If it wasn’t for the efforts of my local fishing club – Llandysul Angling Association on the River Teifi – and its members then I very much doubt that I would be writing this piece in the first place as my life could possibly have taken a very different route without their introduction to fly fishing and fly tying. Not only has what they taught me at an early age given me years of enjoyment and allowed me to see the world it has also helped me forge a career doing something that I truly love. Each and every year the club would selflessly provide fly casting lessons throughout the summer holidays and then fly tying lessons throughout the winter months. No charge was raised for this and it was purely intended to nurture the future generation.
Fishing is only a dying sport if you allow it to be. It’s easy enough to moan about kids playing on computer games but often there are very few avenues open to them to get an introduction to fishing, especially so if no family member already fishes. We must make an effort and use some initiative as there really is nothing better than seeing the very same enjoyment in someone’s eyes that once sparked our interest many moons ago. Thankfully my local club has kept up these classes and I have been fortunate enough to start teaching where I was once taught. Indeed, many of these young anglers have since gone on to represent their country, which is no great surprise given their casting ability and enthusiasm for the sport.
A couple of weeks back the young members of the club along with those in the area that had showed an interest got invited to a local fishery to try their hand at some small Stillwater trout fishing. A bus full of eager candidates were swiftly assembled along with as many controllers/helpers for the day. The fishery is a well matured and naturalised Stillwater, where the go-to methods are certainly long, fine leaders and imitative patterns – no blobs or boobies in sight! A great introduction to such fishing, where sport was there to be had but was not made to easy.
The day was fantastic with glorious sunshine and light winds – a rare treat for West Wales. The olives hatched in their droves along with some damsel, midges and sedges. The children got to keep their first fish with catch and release from that point onwards, which taught them a very sensible, sustainable approach and also how to release and care for a battle-weary fish.
Everyone had sport and it was extremely heart-warming to see how some of the children progressed throughout the day, gaining confidence with each false cast. Indeed, many put adults to shame and certainly could have taught us a trick or two – me included!
It was nice to reflect on the day and see how things had gone full circle. Where I once had gone through the same process I was now giving something back to the sport, which I hope future generations will keep doing too to keep our wonderful sport alive.
Here are a few images from the day, which I’m sure you will enjoy: