Chris Reeves: Rutland Youth Day and CLA Game Fair 2014

Partridge PRO-team in action!

On the 13th of July the FDG were at Rutland for the third consecutive Rutland FlyFishers Youth day.

With over 70 kids divided into 4 groups we had just 30 minutes to get each participant to tie a Cormorant. We chose that simple fly as it has only 3 easy steps and is easily achievable by even the most ham fisted. The seven tiers included Ben Beckwith and I and we raced through the sessions with barely a break and reached our goal with only one little guy needing an extra 2 minutes to complete his fly. When later offered the chance to use the fly he refused point blank and popped it into his fly box which then went into his pocket.

Then this past weekend, What a weekend! Extreme weather, heat, thunder and lightening and torrential rain interspersed with hot sunny spells. Most of the weekend was spent in a tent with over 130 kids - admittedly spread over three days. With the help of other members of the Fly Dressers’ Guild, fellow Pro team member Ben Beckwith and I took part in an attempt to involve young people under 16 in the noble art of fly tying.

Our previous show best was to introducing 90 people to fly tying over 3 days at Chatsworth Country show in 2013. It soon became clear that we would beat that total easily. Working in shifts of 2 hours on and 2 hours off, we managed to teach 36 kids on the Friday, which given that local schools were still in term time was encouraging.

On the second day we increased our total to 46 and finished with 50 on day 3. In addition to all these children were a scattering of adults on each day who also tied their first flies.

I can’t offer you wonderful photographs of flies tied by the kids as most of them took them home and frankly they were as ragged as you would expect first attempts to be. However the smiles on the faces of the children said it all and given that the instructors had tried as far as possible to allow the kids a free choice of materials their efforts were pretty good.

Both Ben and I enjoyed every minute of the show, Ben was especially pleased when his little brother (watch this space, another rising star!) aged 4 tied a fly for the first time. Not good enough to win a prize but Ben presented him with a small prize after the official ceremony.

If only 1 of these kids takes up fly tying now we will have achieved our goal however given the number of tying kits that were sold I’m guessing there will be several who at least give it a go.

My samples of the new hooks dropped through my door this week at an apposite time as I was about to start an order for Damsels on a long shank hook. The Sproat bend in black nickel finish is ideal for this pattern and I included a sample tied on it with the order and am guessing he will re order on this hook next time. 

- Chris

Hook: G3AY Partridge Sproat Bend #10

Thread: Black 8/0

Tail: Olive Marabou

Rib: Fine copper wire

Body: Olive rabbit fur

Hackle: Well marked silver badger

Shoulder hackle: Grey Partridge neck feather