I don’t know about any L, V or W shaped recovery curve but my personal ‘will we/won’t we start fishing’ curve is a jagged tooth saw that ranges from hope to despair with everything in between.
Like most people in my profession we daily try to read in the runes on any likely easing of the lockdown regulations. The Angling Trust have effectively corralled the arguments in favour of an early resumption in a submission to government this week. Jamie Cook and his team deserve much congratulation for pulling this all together, though it is fair to ask where have the Environment Agency, custodians of our tens of millions of licence pounds, been in all this? AWOL is the kindest thing I can think to say right now.
When will we start? Much though I hope that angling might get the ear of a sympathetic Minister of State I’ve always assumed we’ll get lumped in with a bunch of other outdoor activities who are, like us, largely self-isolating in our pursuits, with plenty of wellbeing benefits but without the risk of spreading the virus. Kayaking, hiking, golf, park runs, national parks and bird watching come to mind.
So, in the absence of a specific start date don’t give up on your treasured Mayfly trip just yet. Diane is working her magic on the diaries, so we are happy to keep your booking ‘live’ right up to the last minute. At the very worse we’ll postpone to later in the year or roll you over to 2021. If you wish to make a new booking our Covid-19 pledge gives you the comfort of a 100% money back guarantee if you (or us) have to subsequently cancel due to a Covid-19 related reason. You may check dates here.
As to that start date, though my heart craves for fly fishing being first out the traps as the lockdown eases, I’m betting on mid-to-late May.
A look back in time
Here is a fascinating 25-minute documentary A River in all Seasons that charts the year in the life of the River Test c. 1965. It is, very much, a product of its time. The clipped voice of the narrator. The pared down detail. The lack of trivia. All filmed from the source of the Test at Ashe down through Freefolk, Longparish and Newton Stacey to finish at Wherwell.
These were the days when each river owner largely bred and raised his or her own fish. Were keen on removing grayling and pike. But otherwise I was struck by how very little the routine has changed over the past fifty years. Aside from the clothing that is. I am not sure I know of a single keeper today who works in a tweed jacket with shirt and tie. And the bank vegetation – it was left to grow awesomely high before the advent of the strimmer.
I don’t have any information as to exactly when, or on what channel, the original programme was broadcast. The only titles credit the producer G W Dunford who we think may have been from a local farming family. We do know one of the keepers was Dave Woolford; his son Phil is currently the keeper at Compton Manor, and we think there are a few passing shots of a young Jeff Smith who later became the keeper on the Middleton Estate.
It seems like I am abrogating entertainment to video this week, but in a complete change of pace I think you’ll enjoy (music alert: contains heavy rap music) the trailer for the 2019 Fly Fishing Film Tour.
As you might imagine the 2020 version, that usually hits the road in the spring, which we have often used as a curtain raiser for the One Fly Festival, has been severely curtailed by the Covid lockdown. So, the 2019 show has been repackaged into rental format for one week only, with the last day today if you are quick.
It's a whirlwind of fishing destinations, spanning the globe from US locations like Yellowstone, the Henry’s Fork, the South Fork of the Snake, Wisconsin musky territory, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Oregon and BC's steelhead rivers and even New York City; to faraway locales like Australia and French Polynesia.
The cost of the rental is £4.06 with all renters going into the raffle to win a huge selection of gear, a trip to the Seychelles and proceeds to Trout Unlimited.
PS There is a pause frame at the 30 second mark. Keep going past the skiiing. Yes, skiing.
A new look newsletter
I hope you enjoy the new look newsletter format that comes courtesy of Microsoft Constant Contact who provide the technology for this somewhere up there in the cloud. In an unexpected display of Bill Gates munificence, the $600 upgrade fee was waived.
The purpose of the upgrade is to improve the reading experience over a wider variety of mobile devices. I do know that often the photos move about of their own volition and the text is prone to weird alignments. Hopefully these glitches are now things of the past.
Do let me know if your reading experience is improved for good or bad.
No particular theme this week but as ever, it is all just for fun with the answers at the bottom of the page.
1)What does the Laffer curve examine?
2)The play A Man for All Seasons is based on which historical figure and his relationship with the king of the time?