Saturday, 1 December 2018

It's a fake!

It's a fake!

You buy a new line. The reviews in the angling press were outstanding. You think it is the answer to your casting woes. With great anticipation you re-spool your favourite reel. But, however hard you try, your casting goes backwards. After a couple of hopeless trips you consign said line to the bin, curse your choice (not to mention the reviewer) before reverting to the old faithful. Harmony restored.

Now it would have never occurred to me that my new line was a fake. We all know the counterfeiters have a field day with luxury goods. But fly lines? Who would bother?

Well, apparently Ian Bailey and Richard Tramer with the former now in prison for eight months and latter with the seven months suspended.

It seem that this pair, based in the West Midlands, were selling fake lines under the brand names we all know well: Rio, Snowbee, Greys, Hardy and Loop. And it was more than just a market stall operation. Through eBay accounts Telewatcher, The Line Man and Hardyclassics Bailey had turnover in excess of £150,000. When the police raided his home near Chester they confiscated more than 5,000 lines.

All credit has to go to Chris Hartley of Guide Flyfishing who first alerted North Yorkshire Trading Standards and Russell Weston of Snowbee who gave evidence at the Scarborough Magistrates'' Court hearing outlining the damage to the brand reputation when the fake line did not perform as it should.

Three books for Christmas

This has been a good year for books; you are spoilt for choice when it comes to buying this Christmas. I've picked out three to hopefully point you in the right direction.

The Lost Words

Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris have created more of a work of art than a book. Amazing writing. Beautiful drawings. Every page a visual delight that charts the words that are vanishing from the language of children. Hamish Hamilton £20.

The Fly Fisher

People often ask me what is the best reference book for fly fishing; until now I have always said (and will continue to say) Charles Jardine's Classic Guide to Fly-fishing for Trout. However, as it is long out of print having been published way back in 1991 virgin copies are often hard to find though I see a few on Amazon as of today. But The Fly Fisher: The Essence and Essentials of Fly Fishing comes very close if written with the US market and a broader readership in mind. Gestalten £40.

Silver Shoals

With the sub-title The five fish that made Britain, this is written by my friend Charles Rangeley-Wilson. I am too hopelessly biased to offer an objective review (I loved it) so here is Mark Cocker's choice from The Spectator Books of the Year.

"It has been a fishy year for me and Charles Rangeley-Wilson's terrific Silver Shoals: Five Fish That Made Britain is among its highlights. The author manages to lay bare this country's abuse of its astonishing former fish abundance, but without name-calling or losing his sense of simple wonder at fish as vital, vibrantly wild inhabitants of our encircling seas and waters."

Just so you know the fish are carp, cod, eels, salmon and herring. Chatto £18.99

Beavers cause a stir

I really didn't know that my piece on beavers in the last Newsletter would create quite such a stir - I have never had such a bulging postbag. It seems beavers excite passions both sides of the aisle, though I'd say the consensus was five to one against introduction.

Beaver dam on River Otter
I am not going to recite all the arguments again but I thought you might enjoy a taste of the comments that were made that very much illustrate the spectrum of opinion.

"As you say, the environment has gone from when these animals used to live. The people that want to release them, often do not and could not own the land that they want to release them in. Beavers, wolves, lynx and like have no place in this country any more. I have asked some of the rewilders how compensation would be paid to landowners for damage caused by the aforementioned animals. No answer." 

"Do not fuss about Essex! - they are here (Wiltshire), or at least throughout last year a pair have been resident on the lake at Orchardleigh, 3 miles from Frome and a very short distance from the headwaters of the Wylye. Nobody knows their origin but one can only assume that they have come from the established introductions in the West Country. The Wilts Fishery Association keepers went down last spring to hear about the implications of the West Country introductions on the Otter. No surprises, but we can be pretty confident that they will be with us on the chalk streams before very long. Bank damage is probably more worrying than tree damage - any Tay ghillie will confirm that."

"I am told by a reliable chum that there are two types of European beaver available on the "restocking" market - one is a placid number, the other a grumpy type. Apparently, cos no one else wants them, the latter are coming here. I also hear that the Tay population is now thought to exceed 600, despite hundreds per annum being killed by farmers etc. My man painted a very comical tale of ghillies furiously taking dams down, only to return the next day to find a bigger, stronger one in place, built by the grumpy ones."

"How do the people responsible for these regulations get things so wrong so often? The words silk purse and a*******e spring to mind. Earlier this year whilst strolling the banks of the river Otter I came across an old local walking his dog. He told me that since the introduction of beavers to this small watercourse (they've had Otters present for years) he has been berated on several occasions for having the audacity to walk his dog there because ' it disturbs the beavers '!"

"For the first time as a keen reader of your newsletters, I find myself in strong disagreement with your view - in this instance on beavers. The European beaver was once an indigenous member of Britain's fauna, as indeed were wolves, bears, lynx and wild boar. It would be difficult to find suitable space for all of these species to be reintroduced, but in the case of beavers there are profound potential benefits in terms of significantly increasing biodiversity and reducing the likelihood of rivers flooding. I understand that as a riparian owner and someone who makes a living from the desire that many of us have to enjoy fishing our lovely rivers, you will have reservations about the ecological changes that beavers will bring."

I always try to keep an open mind on these things so I will report further when I take up the kind invitation from the River Otter Fisheries Association to see what is happening first hand.

A correction

If you are reading this whilst serving time at Her Majesty's pleasure having been marched off a beach clutching an undersized sea bass I do apologise. I am entirely to blame.

In the last Newsletter I wrote: So now a catch limit of one fish (under 42cm) per angler per day is in force until the end of the year. That should of course read OVER 42cm. My sincere apologies for the error and thank you to all of you who took the time to write in.

The Quiz

Apologies for the lack of a quiz last time; too exhausted by chasing beavers! 

As ever three questions to test your brilliance, or lack of. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1)   Who invented the printing press?

2)   Helene Hanff's book featured what number on          Charing Cross Road?

3)   Where is the oldest bookstore in the world?

Enjoy the weekend.

Best wishes,
Simon Signature 

Founder & Managing Director

1)   Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century
2)   84
3)   The Bertrand Chiado bookshop in Portugal opened in 1732.

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