was growing up a troll was a mythical, gnarled looking creature that hid in
a cave ready to leap out to scare unsuspecting passers-by. Parents deployed
the fear of the troll to discourage us children from certain places. Such
innocent times. Today trolls are a real thing. People who lurk in the
recesses of the internet ready to pounce on actions or words that
transgress or offend the moral code of the aforementioned troll.
the Breckeridge troll
Donald Trump. Climate change. 21st century trolls have never had
it so good so I guess it was inevitable that some would find their way into
the fly fishing community.
might suppose I am talking about those opposed to the whole concept of
fishing. But no. This is blue-on-blue. One fly fisher trolling another.
Lambasting, in strong and unpleasant language, an angler who committed the
most heinous and unpardonable act - he used a weighted nymph under a strike
assuming they are conducted in the spirit of friendship, I always enjoy
these debates about what methods are 'good' and which are 'bad', but it is
worth first setting out exactly what the base line is. The law if you like.
It is pretty sparse. On a national basis the only things that are
specifically prohibited in England & Wales (there are additional
regional by-laws) is using live crayfish as bait, anything other than an
artificial lure or fly for salmon before 16 June and gaffs or tailers. The
truth is if you own a river you can pretty well fish, and allow those who
use it, to do so in the way of your choosing. The regulations set out by
the Environment Agency largely revolve around close seasons and catch
sizes. Where they rule on what's on the end of your line it is by way of local
by-laws on bait, spinning and so on. The closest they veer into fly fishing
territory is that salmon rule. When it comes to dry vs. nymph or dropper
vs. not the law is clear: there is no law. It is, as the troll opined,
about ethics or in the case of a strike indicator, unethical. But I'm not
to be clear about fly fishing; it is an entirely contrived activity. If you
had to catch fish to survive using a fly rig (even with an indicator!)
would be way down the list of preferred methods to keep you alive. Like
most sports the rules such as they are, are part tradition, part practical
and part pragmatic. But often there is little logic; we do it that way
because we've always done it that way and we like it that way.
the absence of rules it is dangerous to be guided by, or judge on, the
basis ethics. Mine may be very different to yours. As Voltaire said,
"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless
they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
and fishing have been happy companions for a few years now. Saltwater
anglers use them to scope out expanses of sea. Adventurers spy up the river
for miles ahead. Coarse anglers use them to go one better than bait boats.
So, the next logical extension (!) is to suspend the angler beneath a
can't be done I hear you cry. But in Australia in can. And it has been done
though the authorities are investigating whether it is both legal, a
probably more importantly, safe.
you can't deny is that it was, despite all the odds successful.
know about you but for me where most how-to books fail is in the diagrams
or photographs that don't quite demonstrate every stage of the process; one
tiny missing fragment of knowledge defeating your attempts to learn a new
cast, tie a knot or create an esoteric fly pattern. However, Barry Ord
Clarke has come up with the answer in his just published The
Feather Bender's Flytying Techniques.
from Lancashire Barry is both a professional photographer and award-winning
fly tyer who's flies are on display in the Fly Fishers' Club and even
though I hazard you didn't even know it existed, the Catskill Fly Fishing
Museum in the United States.
mission to explain Barry's book doesn't focus on flies to tie for the sake
of tying but rather those we use day in, day out - the Klinkhamer, Pheasant
Tail Nymph and Midge to name but three of his twenty-eight.
he has his own take on each, but in addition to the beautiful photographs
Barry has enlisted modern technology. Use your mobile phone to scan the QR
code on the relevant page and up will pop a video showing Barry tying that
said you can go one better to see Barry live on Thursday 7 November when he
will be at the Orvis store in Stockbridge 3pm-7pm signing copies of his
book, tying flies and ready to answer any questions you might have. More details here Barry's book is
available on Amazon for £25.
might well be out of date by the time you read this ....... as ever the
quiz is just for fun, with answers at the bottom of the page.
1)What do the initials QR (as in QR code) stand for?
2)In which US state are the Catskill Mountains?
the longest and shortest* serving British Prime Ministers of all time?