I remember as a youngster watching with intense curiosity as my old dad yacht-varnished his wicker fishing creel.
He arduously double-coated every nook and cranny in an attempt to help preserve the cane from water penetration.
He carefully lined the inside with heavy-duty polythene sheeting to make sure water didn’t get into the precious Mitchell fixed-spool reels, home-made wooden float box stuffed with brightly painted porcupine quill floats and Pegley-Davies yard-long hooks lengths.
He even covered a thick piece of upholstery foam in the same polythene material to use as a cushion, although it was never very comfortable after a couple hours on the bank.
I can still remember the creaking hinges and the smell of varnish whenever I opened the top. It was far too heavy for me to carry though; sturdy old creels weighed a ton.
I made my first fishing seatbox at school, designed to carry two reels and ephemera all young anglers love to collect and carry.
This homemade box soon became obsolete when Shakespeare Fishing Tackle produced their black plastic seatbox. Anybody notice the base was like a water tank from central heating systems? It didn’t matter; it was light, waterproof and reasonably sturdy, just the job for a young angler.
Shakespeare’s seatboxes have subsequently been re-designed and upgraded and they are still selling in their thousands!
Time and technology has certainly changed the equipment available to anglers today. As I pen these notes, I’m by the water, comfortably sat on a Preston Innovations’ X-Box.
Made from aluminium and heavy-duty plastic, it’s waterproof and extremely strong - with fitted drawers designed to accommodate all the bits and bobs fishermen have to carry. It boasts adjustable legs to accommodate every angler and even ‘mud feet’ to stop it sinking into soft banks. Fitted, slide-out trays hold dozens of pole float winders – a joy to the obsessive float collector – that’s all of us isn’t it?
Every possible attachment is available to fit the box - from umbrella fittings, side trays, rod-rests and feeder arms to sliding foot platforms. You can even add extra sections to boost the number of drawers if you feel the need to carry more.
The built-in fitted cushion even has a recess for the butt section of your pole if you fish that style. Designed for the modern pole angler, seatboxes are now sometimes called ‘fishing stations’ – we’ve never had it so good! Mine’s so heavy I still struggle to carry it though.