TWICE a year thousands of fishing items made in Redditch are returned home as part of the biggest fair in the country.
Now celebrating a decade of running the event, organiser John Andrews said in the absence of a national museum of angling, the fair stood as a ‘living museum’.
Many collectors and dealers come year after year to source new items, sell their own antique or vintage fishing tackle or just to look around.
When Mr Andrews starting running it with his wife in 2004, there were a number of small regional fairs around the country. Now Redditch is the biggest and one of only a couple across the UK.
He told the Standard: “Redditch has managed to survive because it’s the largest and people feel a pull to it because it’s the virtual home of British fishing tackle. People come from all over Europe, last year I went to open up on the Sunday and there was a man who had driven overnight from Cologne and slept in his car.
“I have had a lot of requests over the years to move the fair and put it on in London, but I like to put it on in Redditch as it harks back to when the manufacturers were based here.
“We are taking all this kit back to where it came from, there is something quite powerful about that really.
“The fair is a celebration of the lost culture of a town, when Redditch was thriving in terms of fishing tackle manufacturing.
“It stands as a marker for people to remember that and it’s just a little shout to say that all of that isn’t forgotten by the people who collect and deal in fishing tackle.”
He added they always welcomed anyone with any stories, photographs or other memorabilia from any of the old factories.
Collector John Fuller has been attending the fair since it started and having stalls along with other collectors and dealers.
He said: “Redditch is the home of fishing tackle. The fair has grown over the years and is an interesting day out even for those not involved in the industry to appreciate and look at all the tackle.”
The next fair takes place at the Kingsley Sports Centre on Sunday, November 9, from 9am.
Call Mr Andrews on 07980 274383 for more information.