My move to Norwich Norfolk, coincided with a job move into the insurance industry. I started with a book of customers and my job was to gain others to add to my book. Each customer was a Insurance member with an insurance policy, so each would welcome me on collecting their premiums weekly, or monthly. It was a decent job that allowed me fishing time, even though I had to work several evenings each week.
John Wilson was not a celebrity angler at the time, but he was known for his writings in many of the angling magazines and weekly papers like the Anglers Mail. We hit it off right away for our love of Roach fishing, and long trotting. I’d drop in on John several times a week in Bridewell Alley ” Johns Tackle Den” became my second home in those early years. One thing we established from the off was, unless we fished together, we would keep our own secrets. John knew too many people, and had too many visitors to his shop, not to be ask where and when by most people. He was the only person I knew that would call me Dick?
The River Wensum at the time had started to produce some very good roach, and my move was partly encouraged by this, along a split up in my marriage. I started to fish the river several times a week, and soon found the going areas. I would go early morning then come home mid-day and get ready for work. Some days I’d start early 8am then fish in the evening, it was a very good time for me. I could fish almost as much time as I could work, so the fishcake my way. It must be remembered that I fished very hard in those days, 2lb roach don’t climb up the rod, even in perfect conditions.
Those conditions were exactly as I found when living in Melton and fishing those rivers, low light values, receding flood water, and night time. In those days I’d mostly lay-on with a float, or at night a ultralight 12′ rod with a bread or beta light bobbin. Peacock quill or cork bodied floats were the norm, 4lb maxima and a 3lb hook link. I’m sure one rod was called the Avon Perfection that I brought from “Bennetts” tackle shop on finance. The reel was a Michel 410 with the big torpedo handle, remember those?
I not only fished the Wensum, but also the Bure, Tudd and River Yare. The Yare was a very interesting river, tidal and while not producing roach the size of the others, big bags were possible in the right conditions. A pound fish was a good fish (as it is today) but the Yare produced lots of them. I remember sitting in a little moored dingy with John, trotting peacock quill floats down a fast pace river Yare taking some wonderful bags of fish together. I think my best fish was 1lb.12oz then, but the Yare is still a wonderful roach river today I’m told.