Friday, 13 July 2018

A very special legacy

You are sitting at home in your elegant Kensington house one evening. Your spouse arrives home from work. So far, so normal until the announcement that the time has come to pack up the London life to head for the country - a fly fishing business beckons. The details are vague. It might be a store. Or it could be a hotel. Nothing is precisely determined but the principle is decided. How do you reply?

Dermot Wilson in retirement
Well, I guess that might slightly depend on your circumstances but consider the person standing before you. He could be in no way considered unsuccessful or prone to flights of fancy. Educated at Winchester College he left to join the King's Royal Rifle Corps as an officer at the age seventeen, landing on the northern coast of France on D-Day plus one earning the Military Cross for his actions behind enemy lines. After the war he took the Civil Service entry exam, registered the highest score of his generation, was appointed to the Foreign Office but declined when he was to be posted to Japan; he doubted that there was much fly fishing available there. Advertising then called where our embryonic fly fishing entrepreneur soon rose to become the youngest ever director of the international colossus J. Walter Thompson. It was from their Mayfair offices that he had arrived that evening. Now it is to the enormous credit of Renée Wilson that she looked her husband in the eye and said, "Dermot, that is the most sensible thing you have said in a long time". And so something unique and special was born.

By the time the couple arrived at that life changing moment Dermot already had a head start on others who might embark on such madness. He was a well known and published fly fisher, his first (and sadly only) book Fishing The Dry Fly a best seller since the first edition of 1957 and he was a regular columnist for Trout & Salmon a position he held dear, rarely writing for any other publication. He was, I think it is fair to say, a fishing obsessive. His angling career had started early, his Irish mother shipping him back to her native land for long summers where he explored the lochs. At Winchester he revived the moribund fishing club, the River Itchen becoming the thread that ran through the remainder of his life. Renée relates that even during their courtship weekends were for fishing; it was fortunate that she always shared Dermot's passion and that his mother had retired to Winchester.

Like many things in life how the Wilsons eventually arrived at Nether Wallop Mill was something of happenchance. After toying and discarding various business models Renée and Dermot alighted on mail order which was at the time, remember this was the late 1960's, considered slightly down-at-heel. So the search was on for a base and whilst Dermot was away in Ireland (yes, fishing) Renée spied an advert in The Daily Telegraph for a dilapidated mill in Hampshire. A call to Dermot and thence the agent led them to making a full asking price offer that day, sight unseen. A week later, ahead of two hundred other enquiries, they drove to Nether Wallop and sealed the deal with a handshake for £13,000.

Whilst writing this article and researching the fifty years since Dermot and Renée walked across the threshold of Nether Wallop Mil, now my home and workplace, I have tried to place him in the pantheon of the angling greats. The names of Walton, Halford, Skues, Grey, Sawyer and Kite are so easy to recite that perhaps we don't bother to look much further. But we should for otherwise Wilson will be omitted. Charles Jardine, one time apprentice to Dermot here at The Mill, has put it better than any other person I have spoken to: "Dermot should be remembered as being one of, if not THE, best portrayers of the sport. His words and English usage were both sublime and minimal."

Fergus Wilson (son) with Frank Sawyer at The Mill
As Charles goes on to say if you want to measure the true worth of a man's literary prowess judge him by the company that seeks him out to be called his friend. Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate and often regarded as the greatest poet of the 20th century, was one such person. Herein lies the secret of Dermot's success for it was through the medium of the printed word he inspired a whole new generation of fly fishers and the business he founded was to be the perfect vehicle for that.

Today we very much take trout stillwaters for granted, but back around the time Dermot was setting up they were both ground breaking and sensational. The fly fishing 'business' exploded. Books, TV shows and magazines proliferated as trout lakes were dug across the country making a sport that was previously thought to be the preserve of the upper classes accessible to a whole new generation both in terms of affordability and geography.

Now you might just say Dermot was lucky with his timing. At this point I tend to grab for Henry Ford's great truth when accused of the same: the harder I work the luckier I seem to get. Today mail order, with the internet and next day delivery, is part of the fabric of our lives, but fifty years ago you needed to truly inspire sceptical shoppers. For Dermot it was with his words. His catalogue A Choice of Tackle became a staple of each new fishing season. As a regular traveller to North America, the powerhouse of post-war era angling innovation, he returned with exciting new lines, reels, rods and flies. But that in itself was not enough.

You need to make it all come alive on the page. Explain to the reader how and why the purchase would make your fishing not only better, but also more fun. In both he excelled. Who else would have featured a fishing chimpanzee? Added humour with cartoons? Weave the stories of how he had discovered or used this or that 'must have' item. When you bought from Dermot Wilson you became part of his extended fishing family; he invented the concept of customer service long before the term became common parlance. Nothing was too much trouble. Call, write or even drop in. 100% customer satisfaction was the aim or return the item no questions asked. Today we think of all that as standard but back then? Well, perhaps within that laid the seeds of demise.

Prince Charles & Dermot Wilson at 1980 Game Fair
It is an eternal sadness to me that I never visited The Mill in Dermot and Renée's time for it seems to me it was, for a while, the epicentre of the fly fishing universe. Frank Sawyer was a good friend and regular visitor; he even designed the most perfect trout teaching lake which we still use today. Dick Walker, for many years the British carp record holder and rod maker par excellence through his Bruce & Walker partnership, was a confidante. Bob Church, Brian Clarke, John Goddard, Barry Welham and Conran Voss Bark, great men in their own right, were just part of the fabric. Royal warrant holders Hardy Bros. beat a path to his door when they needed advice on building a special edition cane rod and the Royal household called in search of a reel for the Queen Mother's 70th. From overseas came the Perkins, the owners of Orvis who were to eventually buy the business, along with Lee and Joan Wulff, not to mention the great American angling writer Ernie Schwiebert. Of course, they didn't always come to him - occasionally Dermot had to go to them, most famously to Prince Charles who put out a special request to meet him and Renée at the 1980 Game Fair when it was held in the grounds of his uncle's house on the River Test at Broadlands in Hampshire.

Unfortunately the smiles on Fisherman's Row on that sunny July day hid some bitter truths. This was no time to be running a fragile business that relied on optimism and buoyant consumer confidence. The recession (some would say depression) of 1980-81 was gathering. Inflation reached 17% and interest rates were higher still. Unemployment surged. Taxes rose. Dermot and Renée sat down with their advisors to accept the inevitable. I can't better the words Dermot penned in the supplement to the 1981 Choice of Tackle:

Farewell edition of A Choice of Tackle
"We suppose all good things must come to an end - and that includes our small enterprise at Nether Wallop Mill. We're retiring. This is partly because it's high time - we're getting rather grey-haired and venerable. And it's partly because this miserable old Depression isn't doing the Mill any good at all. Financially, that is. So this is our last fond message to you. We'll be winding up as from September 2nd 1981.

But we want to finish on a high note. So before we leave the stage, we're making the offers contained in this leaflet. Not that it's purely altruism. Obviously we'd like to convert some of our stock to lovely money. We can, however, do each other a final favour - let us send you a bargain or two.

We simply can't depart from the scene, however, without saying how much we love you. If anyone doubted that flyfishermen are the salt of the earth, you've laid those doubts to rest. You've been kind and courteous and wonderful to us. (We've tried to reciprocate). Many of you have been with us since the early days; many of you have become close personal friends. We think you're the nicest people ever. With all our hearts, we wish you a long life of happy and successful fishing."

And Dermot did indeed retire. He and Renée bought a cottage in the village of Farley, not far from Nether Wallop with views over the Avon valley. Dermot continued to write, largely for Trout & Salmon, toured the USA lecturing and as Chairman of the Anglers Co-operative Association (now Fish Legal) led a successful campaign against a clause in a government bill that would have weakened the common law protection of the flow and quality of rivers. He continued to fish both on the Piscatorial Society waters and his beloved River Itchen until his death in 1996.

His widow Renée still lives in Wiltshire, now on the banks of the River Ebble. I am indebted to her for many kindnesses in helping me write this article and I am looking forward to welcoming her back to The Mill later in the year to unveil the blue plaque I have commissioned in Dermot's memory. It is the very least I can do for Dermot Wilson MC, soldier, writer and fly fisherman deserves to be remembered for a very long time to come.

Simon Cooper, founder of Fishing Breaks, has lived in Nether Wallop Mill since 1999, which is both his home and workplace
. My thanks to Trout & Salmon for allowing the reproduction of this article that was first published in the July 2018 magazine.

Bursaries: spread the word

News of two bursaries: do spread the word. 
The first award is from the Test & Itchen Association of a Bursary of up to £1,000 to a Hampshire river keeper. The aim of the Bursary is to help a river keeper improve their river management skills.

The Bursary might be used in any way to enhance the keeper's relevant skills, knowledge or experience. Examples might include part-time study, training for qualifications and visits to other fisheries in the UK or abroad, or a combination of these or different elements.

To be eligible for the Bursary, the applicant must be an active river keeper on the Test, Itchen or Meon or one of their tributaries. The keeper might act in a full-time or part-time capacity, and be paid or a volunteer.

For an application form and more details contact Jeremy Legge. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 31 July 2018.

The other is the Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award. Set up by Salmon & Trout Conservation in collaboration with the Arundel Arms and Fario Club, the Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018 offers students:

*           One week work experience with the West Country Rivers Trust; learning catchment management and water science from the Trusts eminent scientists
*           Two day fly fishing course
*           Complimentary stay at the Arundell Arms hotel during the work experience
*           250

You can find out further details and how to apply by following this link.

June feedback draw winner

I must confess that June rather left us scratching our collective heads. 

On the last Thursday in June, at that point the hottest Hampshire day of the year, we hosted two groups on two quite different beats. At the end of the day the returns were colossal: better indeed than some Mayfly days. As we sat in the pub slaking our thirsts there was no explanation on which we could agree. Though we did conclude that the heat was worse for us than the fish. 

Well done to Tim Amps who collects the snood having fished on the River Dove with Andy Buckley. As for you all, you are back into the draw for the end of season Simms pliers.


More chances to prove, or improve, your intellect.  Answers, as ever, at the bottom of the page. 

1)   Dermot Wilson (pictured below) is fishing which Fishing Breaks beat?

2)   If you were scared of today what would you be?

3)   How high and wide is a football (soccer) goal?

Enjoy the weekend.

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 

Founder & Managing Director

Quiz answers:

1)  Beat 1 at Bullington Manor. Date unknown.

2)  A triskaidekaphobic.  A person who fears or avoids the number 13.

3)  8x8. Eight yards wide. Eight foot high.

Friday, 29 June 2018

High as an eel

It is about this time of year you will start seeing eels in the chalkstreams as they relinquish the muddy ditches and ponds they have called home for the past 10-20 years to start the 3,700 mile journey back to the breeding grounds of the Sargasso Sea via the river they originally arrived up.

They don't rush. This will be the last time in their lives they will feed. Once they enter the ocean they will stop eating, consuming themselves from the inside until they spawn and die. If you want to spot them before they run to the ocean on the cycle of the moon look as they dig head first, tail waving in the current, amongst the roots of the river bed weed. Or listen for a delicate slurping sound in the margins. Cunning eels wait for the nymphs crawling up the reed stems to emerge to hatch in the fresh air. But that moment, as they push hard to break the surface tension from water to air, makes then vulnerable. That noise is eels sucking in the unsuspecting nymphs.

But, sadly, you will not have seen or heard so much of eels in the past decade as the population has collapsed by some estimations as much as 90%. There has been a slight uptick recently on the chalkstreams but it is still pretty dire with eels now on the endangered Red List.

The decline might be a solvable problem if anyone knew for certainty what is causing the problem. The main theory is that northern hemisphere eels have contracted a disease from southern hemisphere eels that affects their swim bladder which effectively means they never complete the return trip to the Sargasso Sea. They don't actually swim but hitch a ride on the Atlantic currents 'surfing' the currents which move up and down in the ocean, from a few hundred to thousands of feet in depth. Without a swim bladder they get lost mid-Atlantic, dying as they hollow themselves out.

However, there is a new theory that concerns cocaine. A recent study by the University of Naples shows that this drug accumulates in the brain, muscles, gills, skin and other tissues of the eel.This causes physical injury and, not surprisingly, hyperactivity whilst preventing sexual maturity.

I must admit I had vision of drug cartels flushing contraband down the loo, but apparently it enters the water system via urine to the extent that Italy's River Po has 8.8lb of cocaine in it at any one time. And we are not immune: in 2015 the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction revealed London to have Europe's highest concentration of cocaine in sewage.

If the Naples research turns out to be correct it is really hard to know where we go from here as the Trainspotting generation will do for one of our most amazing fish before global warming gets a look in.

The Rod Box

I have always had a soft spot for The Rod Box. As a tender youth I dragged my father into the Winchester tackle store to buy my first ever fly fishing outfit. 

Of course I knew more than the assembled staff and owners, Ian and Scrappy Hay, despite the fact I had yet to cast a line or catch a fish. I had, of course, extensively researched through the pages of Trout & Salmon and various books the perfect rod for a chalkstream. I am happy to say Ian put me right and I still, to this day, have the outfit he sold me.

The label has long fallen off so I can't tell you with any certainty what weight or name it had. I do know for sure it was a Rod Box own brand, 8 foot 6 inches long and I'd guess a 5 weight. It is fibre glass which was the rod of most choice in those days - my father wasn't going to run to that latest innovation, carbon fibre.

The Rod Box was 'the' place to shop in those days; Dermot Wilson was just getting going. The Winchester store, right in the centre of town, was a modern glass box at street level but those in the know headed downstairs where such extraneous items as clothing never got a look in.

This was where you ogled at the rod display before waggling each rod in turn. That didn't tell you anything but it felt like the right thing to do. Even away at school in the 1970's The Rod Box impinged on my consciousness. Every Saturday they had a full page mail order advert in The Guardian. Being a bit of a left-wing thinker (aka stroppy youth) back then I read The Guardian which never struck me as the natural home for a fly fishing readership but at least it gave me a regular piscatorial fix.

Later The Rod Box moved from the city centre to Kings Worthy, a village on the outskirts of Winchester where it has been for 30 years or more until this week. Being a fishing tackle retailer is increasingly hard. If you read the trade publication Guns & Tackle they chart the precipitous decline in the number of stores to two things: the internet and brand management. On-line is pretty obvious: who of us haven't browsed in a shop to then find the same item cheaper on-line? Brand management is more complicated but in essence no longer do the brand names restrict supply to selected stores. They sell direct and sell at discounted rates into a 'grey' market. Stores find themselves marooned as the shop window for products that end up being bought elsewhere.

I tell you all this as earlier in the week I had a call to tell me The Rod Box had closed. I found it hard to believe so I went along to see for myself. Indeed it has shut up shop in Kings Worthy but it is not all bad news as The Rod Box has downsized to share space with the equestrian shop in none other than Sutton Scotney, which is a hop, skip and a jump from Bullington Manor, less than a mile from the Stockbridge exit of the A303.

So it is good to know it hasn't gone entirely; do check The Rod Box out next time you are passing.


More chances to prove, or improve, your intellect.  Answers, as ever, at the bottom of the page. 

About two years ago Paul Whitehouse called me up. 'Simon' he says, 'I have this idea for a TV show. Two sick old b******s going fishing. What do you think?' As he sketched the idea - fly, sea and coarse fishing - I said I know just the man. One call later and John Bailey was the Fishing Consultant on the new series Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. Nice work John, though I'm sorry after 25+ days on 'set' we never got to see you in front of the camera. The show airs on BBC Two on Thursday nights at 10pm.

1)   Which university did Paul Whitehouse attend?

2)   Who has been Bob Mortimer's long-time TV comedic partner?

3)   Who co-wrote and appeared in The Fast Show with Paul Whitehouse?

Enjoy the weekend.

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 
Founder & Managing Director

Quiz answers:

1)  University of East Anglia along with contemporaries Charlie Higson and me. Where did it all go wrong?

2)   Vic Reeves

3)   Charlie Higson

Friday, 15 June 2018

Life in a Village

If you have been driving around southern England over the past few weeks you will notice the verges adorned with all sorts of handmade signs. For June marks the start of the village fete season or as my Father used to mutter as he trundled off to man the whiskey tombola draw for the umpteenth year, 'fete worse than death'.

These outdoor events typically held on the village green did, as far as I know, originate in rural England. An afternoon when the villagers come together to raise funds for some worthy cause (usually the church that none of us attend) by way of Thwack the Rat, Apple Bobbing, Produce Stalls, Crazy Golf, Coconut Shy and any other activity you care to think of that could only ever take place at an annual fete.

Inevitably there is a committee that has to organise these things. Being on it is a rite of passage for newly arrived members of the village. For the rest of us it is a duty accepted with various degrees of willingness. Usually someone suggests that if each committee member chipped in fifty quid we could cancel the whole shebang and still raise more money. However tempting the idea some perverse moral obligation forces us to decline what is a truly excellent suggestion.

I tell you all this for two reasons. Firstly, in Nether Wallop we have a particularly busy month: the aforementioned fete, monthly film show in the village hall (which we raised £250,000 to build 3 years ago), mixed doubles tennis, open gardens and new for 2018, the Scarecrow Festival. And secondly to prove, contrary to the thesis of Stewart Dakers' article in The Spectator last week, small town and village life is not on the way to becoming moribund. He posits that that the influx of wealthy Chelsea tractor owning refugees from various metropolises is sinking his town 'under the dead weight of dormitory-dwellers who can neither invest in its community nor participate in its life."

I am not sure where he lives. He says he is 30 miles from London without naming the place, but everything I see and hear tells me Dakers is wrong, both in regard to my village and elsewhere. Nether Wallop has plenty of Chelsea tractors. We are a regular first port of call for families moving out of London. I would think no more than one out of five children were born in the village. There is a regular group of London commuters who have adapted their working lives to minimise the tyranny of the train. And plenty stay here long after the children leave and their commuting days are over.

In my experience these people, who in aggregate make up the majority of the Nether Wallop population, are some of the most willing and active participants in village life. After all, in most cases, they moved here in search of a community that they were happy to find.
Lost Words

Occasionally you see something that is riotously successful and think, "Damn! Why didn't I think of that"? Robert Macfarlane's latest book Lost Words is, for me at least, a case in point.

The concept is so simple: take beautiful country words, take each letter in the word to compose a poem to that word. Select words to straddle the alphabet and then lavishly illustrate. Stand back to admire the number one bestseller you have on your hands. Am I jealous? Of course! If I was a betting man (I am .....) I'd have big money on him to scoop the 2018 Wainwright Book Prize. Here is an example of the text and illustration; no prizes for guessing why I picked this one.

If you haven't seen the book in the flesh a shock awaits when the Amazon package drops through your letter box as it won't. This book is huge - almost A3 size. Goodness knows how much it cost to print. It is some tribute to Macfarlane's heft as a writer that his publishers acquiesced.

The book is notionally aimed at children but I think it works for all ages. Robert says in his introduction that these are words that have begun 'to vanish from the language of children' and that the purpose of the book is to 'summon lost words back into the mouth and the mind's eye."
I am not so sure the truth is as bleak as he paints it but if it is an excuse for creating a beautiful book, what the hell? So, if you have a child in your family you must buy this book but sneak a look before passing it on.

May feedback draw winner
Well done to David Eatwell who picks up the May snood after fishing at Barton Court on the River Kennet.

For those of you who know Barton Court from years past here are few photos to illustrate the work being done under the new ownership of Sir Terence Conran.

Photo of the Week
The Wallop Brook flows directly under the office so when the sun shines and the doors are open all manners of visitors drop by. Not sure if he (or she) felt inferior to the screen counterpart who actually has three tails ......


More chances to prove, or improve, your intellect.  Answers, as ever, at the bottom of the page. Apologies for my appalling World Cup mistake last time around ......

1)     What colour is the cattle breed Aberdeen Angus?
2)     If you were an agrostologist, what would you study?
3)     Who lives in a formicary?

Enjoy the weekend, fete or no fete ......

Best wishes,Simon Signature    
Founder & Managing Director

Quiz answers:

1)     Black
2)     Grasses
3)     A colony of ants

Fishing Breaks, The Mill, Heathman Street, Nether Wallop, STOCKBRIDGE, England SO20 8EW United Kingdom
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Demise of my bogey mayfly

It sometimes takes a lot to get me out on the river. I'm a bit like (without drawing too many comparisons ...) one of those ski bums you meet in a mountain bar who only ventures out for the freshest powder on the emptiest of slopes. But oftentimes I get my piscatorial kicks simply by being there. Seeing the hatch. Watching others make a perfectly executed cast. Share in the collective joy of the fish that rises to the dry fly.

Crippled Mayfly is in the middle compartment, bottom row
So, it has taken until this week for me to finally venture out with a rod with a Mayfly specifically on the end of it. As has been much mentioned the arrival of the 2018 Mayfly season has been a very slow burn. The Allen in Dorset, a river we usually expect to be in the vanguard of the Ephemeral hatch, is two weeks late. Likewise the River Test, though the tributaries have not been quite so far behind. The River Itchen was probably the closest to being 'normal' but even then it took a while to get going.

I must admit I was going to sneak out a bit sooner but I'm currently in the throes of writing a new book which is, as The Spectator columnist and general literary provocateur, Rod Liddle once described it, a bit like having perpetual homework. My routine is this: each week I set my target at 2,500 words. That is 500 words a day. My writing week starts on a Sunday. So potentially I have two spare days, but life/work often gets in the way of that plan. So, most days I am not released from the bonds of the word mill until the daily count is satisfied. And that doesn't always come easy. So, being the diligent type I type instead of cast. But this week I played hooky.

We didn't get to the river until five o'clock on Tuesday evening. The storms that had flooded Birmingham over the weekend were now in Hampshire. It had rained most of the day. I could see the river colouring and rising before us. But any thoughts that the evening might be a bust were dispelled as, even from the car park, we could see a fish leap to a fluttering Mayfly and hear that satisfying 'gloop' as another disappeared somewhere around the corner.

I am not one ever to complain that the fishing is too easy. Those days come around too infrequently in life to even hint at a complaint. When the fishing Gods smile on you, smile back as one day, very soon, they will take it all away. Deities are as fickle as fish. But on a scale of one to five, with five being most difficult, this was most definitely a one. That said, even in the two hours we were there, the scales tipped one way to the next. From a river that was alive with Mayfly and rising fish, to a quiet period when nothing much flew and nothing much rose. In the trees the Mayfly did their merry dance, the columns of males rising, then falling, displaying their wares until a female darted in from the side to grab her chosen partner.

On the river I did set myself a particular challenge: once a fish was caught I would cut off that fly and try another. I did cheat once, recasting my all-time favourite the Thomas Mayfly, only to feel guilty when I caught a second fish. Pretty soon I was five for six. In case you ask: Grey Drake, Thomas, Gray Wulff, Flyline and Parachute. As a final hurrah I dragged out of my box a Crippled Mayfly. Everyone has particular bogey flies and this, in the Mayfly, spectrum, is mine. Everything tells me it should be good - easy meat for a greedy fish.

Now for some reason I have always assumed this is a fly that should be fished au naturel - after all it does have a bit of foam it in. How could floating be a problem? So, as I have always done in the past I didn't bother with floatant and it didn't disappoint. Nothing. I decided it would join that special compartment in my fly box; the one I point to when people I don't like ask me for a fly. But I wasn't quite done. Every other fly had worked, so why not this one? Floatant. For once I tried some floatant. And from across the river (to a particularly poor cast) surged a fish to grab the Cripple first time.

At seven for six I decided to call it time on the evening and resolved to put the Crippled Mayfly in the fly box I share with friends.

River Itchen photo shoot

It was a great pleasure to finally meet Chris McNully whose articles I have read for many years in many publications.

Chris had arrived on the Kanara beat with photographer Richard Faulks for one of a pair of articles about wading the Hampshire chalkstreams. That day it was the River Itchen; the following was to be at Exton Manor Farm on the River Meon.

I turned up to just say hello. I did offer to buy lunch but my arrival coincided with a slow trickle of Mayflies and this rather fine fish (a 1.5lb wild brown), the first of the day, was rising to a Mayfly and obliged when offered a large Yellow Humpy.

At that point all thoughts of food where forgotten, so I left them in peace but I have subsequently heard both days came up trumps. I am afraid you will have to wait until next spring to read Chris' articles in Trout & Salmon.

Summer Camp

I know many of you will be reading this whilst away on Half Term. Who was that member of officialdom who organised the academic calendar to time this slap in the middle of Mayfly? Clearly they didn't have children or no interest in fly fishing.

So, if you have been unable to persuade your partner or children that the river should beckon more than the beach it is probably time for some indoctrination. Our summer Fishing Camp might just be the thing.
This will be the third year we have run it; four days based here at Nether Wallop Mill where we range out to cover all sorts and aspects of fly fishing on both lake and river: casting, knots, fly tying, entomology, gutting fish, nymph vs. dry and much, much more.

Date: July 16-19

Location: Nether Wallop Mill & River Test

Fish Camp: £195/child for 4 days or £75/day (min. 3 days including the first day). 10% discount for siblings. 

Ages: 12-15 years

Price per child £195. 

Monday-Thursday 10am-1pm (Wednesday 3pm). 

Includes all fishing charges, tuition, licences and tackle. 

To book or for more information call 01264 781988 or email 

Photo of the Week

I know it is all about Mayfly this week, but the Crane Flies on my kitchen window last week are a reminder that different hatches are ahead of us.

I hear there is a new colour variant of the Robjents Daddy in the store .....


More chances to prove, or improve, your intellect.  Answers, as ever, at the bottom of the page.

1)     What date is England's opening match in the World Cup and who do they play?

2)     After which Roman god is June named?

3)     Who wrote:" In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them."

Enjoy the weekend.

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 

Founder & Managing Director

Quiz answers:

1)     Tunisia on Monday June 18th
2)     Juno
3)     Aldo Leopold