Clay Lane Farm Fishery – Sunday 2nd July 2017

Well, I never expected to be writing again this soon.  Shortly after my last entry, friend Bernie rang to ask if I would accompany him on an open day to the fishery which he uses for some of his tuition classes in the gentle art of fly casting.  The answer was obvious, YES.  I put together some materials, hooks and so on and my recently modified “travel vise” which consists of a Norvise and Post, attached to a suitable piece of ‘timber’.  I am now well and truly “hooked” on this vise and its’ accompanying tools.  On this occasion my intention was to concentrate on the easier patterns such as the North Country Spider range (if it aint broke don’t fix it) which has been around in one shape or form since the days of the Roman empire and probably earlier, and tying a couple of the Rev. Powel’s favourites, such as the Orange Otter, Ermine Moth and so on.  In my opinion there is a need to keep the older patterns alive, many of them still work well despite some of the modern designs on the market.  Mind you I and one two others of a like mind have had to ‘resort’ to using more modern materials, the body of the Orange Otter for instance was originally formed from the white fur of the under chin and chest of the Otter which was then dyed by using, amongst other things, picric acid – a rather “touchy” substance which can under certain circumstances make rather a loud bang, obviously not sold over the counter these days.  What I and Louis Noble use is a mix of one third red to two thirds orange seal fur, not the easiest of things to dub but with a little practice does the job.

We got to the Fishery at about 0900 hrs, with the intention of a 1000 hrs start, running through until 1400 hrs giving us a four hour (state the obvious) window, enough in our opinion to keep people interested and not bored out their boots.  The day was reasonably well attended and all went well, Bernie had at least one with “Blacksmith Syndrome”, an arm so strong it could flex a broom handle, which of course does not go down well with a fly rod, but you try telling a life long carp fisher that all he has to do is ‘let the rod do the work’  – it ain’t easy.  I on the other hand had no difficulty whatsoever, Bernie and the other GAIA Instructors who came along, occasionally, gave their students a rest break, at which time they came to the hut where I had set up, and brewed up, (for me as well as themselves).  There were one or two queries as to why I used a thin, almost watery head cement, my reply was that it was because it soaked in, obviously this required more than one coat and was time consuming but in the long run made for a more resilient head.  There was also a surprising number who were unaware that a half hitch tool could be used to tie off with, or who were unable to use a whip finish tool.  One was also insistent that I show him the whip finish by hand, this apparently was a success since I received a text message later that day saying that after some practice he had mastered the ‘art’.  This, of course, is the basis of fly tying – PRACTICE – and keep on practising.

The other thing that we both put across was the Fly Dressers Guild, of which we are both members.  The North West branch of the Fly Dressers Guild meets on the third Tuesday of the month at the Timperly Sports Club starting at 2000 hrs and normally we wind up the meet at about 2200 hrs.  The next meet will be on the 18th of this month when Bernie will be showing off his skills, casting on the grass, and since the Club does not have a “River Running Through It” (my apologise to the author and excuse the misquote), consequently the only thing likely to be caught are “grass carp” on this occasion more commonly called “weeds”.


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