wind so it was vital to check the sounder every minute or so to confirm we were still on the mark



One day John told me as we were steaming out that, "Trevor's coming down at the weekend. He wants to go wrecking." OK, I though to myself. Must be somebody a bit special for John to take him out on his own. Turned that this was Trevor Housby, a long time friend of John and at the time one of the best coarse, sea and game anglers around, a prolific writer of angling books and magazine articles, I guess he was as famous in his day as Matt Hayes is today.

Trevor was a larger than life character on the angling scene in the 70s and 80s and was particularly well known for introducing to the fluff chucking fraternity the Dog Nobbler fly. Among other skills he was a great writer with a dozen or more titles to his name. He was also a fantastic angling photographer, to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude. Trev told me to widen my scope when out fishing. Trophy shots are all well and good, he told me, but the bread and butter ones are the shots that sell magazines and books. Anything to do with angling be it scenic, tactical, tackle, action shots, you name he said, and you shoot it. It was fantastic advice and it helped me tremendously in later years.

Knowing Trev opened many doors for me. He got me onto some of the best trout and salmon rivers in southern England where in the close season we could fish for the grayling and roach in rivers such as the Test and the Itchen. Trev took this photo of me fishing a small weir pool on a branch of the Test. Incidentally, the rod in these pix is the Milbro Match Enterprise, which later became The Device!





He also got me interested in barbel fishing which in turn got me more deeply into carping later on. This is another of Trev's pix, which he used in one of his books called The Specimen Hunter's Handbook.



And this is where it was caught, the famous Railway Bridge swim on the Royalty at Christchurch.



Bill and Keith were now well into both carping and barbel fishing. Keith had made the cover of Angling Times with a, then, stupendous carp of 43lb (Harrow). To my mind the comic usurped him rather by adding a caption saying "there's a bigger one inside!" for this was the week when Ritchie caught the North Lake fish at 45lb! Poor old Keith! Here's Bill and Keith on the Parlour Pool also on the Royalty.



Some of my finest barbel fishing was on The Compound, a very private swim at the very top of the Royalty. Through Trev I became friends with Fred Crouch, one of the most well known barbel anglers of that or any era and it was Fred I have to thank for getting me onto the exclusive Compound. Here I caught my biggest barbel and roach (11lb 1oz and 3lb 2oz) so I have a lot to thank him for.

This is the fishing hut in The Compound. You'll note several examples of the use of a centre pin reel in these photos, mainly Rapidex and Match Aerial. If you fished for barbel there was no other reel but a centre pin…oh, and studded green thigh waders were de rigueur too.

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   Old Thread  #80 25 Nov 2016 at 3.16pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #79
Keith's motor, by complete contrast was filled with something entirely different; mucky books! Keith was a rep for the then rapidly expanding empire of the two Daves, Gold and Sullivan (aka the Dildo Brothers the name they are known by among West Ham's disillusioned fans, of which I am one). The self-promoting tart Karen Brady was also a part of their business, which was sexy lingerie and top shelf magazines of the more 'esoteric' type. Keith had a bright yellow Ford estate car and as he sold direct to the shops out of the back of the car, it was always crammed with these magazines.

I remember one day when we got weathered off we decided to go on the lash in the Fisherman's Arms in Golant. The river Fowey is still tidal there and the rise and fall can be pretty extreme on big springs, as they were this particular day, and bits of the lower part of the village flood on big spring tides. I neglected to tell Keith about this as I didn't think we'd be there all that long, however, one pint turned to several, Keith wisely decided not to drive us back to Fowey, and we all piled into a taxi, leaving Keith's car parked on Water Lane, the road below the pub's garden wall. Blissfully unaware that the tide would come up and flood not only the road but also his car…twice, Keith crashed out and was not seen until noon the following day. We all jumped into Bill's car and went back to Golant to pick up the motor. Naturally the tide was way out and it wasn't until Keith opened the driver's door and a load of salt water poured out that we realised what had happened.

Keith's stock was soaked through so we laid it all out on the elevated pavement to hopefully dry out, before moving the car up the hill and then going mullet fishing along the railway line. We spend four or five hours happily and futilely throwing bread at these most frustrating of all fish, before wandering back towards the pub for Keith to see if his mucky mags had dried out, only to find they had all disappeared! Golant thereafter gained something of a shady reputation for the more extreme forms of sexual behaviour previously totally unheard of and unknown in the sleepy Cornish village. The wall is plain to see on Google maps; what isn't shown is the hundreds of top shelf mags that disappeared like zephyrs of breeze into the cottages of beautiful downtown Golant! This is the elevated pavement at Water Lane, Golant.



Keith wondering where his top shelf mags went!



We spent interminable hours (trawling is the most boring occupation known to man) ploughing up an down the Channel off Devon and Cornwall fishing mainly for flat fish, but happy to catch whatever came along. In those days GPS was a hush-hush gizmo for the military's exclusive use so we had to depend on commercial fishing aids such as a Decca Navigator (on the right) and Chart Plotter (centre). Both were invaluable, as were the sounders we used. In those days these cost many hundreds of pounds, if not a thousand or two; nowadays you can buy the same technology with built in GPS for three or four hundred quid! By modern comparison this wheelhouse is as ancient as the Hills, but at the time it was state of the art!



Wrecking with Bill and Keith was good for us but pretty exhausting for them I reckon. We didn't charge them to fish but they fished 'for the boat'. This mean we sold what they caught and they got free wrecking of the finest quality to be found anywhere along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, for John and I were perhaps the most well known wrecking crew within a 180 mile stretch of coastline. I can recall several days when the two of them were almost dead on their feet but we would not quit until the light went completely and the big shoals chased the bait fish right up in the water.

When fishing off the Channel Isles we would put into Alderney to land the catch and get a bit of kip before being up again at first light to get back out to the wrecks which lay mush closer to France than to the UK. Here's a dear old Midnight Moon alongside the quay at Braye on the Channel Island of Alderney.



This is a fairly typical size of pollack from back then. This is probably about 20lb in weight, but we had them to double that size. (Apologies for the gory photo.)


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   Old Thread  #79 25 Nov 2016 at 3.16pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #78
Here's Bill and Bob Reynolds talking about carp while sea fishing off the rock in Country Kerry.



Back in the UK trips with the HDSAG continued including some sharking sessions off the Isle of Wight and winter cod fishing off Newhaven, but it was the trips to Devon and Cornwall fishing the deep water mid-Channel wrecks that excited me most. At the time the wrecks off Brixham were producing some imense conger and I made several trips to Brixham to fish them from a commercial trawler.



I got really bitten by the wreck fishing bug and on a holiday to Cornwall with Tat in 1972 I met another guy who, like Bill, was to become a life long mate, John Affleck. John was running a 28 foot fishing boat called 'Rosa' taking anglers to the inshore reefs and on shark fishing trips. We got on well and I helped out on 'Rosa' whenever I could and after several trips with John after the sharks in he mentioned to me that he was looking for a crewman to help him go commercial wrecking (rod and line) through the winter. My job was boring the arse off me and Tat's likewise. We had nothing to loose so after thoughtful consideration of about a minute, we decided to chuck up the nine-to-five, the mortgage and the company cars and move to Cornwall. I have to admit that this is not a photo I am particularly proud off; today those sharks would all have gone back, but in the day they were numerous and were a sellable commodity on the fish markets).



We returned to Surrey to put the house up for rent (just in case things didn't work out) and set about moving our stuff and saying goodbye to our friends, who we knew we would see a great deal more of after they found out that we were moving to Cornwall and had two spare beds! When I mentioned to Bill and his mate and fellow sea angler Keith (the tooth) O'Connor that me and Tat were moving to Cornwall where I would be working on a commercial wreck fishing boat their eyes lit up. "Lot's of good wrecks down there," they said.

To a large extent I had more or less given up angling in 1974, finding it difficult to combine fun fishing and commercial fishing the wrecks. There was little that the weather could throw at us that kept us in port so days off were few and far between. Commercial wrecking with rod and line is very hard work and many's the day we came back with 150 stone or more of ling, cod, pollack and coalies, caught between the two of us on Redgills, Eddystone Eels and huge home made pirks.



Cod, pollack, ling and coalies were commonplace on the wrecks in those days, and there was a lifetime's living to be made at that time with no risk to the stock. Then the gill netters arrived and in less than five years the wrecks were finished. Even today the remnants of those gill nets that were lost to the metalwork of the wrecks continue to catch fish...This is called Ghost Net and is is a blight on the UK's commercial fishing.

Seeing the writing on the wall we gave up commercial wrecking - though we still took the odd angling party to sea to wrecks off the Channel Islands where there is too much tide for the gill netters to operate - and John decided to put some holes on the deck (a trawl net) but keep our options open by also taking out fishing parties to the mid-Channel wrecks that the netters had not yet plundered.

Among our regulars on the wrecking trips were Bill and Keith who by now were confirmed and avid carpers. Though they enjoyed their wreck and general sea angling, for the most part when they came out with us all they could talk about was the carp fishing they were enjoying in Surrey.



II remember Bill's van was full of sacks of what he called 'particles' but looked just like a load of old beans to me. The name on the sacks was John E. Haith, a name with which I would become very familiar as time passed
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   Old Thread  #78 25 Nov 2016 at 3.15pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #77
Bill, Bruce, Monkey and me shared some really great times together and having that boat at our disposal really opened up avenues we had never explored before. For instance in summer 1971 we spent three weeks in Eire, staying in a B&B near Fenit on the Tralee Peninsula. Naturally the boat and the van came along too and we were like two kids let loose in a sweet shop. We did every kind of sea fishing you can imagine; pollack and bass fishing off the rocks in Bantry Bay, beach casting on Inch's Strand for bass, wrasse fishing with peelers and hardback crabs in the countless gullies to be found all around that area, inshore boat fishing from Monkey, offshore sea angling from Brian Smith's Fenit-based 33-foot angling boat for shark, tope, pollack and angler fish (nasty things when riled!), and also fishing for the elusive grey mullet that lived under Fenit Pier and close inshore near to the rocky shoreline of the Bay.



We walked for miles across Eire's green fields in order to get to the distant rock marks where pollack, bass and wrasse could be found in abundance. I don't know so much about the pollack, bass and mullet but we certainly found out pretty quickly about the angry bulls that took issue with us crossing their territory!



Most days if we were not booked on the big boat Bill and I would motor out into Fenit Bay in Monkey to fish for tope and angler fish in the sandy gullies and for pollack and small cod on the rocky areas. This is a nice inshore pollack hooked on a Redgill artificial sandeel on a rocky mark in the Bay.



Whenever there was room Brian would let us come out on the big boat either to fish the deep waters near the steep drop off leading to the continental shelf or closer inshore where tope, shark and rays were plentiful. Here's a good sized tope...Bill stands by to do the dentistry.



While Monkey was a pretty good sea boat for her size, the engine, a 10 h.p. petrol outboard, could be very pernickety, not to say recalcitrant. You could pull and pull on the lanyard until you were blue in the face but that old girl often refused to start. You can pull all you like but I won't start!



I guess we were taking a big chance going further than a few hundred yards offshore, but one day she really took a chunk out of our arses. The bloody thing simply would not restart, and it would have to be on the day that we had ventured the best part of three miles across the bay to what we were told was a 'skate mark'. We never caught any skate or any other fish and when the motor wouldn't start we had to paddle all the way back to Fenit in the fading light, the tide against us and a rising, choppy sea. It took us hours and we were very glad to see the inside of Jack Godley's bar that evening. This is the closest we came to a fish on that particular excursion.



A little bit later the relief really hits home!



On more sensible days we took the boat out only a couple of hundred yards off the pier where there were dozens of nice sandy gullies. There we caught ray, tope and monkfish (angler fish to UK anglers) but thankfully the giant skate for which the Bay was famous, gave us and our little boat a swerve. I did however, hook a baby skate of 70lb from Brian's boat, which took forever to get off the bottom and then up through the water to the boat.

Bill and I shared two trips to Eire and both were simply fantastic. On our second trip we met an older guy who was on a four-month long holiday in the area, fishing, and from time to time, running Brian's second angling boat taking trips out to the big fish marks off the headlands. Bill had got well into carp fishing and he recognised the guy as well-known carper Bob Reynolds who was famous for catching five twenty pound carp in a week long session at Billing Aquadrome. Sadly, though we did not know it at the time, Bob was a nasty piece of work who spend his latter years in prison for sexual assault on a woman and a young girl, and was also suspected of the murder of a woman in County Sligo. Be that as it may, talking to Bob about carp fishing and listening to him and Bill talking about carp waters in the UK tweaked my dormant interest in the subject and I would soon take it up in earnest.

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   Old Thread  #77 25 Nov 2016 at 3.15pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #76
7. Tat started to accompany me while we were on holiday, fishing for anything we could catch off the rocks of south Devon, but it would be some time before I actually let her fish (just kidding!).



And this is how you tie on a hook...!



I soon realised that match fishing was not for me, but quite by chance I spotted an advert in a local newspaper for the newly formed Hurst Deep Sea Angling Club, which was recruiting new members. Further chance introduced me to Bill, another new applicant to join HDSAG who became and has remained a lifelong mate. We had some great (and some of not-so-great) trips out of Newhaven, Lymington, Poole, and Littlehampton fishing specifically for black bream on light tackle. Here's Bill light tackle fishing for black bream off Littlehampton in about 1968.



Here he contemplates his dinner.



Bill was already an accomplished angler who enjoyed all aspects of fishing and meeting him opened many doors for me, as he introduced me to the pleasures not only of sea angling but also to coarse fishing on the lakes and rivers of southern England. Bill owned a really wrecked old Ford van, which he called Bruce, for some reason. Despite the dilapidated condition Bruce took us on trips here there and everywhere, often carrying Bill's small dinghy on the roof. For an equally obscure reason Bill named the boat Monkey and this fantastic combo opened even more doors for me.
Here's Bruce the Van and Monkey the Boat.



For instance on public lakes and rivers we could simply turn up, chuck the boat in the water and take off to wherever took our fancy, mainly the River Thames and its locks and weir pools. We also fished lakes where one was allowed to use a boat and a particular lake that we really enjoyed was at Mytchett in Surrey. Mytchett Lake was a pads-strewn natural lake with a derelict (at the time) section of the Basingstoke Canal on one side and an army barracks (if I recall correctly) on the other. The lake was a tench, bream, roach and crucian carp angler's paradise and the advantages we gained from having the boat were substantial. Though the Basingstoke Canal has now been restored to its former glory and Mytchett now boasts a proper canal boat landing quay, at the time we fished there it looked like this.



You can just about see the pads on the far bank and the poles you can see marked the deeper channel that was once used by the canal boats. There were some big bream in the lake too and that umbrella is actually sheltering me as I often fished the towpath for the bream, casting a sliding float to the poles and beyond. I had bream to 8lb, which was pretty impressive for those days. However, by getting afloat we could get deep into the heart of the pads and we would rake a swim and bait it with a ghastly concoction comprising mashed bread, maggots, worms and dried blood. This evil powder is apparently hugely dangerous if inhaled being highly carcinogenic but at that time we neither knew nor cared; all we knew was it brought all types of coarse fish into the swim in droves. Here's the result of a short session boat trip to the pads of Mytchett Lake. Please forgive the lack of tender loving care. At the time we knew no better.



Most weekends we would drive to a different venue, but as Bill lived near Richmond more often than not we headed for any stretch of the Thames that had a boat slip. There we launched the boat, attached the engine and motored to the nearest weir pool, where we would fish for anything that came along. Trotting maggots and bread flake down the white water was brilliant sport and we caught big roach, chub, dace and bait fish. In those days the Thames was teeming with gudgeon and bleak, which we used as live bait for the pike and it was not unusual to catch half a dozen pike in a day from the turmoil below the weirs. Pike along with the odd perch or two provided the best sport of all. Trotted or ledgered worms in particular attracted the perch to I guess about 3lb while live gudgeon caught us dozens of pike, well into double figures.



Here's nice weir pool pike. The row of poplar trees in the background may be familiar to those of you who fish the west London pits. TH certainly will know very well one particular pit not far from this weir.


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   Old Thread  #76 25 Nov 2016 at 3.14pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #75
For as long as specialist angling has existed there have also been 'instant' specimen hunters with all the gear but no idea and nowhere is this more common than in carp angling. More and more 'instant carpers are brought fully formed into the carp world every week thanks to the almost constant bombardment of vids, photos and comments on social media. Call me old fashioned but I am old school and my angling history encompasses all facets of the sport, coarse, game and sea, and I like to think I served my apprenticeship before becoming a full time carp angler. So before I return to carping memories I thought a little glimpse back into my angling history might help you get a better picture of where I am coming from if I sometimes sound a bit 'preachy'!

As I mentioned previously my first forays into angling proper were under the guidance (or otherwise) of my Grandfather, but even at a very young age I was always attracted to water, a bit like any five year-old boy. Mum was happy to take me to Keston at weekends where I whiled away countless hours either beside the pond...



...or in it. This was probably my first 'trip' to Keston Ponds, probably around 1951 or 2



Mum, while not an angler herself was brought up by a fishing mad parent and brother so in keeping with family traditions she encouraged me to fish whenever an opportunity presented itself, not necessarily with a rod and reel but with whatever came to hand, often a hand line baited for harbour crabs.



This was taken on the fish quay at Mallaig, Scotland somewhere around 1956. Note the school cap! What a doofus!



When I reached the age of ten Grandpa took over as my teacher. In hindsight I have come to realise that he was a pretty inept angler whose 'tuition' comprised kitting me out with wholly inadequate gear that was too heavy, too long and too unwieldy for my ten-year-old frame. Like him, I seldom caught a fish yet undaunted he continued to subject me to untold miseries, always (it seemed) in the most awful weather, in a vain attempt to catch a trout or a salmon for one or other of us. Despite all this somehow the seed was sown and even though he died before knowing that his efforts were not in vain, I am sure he would have been happy to know that the angling bug grew and grew like Topsy to the extent that it became the major factor in my life.

Tat and I got married in 1968 and moved to Ash Vale in Surrey. We spent a brief honeymoon in Betws-y-Coed, staying at the Royal Oak Hotel, ultra posh, three stars and way over our budget, but you only get married once…Well, we did!



An old stone bridge crosses the Afon Llugwy River, a tributary of the River Conway, still one of the finest salmon and sea trout rivers in the UK. By chance a party of anglers were staying at the hotel and they fished the pools above and below the stone bridge every day. Most days me and Tat would wander up the road to lean on the bridge and watch these guys working the pools, and some of the salmon they caught were, to my uneducated eyes, enormous. The spark lit in me by Grandpa flared up into a raging inferno, and the first thing I did when we got back to Surrey was join the local social club in Frimley Green that had a thriving angling section that fished matches. Before I knew it I was a fully-fledged match angler! Tat had also started to take an interest while we were on honeymoon, her thinking being 'if you can't beat them, join them' and though like Grandpa I was also a pretty useless teacher she soon picked up the basics.
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   Old Thread  #75 21 Nov 2016 at 8.39pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #74
Echo what's being said. Just had a catch up, brilliant

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   Old Thread  #74 15 Nov 2016 at 0.45am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Only just stumbled onto This, amazing pictures and writing.
Brings back some brilliant memories and faces on the Roche waters, happy days indeed.
Looking forward to Reading more ken,
Thank you
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   Old Thread  #73 14 Nov 2016 at 5.58pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Same here!

These Rashliegh write ups are fantastic! Loving the pics of you,, Carole, Steve et al; & of course the lake!

Adam - there's been a few tincas out over the last couple of years, big ones & small ones,
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   Old Thread  #72 13 Nov 2016 at 8.25pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #71
fantastic...loving this ...


Ps...i caught a very nice tench from the cave area...the only tinca i saw from Wheal Rashleigh...
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