Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Interview with Rob Shallcroft

Pike Pool - Hi Rob, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for the pool, I'm sure many of the pool siders will enjoy this. Ok, your known for many things on the Pool, ex editor, zander and pike catching machine and a music lover. But why is your forum name Emma Hamilton?

RS - No worries, I've always skipped on reading interviews in magazines as i find them boring, just don't ask me what my favorite color float or bait is !. Besides all my waters are flooded out and i'm bored! I've been using the forum in it's two or three incarnations for yonks. I was Horatio Nelson for years, then when the forum last changed and i had to sign up again, I went for Emma Hamilton, Nelsons wife. I like reading about Nelson as i can remember on a school trip staring up at Nelson column and being a Pompey lad, there's that connection with the great man.I like the forum and have stuck with it, i don't "do" other forums just the pit.  

Pike Pool - You've have had some amazing predator captures including some stunning pike from your local rivers, but which one had the biggest impact on you?

RS - Probably a fish that I saw when i was working in a fishing shop in Portsmouth when i was a teenager. A bloke brought in a 29lb fish he had caught from one of the Chichester pits. Folk were always bringing in sea fish to be weighed on the shops scales as the shop in those days had a competition and prizes for the biggest fish of several species. This pike looked huge, well it was bloody huge ! Shame he'd killed it. I'd never caught one, as i was full on into carp fishing at the time on the Chichester pits , so i started chucking the odd herring and spoon about on one of the carp rods in the winter and started to catch the occasional pike myself. Carp and tench had the biggest impact on me , i fished for them for nearly 20 years and apart from chucking out the occasional herring on a fourth rod i didn't fish for much else.

Pike Pool - Zander have featured in your angling for the last few seasons and you have amazed a good number of double figure zeds, what would you put your success down too?

RS - I live close to two rivers and a canal that "do" the odd double figure zander, it's a simple as that really. We all know we can not catch big pike or zander if they are not in the waters we target. I've traveled much further for my river pike fishing in the past so its been nice in recent seasons to be closer to home. I've fully focused on zander and have hardly fished for pike for three or four years. Ive done the occasional day on Chew (that has to be done!) when they've come up and the odd social pike trip here and there but not much. All my eggs have all been in the zander basket recently.

Pike Pool - You have a number of mates in angling and always seem to have time for angling, music and family, but if you had to give one up, what would it be and why?

RS - What a weird question Jason ! It took me 30 years of trying, to give up the fags. I did that in Nov 2012 and still miss lighting them up when fishing so i wouldn't want to be giving anything else up if i can help it. My girls at home are the most important thing in life, fishing comes second, they wouldn't agree with that at past times in my life though, to be fair. Ive pushed it a bit at times, specifically the river pike fishing and it has got me into trouble on a couple of occasions and I brought that trouble home, that's a big regret but i'm older and wiser for it and wont make those silly mistakes that i once did just for the sake of catching a silly wet fish.  

Pike Pool -  One of your other passions is Pompey, if you were a professional footballer, what position would you play?

RS - I'd be a goal keeper. Hopefully not too much to do and i'm good at observing stuff from a distance. I'd be happy doing that. Plus in one half i'd be able to chat to a few mates in the Fratton End and piss the away fans off in the Milton End with a few great saves or giving them the moon and the finger. I've seen my club win the FA cup, play AC Milan in Europe and I've watched them in all four divisions, if we carry on current form i'll be watching them in the Conference next year. I can handle the ups and downs of supporting my club, it is a bit like my fishing, tough times don't bother me too much, if you keep at it, likely it'll come good in the end because it's not a race, eh ?

Pike Pool - Music plays a big part of your life, what tunes are currently on you play list for trips to the bank?

RS - Angling and music have been the two consistent escape things in my life. The music and traveling to see bands has been the thing my wife of 20+ years, Una and I have done together. Rather like I look forward to the next fishing trip, she looks forward to the next gig and that's something we can both share together. We have tickets stuck on the fridge for Modern English playing in London in June and the Stranglers in March playing in Oxford and New Model Army in Bristol in April. It's the Stranglers 40th anniversary year and we must have seen them over 20 times over the years. We book a hotel and make a night away off it, I do like to spoil my dream girl ! 

Current tunes in the fishing wagon are last years Public Image album their first for a decade and it's simply brill. Last years Nick Cave album Push The Sky Away is a great piece of work too, as is Public Broadcasting and their album, Inform/Educate/Entertain.   

Pike Pool - You've gone fishing with Steve Bown (aka Billy Two Fish) and the boat is sinking, the only way to save you and the boat is to throw something over board, is it to be you record collection or Steve?

RS - The record collection. I'd be able to replace that. If we were sinking in a boat together i am sure we would phone John Cahill and Mick Hastings for advice, as they have got valuable experience in that very situation , lol !

Pike Pool - You have caught some amazing predators, but what drives you to keep getting out there?

RS - That's easy .Fishing is my escape from a busy 40-50 hour a week job stuck in a factory where i can't see the light of day .I like the bloody mindedness and physicality off it all, especially the river stuff. If I had my time around again I would not fish and i'd have done something like rock climbing or mountaineering as I've read a lot about that stuff and have big respect for those boys and girls, but we didn't have any rock faces living in Portsmouth City as kids ! We did have moats built in the City by Palmerstone in the 1800's and we could catch fish from them, that is where it all started for me. Anyone who knows me and has fished with me would tell you I'm one of the most bloody minded anglers they know. I'll share a beer afters and a few social trips during the season, but 90% of my fishing is solo, so I am very set in my ways and inflexible. I don't like fishing with anyone else too often, because if i'm honest I don't particularly like sharing the fish! That's sounds pretty selfish, but it's me being honest and I don't hide the fact. If there's a good'un to be caught I want to catch it ! Fishing off the bank and being mobile, if you fish with someone else who knows what they are doing, your'll walk twice as far for half the fish and I just don't want to do that! So, I go fishing most weeks, always have done for 30 odd years, and I bore them out ! I do like to set plans with mates, share stuff and set targets on the rivers I fish and unless the rivers are flooded and proper messy, I'll get out there and go. I am pretty consistent in my approach and catch my share, so i'm happy enough in my fishing soul.    

Pike Pool - Every angler has developed something to make life easier on the bank or boat, what has been you favorite innovation?

RS - Crikey I dunno. I fish pretty simply to be honest. Predators can be caught on simple rigs and methods, especially if they are not hammered by other anglers.Simple equals efficient in my fishing. I catch my own baits and chuck them out on hooks where i think a good'un might grab one. I suppose the only thing i do different to most is that in the last 15 years of predator fishing, i have never gone fishing and sat in a chair. I just never take one, I don't have a chair on my boat either, i ripped them out as they get in the way ! Probably the best big innovation I've seen in my time as a help in my fishing has been the mobile phone tbh. 

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