Okay, DPM is enjoying a revival. Realtree has died. Splinter is waiting in the wings and ‘Polish’ is the next big thing. But seriously fellas, aside from the odd quirky Bathing Ape (Google it) sateen, you’re always going to look a bit ‘specialist’ (that’s polite for ‘pervert’) in whatever disruptive pattern you wear. You’ll get away with it on the bank, but on the way there? Naaaaahh. Drabs and olives can be classed as good taste, even seasonal co-ordinates (Ohhh, listen to meeeee!), but dressing as a tree or, more accurately, a complete and utter bush just ain’t the one fella; unless you’re shooting possum in the deep south, sharing an eye with your brother, boasting an Adam’s apple like a flint spear and teeth growing through your forehead.
Many years ago I’d had the good fortune to arrive at a wardrobe full of Hardwood Green attire. Sadly, most of it was XXXL. While I’m heading that way now, back then I was like a greyhound, smoking. So I gave the stuff to Skip, who I fished with. That very weekend, while on the way to Ormesby Broad we stopped in the all night garage for our smokes and snacks. Walking like a 6’ 2” inflated starfish covered in dead leaf chintz, Skip progressed slowly to the bemused Asian behind the counter who, trying to be friendly, questioned, “You go fish?” Skip looked down, sweating and replied with some disdain, “Naah, I’m going clubbing. 80 Rothmans and a pack of blue Rizzlas please.”
2. The Crispy Suit
Pre-breathable, pre-ski-wear, pre-giving a toss; the angler at large donned the olive one-piece as soon as the months ended in ‘ber’ (Latin for ‘BRRRRR’). As I recall, the ‘Goddards Anglers One Piece Suit’ was the one to be with back in the day. Finished in crispy waterproof bottle green nylon, lined in a blood red satin like Dracula’s cape and available from ‘Man at Darenth’. At last, the serious specimen hunter could stalk his quarry in total warmth with a degree of camouflage, while sounding like an amplified fight in a Sainsburys carrier bag bin. You couldn’t flinch in those mofos without the zip of nylon against nylon; that same stiff nylon (that got stiffer the colder it got) rustled in the breeze, crackled as it creased and created enough static electricity to power the National Grid, or at least three Rampant Rabbits in Essex. ‘Designed for the serious angler’ the ads said. ‘Cold store workers suit in green’ said the Goddards boss.
3. The Moon Boot
On the subject of cold storage, hot-footing it (I’ll cash the pun although it was accidental) straight out of the frozen climes of the freezer came the blue Skeetex. Suddenly, 18 pairs of socks and a coarse denier stocking (another time perhaps) became redundant. Hosiery hit the bin as the Moon Boot revolution started. Anglers were suddenly warm, yet strangely slower as the Blue Skeetex was superseded by the… You guessed it… Green Skeetex…
… If I can interrupt myself here, how many product development managers drew heartily on a stubby roll-up before telling the manufacturing department to ‘fire out a load in green’? Or nowadays: ‘That khaki that Korda do’.
Anyway, the modern angler was angling effectively again with toastie tootsies or, in summer, toes like a well-vinegared bag of chips. The Moon Boot had become the UGG of the 80s, the ‘Slag Wellies’ of the specimen hunter. The trusty Skeetex was suddenly rivalled by the ‘Boom 80’. Much the same, but these ones had ‘I am soft and waterproof’ written across the shins, and ‘left’ and ‘right’ over the toes. I kid you not!
While other boots, like the Boom 80, have come and gone (done a fair bit of that myself), the Skeetex has remained supreme in the lowest of temperatures. I’ll be chubbing (the fish) in mine in a couple of days. After 10yds I’ll have the onset of cramp; after 30yds I’ll be on my back with Alf stretching my tendons like I’m going in to a penalty shoot-out. 50yds and my legs will be bleeding from within. Warm though!