I fear that the title of this essay may lead to all kind of deviants ending up on my site, and I apologise for their disappointment when they discover that "The Fishing Vicar" isn't a euphemism, but really is just about a Vicar who fishes, and that this article is about angling equipment and not "grown up toys" for those of a kinky disposition. I left school in 1984, which was my misfortune, as corporal punishment in school didn't end until 1986. However, despite receiving not infrequent slipperings (why did they say "this'll hurt me more than you?" .... liars!) I never had to suffer the cane, although I did watch several others experience that fate. Now, 33 years later I'm opting FOR the cane, albeit in an altogether different form.
My angling has been veering towards the "traditional" for a while, now. I've got a collection of vintage reels that I regularly use, as well as a more modern centrepin, have a whicker fishing basket, only ever use old fashioned handcrafted floats, and have acquired several nice vintage glassfibre rods. That said, until now I've only been a dilettante, half heartedly hanging around the fringes of the Bernard Venables and Chris Yates inspired traditionalist scene, but- thanks to the postman and the kindness of a friendship made on Facebook- I'm now a fully fledged member of the split cane fraternity. The Facebook friend (whose name will remain concealed to hide any embarrassment) was not only kind enough to allow me to buy a cane rod from him on a "play now, pay later" basis (the rod has already arrived, and will be paid for at the time of my forthcoming birthday), but- in his evangelical zeal for all things "cane"- generously gifted me a second rod at just the cost of delivery. A marvellous gesture from a proper gentleman. And so, to the rods themselves:
The second, which will probably see greater active service due to my preference for the float, is a superb float rod by Aspindales, the Thamesdale, just over 12 foot long, and sure to be my new "go to" rod for perch, crucians and tench (which just happen to be my three favourite fish species), except on commercial venues where there's a high chance of contacting a rogue carp, in which case I'll turn to my fine vintage Rodrill glass float rod, to avoid any possibility of a treasured possession becoming firewood for a Kelly Kettle!
Changes in my working pattern and responsibilities (I've been seconded for 6 months to work half time as a Diocesan head office "desk jockey" in addition to running one of the larger churches in the Diocese) mean that my actual fishing opportunities will be far fewer this year, perhaps, painfully, as little as one a month (counselling may be required!), but the prospect of a new set of adventures walking along angling's "old paths" with craftsman-made antique tackle will, doubtless, prove to be its own compensation. Looks like from now on the future of my angling lies in the use of things past in the present, and I can't wait. I'll keep you all posted.