It all started in the summer of 1959. The family went on a picnic to Middle Bridge at Wallers Haven on Pevensey Marsh. It was a hot Sunday afternoon. My brother and I had a Spanish reed fishing rod, a porcupine quill float and one hook tied to nylon. We used flour and water paste for bait and caught lots of small roach. The float laid flat on the water and twitched and vibrated when the tiny roach nibbled at the bait. If the float cocked or disappeared, we pulled the line in and the little fish swung back and forth, wriggling to escape before one of us grabbed it and took the hook out.
The old geezer fishing next to us caught nothing, he was a bit miffed. After a while the fisherman called me over and put a maggot on the hook. He told me that I would catch a Perch. I lowered the float into the water near the reeds and watched. I didn’t know what a Perch looked like. It wasn’t long before the float disappeared and I held aloft a stripey Perch. It was very small, not what I had imagined. Unfortunately, while removing the hook, the hooklength broke and that was the end of our first fishing adventure. The fisherman looked pleased to see us go. We were probably too noisy.
On a later trip to Wallers Haven my brother caught a Bream which we took home. It was not very happy in the bucket and died, the cat had it for supper.
I have not fished at Wallers Haven for 55 years but I regularly drive across the bridge. I always slow down and look, apart from the trees having grown, it hasn’t changed. Perhaps I will stop and fish there again one day.