Up until a fortnight ago I viewed fly fishing with a certain awe, something akin to basket weaving or sign writing. A skill I would love to learn but would just watch instead, as it seemed such an exacting art. However a strange sequence of events has changed all this. After a long drive back to the Fishing Republic near Barnsley in the UK I had arranged to meet up with John Gross to buy lots of freshwater fishing equipment for our new angling holiday venture and new online tackle shop. John is a director of the Fishing Republic, Yorkshire Game Angling and fishing equipment manufacturers Lureflash. He is also a national accredited fly fishing instructor - certainly a man with a wealth of knowledge, and someone who I found fascinating to listen to. A full day of buying with Matt, Kirsty and Tara at the Fishing Republic in Darfield and fly fishing specialists Yorkshire Game Angling down the road at Kilnhurst meant a very full vehicle and lots of equipment. As well as mountains of carp gear, rig kits, specialist baits, poles and elastics from Darfield down at Yorkshire Game Angling I had bought several fly rods, reels, backing, lines and flies and deep down was frustrated I really knew little about this area of fishing. Richard Turtle the manager had been very informative and kitted me up with all I required for holidaying anglers plus a starter outfit for me ……… I now know!
The next morning John Gross rang me early to find out if everything was alright and I was satisfied with what I had bought. Before I could tell him of my frustrations regarding fly fishing he asked me to meet him at the shop in Kilnhurst and offered to take me over the road to the canal and show me the basics. What an opportunity! John went through the basic principles and the dangers. Then we ventured out into the rain on the canal side and I was amazed at how he demonstrated this fascinating fishing art. Seeing the line shooting back and forth above his head then being landed gently on the water twenty or so metres from us fired up a new passion in me. This was something I had to master. John had tied a piece of wool to the end of the leader to prevent me from having my ears pierced by a proper fly hook! After an hour and a half I was again very frustrated, I could not get the rhythm right. I had the rod butt tucked in my sleeve but I was using too much force. A legacy of surfcasting and distance carping I suppose. A finer technique was required. John's theory was that I should eat less steak. As time ran out I left pleased that I had at least tried but angry with myself that I had achieved little.
All the way back home to Spain I went over and over what I had been doing wrong and could not wait to have another practice.
After the three day trip home I opened my e-mails to find an invite to a trout fly fishing competition from Jan Keijsers of Hondontrucha at Hondon de las Nieves on the 4th January. This was one week away. The Old Fish Wife told me I would be stupid to attempt to do it………so after a phone call to Jan I was enrolled to do the competition! Nothing like a little pressure to focus the mind. I decided that the next day I would go up to Embalse De Alfonso to practice with my new fly gear. I had totally forgotten about loading backing and fly line plus a leader to my reel. After a fraught night learning yet more new skills I was starting to wonder if I had made a big mistake in accepting Jan's kind invitation.
The episode at Alfonso only served to confirm my thoughts especially when the OFW took hold of the rod and did better than me at her first ever attempt at fishing of any kind!
I rang Peter Hampshire whom had been in contact to buy my DVD on shore fishing as he wanted to learn the basics. Peter had also asked me if I could bring him a fly rod and some new line back from the UK as he was an accomplished fly fisherman but was struggling to find what he required here in Spain. Peter kindly offered to come over the next day and did a deal with me that if I showed him the ropes of shore fishing then he would give me further tuition with my fly rod.
Offer accepted. Next time I will tell you how I faired in this skilful area of angling.
Copyright © Gary Smith