Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Crash Course Fly Fishing

This is silly season, guiding, guiding and more guiding, which means the blog has suffered for a couple of days. So here's what has been going on, I know a lot of you sit in London offices .. and Birmingham ... Bristol ... etc., reminiscing on days spent fishing our glorious venues and more to come, so apologies I have not had chance for a couple of days to feed your addiction!

A few days back I met up with Matt Sullivan from Essex who last year dropped by my shop to have a look around. A conversation around the Hardy Angel Rod developed and upon enquiring I found that Matt was in fact a novice fly angler. Now don't get me wrong, the Hardy Angel is a very fine bit of kit and as a consultant to this fine company I am proud to own a number of models. However this is an extremely fast actioned rod that is really designed for the "experienced" market.

So what are rod actions? Well in a nutshell this term refers to the amount of "flex" within a rod. There are loads of resources on the web that discuss the various actions and many manufacturers now provide guidance. To keep things simple though rods fall into 3 main groups: "through action", a softer rod such as fibre glass or cane, although it is possible to purchase carbon rods that have this action. I prefer not to use rods that have a through action, although I can see the benefits for small streams and fine leaders. "Middle to Tip" rods are fantastic; the best starting point for a learner. This action has a huge amount of "feel" and with a little tuition a novice can soon be up and running, feeling for the line loading the rod. Finally we have the "Fast Action", my preferred choice. Such rods generate tight loops, recovering very quickly and make for completely effortlessly casting, but beware, muck the timing up or cast without a positive stop and fast action rods can seem lifeless. If some of this seems a little technical check out my book "The Essential Guide to Fly Fishing" which simplifies it or if you are thinking of starting up in fly fishing, visit us to enjoy a course.

I started Matt out on the new Hardy Demon Rod and from the off it was obvious he had some natural talent. Pretty soon he was roll casting a nice straight line, popping it in the air and shooting some line with an overhead. By lunchtime we were learning all about fish food (entomology), tying up leaders and casting to our first fish. Matt returned the next day and we sat down to recap the previous days events before Matt tied on his own leader, picked out a fly (a Harry Potter Dry) and proceeded to pick off fishing cruising the surface layers. In fact he progressed so well that we headed to the river for our afternoon session. Needless to say Matt is now looking forward to a long fishing career, especially as he has started it in the company of a shiny new Demon Rod, Reel and Line Kit!

It is always pleasing to receive your feedback so thanks Matt for the following ...

"Just a very quick note to say thank you very much for a most enjoyable couple of days fishing – tuition, scenery, fishing and company was second to none!! I am really looking forward to coming back down for more fishing, and using the lovely kit that you sorted out for me – thank you!! It seems criminal that I will not have a chance to play with it for a few days"

and thanks also to Tim Watson who recently fished with me at Badgworthy and dropped me a line to say...

Hope you're not getting sun burnt in this blistering sun! Just a quick note to thank you for a fantastic three days last week. What rivers! I was just sat at my desk looking at the photos on the blog- if you don't mind me pinching you're favourite phrase, they look AMAZING!

Once again, thanks for a great week and already looking forward to the grand slam!!!"

Much appreciated guys and makes my job even more worthwhile. Good Fishing to you both.

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