I remember a trip to the River Lark in the mid 70's when I was a young lad. It was a hot summers day and my late father Bill and my Great Uncle Ernie Stearn, who some of the older CFPAS members would have known, decided to fish at Follie Drove where, as you may have read on the tactics page, I still fish to this day. Follie Drove has changed a bit since those days: there are more marginal reeds and the banks are more overgrown because you don’t get the anglers on the bank these days, which is a shame because it’s excellent fishing. Anyway, back to the old days. The mist was rising off the water as my father drove the car up onto the bank, you could back then, and my Great Uncle Ernie selected the swims. I asked why he chose those swims and not those where we parked. “Simple” he replied, “we’ve made too much noise and the car is visible on the sky line. Look at these three swims and compare them to the other ones. What's the difference?” I stood there for a minute then said “those lilies, and the water is a different colour”. “Well done” he replied, “that's your first lesson in water craft. Always look out for the right signs”. We set out our baskets quietly. Now for the ground bait; they put a large bucket of bread and bran with wheat beside me but told me not to throw it in yet because the bream were feeding. “What's the point of it then if I can’t throw it in?” I asked. “You will spook the shoal” they replied. When I looked at my rod it seemed to be broken. ”My rods broken” I said, “the end is hanging off.” “No it’s fine” was the reply, “it’s called a swing tip.” For those of the younger generation who don’t know about a swing tip it was one of the best bite indicators for ledgering for bream back then, and in my opinion it still is. It was made from a 30cm piece of thin dowel with a eye at both ends and was attached to the rod by a piece of rubber tubing and a screw tread which screwed into the top eye of the rod. I soon had the rod now made up and a good old Mitchell Match reel fitted, I know our President still uses one today. Now to the terminal tackle. I added a 1/2 oz bomb to the mainline, fixing it 5ft up the line with a No 4 shot. Then I attached a small swivel and a short length of line, about 6inches long, to the main line and tied a size 14 hook to the end of the short length of line. Now I am ready to go. I had some big pure white grubs called Gozzers in my metal bait box; now that’s a bait you won’t see these days, Ernie and my father used to breed them down the bottom of the garden if I recall, I think they fed them on pigs hearts, milk and bran. The milk made them pure white and a very soft bait. With Great Uncle Ernie standing behind me I cast out into the river. “Stop” he said, “I’ll show you were to cast. You see where the coloured water stops on the far bank? Cast there then put the rod on the rest and let the lead drop back into the coloured area”. I did, and after the swing tip slowly dropped back and settled just into the water, I waited. “Now sit on your hands and watch.” he said. “Why sit on my hands?" I asked.” “You'll see why” he said. Then the tip moved. “Wait wait” he said. It moved again. “Wait”, then slowly the tip raised out of the water. “Wait - now strike.” A nice 3lb bream came to the net. “Now that's lesson number two, be patience” Said Great Uncle Ernie. Right now you are on your own.” After four hours and a few tangles I had 15 nice bream. Now, some forty years later, I still use the lessons I learnt all those years ago. I still have that swing tip rod and Mitchell reel I used back then, but sadly it doesn’t get used any more - carbon quiver tip rods and graphite reels get a battering these days. Note to myself: let’s give that old rod a go and bring back some fond memories the next time I go bream fishing on the Lark. What about that bucket of ground bait you may ask, well I’ll tell you, I never used it, my uncle got me to throw it in at the end of the day, he was coming back two days later so wanted some pre baiting done. The crafty old so n so. That reminds me of someone we all new in this great club of ours - can you guess who? Ian Asplen