Game Fair celebrates its Diamond anniversary

Victor Bonutto, fishing tackle collector extraordinaire
Victor Bonutto, fishing tackle collector extraordinaire

One of Europe’s largest celebrations of county life will take place at the end of the month at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.

For the past 60 years the Game Fair Festival of the Great British Countryside has been a highlight on the calendar for the fishing, hunting and shooting fraternity and for half of those years Victor Bonutto has been an exhibitor.

Victor is a collector of old fishing items and stuffed fish and the hobby has become something of an obsession. Each year Victor puts on an eclectic display of angling ephemera at the Game Fair, the sort of fishing tackle our great grandfathers will have used.

Victor lived in Warwickshire for many years, including Mill House in Hampton Lucy, where he could fish the Avon from his window.

Victor said: “Back in the 80s there were some wonderful chub in the little mill stream.”

His annual stand at the Game Show is a labour of love as he spends his day working as a property surveyor, but nothing comes close to his passion for fishing.

Victor said: “There is nothing I like more than discovering an old unusual item of fishing tackle.”

His collection covers all types of angling accessories to catch all species of fish including trout and salmon tackle, pike and perch tackle and even sea fishing oddities.

Despite his collection Victor has one particular favourite, “Without doubt it’s the Spider Web Rod.” he said.

Invented during WWI the 17 foot rod uses complex mechanics to allow the angler to fish further into a river. Resembling an antennae more than a rod Victor restored it to its former glory and it featured on an episode of Antiques Roadshow.

Victor is always looking to add to his collection, so if you’re going along, why not check the attic just in case, he just might make you an offer.

Victor will be in the Fishing Village area of the show, so bring something along and make his day.

The Game Fair takes place at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire from July 27 to July 29 and features every kind of outdoor pursuit, hundreds of exhibitors, plenty of food and drink vendors and have-a-go countryside experiences.