Tackle innovation is what puts Bob Fuller into our top ten greatest anglers series. Bob was born in Worksop and moved to Welbeck before finally settling in Chesterfield, where he captained the Chesterfield National team from 1951.
Chesterfield achieved little under Bob’s direction, but his record for Worksop is testimony to his skill and leadership. Worksop won the coveted Team Championship in 1945 on the Trent and again in 1947 on Bob’s beloved Witham. That’s besides Worksop’s four third places from 1930 to 1950, a fourth place in 1946 and two sixth places in 1929 and 1933. In 1947, Bob clinched fifth individual place and on his retirement from top class fishing in 1970 is reported to have made 42 appearances in the National Angling Championships.
In his early career Bob used a seven-section roach pole, a short line with a shirt button string of dust shot below a tiny 2-inch float. Paste was his favoured bait. Time moved on and Bob progressed to the very popular 15-foot Spanish reed rod, combined with the world famous Allcock Aerial reel.
Bob was at the forefront of tackle innovation, using nylon lines in 1949 and falling back on plaited silk lines only under certain conditions. Typically he followed the groundbait tactics of that era, pure white bread, sometimes with scalded bran added and yellow squatts as feed. Plump yellow liver maggots and paste were his main baits, backed up by squatts if small roach were the target. Bob often loose fed thirty or so squatts, at three to four minute intervals. Even then he was an advocate of the barbless hook on the grounds that it saved time when small fish were the target.
F Hayden-Hornsey paid tribute to Bob in his 1951 book ‘Match Fishing with the Champions’. To quote:
“Bob was quite young when he reached the top rank and has stayed there to earn a nation-wide reputation. Many acclaim him the finest roach-angler in the country.”
In the 1927 Welbeck Charity Open at Clumber Park Lake he weighed in 50lbs in just two hours, with his best redfin (roach) 1lb 10½ ounces. Bob’s recipe for success was constant daily practice, and a unique ‘on the drop’ style. His advice was to, "Fish fine, and far off, and remember it is your float you should watch for the full three hours and not your neighbour’s."
Bob held the record match weight for the Chesterfield Canal, besides winning many open All-England matches. Five major opens were to fall to his talents in the 1937 season covering drains, canals and lakes. In 1940 he won three matches in eight days, pitting his wits against over one thousand other determined match anglers. In the following year he won five out of seven matches on the Crowle Canal and 1947 saw him win the Lincoln and Worksop opens on the Witham.
Strange to say that Bob put all his efforts into summer fishing and once the early winter frosts cast their icy hand across the landscape, he retired to the warm cosy bar of his local pub. Sensible fellow!
Last date edited: 13 January 2021