OCTOGENARIAN WEST BRIDGFORD ANGLER ONCE CAUGHT 150lbs of BARBEL
from Pru Webster
This article was originally published in the April 2010 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Pru has found the following article about Arthur Sewell in a 1945 edition of the Nottingham Evening News
Mr A J Sewell of Mona Road, West Bridgford is a remarkably well preserved octogenarian now in his 89th year. In his younger days he was draughtsman and designer to several well-known lace firms. He studied at the Nottingham School of Art and was awarded many prizes. In 1879 he gained the gold medal for the best lace design.
From boyhood, Mr Sewell has been a keen angler and has fished the river for 40 miles above and 40 miles below Trent Bridge. He has been a member of many now defunct angling clubs and is an original member of the Nottingham Piscatorial Society.
For more than half a century he has been and still is chairman of the committee. One of his most treasured possessions is a gold watch inscribed “Presented to A J Sewell Esq as a token of appreciation and esteem by members of the Nottingham Piscatorial Society 1920”.
Other anglers will be interested to know that he has always specialised in fishing for barbel, which he told me is the gamest of all course fish and provides sport equalled only by pike. He has had some prodigious catches. On one occasion after worm baiting a swim below Colwick Weir, he caught 150 lbs of barbel. Many times Mr Sewell has caught over a hundredweight of barbel.
One day at Shardlow he sent into the village enough to feed the entire population. Recalling the days when salmon were plentiful in the Trent he told how he once hooked a 23 1/2 pounder at King's Mill. He remembers seeing half a dozen fine salmon, caught by rod and line, lying on the bank at Shardlow. “I have watched them leap the weir at Averham when battling their way to the spawning grounds up-stream.” he said, “but I never expect to see such a sight again.”
“There are 32 different kinds of fish in the Trent” said Mr Sewell “and the authorities keep stocking it with trout. Over 30 years ago, I helped to put in many hundreds up to 2lbs each at Rolleston, Shardlow and other places but they will never get good trout fishing in the river. If they would not breed then, they will not breed now, and in my opinion, it’s a waste of money.”
During his long career Mr Sewell has caught an enormous number of eels. One day he returned with a bagful which he left overnight in a deep sink. Next morning he was awakened by the hysterical screams of the maid who had found a score or more eels wriggling all over the kitchen floor.
“I still think fishing is the best recreation in the world” said this old disciple of Izaak Walton. “It leads you into pleasant places, is healthy, mentally restful and fascinating.”
He has another hobby, gardening. Despite his advanced age he has this week planted a crop of potatoes on his allotment. He also tends his home garden, now lovely with gay flowers and ornamental shrubs including a Yucca. There are also pear, plum, apple, vine and fig trees flourishing in the open which every year yields an abundance of fruit.
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