Angling: Memories of a true local ‘character’ and a friend

Peter Horsfall with his 11lb Barbel.
Peter Horsfall with his 11lb Barbel.
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THIS WEEK I would like to return to a series of articles that I wrote a couple of years ago about angling characters from the old days and one of the names that I omitted was that of Peter Hardcastle.

I first met him when I came out of National Service in 1956 and a few years later a few of us decided to explore the fishing match scene outside Yorkshire. Peter was the one with the transport and he, myself and the Leeds captain Henry Pollard travelled all over the country to fish on the Trent, Welland and Witham.

Peter really made his name as an angler at the weekends where he was frequently in the money but unfortunately he always seemed to be skint.

As I said earlier, Peter always seemed to be in debt and I well remember when he won the biggest contest in the angling calendar, the Trent Championship in 1972 with an entry of over 1,500 anglers, but this match was not about money for it was a prestige event, no pools or bookies, and all Peter won for his efforts was a mere fiver with the bonus of a magnificent silver trophy for him to keep. He sold it within days to Kenny Kendall for £200. His record on local rivers was fantastic and if he drew on fish on either the Wharfe or the Trent he was unbeatable.

He also fished for Leeds in the National Chamionships no fewer than 19 times but his problem was always the same, lack of funds and many is the time that Henry and myself had to help him out.

One of his last proper jobs was one that he really enjoyed. He used to run a bait farm and bred maggots for a local tackle shop but the main problem with that job was that he used to pong a bit even after a bath or a shower.

But Peter will always be remembered for the horrendous accident that he was involved with in 1987.

He had been fishing on his own one day at a lake near Harrogate using both a rod and line and a pole, and the pole was laid on the back of his side.

When it was time to go home he first dismantled the rod but when he picked up the pole he found the line had tangled in the grass, so he gave it a quick jerk to free it. In doing so the pole sprang up and came in contact with an overhead power line which was carrying 56,000 volts.

More on this next week.


Yarnbury Angling Club held a successful end of season annual presentation evening when Leeds angling legend Dave Thomas came along to present the silverware.

The matchman of the year award was won by Horsforth’s roach guru Aidy Addy.

The club will hold its AGM on February 11 at The Old Ball 
public house, Horsforth at 7.30pm. All members old and new are welcome.