After a flurry of recent fishing trips I found that I was running quite low on two of my favourite types of hooks. So with a trip to Caerphilly planned, I thought I would nip into Tony’s Tackle
to replenish my diminished hook supply as well as top up a few other essentials which I would undoubtedly convince myself I needed before leaving the store.
It has been a number of years since I have visited the store, but on entering it was a little bit like stepping back in time. The layout hadn’t changed since the last time I entered (which was some 9 years ago), and I quickly set about looking for the 2 specific types of hooks I was after. Kamasan B611 and Drennan Wide Gape Super Specialist were the hooks I wanted (I have looked in other shops but they are getting increasingly difficult to find, thanks heavens for Ebay). But on a quick look around neither of these types of hooks were anywhere to be found. In fairness, there was a small selection of other Drennan and Kamasan style hooks, but sadly not the ones I required.
Looking around the shop further I found that there was a reasonable selection of carp rig bits (as there always is in tackle shops these days), and a good selection of pike equipment, but the coarse fishing equipment seemed to be sadly lacking. I found this quite discouraging especially as Caerphilly moat is opposite the shop, and there is a whole multitude of coarse fish to be had from it. The groundbait and pellets shelves were half empty and looked to have been for some time. The were some interesting rig bits on the walls, and if I had given them a closer inspection I’m sure I could have persuaded myself that I needed a “twiddling stick”, but I was still hoping to come across of secret stash of Drennan Hooks and overlooked it.
Towards the back of the shop there were a range of rods in racks. From standard coarse and carp fishing rods, to beachcasters and boat rods. There was also a small selection of fly fishing equipment on and under the server counter, as well as a small selection of reels in a glass cabinet under the till. On the back wall of the shop there was also a fair air rifle selection (if you’re into that kind of thing) and there were various pretend ducks pegged up on the wall beside them.
Tony’s also sells bait, and usually has a good supply of maggots, caster and worms, which as I have recently experienced, is no easy task in the South Wales Valleys’. In Tony’s Tackle you can also purchase licenses for Caerphilly angling club and Caerphilly moat which can be bought over the counter in the store.
I was also slightly perplexed when an angler came in and asked Tony some questions about fly fishing for carp using dog biscuits. He was advised rather than use a deer hair fly shaped like a dog biscuit (which he has on the till to his right) try using “a small hacksaw blade, cutting a groove in the dog biscuit and gluing the hook in place”. Having tried this method myself, it’s fiddly, time consuming and when it does actually work you run the risk of the fish taking your biscuit off the hook. This would leave the carp with a belly full of glued dog biscuits, which wouldn’t be great for this fish. At this point I offered a suggestion of using a cork ball, which will easily stay secured on a long shanked/wide gaped hook, or alternatively, hair rig them on tightly using a short hair and quick stop. The customer seemed quite interested in the idea of using a cork ball, but was thrown out of sync when Tony suggested using bread… It was a shame he didn’t seem open to other folks’ ideas.
I had another quick look around the shop to see if there was anything I really needed, but sadly I couldn’t be tempted. Tony’s tackle does have some bargains, and my brother has bought a cracking feeder rod there at a hugely reduced price. However on this occasion I left feeling quite disappointed. The shop sadly falls foul of everything I have begun to expect from fishing shops in the South Wales Valleys. There is a very basic supply of the anglers essentials (hooks, mono, swivels etc for all fishing disciplines) but anything more specific will either take time to look for or require ordering. The carp element of the shop (and not only in this shop but many of the ones I have recently visited) seems to be ever growing, at the cost of other and more basic coarse fishing equipment (in this instance I didn’t see a single disgorger). Tony’s is worth a visit, especially if you require bait and are struggling to get hold of it elsewhere, but if you have something specific in mind ring ahead to see if it is in stock or you may leave empty handed as I did.
Tackle Store Rating ** ½