FOR 50 years, Rugby’s anglers have been visiting Banks and Burr to top up their tackle.
And staff are celebrating the landmark after fighting through some tough times.
On June 1 1962, Reg Banks and his son-in-law, Dave Burr opened their tackle shop on Claremont Road - and despite troubles in angling and the economy, it’s still there.
Dave said: “It’s a great achievement.
“We’ve had hard times with recessions, fish disease outbreaks, foot and mouth and competition in the town but we’ve come through it all and we’re still a family-owned business.”
Reg had moved from his house in Oxford Street to the small terraced house where the shop would take up the front room.
Being able to use the shelves and counters from the haberdashers that previously occupied the shop meant the pair had a small budget for stock, with bait being their main product.
Reg and Dave carried on with their jobs during the week, with their wives Joan and Rose running the shop in their absence.
A dedicated fishing tackle shop was rare at the time and with two enthusiastic and knowledgeable anglers at the helm the shop proved very popular. But its future looked uncertain during the Big Freeze of 1963 which saw all fishing venues iced over until March.
By the time the country had thawed, the fishing season had closed and the shop had to scrape through until it opened again in June.
Dave said: “It wasn’t the ideal first year in business but as we were both still working we were able to stay afloat.
“We used to take a group out to one of the only local unfrozen fishing spots but other than that no one was fishing that year.”
The shop came back strongly and in 1965 Dave won the National Championship in Somerset after bagging a record breaking 76lb 9oz, a record which stood for 24 years.
Dave began to feature on many angling shows and worked as a representative for a tackle firm which generated more interest in the shop.
Rugby’s angling scene grew again when Draycote Water opened in 1970 and attracted trout fishermen from all over the country and by 1982 Banks and Burr had extended into the house next door.
1986 was the end of an era for the business when co-founder Reg Banks died after struggling for many years with ill health.
In 1990 Dave’s son Carlton joined the family business and he expanded their mail order service as well as developing their website and they now supply tackle all over the world.
Dave said: “It certainly makes it easier working with family. You work harder because you’re working for each other and that has helped us a lot.”
n Turn to page 71 to see the 1965 championship winners.