Friday, 1 December 2017

CHALK is out!

CHALK is out!

The premiere of CHALK in Leicester Square was something to behold. Fishing guides in black tie? Pints of Dorset's finest beer swapped for sloe gin champagne cocktails? Action thrillers of the big screen replaced by a journey through the gentle world of the chalkstreams? Was this really happening?

Well, after years of dreaming it had all come to fruition. A feature film that traces the evolution of fly fishing through the prism of the beautiful English chalkstreams, plus some, it must be said less so. For we didn't just follow the stereotypes. 

Yes, of course there are the thatched cottages of sleepy villages but we took our rods into urban London. Amidst burnt out cars, the smoke still curling to the sky, the resilient brown trout, Britain's most widely dispersed freshwater fish, proves it truly can be caught anywhere. 

This sequence remains my standout part of the film though you'll gasp at the drone shot over the Driffield Beck at Marina Gibson spots, casts and hooks a fish. 

If you would like to watch CHALK it is available anywhere in the world with just a few clicks of a mouse. Here is how you may watch it:

Watch the trailer
CHALK is exclusively available on the FishingTV platform. FishingTV is a streaming/OnDemand service, like Netflix for fishing. It is free to join and there is no monthly fee, rather a pay-per-view system operates. You can join FishingTV here:

You can access FishingTV in one of the following ways:
- Use the website:
- Download the app for smartphone and tablet - Android and iOS versions are available
- Install the FishingTV app on your smartTV - supported on most makes and models including Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and many more.
- Find us on Amazon Fire TV Stick and a range of other Set-Top devices including EE

If you'd like to see CHALK 'live' as it were, I am hosting a special screening as part of the One Fly Festival on April 26th & 27th. The Thursday showing is now sold out but tickets are available for the Friday. Book here ......


I was asked this question last month by someone who has untold wealth. He told me that he was asked this same question as a child, the questioner assuring him that once he knew the correct answer he'd be able to go through life winning bets at will. 
Here is the question:

What are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?

I know my friend made his fortune in more traditional ways, but regardless the answer is a pretty good party trick. Before you go directly to the answer I will put a clue further down the page which might cause you to re-evaluate your answer.


In a way it was rather sad as we removed a last of a bit of rural industrial history from The Parsonage last month.

The concrete structure was part of the massive hatch system that controlled the water meadows in that area we call middle Test, namely the river you see on your right as you drive south from Stockbridge to Romsey. 

If you had been on that road exactly a hundred years ago today you would not have seen the river, or the meadows, but tens of thousands of acres of what would have looked like continuous lake, the fields covered with water as the hatches impounded the river, forcing the flow to spill out over the land.

Drowning, to give the process its proper term, was actually a very skilled art. The water had to flow continuously or it would stagnate, rotting the grassland it was meant to fertilise and protect from frost. So, from December to May the drowners lived out by the river in specially built huts moderating the flows night and day by adjusting the hatches.

The water meadows were first introduced to England by the Earl of Pembroke in the 16th century when he bought over Dutch engineers to his Wiltshire estate, through which flows the Avon, Ebble, Nadder and Wylye. The water meadows soon became a money machine, the early season grazing ideal for sheep which commanded a premium price reaching market earlier and fatter than sheep from other regions.

You can still see the remnants of the Wiltshire system today, the hatches things of great beauty, chiselled as they are from Portland stone. Ours at The Parsonage, ugly reinforced concrete, were of a much later vintage. In fact we think they might have been almost the last water meadow hatches ever built, the folklore being that they were constructed by WW1 prisoners of war.

But their time was past; their purpose redundant, the remains preventing water flowing easily into the carrier. What man gives, man can take away and I think you'll agree that the result is something far more natural looking.


The answer contains the names of just two States.


Colin Burton brings the feedback draw season to a close collecting the Abel TR reel as the first out the hat of all the 2017 replies. Well done to Colin and thank you to everyone who contributed this year. Your feedback, comments and suggestions are truly appreciated offering us invaluable insights that we may otherwise miss.

Next year I am hoping to expand the feedback by (technology permitting) putting the reports on-line, translating them into a star rating system. The tentative plan is that you will rate your experience from 1-5 with comments. You will be able to put your name to the report or remain anonymous. If anyone has advice or past experience of using systems like this, do let me know

If you are grayling fishing please keep the reports coming in; there will be a special draw for you at the end of the season (March 14).

Happy viewing!

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 
Founder & Managing Director

Quiz answer:
The answer is Alaska and Hawaii.

Northern is Alaska, southern is Hawaii, eastern is Alaska and western is Alaska. If you note the map, Alaska is clearly the most northern state, and Hawaii, at 20º North, is without doubt the most southern state. Note how much further south it is than Florida. As far as the most western state, note how Alaska's Aleutian Islands stretch right up to the edge of the Western Hemisphere at the 180º line of Longitude, thus the most western state in the country. Alaska is also the answer for eastern, as the Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180º line of Longitude, into the Eastern Hemisphere, and up the edge of the Russian Federation.

If you exclude Alaska and Hawaii, the answers are northern Minnesota, southern Florida, eastern Maine, and western Washington.

1 comment:

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