Interviews

Robin West

Interviewed by John, added on 22/07/2008

'An introduction by the interviewer'

Sometimes life throws up those funny encounters that can lead on to other, more interesting things. Earlier this year I happened to buy a set of light Harrison carp rods from a well known online auction site. Unfortunately, though not at all the fault of the seller, the courier made a balls up of the delivery and they went somewhere else. I received someone elses nice centrepin instead, though sadly it had to be sent on or I wouldn't have gotten my rods.

All through this hassle, a relationship built up with the seller, who was very polite, apologetic and helpful in sorting out the courier companies cock up. During our phone calls back and forth, whilst both amused at the couriers increasing incompetence, we talked fishing and fishing tackle, as all anglers do.

We'd spent quite a while on the phone, chatting about all sorts from the pastime of angling. To me these discussions were fascinating, including some superb tales told from one of my favourite eras, the late 70's and early 80's specimen/carp scene. Here was clearly a lifelong and very accomplished angler that had been there, done it and was still out there doing it!

The first time we spoke on the phone,  I kept thinking to myself that I was sure I'd seen the name before somewhere. It kept bugging me and rather than look an idiot by asking 'Do I know you from somewhere?', I went to my bookshelves. I was sure it was something carp fishing related, and eventually there it was, a couple of articles in 'The Carp Catchers Book' a Carp Anglers Association publication from 1984. The author's name was Robin West and, allowing me to find out a bit more about him, he's kindly agreed to doing this interview for PurePiscator.

I keep thinking to myself if those rods had been delivered with no problems then these conversations (and now this interview here) would have never even happened. Life's funny at times isn't it.


So Robin, how and where did it all begin?

Robin with a big barbel

A better question would have been 'Why did it all begin?' and frankly I would have struggled to find an answer...... I'm an only child, my father didn't fish, nor any relative. In fact all my relatives were very old, including my Dad who was nearing retirement by the time I was eight or nine years old. He was a very quiet man and I passed a very quiet childhood as a result. By that I mean that I was expected to make my own amusement, Dad being neither interested nor energetic enough to do sport with me or introduce me to any pastime.

In fact it was a boy called Trevor, two years older than me, with whom I first went fishing. I think we dreamed the whole thing up together.. I have no idea where the idea came from.. I saved up for my first rod and reel, which cost 7s 6d from one of those toy shops that sold a bit of tackle, and consisted of two pieces of whole garden cane joined by a crude ferrule, with a short wood dowel handle and cheap wire rings. The reel was a very small brown bakelite thing. The outfit was rubbish, but it had to suffice and in fact I made it last quite a few years. I never did solve the problem of the top section falling off every few minutes though. Trevor’s rod was longer, in three pieces that stayed together, and painted lilac. No, he wasn't gay, it was just that he loved to paint stuff and lilac was all he could find in the garage after his parents had decorated the toilet.

We lived in Surrey near a tributary of the Mole, and this was where we fished, crossing two big fields to reach a bend in the stream where the water was a bit deeper than the straighter bits either side. Minnows were the quarry, the idea being to catch the most of course.. Only once did I ever catch any other sort of fish there, and that was a large gudgeon which I took home to show Mum. The fish was too big for the jar and it hung almost vertically with its nose on the bottom all the way home.

By the time I was a teenager in the sixties, Trevor had moved house and I was left entirely to my own devices. Another friend from school came with me occasionally, but he wasn't that bothered. I had no mentor, no-one to take me to different places and nobody to show me what to do so I just made it up as I went along. I can't even remember having a fishing book of any sort until I was around sixteen. I made up knots, strung shot haphazardly, used floats and hooks that were probably too large and ended up catching not very much, but I think I knew from the very start that fishing was the most important thing. It never ever occurred to me that I might give it up in favour of something else, it was just something that I did.

 

When did you get into the specimen carp fishing scene?

Well, suffice it to say that though I was certainly an early starter, I was a late developer in terms of results with my fishing, and very late into carp fishing at the age of 28. By the time I started to think about trying what I then considered as 'proper' carp fishing during the summer of '76, I had taught myself all sorts including beach casting for cod, dry fly fishing for trout and grayling and spinning for sea trout quite apart from barbelling and many other types of coarse fishing. This had all been very enjoyable but my list of specimen fish, had I written one, would not have taken too long to complete.

So 1976 was a watershed; when after one of those key seminal moments I decided to go carp fishing. Being vaguely aware of the existence 'Leisure Sport' and their gravel pits full of carp, I gave them a ring and duly joined Darenth for the 1977 season, without really knowing much about the place. A friend and I went for a look one a hot day that August and saw the islands poking high up out of the water, which was very low due to the drought. We stood in the Willows swim and watched this big bloke chuck huge bright yellow baits out alongside the island. He then proceeded to rock them back and forth in response to a twitch bite by gently pulling the line on the short drop down to the squeesy bottle indicators. In due course the line twitched again and he struck into a carp. I can't remember how big it was. We told him we were going to fish here next year and he said 'It' not as easy to join as that, mate!' But it was....... The big bloke turned out to be Robin Monday by the way.

Robin in the eighties

My first season was tough to say the least. I had no idea about baits and so bought Hi-Pro which didn't work, although I caught bream. Hi-Pro was the only commercially available bait at the time that I was aware of. By the late summer I had met Alan Smith and Lee Jackson and although they didn't let me in on any secrets, they pointed knowingly at their baits and told me to think about the fact that they were red. 'OK', I thought, so I dyed my baits red... This failed too and of course was not what they meant anyway. It was much later on that I found out that they were using Robin Red bird food. I suppose they must have had a chuckle at their very apt clue, bearing in mind my name, but I didn't know enough at the time to make use of it. At least they had been kind enough to help and make me think, rather than just telling me to piss off. They were nice blokes, and this relationship where Lee in particular would help with little clues without actually giving the game away was to continue for some time.

There were quite a few anglers fishing there who would quite happily tell you to piss off though... One of these was a successful local angler called Ian Booker. I recall fishing next to him on day around the White Post swim area. He was away from his rods and he had a screaming run that continued to take line at a frightening pace off the reel. This was during the early hair rig peanut days (1981 I think?). In the end I got tired of listening to his alarm and walked over and struck the fish which was by now right round the back of one of the islands. The line caught on something and snapped. Oops! When he returned I received a proper telling off for this despite the fact that I had probably saved his rod from ending up in the lake. Later that year I heard that his bivvy had burned down somewhere on the Tip Lake, allegedly with him inside it.... He was a right character.

By 1981 I had learned to catch my share of carp from Darenth Big Lake, and had made quite a few friends. The hair rig had got round the grapevine and we were all catching more carp than previously. The year before had been frustrating and fascinating in equal measure as Lenny Middleton and Kevin Maddocks developed the method. I think Geoff Kemp may have been involved too? Anyway, the rest of us were still fishing for twitchers or churners, hovering over high mounted rods with short drops to the indicators or waiting for the old Mitchell’s to start furiously back-winding. In contrast, Lenny and Kevin had their rods on very low rests with the line running through white plastic wine bottle tops cut in such a way as to fly off when they came off the needle on the strike. Bail arms were open and the runs went on and on and on if you let them. I remember sitting next to Lenny in the Right Hand Gap and watching him get these fantastic runs that made the rod rattle in the rests. He would sit and watch this for ages before eventually leisurely picking the rod up to strike. As far as tackle was concerned Kevin and Lenny were like chalk and cheese. Kevin’s gear was very well thought out and tidy. He was meticulous over the way he fished. Lenny was a real mess. Rods were different, the lines were of different makes and looking as if it had been on the reels for years. His Herons were unbelievable! The sounder box wiring was all spewed out of the box and thrown in a heap inside a large old biscuit tin. All in all he was the best advert I've ever seen for those who believe that it is the angler not the tackle that catches fish.

1981 was also the year that I joined the Redland Savay syndicate. This was the first full year of the syndicate after a trial that took place in 1980. I had bumped into Andy Little, who I knew a bit, at Darenth late in 1980 after he had finished fishing Savay for the year. The thick wad of photos he showed me was incredible. Most of the carp in the pictures seemed to be thirties, and at the time a thirty pounder was still a comparative rarity.

As the start of the new season came nearer I dreamt of huge commons and mirrors being heaved into my landing net, but the reality proved to be very different. Frankly I was not up to the task. I had neither the time required to position ahead of a new wind in order to bait up and ambush the fish, or the ability to make the right decisions during the short sessions that I was there. My bait at the time was also sub-standard. I was really only on the fish once. I was pitched on the Colne bank and fish were crashing all around me at 40 to 60yds range for hours on end. I failed to get a pick-up. Ritchie MacDonald came round and was frustrated that I couldn’t get a take and that he couldn’t try either!

There were quite a few well known anglers on the pit that first year. Bob Morris, who I knew quite well from Darenth was on the other rota. I think he had seven fish for the season, including two or three thirties, fishing mainly from the Island I recall. I gave up prematurely and despondently towards the end of the summer. One of the problems had been the travelling. As I only did short sessions the drive was a nightmare. The M25 had not been built and the journey regularly took three hours, often through horrible traffic. On my return to Darenth I was immediately rewarded with a string of good fish and confidence returned..

As the years passed I developed my own approach to carp fishing. Being unable and unwilling to do long sessions I had to find a way to catch fish regularly during short-ish sessions. The longest time I would spend at the water in one go was about 36 hours; this being two days and the night in between. Many trips, however, were just for the day. Plainly, piling in kilos of bait and waiting for the fish to find it was not an option, so I had to go and find some fish as soon as possible after arriving. From day one I had hated all the extraneous clutter that carp anglers tend to carry about and therefore at an early stage had reduced my kit to be as lightweight as possible. This helped enormously when it came to moving onto fish by changing swims. I would move to the other side of the lake quite quickly if fish showed more than once in an area I couldn't reach. As well as the propensity to move, the particular method that I refined over the intervening years was to fish tight spots with single baits in areas that don't usually get fished for one reason or another. To do this to best advantage it helped to know what the going bait was and to use it. You have to be able to cast accurately, sometimes at long range, and also ideally to find spots that couldn't be cast to by anyone when the lake was full, then fish on days when the lake wasn't busy.

I never really liked night fishing. For some this is the essence of carp fishing but for me it was always a pain in the neck. It would usually prove nigh on impossible to re-cast to the tight spot that I had been fishing all day following any nuisance bream or coot take, and if I did catch an occasional carp, the process of playing and landing in the dark was nowhere near as enjoyable as in the daylight in my opinion. Also I was most often tired after a long days concentration and needed my sleep! The other side of this coin was that I was usually up very early, re-casting to my hot-spot and fishing properly again whilst others slept soundly on....

Modern carping

The winters at Darenth soon became my favourite time. The single bait, daytime only approach worked well and once found, the fish tended to remain in the same place for some time. The carp didn't show as much in winter, but by searching the corners or leap-frogging baits across the middle areas, they were discovered eventually. The winter in 1991 was a great one for me; I fished single peanut in two areas, one being a particular spot in a corner and the other a distant hard patch, and for the first time (and only time l think) I out-fished all the locals by a reasonable margin.

I have done far less carping over the last few years and what I have done has mainly consisted of surface fishing, at which, if I say so myself, I have become fairly proficient. I discovered the ‘Revolution’ controller in 1996, which didn't sell very well due to the high cost and also difficulty of use. I learned to use it, and caught loads. When it was discontinued I bought up all that I could find and when these nearly ran out I made a replacement that is frankly even better. Sometimes it almost feels like cheating.

 

When did you start writing?

Getting back to the late seventies and early eighties.. After a modicum of success, ego clicked in and I decided to apply for BCSG membership. I failed in my first two attempts, and to be fair I hadn't by this time had the consistent results that the group required, but eventually I got in and enjoyed the camaraderie of meetings and conferences. I'm still a member but don't go to meetings very often. I also decided to try my hand at writing an article. Ego again I suspect? The best magazine by far at the time was Brian Harris's  'Angling' which covered all disciplines and whose contributors included Dick Walker, who of all writers had had the greatest affect on me since I discovered his column in the Angling Times (Or was it the Mail?) in the late sixties..

I wrote about the differing mechanics of using a butt indicator instead of a bobbin, and how it made it easier to hit twitchers. Surprisingly it was accepted and they actually paid me for it too! This gave me the confidence to write more and after Angling ceased publication I wrote intermittently for Coarse Angler up to around the mid nineties.

I haven't written anything for ages, not because I have less to say as I still have plenty of opinions to offer. I suppose the reason is that I can't be bothered any more. I am no longer in the mainstream of carp fishing and don't feel as connected with this branch of the sport as I did. Any opinions I do have would probably not be appreciated. I haven't fallen out of love with carp fishing but I have long since fallen out of love with the carp 'scene'.

I am, however, currently considering writing something about my more recent fishing exploits for other species overseas.

 

What was your opinion on the abolishing of the old traditional close season?

By the mid nineties I was desperately in need of a change. I had already had another look at fly fishing and this time had learned a lot more and been much more successful. I joined The Piscatorial Society in 1989 and spent the spring times and early summers fishing their lovely stretches of chalk stream in Hampshire and Wiltshire. I therefore made good use of the old close season by doing something else. When it came I did not feel strongly either way about the abolishing of the close season on still waters, but it did herald an initial negative impact on my fishing. In fact it proved to be the beginning of the end of a long fishing friendship. Whilst he had been happy to accompany me on trout fishing trips all the while the carp lakes were out of bounds, he was insufficiently interested once he discovered that he could fish for carp all year round. The thing was, I was not only spreading my wings towards trout at the time, but also barbel and salmon and saltwater species in the USA and other stuff too. At the time I thought that he showed a stunning lack of imagination, and although I now accept that we are all different and that his view was just as valid as mine, I still think he displayed a stunning lack of imagination!

 

What would be your favourite rod and reel combination/s?

I love rods and reels.... I have often played a little game where I am restricted to having just one of each, and which would I choose? The answer is nearly always the same and the rod just has to be an Avon of some sort. There is no other rod type that will do so many jobs. eg. Trotting for anything including shrimping for salmon, legering for all species including barbel and carp, surface fishing, float fishing or stalking for carp, spinning for any species, light piking with anything except a whole mackerel or even sea fishing for bass or mullet.. The list goes on...

A big ole Wells..

The final decision then is which particular Avon? My favourite changes from time to time but the main contenders are as follows.. Firstly, the most practical of all Avons, my Harrison 11ft, 1lb 6oz, two piece Avon built by Vic Gibson to my own spec. I have caught everything from dace to catfish on this rod. I use line from 3lb to 12lb, although 10lb is the usual maximum. Another favourite is the Bruce and Walker Hexagraph Avon No1. This has a TC rating of 1lb but is much more powerful than this indicates.

My current favourite is a Hardy Richard Walker Avon, circa 1976, in brown glass-fibre. In fact I have two of these. The blank is fast tapered and quite thin walled but capable of landing almost anything. I would perhaps draw the line at catfish on this one though.. The main difference is the fact that it is only 10ft in length rather than 11ft which makes it borderline for trotting but better for the odd bit of spinning..

As for reels it has to be a classic Swedish ABU Cardinal (not anything they make now I hasten to add!!), probably a 66 or a 44, but I concede that the later 55's and 54's are nice too, although these don't look so good with older rods. I own quite a few Cardinals: 44's, 66's and 77's. I modify the drag slightly to make them almost as good as any front drag reel. They are bullet proof, saltwater proof, and made of infinitely better materials than most modern fixed spool reels. I have routinely cleaned what looked like the original grease out of a second hand example to find no wear inside whatsoever. I'm a fussy bugger and look after my tackle well. I am always on the lookout for perfection and so Vic gets most of my work if I'm after custom build. Roger Hurst is first class too..

I am particularly fussy about cork! Most cork handles are pre-formed from very poor quality material that ends up full of filler. Even those handles made from individual shives that I've seen recently are not much better, or no better at all. Most British rod builders have told me that really good cork is impossible to get, but for some reason many American builders have little trouble? Look at pretty much any Winston fly rod and see what I mean. I will and do pay what it costs to end up with a cork handle with no filler at all..

As for modern carp tackle? Well don't get me started! Someone recently said to me about a pair of Gibbinson 'two and a quarters' that I was selling.

'The trouble is mate, that the test curve is against you.. No-one wants such soft light rods anymore, and they don't have all the stainless fittings do they?, and the blanks aren't made in a high tech facility in the Far East either!'

I really do give up....

 

Split cane, fibreglass or carbon?

I have a few cane rods and they do look lovely and feel nice in the hand too. I appreciate the natural wood and the craftsmanship. I love my cane rods. My problem, however, is that there is a limit to the way they can be used that is well inside my own self imposed limitations. As stated earlier I have caught catfish on an Avon. I regularly keep carp out of snags with an Avon. I often extract barbel from weedy swims with an Avon. I have fought big spring salmon with an Avon. However, I wouldn't use either of my cane Avons for any of this kind of work. Therefore they just can't be as versatile as required.. Therefore I reluctantly conclude that short of resorting to heavier cane rods that I really wouldn't want to use, my cane rods stay firmly in the cabinet..

I have lots of fibreglass rods. They are much more resilient than cane whilst retaining a similar action. My collection consists almost entirely of Hardy rods, and I think that this particular glass was as good as it got. I own a pair of Hardy Richard walker No1 carp rods which were built for me as a special order in 2000 from the last two remaining complete blanks in the factory. They now only have spare tip sections available. I have the two Hardy Avons from the seventies, a couple of spinning rods, a Fred Taylor Trotter and a 12ft Matchmaker and they are all in mint condition. In fact the only slightly scruffy one was one of the Avons, and Callum Gladstone who builds cane fly rods at Hardy has just re-furbished it very nicely for me using original threads etc. I use the Avons a lot and the carp rods regularly too.

I have nothing against carbon at all. I have lots of carbon rods, but they are all entirely made in either the USA or Britain. From this statement you can deduce where they are not made. This is becoming ever more difficult to ensure though. Hardy's latest range of coarse rods are made in the far east although the R&D is done in the UK. The same applies to most of their fly rods. I have heard that some of the premium American fly rod makers are now getting stuff made there too. All spinning reels except a tiny few (Van Staal, USReel, for example) are made there as are an increasing number of fly reels. (Abel and Tibor are still US made I'm sure.) The move east by tackle firms is inexorable but I won't ever be joining them there myself, so to speak.

 

What's your opinion on the current angling scene? Has angling become too commercialised?

I don't honestly feel that the carp scene has much to offer me anymore. Having said this I am actually currently fishing a commercial fishery. I overlooked it for years, but it is on my doorstep and I needed a rest from driving so decided to give it a try. In fairness the fishery itself is really nice, and in fairness again so are the management and most of the anglers, but I just don't feel I have very much in common with the way they fish.

The 'setting up' process is the most fun to watch. One overloaded barrow signifies a day trip, two barrows an overnighter and three barrows a two nighter!! They look at my kit sometimes and say 'Blimey mate, I really must try to cut down my stuff!' I explain that my maxim has always been that if I can't carry it (and I mean carry; no barrow) to the swim in one go then it stays in the car!

I'm told that many clubs are struggling for membership whilst the commercial fisheries prosper. I'm sure that this must be down to perceived easy fishing due to high stocking density. On the whole I would far rather join a club.

 

What sorts of fishing are you enjoying currently?

My year is generally spit between chalk stream trout, Kennet barbel, some carp, a few pike on the fly from the Avon perhaps, a sea trout or two from the Sussex Ouse and as many snook as possible.

Sunset and Snooks..

If you have not heard of the last one, they are feisty predators that swim the warm waters around the Florida coast. The particular snook that I fish for live on the Gulf Coast side of the state. They are just as common on the Atlantic side but are not as easy to 'sight fish' for. When the water is clear, once you get your eye in, you can see them patrolling in ones and twos close in to the beaches. Over the last ten years I have developed a method for catching these fish that works in almost all conditions. Without wishing to be big-headed I have astounded local anglers many times with big snook caught from under their noses that they didn't even realise were there. These are very wary fish and the particular bait presentation I use took quite a long time to perfect. I have no competition with this fishing and generally have the entire beach to myself. Even when I show people the basics, which I have done many times, the penny often fails to drop. One of the reasons for this is that the method can require lengthy spells of intense concentration due to the fact that you may only see one or two fish an hour and most people give up very quickly. It is not something that you can do for an hour, chat at the same time, loose concentration frequently and still expect to catch fish. Not for everyone I suppose.

The tackle side of things is very simple. I use 7ft graphite ‘medium-light’ or ‘medium’ spinning rods, rated either 6lb to 12lb or 8lb to 17lb with a 4000 size fixed-spool reel. Whichever rod I use the line is 10lb mainline with an 18inch 30lb leader.

The particular rods I usually use are the recently discontinued Sage GSP's and the reel I'm using at the moment is a Van Staal VS150.

Let me expand a bit about the rods. In the UK a 7ft light-ish spinning rod would automatically be thought of as suitable mainly for trout. Slightly heavier versions might be considered OK for summer salmon or pike but in this country these would probably be greater in length. In the USA the standard length for just about anything is 7ft, and there are more variations of action available than you can throw a stick at. What I am saying is that in the UK the 7ft spinning rod is seriously misunderstood.. I accept that part the reason for the propensity of seven footers and other short rods in the USA is the amount of fishing done afloat, but even so....

If you research the subject you will find that a good 'flats' rod, like my Sages, should be capable of lifting a 5lb (2.25kg) weight straight off the ground without any fuss. This should give you some idea of the lifting power required of these rods. Try this with a 12ft carp rod and see how you get on. You will find it quite difficult and the reason is entirely down to the poor leverage of the longer rod. On the shorter rods the tips are often quite light although the middle part and especially the butt is usually very powerful. The leverage of the shorter rod is much greater. Bear this in mind when you are playing a carp on your regulation 3lb TC carp rod in the belief that you are putting the fish under pressure or 'giving it some stick'. The chances are you are putting much less pressure on the carp than you think. The weight of the rod itself and the poor leverage is to blame. I have put this to the test several times in the UK, just for fun to show friends, by using one of my US flats rods for surface carp fishing. They have been surprised at the speed that fish can be played, held if required, and landed and all without undue risk of pull-outs. When carp fishing with an eleven footer, even this one foot reduction in length over a twelve footer will make a significant difference.

 

What's the hardest, most challenging fishing you have experienced on your travels?

Well, in the early years the snook fishing above was pretty difficult, but like all things worth doing, perseverance was required and I got there in the end. It is still difficult a lot of the time.

Chalkstream..

Chalk stream trout can be tricky when they won't take, but I really couldn't call it hard in the true sense.

I suppose concentrating an entire spring and summer on the Wye for just three salmon a few years ago gets close. Three recent spring months on the Avon with no salmon would be close too, although some huge pike on the fly helped to make it interesting. Fishing for the very large bonefish off Key Biscayne is another.

Fishing for any one of the four truly huge carp in a 10 acre pit that I know wouldn't rate here at all... because I wouldn't be silly enough to devote the time required to try!

I have a simple formula to follow when choosing where to fish and which clubs to join etc. The basic rule is that I have to believe that I will be able to catch at least one fish per visit. I don’t like blanking. Having said this it should not be too easy or overstocked. I also look for water where I have a realistic chance of landing a biggie once in a while. In this way very easy and very hard waters are generally avoided.

 

What are you favourite angling books / authors?

I enjoy most angling classic writers and have a small collection of first editions that includes titles by BB, Walker, Sheringham, Skues, J W Hills, Grey, Barton, Plunket Greene, Ransome, Hargreaves, Venables, Kingsmill-Moore, Chalmers etc. I also have a few titles from my early carp fishing days that I bought new at the time by such anglers as Maddocks and Hutchinson. Where modern titles are concerned, I have all Chris Yates books but very few modern carp books.

 

Having fished coarse, game and sea, would you say you had a favourite genre or are you just happy as a complete all rounder?

I love all types of fishing. I have little time for those who only appreciate one form of angling. It’s one thing to not have the time or resources to give a new branch of the sport a try, or to try different things and end up with a preference for one type of fishing over another, but it is another thing entirely to look down ones nose at something without ever having tried it or having any understanding of it. I particularly refer here to a surprisingly significant number of toffee nosed individuals who will only fish if they can do it with a fly, even if the method is unsuitable, turning their nose up at any other type of fishing.

I was staying at Cheeca Lodge in the Keys one spring and fishing with a friend who owns a flats skiff. We would go over to Flamingo every other day fishing for Reds and baby tarpon, whilst I amused myself with the barracuda off the dock on the days in between. We did a bit of fly fishing for the tarpon but they responded far better, as did the big bull redfish, to live finger mullet, so we free-lined with these most days.

Staying at the hotel were two middle aged British anglers who were there to fish for tarpon on the fly. I used to see them in the mornings hanging around by the dock while they waited for their guide to turn up. They planned to fish every day for ten days with the guide. I explained that the fly fishing was a little tough at that time but that other methods would be successful. They scoffed at this advice, stating that they had no idea how to use a spinning reel and had only ever fly-fished their entire lives. On the first day one of them did land a medium sized tarpon but as the days passed the blanks mounted up and by the last day they still only had the one fish between them. In the intervening days I had told them of my success and tried to get them to see sense, but to no avail. However, on the last day they were so desperate that they ended up going down to Key West to fish with an unpopular guide who chums for semi-tame tarpon in the harbour, issuing his customers with very heavy and unsporting tackle. From the sublime to the ridiculous! But I suppose they finally got their come-uppance?

 

John and all at PurePiscator would like to thank Robin for kindly giving his time for this interview and also providing the accompanying photos.

 


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