See pic filed as benfield-tenbobrig
NOT MUCH TO LOSE: A typical Ten Shilling Fishing rig. See story for explanation.
Ten Shilling Fishing
I’d like to call my hobby Coarse Fishing but that already has a meaning, as in freshwater angling other than with fly. My meaning would be Coarse Fishing as in Coarse Rugby – a sub-division of the sport in which the main aim is to get home uninjured and carrying most of the kit you set out with.
In my world, there are coarse fly fishermen, coarse coarse fishermen and coarse sea fishermen, but most of us move easily between the divisions – often with the same tackle.
Our aim is to get a hook in the water – any water – with an outside chance of luring a fish onto it. The preparation for this is half the pleasure. And half of the other half is packing up without having lost more than about 50p – ten shillings in old money, so I have come to call it Ten Shilling Fishing.
Actually catching a fish is a bit of an awkward interruption, but only a very occasional one.
It annoys the bejasus out of proper fishermen if you tell them you are happy this way. As far as they are concerned, the whole point of the sport is to find out about the kind of fish you are chasing and then outwit them. Ten Shilling Fishermen are content to wait for a particularly stupid example of the species – any species – to blunder onto the scene, looking for something dangerous to swallow.
The key to Ten Shilling Fishing is a tackle box dedicated to improvisation. Where you have floats, I have corks; where you have weights, I have bits of old plumbing. My family call it my Box of Disappointments.
I have recently added to it a number of short pieces of bamboo of varying diameters, cut from my wife’s garden canes and bored out with an awl where necessary. Bamboo is my latest enthusiasm – a great Ten Shilling material, which can be used as float, ledger or stopping bead, or, with glue and a bit of lashing, for rough-and-ready rod repairs.
After less than a day in the cellar and half a day experimenting on Roundhay Lake, my latest invention is the rig pictured, with sea fishing mainly in mind, although you might take it after pike?
At the front end, a piece of line runs from a cork, through two short lengths of bamboo, to a swivel. I do have some swivels and things, from the occasional day going large in the tackle shop. The main line runs through the other end of this swivel to make a two-hook dropper from it, held in place by a stopper bead fore and aft of the swivel. The main line then runs back through my favourite bit, a ledger made from bamboo, a cable tie and an old chain link, from which a bit of old ironmongery can hang on a piece of copper wire, lightly folded so the weight should pull away if it gets stuck – the Ten Bob Angler’s rotten bottom rig.
This is the theory … The weight gives you a decent cast; the bamboo stops the float section from tangling on casting; the cork pulls line through the ledger until it surfaces; and the hooks and bait hang a couple of feet below the cork – assuming the swivel is heavy enough to pull the bamboo down, but that can be fixed. It should then be possible to pull the bait rig down through the water, if you want to, to fish lower depths, until a stopper bead hits the bamboo and you either retrieve or let it all go again.
Can’t wait to try it. But it’s looking a bit chilly out. Pass me my pliers and the brass wire off that wine bottle.
* Chris Benfield would be pleased to discuss Ten Shilling Fishing at email@example.com/