Go Fishing Show – the good, the bad and the ugly

Just back from the Go Fishing Show at Birmingham’s NEC.

The good…

Whatever else might go on there, the fishing demonstrations were worth a large chunk of the admission alone, if you occupy the same lowly spot on the learning curve as me. Some of the pearls of wisdom that follow may be tantamount to teaching grandma to suck eggs to some of you but to me, they were manna from heaven:

  • “Trout can’t look down. If your fly is below them in the water, you’re not going to catch”
  • “Don’t overdo false casting. Not only might you be spooking fish but your casting hand will get higher and higher and before long, you’re trying to throw the fly, not cast it”
  • “If you’re putting too much muscle into your casting, remind yourself how effective the rod and timing alone can be by holding the rod in your fingertips as you cast”
  • “Never go nymphing without a Cruncher [a deadly nymphing pattern on still waters, deadly when used as a top dropper]”
  • Frog Hair is my favourite tippet/leader material. It has just enough ‘give’ in it so when a fish takes your fly as you’re retrieving, it’s not bounced out of its mouth straight away”
  • “When waiting for takes, don’t focus on what you can feel with your fingers. Focus on the end of your line if fishing dries or on the loop of line between rod tip and water, if you’re nymphing”
  • “Don’t cast too far if fishing dries because you won’t be able to spot movement in either the fly or the end of your line”
  • “Unlike a floating line, a sinking line lets you retrieve a wet fly at the same depth throughout. Retrieve with a floating line and the fly is inevitably pulled upwards”
  • “When retrieving lures [streamers] keep your rod tip relatively high. That way, it acts as a spring if you get a sudden hard take [the tip is pulled down to the water before bouncing up again] reducing the risk of a broken leader”
  • “Trout follow flies like a cat follows a mouse – tentatively; almost urging it to make a sudden movement to give the cat an excuse to pounce. Pausing your retrieve  then resuming with a sudden jerk will often draw a similar response from a trout”
  • “When fishing heavier gear and flies for pike, fish an hour at a time then rest, otherwise you run the risk of tendonitis”
  • “Don’t let your rod go through an arc when casting it – the ‘windscreen wiper’ action –  or your loop will be too open. Imagine you’re roller-painting the ceiling with it while trying to avoid getting paint on the ‘walls’…”

The bad

It’s not alone in this wickedness but that doesn’t mean the ‘National Extortion Centre’ should be excused. They have a captive audience and they milk it shamelessly: £1.50 for a cup of tea, £3.25 for bread, soup and croutons, nearly four quid for a basic fry-up.

As for the sandwiches, I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘ciabatta‘ is Italian for “50% mark-up”…

The ugly…

  • Life Lesson: never take the last helping of muesli from the vat in your hotel dining room. All the salt has leached downwards and you appear to be eating Blackpool beach
  • “I used to teach Girl Guides casting. That was interesting…”
  • For one horrible moment on Friday morning, alone beneath a banner extolling “the thrill of flyfishing” – three old men, an anglepoise lamp and a tying vice…
  • What to make of a man who has the word ‘DICK’ tattooed across his fingers?
  • Not sure how turned on I should be by the fact that so many women are enchanted by fly-tying
  • “He’s tried to teach me tying but it’s a husband-wife thing. We just end up shouting at each other”
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