Competing for Curries

Competing for Curries

Tracy&James | Thursday, 14 July 2016

I was going to write about how I got into fishing today but I’ll save that for another time. Instead I decided I’d share some thoughts on the competitive casting scene in the UK given that we had a BFCC meeting last Saturday. Single handed fly-casting for distance is not a big sport, in fact if you consider fly-fishing as a niche (I don’t know the numbers) then casting is a tiny, dark recess within a niche. I once saw an article on the UK tiddly-winks championships, the impressive entry list and spectator numbers had me thinking that they’d be looking at our sport and thinking “that’s geeky”. I suspect on the whole fly-fishers are not that competitive, and those who are tend to find an outlet in fishing matches. [Tracy and I have our own personal matches such as the ‘first bonefish of the year comp’. This used to be the ‘first saltwater fish of the year comp’ however Tracy changed the rules after I tried to claim the prize of an Indian takeaway meal after catching a three inch yellow snapper before she’d had chance to unpack her rod. I haven’t won it since, but I digress…].

Salmon fishers don’t have fishing contests to enter and perhaps that goes some way to explain why Spey casting has a dedicated following?  Or is it because invariably there are high value prizes on offer?  Maybe the location of the comps is the draw or the winner’s title and trophy?  Whichever it is, they seem to be getting something right in consistently attracting top competitors. 

Single handed casting is less healthy and at the grass roots level things are in need of a boost.  Competitions at the larger game fairs etc. attract a high quality entry, but I’m not sure whether this is because people tend to be already on site, representing various tackle companies (or just visiting the show) or whether it’s the prizes/titles that are on offer – I’d like to think it’s not the latter as that would imply we’re a mercenary bunch.  [I should point out that at the last CLA game fair all casting competitions were dropped due to a perceived image of ‘elitism’ and lack of interest from the typical fly-fisher.  This wasn’t my experience, having previously seen the crowds on the bridge at Blenheim struggling to get a better view of the finals].  

Unfortunately the finances of the BFCC are such that offering prizes at events is not possible (most meetings just about break even once the venue hire costs have been paid).  Therefore other ways must be sought to encourage the UK’s top guys to come along and challenge the dedicated bunch that routinely make the effort to turn up (as Paul did last weekend – he kicked ass and we really appreciated it).  Certainly the records hold some kudos, in a number of circles they are seen as the official British records, but they’ve always been there so maybe don’t present an incentive.  Perhaps we need to run a championship, throughout the year, that names the overall winner as the ‘British Champion’ – would that eventually work?  

As a final note: the BFCC will be running the single handed casting events at this year’s Ragley Hall game fair, prizes will be on offer courtesy of the sponsors and organisers – not just Jalfrezis Smile

Have a great weekend, James.