Saturday, 8 February 2014

Interview Dave "Lumby" Lumb

The Pike Pool – Hi Dave. Many thanks for taking the time for an interview, it’s very much appreciated. 

So Dave Lumb or Lumby, you are known to most specimen anglers as a master rod builder, specimen hunter and photographer.

But what we want to know is, who is the really "Lumby"?

The Pike Pool - 
What is your earlier memory of angling?

Early years

DL - I'm not sure it counts as angling, but when I was four or five, I guess, on a holiday with my parents In Ross-on-Wye we unexpectedly bumped into my Dad's sister and her husband who, for some unaccountable reason, bought me a toy fishing rod. It was just a metal rod with a black plastic handle, built in plastic reel and two or three plastic rod rings. The reel was loaded with wiry mono and there was a red and white plastic float and a shiny hook.

As with all small children (and grown men!) I wanted to play with my new toy straight away. I'm sure my parents thought it wouldn't keep me amused for long and a bit of silver paper from my Mum's cigarette packet was put on the hook as bait for me to 'fish' with in a stream, no more than a couple of inches deep with the bottom clearly visible and not a fish anywhere in the vicinity. But I sat there, cross-legged on a concrete paving slab - the stream ran by the side of a footpath. That was the first time I uttered the words know to all anglers, "Just five minutes more."

Back home after the holiday that rod and reel became a favourite toy and I would play with them for hours. Even though I didn't go fishing again until I was about eleven. 

The Pike Pool - Who introduced you to angling and why?

DL - My first 'proper' fishing was done on another family holiday, this time with my Mum's cousin and family. The two sons were older than me and both into fishing. So that I could join in on the holiday, my parents bought me a rod and reel. 
To them, who never had any interest in angling (my Dad was a horse racing fanatic and golfer) a fishing rod was afishin grod. Again they didn't expect me to take to the sport and a white, six foot, solid glass spinning rod and bottom of the range reel were bought from Woolworths. The problem was we were going to stay outside Girvan in Scotland and the fishing would be sea fishing!

My two abiding memories of the holiday, from a fishing perspective, were watching my regurgitated salmon paste butties floating down tide of the charter boat we'd gone out on as the land disappeared from view when the boat was in a trough of the mountainous waves, and my soaking jeans sticking to my legs when we were left to fish off Ayr pier and the heavens opened!

None of this put me off fishing though. It wasn't long after that I started coarse fishing close to home, without much success, but plenty of enthusiasm!

The Pike Pool - After you caught the coarse fishing bug, you were bought your first setup 
by your parents, what was your first fish caught and can you remember what it weighted? 

DL - I had actually caught a couple of very small sea fish on that first boat trip, a tiny 
codling and a couple of mackerel on feathers as I recall. The first coarse fish came after a
couple of blank sessions fishing bread when I switched to maggots on the advice of an 
'old' angler and caught! 

My first fish wasn't the usual greedy perchlet, but a tiny bream that would have made a good live bait for perch. After that it was gudgeon from the drains and perch, roach and eels from the canal when fishing with other lads from the neighbourhood. Solid glass spinning rods and Black Prince reels. Kids today don't know how lucky they are with the gear that's available now and how cheaply!

The Pike Pool - As well as a master rod builder, your also known for you photography, but what got you hooked on the photography?

DL - I wouldn't say I'm a master rod builder. I think Jim Gibbinson said in the '80s that rod builders should really be called 'rod assemblers' these days! The photography goes back almost as far as the fishing. I was given a toy camera loaded with black and white film when I was probably six or seven, no older. I think the whole camera got sent away when the film was used up and the square prints came back bound with a plastic comb into a booklet. 

I vividly remember photographing a wild rose in a hedge near Ulverston with the camera, and my great disappointment at how tiny it turned out in the print. When I was eleven I was bought an Instamatic - which I took fishing with me as well as on holidays.

I really got the bug when I started A Level art as we had to do a project on architecture which required taking photographs of local buildings. My indulgent parents bought me a SLR. A Zenith E, which was what a lot of photographers of my age started out with if they couldn't afford a Praktica! I started to buy photography mags, do my own black and white developing and printing, and it went on from there.

Still out in all weather
The Pike Pool - You have been on many angling groups over the years and have become an honorary member of most of them, but what do you think is you biggest angling political achievement?

DL - I'm not sure I can think of one. Being involved in starting the LAS wasn't really a political achievement, the LAS is a social organisation. Perhaps getting the PAC involved with the SACG/SAA and getting them to try to do more for pike fishing was something of an achievement. At the time pikers, including myself, saw the SAA as doing nothing for piking. I went along to a meeting and spoke my mind. It became plain that they didn't do anything because pikers (PAC) never asked them to. That was when I realised  how predator anglers wants and needs differ from almost all other anglers, some of whom would quite happily support bans on our methods as an appeasement to outside bodies. This is why it's so important for predator anglers to have seats at all the relevant political tables. Our voice has to be heard in the right places. We need a bigger say within the AT.

The Pike Pool - You have a fair few angling mates who turn up from time to time on your blog, Duracell Bunny and Gord Burton are just two of them. Out of the two, who would you prefer to be stuck on a deserts island with and why?  
Fred watches over the rods
DL - Gord would be useful on a desert island because he can catch fish anywhere, so we'd never starve. However, unlike Fred the Barbel Bunny you can't put Gord in the rucksack when he won't shut up!! So I'd settle for the starvation.  

Pike Pool - On the subject of needing mates, you get on well with Neville Fickling, how did your paths’ cross?

DL - I'd been aware of Neville ever since he appeared on the back of Angling Times with a record zander (the same issue my name first appeared in small print on the Kingfisher Guild page as it happens), but we first met through PAC when I was joint conference organiser and he was on Trevor Moss's Tackle Shop stand. He was listening to The Archers on the Friday evening when the stall holders were setting up. Anyone who likes The Archers and cricket can't be all bad!

The Pike Pool - Many, many know you and your rods, but what is the quirkiest rod you have ever been asked to build and for who?

DL - I can't recall them all off the top of my head. A fourteen foot drifter rod isn't particularly quirky, nor is a set of Loch Tamers rung for distance - for carp fishing! Probably the most unusual was a 10 weight, single handed fly rod that had an extension handle enabling it to be used as a spinning and float fishing rod.

The Pike Pool - Back to the angling, you are known mostly for you pike and barbel, but you have caught loads of different species. But which one has meant the most to you and why?

DL - I've been lucky enough to fluke a few good fish here and there, and also be put on to one or two waters where fish were of big average sizes by friends. For this reason my one double figure tench means the most to me because I found the water myself, and in the first three years only saw two other anglers fishing it for tench. And one of them only the once. The downside was having to pretend to be a carp angler! A ten pound tench doesn't raise many eyebrows these days, but it was the work I put in to catch it that made it so satisfying. Like a lot of anglers I also have a soft spot for tench - they were the first species I targeted using 'specimen tactics', and the subject of the first article I got paid for. Oddly, once I'd caught that double I lost interest in the water, and tench for a while. But this spring I've a new tench goal - to catch an eight pounder close to home. I have a short list of waters drawn up. And no, Eric, yours isn't one of them!

The Pike Pool - And finally, is there one species of fish that you still want to catch to a 
specimen size or are you just happy being out there? 

I never set out wanting to catch fish of a certain size, only hoping to do so. I'd like to catch a two pound roach and beat my eel PB by design (that one took a boilie during the 'lost 
year' when I took up carp fishing...). A pound dace would be nice too. But if they don't come along, I'll not be losing any sleep over it.

My aims at the moment are to catch the biggest fish I can without travelling too far or fishing long sessions. I popped out for an afternoon this week and caught three pike in four hours, which was very enjoyable. The biggest was a few ounces under eighteen pounds. If you're catching fish, of whatever species, that are bigger than the average for any water on a regular basis that has to be fun. Some of my local waters have really improved in recent years compared to when I first fished them, and when you start to look around it's surprising what can be caught from unassuming waters. I couldn't face fishing commercials all the time but they can be worth a dabble now and again. Apart from big perch there are oddities like orfe to be had, and there's a sturgeon not far from home that I  might have a try for - just for a laugh. The biggest problem with commercials is avoiding the stupid carp which seem to eat anything you use for bait!  

The Pike Pool - Well, thank you Dave for this insight into you life and passions. I do hope 
the experience hasn't been too painful!!!

DL - I think I've survived.

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