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Devastation and celebration

You have to love angling – in all her colours, facets and foibles


The 'tiny' Wiltshire Bourne a couple of weeks' ago.
The 'tiny' Wiltshire Bourne a couple of weeks' ago.

The talk was of ruin. Farmland that would take years to recover, livelihoods washed away and wiped out and there we all were, talking about delivering fishing courses to young people; when, only miles away, an inland sea was spreading destructive, callous, watery fingers across great swathes of Somerset and the South West. It seemed odd.

It is only now that the genuinely moving scenes of people drifting back to homes devastated by the water are filtering into our own lives by various media. Indeed, All along my various valleys in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire only now is water grudgingly  willing to leave its recent resting places over pastureland, around and through Spinneys and gardens, and edge back to the bank-side. and natural and usual course. But what of the season ahead, the weed growth, the insects that may have been washed and pounded downstream amidst this watery mayhem and chaos. What? And is this a momentary natural glitch?  Or a more sinister opening chorus to a long and bitter lament. No one truly knows. Proof though, that nature remains the ultimate giver and taker away.

It will be an interesting season.

However, I guess no odder than celebrating all that is wonderful and refined about fly fishing and fly tying, when all the while, outside, rain launched itself horizontally at the building we were in at the B.F.F.i. in Stafford  It was slightly difficult to concentrate on painting and refined stuff like that (he says!) whilst wind tugged at the rooftops with banshee malevolence and rain-spat venom.

But this was punctuated by the brightest of moments (it even made the place warm when the heating had oddly vanished after midday) was the sight of the reel (below) made by John, and old gentleman who spends three weeks on each reel; the materials are all reclaimed and put together by himself – even the screws. It was utterly awe-inspiring in the truest sense. Art.

Then as by ironic contrast and only last week, we had the South West Lakes Trust show at Roadford on Exmoor. What a stunning day. The 700-acre lake was bathed in spring light and not a ripple troubled the surface on my arrival. It was spectacularly bathed in spring sunshine most of the time. The show itself was a joy. Intimate. Allowing you to get into the very fabric of the sport and had the atmosphere of a very large house party. They even allowed Gary Champion and I lose in a 'off the peg' cooking demo. The casting demos were a delight and the individual fly tying demos by Mike Weaver, Russ Symonds, Myself and others were hugely well received.

I am hoping the both the B.F.F.I. and the South West Waters event are the new way forward for shows: targeted, smaller, more intimate and focussed and friendly.

You have to love angling – in all her colours, facets and foibles.

Happy New Year!

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