He’s been reeling them in at Horncastle Market for 49 years but still has a warm whelkcome for everyone

Mike Wells, who has been trading on Horncastle Market for almost half a century
Mike Wells, who has been trading on Horncastle Market for almost half a century

Make no bones about it, Mike Wells is the life and sole of Horncastle market.

He’s a proud man and he doesn’t like leaving things to salmon-else.

He’s been battered by rain, sleet and snow, but he’s also keen to explore every 

And, it goes without saying he’s always happy to mullet things over.

Mr Wells knows more about fish than you could write on the back of the average mussel shell.

That’s hardly surprising as he’s been trading at Horncastle market for 49 years.

He first parked his van on the town’s Market Place in 1964.

Back then, Alec Douglas-Home was the Prime Minister, Top Of The Pops first aired on BBC1, £10 bank notes were issued for the first time since World War Two and The Beatles starred in their first film, ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’

Mr Wells has lost count of the number of times he’s stood in rain and snow.

However, he has no plans to reel in his career.

In fact, he’s thought to be one of the county’s longest serving market traders.

He says: “I still love it...especially coming to Horncastle. They’re friendly people and they know what they want.

“Obviously, things have changed a lot over the years, especially shopping habits.

“Twenty years ago, I was selling 10-stone of haddock in a day. Now, it’s five - at best.

“But other fish is proving popular now...fish people probably wouldn’t have thought of eating 20-odd years ago.”

Mr Wells has plenty of regular customers and there’s often a queue at his van.

Doris Slater, of Horncastle, said: “I’ve 
been coming to Mike for longer than I care to remember.

“I know I could buy fish at the supermarket but Mike’s is the best around. It’s always fresh and tastes a lot better. My husband would kill for one of his crabs!”

Mike is a popular figure with other market traders, including Tony Ellerby who runs the neighbouring flower stall.

Mind you, Mr Ellerby is something of a novice. He’s only been trading at Horncastle for 23 years.