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  1. #1
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    Default The Bracket interview

    The Bracket Interview
    Pete and I met on a fishing forum about 10 years ago , since then we have swapped music , fishing tips ( well one of has ) and occasionally made each other laugh.
    We also shared an interest in technology though Pete’s 26,000 + views compared to my 14 means we both know who is the darling of the social media.

    One thing that Pete once said on another forum stuck in my mind even today and pretty much sums him up

    “I could walk past a field full of my critics and not even turn my head to glance at them”

    Enough Waffle !

    As I was raised during the sixties and spent many a very happy day running round a field while my old man fished a match ( inter works team ) I have always had an interest in the match scene and the “glory days” of river fishing . So I thought it would make an interesting thread to ask Pete some questions – to be honest the result exceeded my expectations.







    1. What age did you start fishing and where?

    I was born in Nottingham in 1941. My first contact with angling came when I was about 7 years old. My Grandfather, who was a Wheelwright by trade and later a Greengrocer would take me on club matches with him. At that time, I was not allowed to fish, just watch the others and look after the gear whilst they were in the Pub. I first began fishing "proper" between the age of 8 and 9. I lived at Colwick, less than a mile away from the Trent and the Nottingham Embankment stretch, plus the Nottingham canal were no more than half an hour walk. So, with kids of my age group, most of my time was spent by the river or the canal either fishing, watching adults fish or counting how many dead dogs you could find in the canal, it was a popular spot for getting rid of unwanted litters. Then dogs had the same sort of free-range cats have today, so there were plenty of unwanted litters.

    2. First piece of tackle?
    Initially, along with others, I used a garden cane between 8 & 10 ft. No reel and silk thread for main line attached to the end of the cane, combined with goose or porcupine quill floats and gilt crystal hooks, tied to cat gut. Basically, pole fishing. The bait was always maggot, which you could buy a fixed quantity i.e. 6d worth or the tackle dealer would let you have a slack handful for tuppence, all kept in a small round aluminium tin When I around 10 I swapped a unwanted train set for an old 10ft cane rod with a spliced in built cane top plus an old wooded Nottingham centre pin reel. I thought it was the bee’s knees and it was all I used for the next five years. During this time, I was not totally obsessed with fishing. It was a reason to be out, not the reason. I have said recently that, when I was a child, if you stayed indoors your parents found you something "useful" to do, so I wasn't having that.

    3. How many fish have you ever caught?
    Never given this much thought. Using some kind of mathematical logic: 70yrs x 52-week x 2 sessions a week x 15 fish per session = 109200 fish. You'd need a lot of chips Paul. I once did over 800 Gudgeon in a 6-hour match on the Trent at East Bridgford and have had many similar match catches between 350 and 500 fish. That offsets a few dry nets. 109,200 fish would be a minimum estimate and I am still catching.

    4. What did you like about the match fishing scene?
    This is difficult to explain. In my early teens my approach to fishing was always the same, same rod, same reel, same float and same method. If I caught all well and good if I didn't well that's fishing for you. Once I started work at 15, I had two massive strokes of good luck, which I only realised many years later. Firstly, there was a works sports club with an active angling section, which I joined immediately. More importantly, once I had completed my initial training period and was let out onto the workshop floor, my first Apprentice Master was an angler and we struck up a friendship which still exists today. He was an avid match angler and a prolific maker of any kind of tackle. We would fish most weekends, generally Saturday, as he would match fish on a Sunday, and on the Trent. He encouraged me to build my own rod from a 13ft Lerc fibre glass blank, which I did, having already got myself a good quality centre pin reel, a Speedia, with my first two weeks wages plus a bit my Mother gave me. Up to then, discounting Canals, I had never fished a still water, so he took me to the Angling sections club water at Attenborough Gravel pits and taught me how to catch bream, something also new to me. Armed with some decent gear I entered the next angling section club match on the Trent at Long Eaton, the first match I'd ever fished. I drew a peg 3ft deep over gravel, which was straight forward fishing, more or less off the rod end. I put 13lbs plus of roach on the scales for second place and it made me £3, almost two weeks’ pay for me at the time. That was the start of match fishing for me and after that I did nothing else. Even pleasure fishing was match practice.
    There were some lessons to learn. One I learnt very early was this. The first proper big match I fished was two months later. The Works sports club was a member of the Long Eaton Angling Federation and as such I was eligible to fish LEAF's matches, so I entered the Fur and Feather Match. No one else from work had entered so I couldn't scrounge a lift an had to cycle 15 miles with my gear to get to the venue which again was on the Trent at Long Eaton. I was almost late for the draw and at the draw bag I drew peg 76 out of 90 pegs, F&F matches were always well supported as there was a raft of Christmas fare prizes on offer. The organiser, Bill Parker who later became a good friend, asked me if I wanted to go in the ten-shilling optional pool. I only had twelve and six in my pocket to see me through the week, so I declined. I walked the match with 17lb 15oze, I remember exactly because I was 1oz light of 18lb. This won me a twenty-pound Turkey which I received on presentation night. I had to draw and pluck it myself. I did miss out on £20 pools pay out and that was the lesson learned, always back yourself. The attraction of match fishing was obviously the benefits a win could bring, but there was much more than that. The competition was addictive, you learnt by watching others and by and large most were willing to give guidance and advice in those days. The was always a buzz around the draw, people wanted to know where you had drawn and what your thoughts were. There was one point in my match fishing days when I could not pick a peg for the life of me, so much so I got the nickname Cyanide Pete, everyone wanted to know what I drawn and would hope to Christ they drew nowhere me. Similar after a match there was a good atmosphere, a craic in the pub to compare notes on what had been and what might have been. For me the best part of the day.
    At that time almost every Factory, Social Club and Pub had its own Angling Section with regular matches at weekends. If it was an away match they would always be willing to take guests in order to cover the coach cost. Match results and details of forth coming club matches were printed in the Nottingham Evening Post every Thursday and that was a must read. By fish club matches and Federated Cub matches, like Long Eaton Fed and Notts Fed I got to fish a variety of different venues, notably the Witham, Welland, Nene, Ouse and the Severn. So, the education progressed. Some of the bigger organizations would run open matches on their waters and these were always worth fishing because they attracted a lot of support. If you clicked in one of these there was coin coming your way. If you didn't, the experience was vital and the information you gleaned post-match was priceless. Plus you got to meet the best, and there were some right characters around, some to be cultivated, others avoided. All this was the thriving, stimulating some time highly disappointing match scene that I involved myself in. In addition, as I was a Civil Servant I also fished in Regional matches, Inter Regional Challenge matches and several Civil Service Nation matches. I just loved it. I could go on, but I think the points made.

    5. Have you ever fished next to any famous anglers?
    I have fished with and against many well-known, skilful and respected Anglers in my time, with varying degrees of success. That would include most of the Nottingham Notables, who were also close friends, like: Frank Barlow, Pete Warren, Jan Porter, Johnny Moult, Wayne Swinscoe, Johnny Rolfe, Pete Palmer, Don Slaymaker and Steve Toone and many others. In matches I have drawn next to all those mentioned and also next to noted anglers such as: Dennis White, Tom Pickering, Dick Clegg and Ivan Marks. As a point of cynical interest, I once beat Ivan off the next peg in a winter league match, at Shelford. I don't claim too much credit for this because Ivan, as was his wont at times, spent most of the match bank walking. A thing I never dreamt of doing in a Winter League match, but then Ivan had an impeccable record and I didn't.

    6. What's your favourite venue?
    When in general that has got to be the Trent, because I used to know it like the back of my hand. Having said that I am well aware it has changed dramatically since I fished it regularly. Maybe not so much though. A couple of years ago Binka invited me out for a day’s fishing at Rolleston on the Trent. I took my Son in Law Chris along and we had a good day. I fished, what for me, was a typical stick float peg and had a Deja vu session, taking 100 plus roach and dace. Pleased me to know I could still do it. Binka recorded it on the HDYGO thread.
    Specifically, my favourite section of the river would be Clifton Grove. Other venues I liked were: the Little Witham around Long Bennington and the Derwent at Sawley. There is excellent fishing down here in Dorset which I enjoy but truth to tell my mind always goes back to the golden days. Don't we all?

    7. Presumably you started out on cane rods migrated to fibre glass and then carbon ? Do you have any nostalgia for old kit ?
    . The first proper rod I had was a 13ft Tonkin cane rod with a spliced in-built cane tip. Your conventional "roach rod" at the time. This was coupled with a Speedia centre pin reel. I then graduated to an 14ft Apollo Taper Flash metal rod, still with the same centre pin. I then switch to a fixed spool reel and that conversion took some time and was only successful when I left the centre pin at home and forced myself to make the fixed spool reel work. Once I had mastered that the centre pin, much as I love to use one, took a back seat. Next two rods were fibre glass, a 13ft Milbro Enterprise and a 13ft rod I made from a 13ft Lerc blank, The Lerc was terrific and I used it is my "go to" rod (what a naff expression that is) for ages. By this time carbon fibre rod were becoming available but very expensive. The first carbon rod I had I made from a Sunridge blank a bought from Terry Dorman’s tackle shop for £50. At the time Kevin Ashurst was sponsored by Sundridge and have met and spoken with Big Kev over the years that was good enough for me. So much so I bought two. The second one came fitted with a cork handle. I still have them both. The next phase was the impact of feeder fishing on the river and I was a slow starter here. What finally convince me to give it a go was a Notts Fed match I fished on Ratcliffe Viaducts. I put 12lb of hard-won stick float roach on the pan and had my double both side by anglers both sides fishing the pig and not even owning a float. Time for a rethink. At that time there were few discrete feeders on the market, so I took my trusty Lerc rod, cut it and spliced a fibre glass tip into. That work a treat, once I had reconciled to the amount of lead you had to use, between 1oz and 2oz, alien for me being a stick float used to shotting with No 8s. I had immediate results with this new approach and it coincided with an increase of skimmer bream in the river which were mugs for the feeder. The next step happened when I fished a Notts Fed open match at Burton Joyce. I drew 10 pegs below Stoke Weir and came 3rd with a big 17lb which included two barbell. One peg below me was a guy called Pat O’Carroll who the previous week had won a Notts Anglers match on the opposite bank with 130lb, an astonishing weight at the time. He was using a Mel Storey 12ft feeder rod. After the match he gave me a go with it and I went straight home rang Mel Storeys Tackle and bought one; £56 I think it was came with to tips. Great rod at the time, still got it although I have changed the winch fittings. That was one of the best buys I had made and within 6 weeks it had paid for itself five times over. Next rod I bought was a 13ft Normark Avenger and I was also gifted one by my good friend Jan Porter. I also bought a 7m Shakespeare Super Team whip for £100 which paid for itself within a week. After buying it I won three matches on Clifton Grove in 6 days.

    8. Which reel for trotting ?
    Ninety five percent of my fishing was done on moving water, so trotting was second nature. Up to the age of 24 I used nothing but a centre pin reel. Either a Speedia, a Stanton Reel or an Allcock Ariel Match reel. I then bought a fixed spool reel, an Intrepid Elite. Not a particularly expensive reel but I was not convinced a FS was for me. It took me ages to get comfortable with it. I had to discipline myself to leave the centre pins at home, giving me no choice but to master it. In the initial stages it would be on the rod for three casts then ripped off and on with the centre pin. Once I got the hang of it was apparent that there were far better alternative reels to be had other than the Intrepid Elite, so I went shopping. Abu had a exhibition of tackle at the local YMCA and I when to look early one morning. It was before the Pubs opened, which was the only reason I when. There was a guy called Ken Booth, demonstrating an ABU 503 Closed Face reel (the red one with the star shaped drag adjuster). I vaguely knew Ken from the Notts Fed open matches, as he fished for Benny Ashurst's Leigh Miners team. I had a few casts with it and was impressed with the fact that it was all one finger fishing and bought one there and then. Once I had the ABU I never seriously used a centre pin again. Several other Nottingham match anglers were using ABU's and we spent so time modifying them the perform better. Among other things this included removing the ratchet lock, which then allowed you to lock the clutch right up and give line by back winding. Also we build up the spools body filler and machined that back so the capacity was only 50yd of line to minimising line bedding in. In the end we had almost the ultimate trotting reel. I progressed through the ABU range, finishing up with three 506's, all modified. I fished with these for 8 or 10 years until I discovered the Daiwa 125M. For me this is the perfect trotting reel. It did everything the modified ABU''s did and straight out of the box. I use them to this day.

    9. View on carp puddles ? Ever fished one
    The first commercial carp complex I fished was at Upper Hayford near Northampton. I was competing in a Notts ROF match and we took a coach load of fifty down there. I remember it well because on the bus the secretary pointed out that only barbless hook were allowed. Two thirds of the lads had no barbless hooks and I spent the trip down there sat in the front passenger seat tying up barbless 18s for those without. It was a snake lake and the far bank was at 13m. Most of the lads only had 11m pole and had to long line and swing to get across. I was better off having just bought a 14.5m Daiwa pole and using it for the first time. I had a good day taking 40lb odd of what we now call "pastie" carp. Jim Meakin won the match with 69lb, I didn't make the top ten. Finished up alright though, because my mate Colin and I cleaned up on the pool table in the village pub. The Barley Mow I think it was called. Commercial venues, to my mind are a mixed blessing. They provide safe, comfortable and reliable fishing with, in the main, good amenities and access. In some ways they have dragged angling into the 21st century, and they give many anglers a lot of pleasure by way of big bags of fish in secure surroundings. I occasionally fish one down here that is your typical commercial. You never see a fish jump out the water for if it did it wouldn't get its place back again. For me the vision of 15 match anglers sat around a puddle compared with 80 to 100 in a Notts Fed open on the Trent at Burton Joyce are poles apart.

    10. What size were the matches you fished at their most popular ?
    The matches I fished on a regular basis were club matches and local open matches. Club matches were usually 25 to 50 pegs and local opens 50 to 100+. I have also fished The All England Championships a few times, that was before they reorganised it into Div1 Div2 etc. These matches were fished by between 100 to 120 teams of twelve. So up to1,320 competitors.

    11. Centrepin for trotting ?
    I used on for many years in my days. A good centre pin is a great thing to own and a delight to use. However, with the advent of fixed spool and closed face reel the centre pin was not the reel of choice in the match circles I moved in. The only guy I saw use one regularly was Dave Thomas from Leeds, and good he was too.

    12 Any views on the carp scene - fishing at a million miles and catching named fish – ever shown any interest in that ?
    Big Carp fishing is branch of angling where the devotees are as dedicated and forward thinking as any match man. I can see the attraction of catching very big fish, but it's not for me. If you choose to spend the best years of your life chasing after big, individually name carp, well go head on.

    13 Do you own a pole ?
    Yes, I have four. Two Diawa's, 14.5m & two Mavers13.5m & 16m. I don't consider myself a good pole angler. I am a river man who uses a pole.

    14 Why do you fish standing up?
    I always stand when river fishing. I find it is easier to control the tackle and feed the swim at the same time particularly when using a bait apron. It allows me to maintain a rhythm plus I can see better. Important for me now my windows are starting to go.
    When standing I am comfortable but not relaxed which allows me to be focused and alert. For me it is easier to play and land a fish, particularly if you can stand in the water. Match rules used to allow you to wade 1yd from your peg.

    15. How fast could you tie a hook ?
    I have tied spade end hooks from an early age. At one period I tied for the Trade and would reckon to maintain a rate of 100/hour. With regard to how fast: to tie a hook to nylon from a starting position of a size 20 hook in one hand and line in the other, my Lady, yesterday, timed me at 8 seconds to put on ten whippings. For a full-blown hook length, that is tied hook, length measured off and a figure of eight knot loop, 20 sec.

    16. Do you watch Celebrity Anglers?
    Not much. They all know what they are doing, obviously, but it is embarrassing the way they have to "Sell the product". I have watched most of Jan's videos, but then I am bias because he was a good friend of mine.

    17. Whip fishing for roach. Have you used it?
    Yes, I have a 7m whip I bought 30 years ago. That's a proper whip with a flick tip. I used it on the Trent to catch roach, dace, bleak and Gudgeon. A great method and won me a stack of coin over the years.

    18. Bait, Maggot or Bread.
    Only one answer here. Maggot and the derivative, caster.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    Thanks for that,brings back a few memories in my past,I wouldn't try to tie a spade end that quickly,being more concerned on being reliable(and I'm not saying Pete's tying isn't reliable,just my concerns on my tying).
    Last edited by whitty; 24-07-2019 at 07:56.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    Quote Originally Posted by whitty View Post
    Thanks for that,brings back a few memories in my past,I wouldn't try to tie a spade end that quickly,being more concerned on being reliable(and I'm not saying Pete's thing isn't reliable,just my concerns on my tying).
    I have a very nice man tie my spade ends for me, his name is Peter Drennan!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    Lol,i tie them quick,just not as quick as Pete,if i see a flat spot or a kink,its gone,time isnt so much of an issue these days and as im often hoping for big fish,i want to be sure ive done my bit right,thats why i wouldnt use Mr Drennans,cant blame him if mine fail...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    Nice read I enjoyed that, thank you

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    A really nice and interesting read, thanks to Pete for sharing

    PS: Drennan hooks are more likely to be tied by a lady called Adinda in Indonesia . . . . or Malaysia

    Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.

    Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary. ~

    Patrick F. McManus






  7. #7
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    Quote Originally Posted by rich66 View Post
    Nice read I enjoyed that, thank you
    Me too. Well done to you both.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    Thirsty work tying hooks that quick Pete,reckon you deserve a pint or two in this weather...
    Last edited by whitty; 24-07-2019 at 12:59.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    I’m sure he is very much engaged in ensuring the future of our brewing bisinessThe Bracket interviewThe Bracket interview


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The Bracket interview

    Quote Originally Posted by mikench View Post
    I’m sure he is very much engaged in ensuring the future of our brewing bisinessThe Bracket interviewThe Bracket interview


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    A very worthy cause to support Mike . I should be knighted for my devotion to it. Pete.to
    Last edited by bracket; 25-07-2019 at 19:53.
    Casternets

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