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Saturday, 24 June 2006 00:00

Manor Farm fishing, Bedfordshire

Despite still suffering the effects of a chest infection and subsequent muscle strain from coughing so much [god I'm getting old !!] I was determined to get out of the house, get some fun on my face and hopefully catch some fish. I decided to hook up with my mate Steve at his "local" venue, Manor Farm in Bedfordshire.

Coarse fishing venues in Bedfordshire - Manor FarmManor Farm is set amongst 86 acres of grass and woodland, and as such attracts a wide range of bird and wildlife. The site currently has 5 lakes, a match canal and a stretch of the River Ivel made famous by local fisherman Dick Walker. They offer a range of types of fishing including a fly-only trout lake (Damsel Lake), an any method trout and mixed coarse fish lake (Becks Lake), a 2 acre mixed lake (Blunham Lake), a 4 acre specimen carp lake (Carp Lake) and a very popular specimen carp lake (Winters Lake) stocked in 2004 with fish from 18lb to 36lb.

By the time I dragged myself up the A1, the rain had already given way to clearing skies and Steve was already set up on Carp Lake. I chose the adjacent swim to him and set up a simple ledger rig using pva bags of crushed boilies and pellets with hair rigged boilies. I set up a splashing waggler on the second rod as there were plenty of carp showing up on the surface. Using banded pellets I reckoned we could be in for some fun

Coarse fishing venues in Bedfordshire - Manor FarmIt soon became sadly apparent though that the resident carp had other plans. Neither of us had a bite or take in the first two hours. The bailiff lifted our spirits somewhat though as he explained that plenty were being caught on the neighbouring Becks Lake. As it truned out, one bloke had caught a few but despite lugging all our gear around to the new lake and perservering for a few hours, we still ended the day with nothing to show for it.

Hey, that's fishing I guess. If you've had better luck recently, why not send in the details to Fish South East or even send me some pics for the gallery.

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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Published in Diary
Friday, 21 July 2006 00:00

Gold Valley Aldershot

Phew what a scorcher !! Although the record breaking weather of earlier in the week had given way to slightly more bearable conditions, the thermometer in the car still read 31 deg c as we headed down the M3 to Gold Valley in Aldershot, Hants. We debated the effect that the recent hot weather would have on the fishing and expected that things could be quite tough going.

7lb Gold Valley Common - nice hat dude!!Three of the lakes were taken up with matches when we arrived so we opted for a swim at the near end on the main lake. I opted for the "spasher wagger" approach as there appeared to be plenty of evidence of carp patrolling the upper levels of the water. Jim plumped for a standard insert waggler approach, again fishing only about 2ft deep, fishing luncheon meat cubes, loose feeding small pellets.

We were soon catching roach, rudd and skimmers to about 8oz, but despite varying depth and hook baits we failed to tempt any of the resident carp which go to well over 20lb. It was at Gold Valley last summer that I caught my PB, a 15lb common. It didn't look at this stage as if there was much chance of that getting beaten. By about 1pm it was so hot and humid that we decided to retire to the bar for a bite to eat and a couple of cool ones!!

Not another tangle JIm!!Somewhat refreshed we decided to change tactics and we swapped to the feeder approach. The guy next to us was having a great time landing carp after carp using this approach so we resumed with renewed confidence. Still nothing of any note to report until I switched to the method feeder, using half a strawberry pellet boilie cast to the island in front of us.

Bingo, I had found where the fish were and promtly landed about 7 carp to 9lb over the next 90 minutes or so. Jim had by this stage got pissed off and decided to resume his waggler fishing for roach. Things slowed down considerably late in the afternoon and with an hours drive back to London up the M3 we decided to call it a day. To sum up, this is not the best days fishing we've ever had at Gold Valley by any means but I can't really complain. The hot weather was not really ideal for fish or fishermen alike so I was more than happy with the day. I will just have to resume my battle to better my PB another day.

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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Published in Diary
Sunday, 10 September 2006 00:00

Gold Valley Lakes

The weather man was right for a change ! Highs of 27 deg c were on the cards and I felt like another fishing trip coming on. I knew jenny would need little or no persuasion to sit in the sun for afew hours and I desperately need to redeem myself after my woeful performance at Lizard last week. [See diary 07-09-06]

After a leisurely start, we decided on a visit to Gold Valley lakes in Aldershot, hants, where you are almost guaranteed some fine sport. It was midday by the time we arrived, the sun was high in the sky and the main lake was almost full. We had little choice of swims, although fortuntely one of the few availble was nearest the car park.

Mirror carp - Gold valley main lakeJenny adopted the "quantity" approach fishing up in the water for the many silver fish using a waggler, alternating between corn and banded pellets. I adopted the "quality" approach and determined to break by PB [15lb common] set up a method feeder, burying a 15mm pineapple boilie in the mix and casting to the central island. It didn't take Jenny long to find the hungry roach and rudd and it wasn;t much longer before I was playing the first carp of the day, a 7lb common which was soon safely in the net. That was quickly followed by a 9lb 8oz mirror. Meanwhile, Jenny continued to heave out the roach and rudd.

As the heat of the day really kicked in, the fish undertsandably decided that a rest was in order and things went very quiet for a while. It wasn't until about 4pm that things started to liven up again. I decided to ring the changes and opted for the splasher waggler approach using a banded pellet and feeding 6 or 7 pellets every cast.

Mirror carp - Gold valley main lakeThis bought some immediate success. Almost immediately by skud waggler hit the water, my pellet was devoured by a hungry carp which hurtled off into deeper water. Over the next hour or so, I couldn't go wrong and banked another 7 carp, the best tipping the scales at 11lb. They then switched off the feed again and I could only manage one more carp of 9lb before we decided to call it a day as dusk fell.

Gold valley had certainly lived up to its reputation once again as a fisrt class commercial fishery. Despite its various drawbacks [£10 for only 1 rod, a host of bait bans, some poor quality fish and a disappointing attitude to disabled access that we once encountered], it is still worth a visit and you probably won't go away with an empty net !!

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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Published in Diary
Thursday, 07 September 2006 00:00

Lizard Fishery, Middlesex

Lizard Fishery, Lake 2 - Middlesex

I decided that working too hard makes Paul a dull boy and gave myself the afternoon off. I was meeting up with Steve, an old work buddy of mine who is an avid carp angler. Last time we went fishing, neither of us got a bite all day so we were determined to set the record straight.

14lb Lizard CommonPartly due to an email I recently received from Nigel laughton, who had enjoyed an excellent days fishing there a week or so ago, I decided to show Steve the delights of Lizard Fishery. As I hadn't fished on Lake 2 for some time we decided that we would try for some of the larger carp at Lizard.

We met just after midday and bagged two swims on lake 2. This wasn't difficult as there was only one other guy fishing. Steve set up his two rods, bait alarms, pods etc etc and I set up my one rod, no bait alarms, pods etc. It probably isn't too difficult to guess who had the better day !!

4lb lizard tenchThe fishing was slow and neither of us got a take for the first hour or so. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of Steve's bite indicator going off and he was soon playing his first fish of the day...which turned out to be his best....a 14lb common.

Enthused by this success we both thought this was the start of something good. Well for Steve it was. He caught 4 carp and one tench which weighed in at a credible 4lb. I caught..........1 skimmer.

I'll let the pictures of Steve tell the rest of the story as I'm too depressed to say any more !!

Til next time, happy fishing (and better luck than me) !! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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Published in Diary
Friday, 05 January 2007 00:00

Wood Lane Fishery, Iver

Grey Skies at Wood Lane Farm Fishery, Iver, Bucks

After all the excesses of Christmas and New Year, Jim, Connor and I decided to clear our heads and get in an afternoons fishing at Wood Lane Farm Fishery, situated in Iver, Buckinghamshire.

As we turned into the car park it became apparent that no one shared our thoughts on this grey, blustery day. At least we had first pick of swims as no one else had ventured out to try and tempt the match lakes large population of skimmers and carp. We chose our swim for comfort rather than one which may produce better fishing and set up with the wind at our backs in a sheltered corner of the match lake.

Wood Lane Farm Fishery on a slightly warmer day !!

We all set up waggler rigs fished slightly over depth with double red maggot as hook bait. Small amounts of loose fed maggots and casters completed our plan of attack. It took quite a while to tempt the fish into feeding but after about an hour we stated to pick up the odd skimmer as bites started to come more frequently. Upping the feed rate a bit tempted the fish into feeding pretty well and amongst the regular skimmers we caught quite a few of the fast growing F1s in the lake.

Wood Lane Farm Fishery only opened to anglers around 6 months ago and already the F1s we caught in the summer have packed on a fair amount of weight. Fish we were catching around the 8oz - 1lb mark are now tipping the scales at around 2-4lb. Talking to Danny the owner (who I think was quite surprosed to see anyone fishing on this dreary winter day) he explained that the carp in the second lake are now nudging the lower double mark.

Around mid-afternoon the leaden skies opened and a steady drizzle soon got the better of Jimmy "Tangles" and Connor who had unfortunately forgotten their umbrella and they were soon heading for the car for some shelter. Bites dried up soon after as we approached dusk and we decided to call it a day. I caught around 20 fish in all including around 4 or 5 carp in under 3 hours which was pretty good. Apparently recent winter matches (one which even included Keith Arthur) have been won with well over 100lb. Not bad at all.

Give Wood Lane a try....I think you'll find its worth it.

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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Published in Diary
Thursday, 02 October 2008 20:25

British Mayflies Calendar 2007

A CALENDAR? A SUPERB WORK OF ART? OR A REFERENCE BOOK?

The British Mayflies Calendar 2007 is all three.

The 2007 British Mayflies CalenderThis beautifully produced, limited edition, publication is more than a mere calendar – it is something every keen fly fisher will want to keep well after Auld Lang Syne is sung on 31st December 2007.

Photographed by well-known naturalist and entomologist Dr Cyril Bennett, written by Craig Macadam, volunteer coordinator of the Ephemeroptera (Mayfly) Recording Scheme and published by the Riverfly Partnership.

There are 51 species of mayflies in the British Isles, 12 of which are highlighted within the calendar. Each mayfly has been photographed and is shown in great detail. These outstanding images of the dun and the nymph are supported by a distribution map and a calendar strip indicating the months when the species is most likely to be seen in flight.

The Salmon & Trout Association, Orvis and the Environment Agency are cosponsors of the calendar, which enables all income from sales to support work on British Mayflies. The calendar is available from Orvis for just £6.95.

The Riverfly Partnership is a network of organisations whose aim is to promote the understanding and conservation of riverflies.


“World class images supported by informative text” Steve Brooks, Entomologist at The Natural History Museum,

“The essential Christmas gift for every flyfisher,” Pat O’Reilly, author of Match the Hatch.

“An excellent calendar for a cause that all flyfishers can enthusiastically support.”  Paul Knight, Executive Director, Salmon & Trout Association.

“These high quality images really bring alive what we are all working to protect”   Ian Johnson, National Fisheries Policy Manager, Environment Agency


How to order – as an Individual? Individuals can order through the Orvis website on www.orvis.co.uk, in any one of the 20 Orvis Retail Stores across the UK, by Telephone on 0870-066-4177, by Fax on 0870-066-4190, or Email: Customerservice@orvis.co.uk

How to order – as a Retailer? Retailers should phone Orvis on 01264-349501, fax on 01264-349505 or Email their order to HardyH@Orvis.co.uk to receive their wholesale price. We will only accept payment in advance of shipment. Minimum order of 10 calendars.

Source: Salmon & Trout Association UK

Contact: carmel@salmon-trout.org

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Published in Various
Tuesday, 30 September 2008 20:32

Barbel Rivers and Captures

'Barbel Rivers and Captures' By The Barbel CatchersClub

Compiled By Mick Wood and Bob Singleton

There have been revolutionary advances in barbel fishing since the publication of Barbel by the Barbel Catchers Club (BBC) published by The Crowood Press in 1988, and the BCC has been at the forefront of these dramatic developments.

This long awaited, and entirely new volume written by BCC members comprehensively covers the modern barbel fishing scene, discusses the size of the fish now caught and illustrates the changes that have taken place in tackle, tactics and baits. There are individual chapters on each major barbel river in England from the smallest streams, such as the Lodden and the Holybrook, to the mighty Midlands rivers, the Trent and the Severn, to the Yorkshire spate rivers and the crystalline waters of the famous Hampshire Avon. Each river chapter is written by an experienced angler with proven success on the river in question and culminates with a fascinating account of the capture of a really special barbel weighing in excess of 10 lb.

This remarkable book provides a wealth of expert information and explores not only traditional fishing methods but also ground-breaking new ideas. Lavishly illustrated with 200 images including photographs, drawings and diagrams, and a colour-plate section, this is an indispensable volume for both the barbel enthusiast and general river angler alike.

Barbel Rivers and Captures is written by the Barbel Catchers Club and provides a vast amount of information about the contemporary barbel-fishing scene. Written by experts, it comprehensively covers all the major barbel rivers in England.

Contents include:

  • Indivual chapters on twenty-nine rivers, or sections of river
  • Detailed and fascinating accounts of the capture of a 'big barbel' on each river
  • Modern Baits-both pellet and HNV specials
  • Scores of photographs, some in full colour, of barbel catches over 10lb
  • Diagrams illustrating rigs, feeders and swims
  • A review of devolpments in barbel fishing since the late 1980's and a consideration of the future of barbel fishing
  • Details of the Barbel Catchers Club River Records and the Clubs 'top fifty' barbel.

The Barbel Catchers Club (BCC) were established in 1977 with the objective of providing a forum for debating key issues and discussing new ideas. Since its formation, the BCC has been extremely successful and has been at the forefront of virtually every breakthrough in barbel angling.

The club is organised by dedicated barbel anglers for barbel anglers and emphasizes the social aspect of the sport rather than its political and commercial divisions. The BCC is divided into seven regional groups, (Chiltens, Midland/Cotswold, Northwest, Southdown, Southern, Wessex and Yorkshire) and has its own website www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk and its own Magazine entitled Barbus. All members write at least one article each year for the magazine, which also provides a forum for news and views.

To order your copy of this fantastic book, please visit:
www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk

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Published in Various
Tuesday, 30 September 2008 20:16

The Bamboo Ratchet Brake Reel

THE BAMBOO RATCHET BRAKE REEL

Hand crafted angling gifts from Anglers Gifts

Hi my name is Steve Sheppard, an individual artist/craftsman. I have a keen interest in anglings rich history. The innovation and creativity that went into tackle development all those centuries ago that has evolved into the kit we know and take for granted today.

Around 1750/1770 in England, records began of the Nottingham centre pin reel, one of the first reels to be mass-produced. They were eventually made in large quantities and shipped all over the world. Nottingham’s turn up in auctions and fairs today.

The Bamboo Ratchet Brake Reel superbly hand crafted by Steve SheppardThe Nottingham was a free running reel at that time but individual craftsmen seeing an opportunity as angling slowly evolved into a sport particularly with the upper classes began to look at more sophisticated designs. Materials were limited, machine screws and high tensile springs were yet to be invented however journeymen and skilled craftsmen plied their trades up and down the country. Materials were sourced from basket weavers, leather workers, wheelwrights and cabinetmakers, so specialist items so were available in small quantities.

The Royal Navy was sailing and opening trade routes all over the free world, so more exotic timbers including mahogany, rosewood and bamboo would have been about in small quantities and the craftsmen were quick to utilise whatever they could. It is well documented that individual reels were produced using exotic timbers and innovative ideas but they were individual, not mass-produced and because of that their details are sparse and as they have been discarded or lost with the passing of centuries we can now only imagine their intricacies. These reels would have been multi purpose for coarse and game as the concept of individual reels for specific purposes had not at that time become the fashion.

I have created a reel reflecting that long past era, a reel that uses no springs or screws, using traditional craftsman practices and is a celebration of the reel makers art, a tribute to those long past craftsman. The ratchet brake works by means of a reed of spliced bamboo using a peg and lever system. This idea was used in ancient lace machinery that was popular in Nottingham around the time.

I realise there are thousands of reels on the market, so why would anyone wish to own one of mine? The reels I produce are unique, no two are exactly the same, the disciplines used turning the drums and back plates are different each time to bring out the best in grain and figuring and dependent on the timber used, a little heart and soul goes into each one.

I have a Website at www.anglersgifts.co.uk. Please check it out and read the independent testimonials at the link on the bottom of my home page. If what I have presented interests you, please don’t hesitate to contact me by e-mail or phone number that are found on the Website for a no obligation discussion on your requirements. I am sure you have questions and I cannot explain everything in this brief summary. Thanks for your time; I look forward to hearing from you.

Steve Sheppard: steve@anglersgifts.co.uk

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Published in Various
Tuesday, 22 January 2008 00:00

Luckiest fisherman on earth

How to become the ‘luckiest fisherman on earth!’:

Source: Tim Richardson, author of Big Carp Bait Secrets

Have you ever wondered why one ‘lucky guy’ seems to catch the biggest fish again and again, while the majority of other fishermen just seem to get the average catches? Why is that?

Many of us would love to catch those big catfish, carp, bass, trout etc, every time we go fishing. It may just be that the guy is a genius angler, but real fishing success is often simply about using bait that is more effective than most other anglers baits at getting round fishes natural fears and resistance to eating it!...

But how can we achieve this? Well here’s a few of some of the best most proven methods of increasing your catches, especially for carp and catfish, but can be applied very effectively to many other species:

1. Try taking a look at the most popular baits where you fish and eliminate any similarity your homemade bait has with them. This especially applies to your own unique fishing bait recipe or formulas. This removes the fishes ‘danger reference points’. This gives your bait a massive ‘edge’ because the fish will not associate your bait with danger, anything like as much as with the baits everyone else are using - afterall , the whole point of a bait is simply to fool the fish into taking a hook into it’s mouth!

2. Make your bait different sizes, odd shapes, density, colors, flavors, with different attractors and additives, the more different to the usual bait the fish experience, the more effective your bait will be potentially be. Making your own bait puts the odds back in your favor and the power back into your hands - literally!

3. Absolutely pack your baits with “powerful ‘free amino acids’ (the type bodybuilders use as a liquid protein food supplement.) Even if you’re making a proprietary bait using a ‘commercial base mix’ that anyone can purchase, this will really set your bait apart and make it preferable to fish!

4. Pack bait with minerals, vitamins and trace elements - get a health tonic supplement from your local drug store. Very few people realize that these are in fact amazing attractors in their own right! An astounding edge is to massively increase the attractiveness and soluble nutritional message leaking from your bait, by soaking your hook bait in a mixture if fresh liquidized sweet corn, molasses and liquid protein food (so-called ‘free amino acids.)

5. It has been proven that when tested carp were provided with a number of complete foods providing all their nutritional requirements, preferred the food that had been sweetened. Eg, try sweetening honey and molasses , fruit sugar (fructose), or saccharin.

6. Add Sea salt to your bait - this is one of the most proven and unbelievable fish feeding triggers, and a great nutritional taste enhancer full of minerals. Nearly every animal and fish cannot live without salt!

7. For many fish including catfish and carp, pack your bait with fresh good quality digestible protein - it doesn’t need to be a large proportion, no more than a third of your bait. Ingredients such as trout pellet powder, meat and poultry meals, blood meal, fish meals and shellfish meals and liver powder are great. Add energy rich carbohydrates to provide balanced nutrition and binding. For example, soya flour, semolina, or even ordinary white or brown wheat flour. For carp try adding some wheat germ it has excellent properties!

8. Add a small amount of oil to your bait for a balanced nutritional value. For catfish this could be you favorite fish oil. For carp the best is probably pure cold pressed hemp oil -it’s natures ‘super food’ and is one of the richest and most healthy and nutritional oils known to man and fish!

9. Give your bait some protein that’s been ‘predigested’ or ‘hydrolyzed.’ This is easily achieved by adding a small amount of proprietary powder, like predigested liver, fish meal or shellfish extracts to your bait; available from bait companies all across the worldwide web. This method is incredibly effective, improving the fish attractive ‘amino acid profile of your bait. Fish are extremely efficient at detecting and utilizing amino acids, and you may well find that with the higher the rate of inclusion of these highly fish digestible ingredients, your catches and numbers of bigger fish soar too!

10. Allow your bait to ‘cure’ for 3-4 days prior to use; this allows your bait to start to ferment and lets bacterial enzymes release alcohols, sugars and increase the level of predigested proteins in your bait; all amazingly extremely good fish feeding triggers and attractors. See the difference this makes to your catches!

11. If you use ‘boilies’ rather than paste or dough baits, try chopping edges off your hook baits as if other fish have been ‘playing with your bait and taking small chunks out of it; this can really make the bigger fish ‘feel’ safer when they sample your hook baits - try piecing your hook baits right through to release the maximum attraction even from the center of your bait; it really works!

12. Try wrapping your bait and your hook (except the point) in a paste or dough. Try a mixture of ordinary flour, marmite, parmesan cheese, garlic granules, curry spices, sea salt, eggs and liquid amino acids - this mixture is pure ‘dynamite’ and really makes ‘em bite!

13. One of the most successful paste / dough baits of recent times is made from a mixture of fish meal and a couple of predigested ingredients like predigested fish meals, or predigested shellfish extracts. Try binding them together with just ordinary flour and loads of liquid amino acids / protein food supplement. ( But no eggs.) Experiment with different proportions to get your dough / pate to hold and last on your hook for different times. When you ‘bait up’ or ‘chum your swim with free baits like this, to attract the fish - hold on to your rod/s!!!

14. Add natural ingredients to your bait, for example, bird foods contain all kinds of fantastic foods fish love, like insects, seeds, grubs and worms. Many times, these encourage smaller fish to find your bait, and these can lead the bigger ones to your hook...

15. Add a ‘crunch factor’ to your bait - many fish have food detectors inside their gills, and allowing fish to experience eating your bait like it was natural food, eg, like shrimps or snails or mussels, is a great way to ‘turn them on’ and get more confident feeding and more bites!

16. If you use ‘boilies for carp catfish, etc there is a simple method of improving them: If you buy your baits frozen in a bag, then open them up and let them defrost and ‘warm up for 3-4 days in advance of fishing. This gives bacterial enzymes the time to start breaking down your baits and releasing very attractive alcohols, sugars and amino acids for example. It really works well for better catches and can even promote quicker bites!

Making and adapting your own and readymade shop - bought baits to make them different to the rest, and far more effective than normal is a science, and a very satisfying 'art'. When you have armed yourself with a range of great baits, the confidence you feel is awesome, and especially satisfying when you’ve ‘designed them and make them yourself!

I could show you many real life examples of how using edges like these and others, have resulted in fantastic big fish catches.

I love researching and writing about fishing bait because it is one of the fastest short-cuts to success! I am into bait in a big way, having even researched the subject with a PhD biochemist to reveal the reasons why and how baits really work to catch fish. I’ve found that a little bait knowledge can catch you more fish, but the more you know - the more consistent your catches can become - and the more big fish you catch!

The truly amazing thing is, ANY angler can achieve truly amazing catches with just enough of the right bait knowledge!.. Then other anglers will wonder what his ‘secret to success’ is...

Want to learn more about the "secrets" of caching big fish,
check out Tim's website at:
www.baitbigfish.com

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To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

Published in Carp Fishing Articles
Saturday, 27 September 2008 13:04

Piscatorial Past Times

PISCATORIAL PAST-TIMES - By steve Sheppard

Source: Steve Sheppard at Anglers Gifts

My interest in angling began when I was a youngster my father took me to a local soccer match between two local teams that left me scarred for life and desperately seeking a worthwhile pastime. I found it in angling and over the years I have developed a keen interest in anglings rich and varied history. Along the way in my quest for more knowledge of our noble sport I have come across many oddball rumours and tales past down in folklore.

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