As a young sea angler in the 1970s a bell was regarded as an essential item of tackle; no shore angler would ever leave home without one! I clearly remember fishing cold, frosty, star-spangled nights throughout the autumn and winter months, at a time when South Wales used to host massive runs of whiting. Not the pin whiting we mostly see today; these were good fish typically averaging around a pound apiece, and often weighing well over two pounds. Rarely would I return home not having caught enough for a decent meal or two.

When the whiting were running the most productive beaches, piers and breakwaters would be packed with anglers. The entire scene would be illuminated by the warm glow of countless Tilley lamps with the sickly-sweet odour of burnt paraffin adding a distinct tang to the salt in the chilly air. Almost every rod would have a bell clipped at the tip and at times you could anticipate the arrival of the next shoal of fish by the ringing of bells, as they worked their way along the shoreline…..