Did you attend this year’s AGM? If you did, how could the chairman name and shame me like he did? To think I very nearly taught him all he knows about fishing (that’s not much I hear you say). I mean all those years ago this little blonde curly haired lad would visit me whilst I was fishing a very small pond in a field just yards away from where he lived (today that would make headlines in the newspapers). Now the chairman of the club, he reminds me (and all the others present in the room) that I am overdue in writing an article for the newsletter. Two years ago I was made the clubman of the Year which came as a great surprise.

It certainly wasn’t because I had been overactive in club activities during that year. Yes over the years I have written many articles, fished many matches and attended a considerable number of working parties at nearly every venue that the club has ever been associated with. Yes I must have been given this honourable award before I finally pop my clogs. I was delighted that last year’s Alan Harvey was made Clubman of the Year and that amongst his many contributions to the club, the Newsletter features were most significant and welcome. I always felt that it took a lot more energy to put pen to paper than to drag out weeds, chop down branches and generally tug away on ropes at working parties. Both are essential to the wellbeing of the clubs activities. So which camp do you belong to?

So back to this year’s AGM this once blonde curly haired kid (not so curly or blonde now) was giving me that sinking feeling. Oh dear what can I possibly write about that would interest the current membership? Well at my time of life I suppose it has to be a historical piece as all newsworthy content is made by the superstars of today with the likes of Martin Spencer, Phil Bracewell, Harry Baron, Brian Cavanagh, Nev Haigh, Sandra Bowman, Simon Hoare, Rod Ashton and many more others that I could mention. (P.S. Phil Bracewell was a giant stretch of the imagination to say ‘superstar’ – only kidding Phil).

I started fishing at the age of 11 when my Uncle Jim took me out with my hand-line in his boat armed with a jar of minnows to fish in a secluded bay on Windermere Lake. I can still remember the excitement of lowering a tragically impaled minnow under the shadowy depths of a large moored boat, only to see the striped shadow of a quality perch engulf the poor creature and begin to make its way back into the shadows. Now remember, no rod and it was a quick yank, yank, tug and into the boat. Ignorance would dictate that this perch was delicious! Now my Uncle Jim also had two nephews called Jim and Harry Wacey who like myself and family were taken on occasions to his caravan at Fallbarrow near Bowness. They too in time caught perch and in Jim’s case who was only eight at the time has been a life-long angler ever since. Yes we are second cousins and have been fishing together for nearly 55 years. That brings me to ask the question:- will the real Dr Crippin now own up to his true identity. He had a column in the early days of our newspaper and wrote about the darker elements of club members and club life. He often intimated that Jim and I were joined at the hips and possibly had more deviant attributes! NOT TRUE! Jim is:- my father’s, sisters, husbands, sisters eldest child. Did you follow that? Possibly not because you have stopped reading this article by now and fallen asleep!

One of our early years venues were the two ponds that were part of Norbreck Golf Course. Yes only you old timers will remember that to the northern side of Norbreck Hydro was a golf course which later became bungalows and houses now encompassed by Kirkstone Drive. Now taking our lives in our hands in avoiding flying golf balls which were driven over the pond we spent many hours for a good number of years fishing for genuine but stunted crucian carp, small tench and rudd. The geography of the water was quite strange in that the only weeds were all situated in the middle with absolutely nothing around the margins. Our 10ft pond rods and Intrepid De-lux reels were used around the margins which were the deepest parts of the pond and our fishing skills were developed in trying to hit those delicate crucian carp bites! The mystery of the pond shape (like a polo-mint) became all too obvious when one day a man arrived with a cage like bucket tied to a rope which he threw in and dragged it around the margins for the mis-directed golf balls which were then sold on to the passing golfers. A lucrative little business and certainly the raking/caging encouraged the tench to feed. Now the real reason I mention these ponds is that we had news that this land was to be sold for building in the next 3 years and so Jim and I knew we had to do something to save these poor fish from their soil filled plight. If you are connected in any way to the Environmental Agency then please look away now. Yes we transferred as many fish as we could over the next three years and moved them to a tiny little water in the middle of some fields near to some ponds that at the time were run by Blackpool and Layton Anglers and close to what is now Deerhurst Road on the Whiteholme Estate. Yes this is where that little blonde curly haired, enthusiastic, butterfly net in hand youngster lived!

The fish were carried by bucket from the golf links over Fleetwood Road and across Mossom Lane playing fields to their new venue. We recorded every fish in a ‘Transfer Record Book’. These were mainly crucians and tench and a few rudd that survived the splish, splashing of our buckets! Remember we were only young and acting out of kindness for the doomed Norbreck fish. We needed to give this new venue a secret name and called in TINCA TINCA the latin for tench. The building development took place on the golf course and we continued to fish our new TINCA venue for many more years and as Phil wrote in a recent article the pond still exists unlike many of its neighbours and is still referred to as Tinca by the locals.

If this article makes the Newsletter then I will continue to write about my early years experience of the club and the fishing at MARTON MERE; MATCH FISHING CHEATS!; EXCITING CLUB WATERS; EARLY CHARACTERS; THE RICHARD WALKER and IAN HEAPS ASSOCIATIONS; CATCHING C.S.A.S RECORDS AND EVEN BRITISH NATIONAL RECORD/THE FIRST

POLE ANGLER IN THE FYLDE AND PHIL HODSON LATER YEARS. On the other hand I hope this does not get published and I can hang up my pen for good.

P.S. I still think that Doc Crippin was Phil Bracewell as his inside information and satanic sense of humour fits the bill, but he still denies all knowledge.

Mike Foy
April 2009
Grey haired olde man with “Rod & Centre Pin” fishing in the Margins