WIGAN’S best-known fishing tackle shop owner is casting his line for the last time.
George Chamberlain and wife Dorothy have run “George’s” on Frog Lane for 40 years – but are calling it a day this weekend.
They’ve heard all those stories about their customers catching giants of the water...and in some cases have seen the photo to prove it. They also seen one of the world’s favourite sports undergo vast changes.
George, soon 70, hasn’t always been dealing in hooks, lines and sinkers. Before setting up shop, he was a vocalist and guitar player in the local band The Sportsmans. And George made solo records under the name of Paul Craig. He also worked as a computer programmer.
He recalled: “But at 30 I decided I wasn’t going to make it in show business and as I’d always liked fishing, I decided to open George’s fishing tackle shop. During the first years, we lived above the shop but then the children came alone which gave us an excuse to move and at the same time enlarge the shop. I’ve known thousands of committed anglers and some didn’t mind calling at our home to ask for advice.
“In the early days, anglers used the local flashes, the canals and rivers, but now I reckon around 90 per cent fish in specially created fisheries. All a sign of the times I suppose but I think it’s a shame. There’s nothing nicer than passing a length of canal dotted with anglers.
George added: “We’ve seen everything change in the world of fishing and have gone along with these changes, of course. “Our great joy has been serving customers who are memorable characters who told amazing stories.
“I’ve always done a bit of fishing outside shop hours and will keep up the hobby when I retire. Thankfully I have a little study at home and it’s devoted to making music. No, I won’t be singing in any concerts, but after a world in the fishing business, I’ll now have plenty of time to smell the roses.”
Dorothy (known to one and all as Dot) who has always been at her husband’s side in the shop, said: “Yes, our great characters have kept us amused and interested for all these years. I’m sure if we put our minds to it, we could write a book. Sometimes I wish we’d left a tape recorder. We’d have recorded a wealth of wonderful and funny memories.”
George added: “Loyalty has played a big part. We have had good customers and built up great relationships with suppliers.”
The couple, who live in Wigan, have two sons, one a church commissioner at Westminster, and the other employed at Coventry University. The shutters go up at the shop this Saturday afternoon.