by David Chamberlain
Many years ago the south coast had a local television station called 'Southern Television'. If my memory serves me well, there used to be a program on Friday nights at 7 pm called 'Out of Town'. This was hosted by Jack Hargreaves who, with his wife, was also a director of Southern Television. 'Out of Town' was produced by Jack and his wife and sold under a different franchise to STV; therefore, a win-win commercial venture for him. Although Jack was not the best of anglers there was not that much on TV about the sport at that time.
Deal boatman Rob Abel talks to Jack Hargreaves
Jack Hargreaves managed to get the TV company involved in a boat fishing championship where Kent and Sussex clubs could send their champions to fish a couple of local heats (Deal and Newhaven) to find the champs to fish the final. Obviously these were televised to offset costs.
Although I was boat fishing at the time, I was never good enough to be club champion and represent my club. However, as a Deal boatman I was involved and did take some anglers out on one of the heats. As I have always taken the sport seriously, it would have been prestigious for me (as a boatman) to have got my crew through to the finals.
Jack Hargreaves chats to the President (Bill Peacock) and Chairman (Arthur Allsopp) of the Deal Angling Club (1919)
This was in the late 1960s when we did not have any electronics in our open boats. I took my anglers into the deep water off Kingsdown where we fished on a neap tide. We were catching in a steady stream and the bags were being filled. I must have been close to a wreck as one of the anglers hooked into a conger which I lost on the gaff. The angler (understandably) was not happy. However, I managed to land the next one and he came third in the tournament. It was an embarrassment for me and one I will never forget (still trying).
The weigh-in (where's Waldo ?)
Jack used the Deal Angling Club (1919) to set up the competition in this area. The officials and committee set up hiring the boats (when we had plenty at Deal), weighing the fish and recording the results - or basically organising the whole event.
So there you have it … another piece of local angling history.
Copyright © David Chamberlain 2016
by David Chamberlain
A few years ago, when I was a charter boat skipper from Walmer beach, I used to grapnel around Deal Pier to clear and collect weights. Along with another crew man or two we would spend around three hours dragging and hauling.
Deal Pier from the sea
The weights would come up entangled in skeins of 50/60 lb monofilament. Even with the use of a hydraulic capstan it was hard work and put a lot of strain on the machinery and boat - plus the mess. It was also quite dangerous, as there were thousands of rusting hooks imbedded in the rubbish. Any skeins of monofilament that were too heavy or unmanageable were towed to my beach plot and pulled up the beach on the winch. Towing 50/60 feet of mono, leads and rubbish (sometimes thicker than a roll of carpet) put the boat at some risk; if it had fouled the prop then I would have had problems, big time.
The crew haul aboard a skein of mono
Once the garbage was offloaded from the boat to the beach it was left to my crew and me to cut away the decent weights. These normally comprised Geminis and Impacts. This would take a few days of back-breaking work and very sore hands, plus hook pricks. The remaining pile of mono then had to be disposed of, either by burning or by taking to the dump.
Another load comes over the side
In theory the salved weights should have been presented to the Receiver of Wreck, however … We then spent days going to the tackle shops selling our finds, usually £1 for three Geminis or Impacts. All in all, for the time and effort we put in, it was not really profitable but it kept me out of the pub.
The reason anglers lose more tackle today when fishing from the Pier than in 'the good old days' is because they use heavy leaders and thin main line. If an angler has a couple of crack-offs in the same vicinity it will (together) produce a snag with a breaking strain of about 120 lb. As the next set of gear gets entangled then that will be impossible to break out of it and will add to the obstruction … and so on.
Sorting through the rubish
The dilemma of snags on the seabed around Deal Pier is, and will be, a never ending problem. Even the Pier staff admit that they are never going to clear all of the snags; however, they, and Dover District Council are doing their best on behalf of the anglers. It should also be noted that they have jurisdiction of an area of 100 mts around the structure (as Dover Harbour has 1 nautical mile around their harbour walls). They occasionally arrange for a local boat to drag-up some the rubbish off the seabed.