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Steve Parton, 1948-2013

Steve Parton, one of fly fishing's innovative and influential figures, has died. He was 64.

Steve, from Nottingham, was one of the first anglers to explore and write extensively about the fishing at England's Midlands reservoirs, particularly Rutland Water, which he fished from its first opening in 1977. As a fly fisherman, he pioneered many of the reservoir methods from both bank and boat, and became an expert in the rudder method of fishing.

Steve studied Business Studies at university and then worked for Raleigh, the Nottingham-based bicycle company, in its human resources department. To many, he was probably better known as the owner of Sparton Tackle, which he ran from premises in Long Eaton. Here, he made customised rods, fly-fishing gear and fly-tying materials – supplying both the trade and public – and also became synonymous with the development of the float-tube and of float-tube fishing in the UK.

For many years he worked on the design and manufacture of float-tubes and was a catalyst in their development outside USA. Outspoken and often abrasive, iconoclastic, humorous, and with one foot in the industry and one on the shop-front, Steve was forthright and single-minded in his writing style, never holding back on pulling apart a product he was attempting to sell to his customers.

Steve was a long-term contributor to FF&FT, a skilled fly tyer, and co-producer with his friend, Mick Huffer of one of the first fly-tying instruction videos.

Over the years of marketing his business and flies, he appeared at shows in UK and also abroad, and developed a sizeable following of customers, but in recent years he wound down his shop to devote more of his time to politics (as a local Conservative councillor he represented the Wollaton West ward on Nottingham City Council).

Steve suffered a heart problem in the late 1990s, but countered this partly through the exercise afforded by his float-tubing. He passed away on Saturday, April 6 after suffering a stroke. He will be sorely missed by both his family and his legion of fly-fishing friends.

Mick Huffer will write a full obituary in the June issue of the magazine.

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