The most recent of the Thomas Turner newsletters really struck a chord with me. There advertised was a first edition of Drop Me A Line, an exchange of letters between Maurice Ingham and Richard Walker in the the mid-twentieth century, right at the start of the modern specimen fishing scene. 

My grandmother bought me a second edition when I really wasn’t old enough to catch anything much bigger than a canal gudgeon, but those letters inspired me like no other written words have done before or since. 

In part, the book is a snapshot of life and manners seventy years ago. In larger part, it describes the stumbling towards fishing discoveries made by two giants of their time. 

And I have lost my copy. I’m not quite sure when exactly, but sometime in the last ten years I’d guess. During that decade I have moved five times, and there have been devastating casualties along the way.

Novels that have been part of me have vanished, like Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier, but even worse, whole shelves of my angling library have gone… poof… lost in space. Big Pike – Rickards and Webb. Several editions of Izaak Walton. And there’s more bad news to come.

Thirty years ago I was privileged to come to know Hugh Falkus and he gave me a copy of Freshwater Fishing, the monumental tome he had put together with Fred Buller. But it wasn’t a normal copy, it was what Hugh called the ‘Bronco edition’.

Do you remember Bronco, that ghastly, shiny toilet paper common around the time Drop Me A Line was composed? It seems the Freshwater Fishing publishers printed the book first time round on cheap, thin, shiny paper that reduced Hugh to furies. He demanded that the whole print run be pulped, and the book should come out using paper he deemed appropriate. 

Only six Bronco copies survived, the sample books sent to the authors, three of them to each. I had one of Hugh’s three and now it is gone, probably to a skip somewhere in Norfolk or Herefordshire. 

So, there’s my story and now my advice. Keep your Tackle Shed Treasures close. Cherish them. Guard them. They are a part of who you are.

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