Match Fishing - The Man Who Invented the Pellet Pump?
Terry Comerford meets up with the man who ‘probably’ changed the face of modern matchfishing with the invention which helped to shape the way we fish.
I have had a very interesting conversation with a 70-year-old veteran matchman, Stan Bird, who informed me it was he who probably invented one of the most widely used match items of all time - the pellet pump - but he never made a penny from the fantastic invention which changed the way we prepared and fished our bait.
“Pellets had just become the new ‘in’ bait but preparing them was a bit of a nightmare and involved soaking them in containers overnight to get them to sink. As you had to guess how many you would need for the next day’s match and some pellets took in more water than others, getting your pellet bait right was, in those days, very time consuming and very hit or miss.”
“I began to experiment with different ways of taking the air out of the pellets as it was obviously air inside making them float, numerous contraptions were tried and failed but at last a stroke of luck, I had a heart attack...!”
Waking up in hospital at first the only thing on Stan’s mind was getting better - and whether the mice were eating his keepnets back at home in the shed!
As is the norm in hospitals everything around him was hectic, patient’s monitors going off all hours of the night, beds being ‘mysteriously’ empty in the morning and nurses chatting up doctors; not the best environment to come up with a brand new item of fishing tackle equipment but it was indeed in this very environment that Stan had his ‘Eureka!’ moment.
Opposite Stan was gentleman in a serious condition who had constant visits from people shaking their heads but Stan noticed not so much the patient but the large vacuum tube protruding from the man’s neck and, on closer inspection, he thought it could be exactly the type of system that was needed to remove the air from an airtight container, so after measuring and studying the tube, he went back to bed.
In the morning the guy in the bed opposite had sadly gone so as Stan was due to be released that afternoon he asked the nurse if she wouldn’t mind giving him the tube he had left behind!
Back at home in the shed Stan realised there was no way anglers could walk around with a machine and a container strapped to them so he fixed the tube into a hole in the top of a plastic airtight tub and with constant pumping up and down realised a vacuum was formed inside the container. Quickly he filled the container with water, added a hand full of pellets and, hey presto, sinking pellets!
All his hours of work and ‘heart ache’ were at last fulfilled; no more late nights getting strange looks from the neighbours who could see him in the shed, head down pumping away, for all he was worth.
Stan produced the pumps for hundreds of anglers over a two year period and after finding out it would take thousands of pounds to patent decided not to register his product design but some of his original pumps are still being used now by veteran anglers some 20 years later!
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