Tracy&James | Thursday, 16 May 2019
Last weekend’s fly fishing show at Sportfish in Theale, Berkshire was a really good one and seemed to buck the trend of declining attendance at such events. I think this was largely due to Sportfish making the weekend appeal to families, plus the presence of a TV celebrity – Jeremy Wade from the show ‘River Monsters’.
It was particularly noticeable that there were more juniors in tow and Sportfish had really pulled out the stops to encourage them into fly fishing. Part of the Haywards Farm lake had been sectioned-off to create a beginners pool, in which interested kids could fish for free. What’s more, their catch (and it was stocked to the point where it was impossible not to catch) would be filleted and vacuum packed ready to be taken home. Whenever I wandered past there was a constant stream of young anglers taking advantage of this generous addition to the show. Hopefully this will spark something within a few of them to take up fly fishing permanently.
The BFCC was present doing its bit to improve people’s casting by giving instruction. Many thanks to Mark Surtees, Bob Goble, Dominic Hewitt, Gary Poole, Trevor Hayman and Alex Titov for generously giving up their time for this. Some years back the BFCC decided to offer juniors free casting lessons and free membership of the club if required – certainly they helped a number of juniors over the course of the weekend, including a couple who were so engrossed in becoming a casting ninja that they came back more than once.
The adults were also amply catered for at the show, with the latest tackle on show and available to test, some demos from some very well-known faces within the fly fishing world and a number of talks and ask the expert-type panels. There was also great food on site, a hog roast, fresh pizzas etc. along with real ale from a local brewery. Judging by some of the happy faces later on in the evening the latter had gone down very well indeed (not least with me).
The next BFCC meeting will be in Willesborough, near Ashford, Kent in a couple of weeks – Sunday the 2nd of June. This will be a full programme where there’ll be a casting competition (all 7 events) along with tuition. Full details can be found on the FB page.
In the meantime we’re planning a trip up to North Wales to fish the river Dee for the beautiful little brown trout. I’m fast becoming a leading light in the fly fishing for small fish world – I think this has the potential to be the next really cool niche for fluff chuckers. At the weekend I managed to catch a perch which was almost outsized by the fly, this following on from what must be a near record breaking tarpon, a couple of weeks earlier, in the hunt for the smallest list.