Anglers across the midlands now have the option to buy fishing tackle in a unique way following the opening of the UK’s first ever floating tackle shop.
The Tackle Boat, which is simply a converted canal barge selling numerous items from rods and reels to hooks and line, has been operating since the start of the year on stretches of the Grand Union Canal between Marsworth in Buckinghamshire, up to Braunston in Northamptonshire.
The barge, named Le Souk, is the original idea of Mark Thame, a 54-year old angler and waterways fanatic from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, who had to sacrifice a large chunk of his home to bring his dream to fruition. “I live aboard the boat with my wife and originally came up with the idea because there is nowhere for visiting anglers or boaters to buy odd items of tackle from, so we took out one of the cabins and used it for storage,” he said. “Our market is people who may not necessarily be hard-core anglers but those on trips who just want to give it a go or maybe for those who get to the bank and find they have forgotten a particular item.”
The boat is currently touring the Northampton area but will rove about the canal system during the summer months. Each item of tackle has been carefully selected with anglers on a budget in mind and everything is displayed on a number of racks which simply attach to the side of the boat when it is moored on the towpath. “We don’t stock expensive tackle as we want to stay affordable to everyone. We know our market won’t want to spend a fortune on gear as we sell on the bank not over the internet to people paying with credit cards” said Mark. “We tend to set up in areas where there are plenty of tourists or at canal boat shows and fetes and we have to move around as the Canal & River Trust rules only allow two trading boats in any one area at one time,” he added.
The Tackle Boat does not sell live bait due to lack of refrigeration facilities, however it does offer groundbait as well as items such as pole rigs, terminal tackle and luggage.