Will I fall in?

Will I fall in?

Tracy&James | Thursday, 8 August 2019

The casting competitions at this year’s Game Fair in Hatfield House, Hertfordshire were once again interrupted by the weather; a couple of the mornings were written off due to passing storms with the group decision made that waving conducting sticks about whilst we could see lightning flashes was perhaps not a great idea. This also allowed quite a few of us to shake off the morning grogginess caused by the previous night’s drinking.

What’s undeniable is that fishing is having a tough time of competing with shooting and other country activities at the Game Fair. I think the attendance of those purely interested in fishing is still waning, and being as the number of people interested in the casting competitions is only a small fraction of this decreasing group, then it’s no wonder that we’re not seeing crowds of people watching anymore.

What we, as a group of distance fly casting enthusiasts, can do about this was discussed at length during the evenings, aided by beer, wine, whiskey, toffee vodka etc.  Collectively we think we’ve come up with some good ideas on how to change things for next year.  Obviously we can’t affect the attendance, that is what it is, but we hope to make the distance casting more of a spectacle and something that, perhaps, will pique the interest of those passing to stay and watch or to give it a go.

I should at this point thank all those who gave up their weekend to help out with the competitions.  The social side of the Game Fair is what, for me, makes it a great weekend.  The flood-lit casting on to the mirror-calm river at 1am was pretty cool also.

Unfortunately the carp fishing turned out to be an exercise in carp-feeding.  I took along a bag of dog biscuits knowing that there would be fish present, however they were unusually reluctant to feed avidly on the free offerings.  We could see fish and they would sup down the occasional biscuit, but not in a way that would send me scrambling to get me HT#5 rigged up.  After the first evening I thought that I’d leave them until the next night in order to get their confidence up, the next day it was the same story and so on.  As such, I never actually made a cast at the fish – so I don’t know whether you can class that as fishing or just throwing.

This weekend Tracy and I are off to the beautiful Island of Jersey with the BFCC.  The current weather forecast is promising some wind for the casting competitions so hopefully we can send out some long lines along with the members of the Jersey world championship team.  We also plan to fit in some saltwater fishing on the days around the competition for bass, wrasse and anything else (I need to ask whether I’m still the Goby champion?).  I must also remember to take spare clothing and a towel with me every time I venture out – I think I’m currently averaging two dunkings per visit whilst fishing the treacherous shorelines.

All the best, James.