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The weather forecasts leading up to today suggested bitterly cold Northerly winds. The very strong winds which swept through the South East last night made me think that many participants would drop out from today Beginners Day at Brick farm lakes. However I needn’t have been as pessimistic as the man upstairs come through yet again. The drive to Herstmonceux was undertaken in sub zero temperature which made the journey on the wet road through Ashdown Forrest interesting, however on reaching Brick farm lakes the temperature had risen to zero degrees, the wind had died right back and the sun shone. The water looked inviting and it was great to see rods a bending as the early birds located the trout. A warm welcome from Keith and Sophie plus a hot beverage in front of the blazing wood burner preceded the 09:00 hrs meet and greet for the ten participants. The H&S brief and the introduction for today’s session fell to Brian Smart. Following the introduction the participants paired up with the five Instructors / Coaches on hand – an ideal ratio – and commenced practice casting with yarn tag. Matt and Baz, my novices soon picked up the basics and progressed to fishing the fly and it was not long before both had healthy bends in their rods and fish in the net. By 13:00 hrs both had released several other fish and expressed a wish to return to Brick Farm Lakes. The sum shone all morning, the breeze was slight and the temperature rose to a balmy 6 degrees. This, the first of the Beginners Days in 2013 proved to be another perfect day at this superb fishery. I thoroughly recommend the fishery to anyone seeking tuition or a venue for a corporate event.



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2013 Season

Well, 2012 was certainly a better year for me than 2011 with many customers booking follow up lessons and many new clients booking up for lessons. It was great to resume the corporate work, run the Casting Arena’s at Highclere Castle Country Fair, South of England Summer Show, the Sussex Game and Country Fair, the Wilderness Festival and to maintain and enhance my skills and technical ability by attending CPPD events organised by my Professional Bodies, the Game Angling Instructors’ Association over the weekends of 9 – 11th February & 25 – 27th October 2012 and the Angling Trust on the 25th October 2012, albeit at the expense of maintaining the FF4Y Blog!

Clive and I attended a First Aid Course on the 18th November and an Equity in Coaching Workshop on the 27th November. The First Aid course was run by Jackie Hoyle. Probably the 16th or 17th first aid course since I attended my first First Aid course at the age of 18. Jackie’s course was one of the most informative and enjoyable that I have attended. Jackie has a thorough knowledge of the subject matter, an easy engaging style of getting the message across coupled with the ability to encouraging each participant to engage in activities. A rare skill indeed. If you are in need of a First Aid course I can thoroughly recommend Jackie and will be pleased to pass on her details should you contact me. The Equity in Coaching workshop was thought provoking and professionally delivered.
The 2013 Season promises to be challenging with the Diary filling fast with one to one lessons, beginners courses and corporate events.
The first of the Beginners Courses is to be held on Thursday 7th February at Brick Farm Lakes, Herstmonceux.

Diary to end March 2013
07/02 Beginners day – Brick Farm Lakes
10/02 GAIA Mentoring – Holbury Lakes
24/02 GAIA Mentoring – Holbury Lakes
10/03 GAIA Mentoring – Holbury Lakes
17/03 Casting Clinic – Crawley Fly Fishers
24/03 GAIA Mentoring – Holbury Lakes

Tight Lines

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2011 Season

Unfortunately the ambitious plans we had for the season were scuppered by my little cardiac adventure late April which meant that I was not able to actively take part in the fishing activities we had planned.

During my period of convalescence my first outdoor activity was being allowed to attend the CLA and support my GAIA colleagues running the “Have a Go” fly casting arena.  The weather was fantastic, my colleagues were very supportive and I had a great, though tiring three days – Alan.

Photo Courtesy of John Symonds

Although my cardiac adventure prevented me from actively participating in fishing events for most of the season it did not prevent me from devoting my time to Crawley Fly Fishers Club (I have been a member for 25+ years) and in particular their efforts in working towards gaining Clubmark status.  The teams efforts and persistence was rewarded when they were presented with their Clubmark Certificate at the prestigious Sussex Sports Awards in Brighton on Friday night, 26th November 2011.

 Crawley Fly Fishers are one of only two fishing clubs in Sussex to have achieved Clubmark status.

l to R:  Clive Sparke, Alan Purnell , Tony Kaatze

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We are very fortunate to have been invited to participate in a research venture with the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust early next year. The trip will take us to the South Anna Maria area of Jardines de la Reina in Cuba. This is an unexplored area of Cuban flats with only one commercial enterprise, (Avalon), currently licensed to fish there.
The area is renowned for the superb game fishing experiences it offers.

Living on board Avalon’s ‘La Tortuga’ houseboat for the duration of the trip it will be a wonderful opportunity to fish what will eventually become the eighth Cuban destination of Avalon.
Watch this space for updates. During the trip we will be frequently blogging from Cuba via a promised satellite link. Watch out for comments & pix here on our blog pages – Clive

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Alan & I, with the help of Brian Raw,  Rod Yuill, Robert Nathan and Paul & Maria Cumbers, ran a junior beginners course for eleven youngsters at Piplye Ponds yesterday.

We had a great time with six boys and five girls all learning the art of fly fishing. Sadly the day finished with only six fish and persistant showers for the later part of the afternoon.

The biggest single issue of the afternoon was caused by someone leaving the lid off my tin of biscuits!! 

Thanks to all those who helped out and all those who took part. We are looking forward to the next series of courses that should commence next April/May – Clive

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Chatsworth Country Fair

The Fair is always held on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday following the August Bank Holiday i.e. the 3rd, 4th and 5th of September 2010.  The 29th Country Fair to be held at Chatsworth.

Billed as one of the largest events of its type in England, it is an essential part of the Derbyshire and Midlands calendar. The forecast was for good weather and the organisers’ were predicting crowds of the order of 90,000 to 120,000 people over the three days. The focus of the Show is the Grand Ring on the “big flat”, with over 300 trade stands and crafts. Around the park are over 40 showground attractions, many with a country theme.

The Country Fair hosts one of the largest Horse Driving meets of the year, one of the biggest hot air balloon lifts in the country after Bristol, a major sporting clay pigeon shoot, a much-loved pipe band contest, a top-class sheep dog trial, a top-class gundog team test, and a fishing area comprising of the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA); three retailers of tackle, two retailers of flies and the Game Anglers Instructors’ Association.

Clive and I were part of a small team of GAIA Coaches on hand to give 20 minute ‘have a go’ sessions to adults and juniors who had reached the height of 4ft 6in.  The GAIA casting area was adjacent to the main walking thoroughfare and immediately in front of the Salmon and Trout Association’s Marquee. Although we would have preferred the location to be on the banks of the River Derwent the location was ideal to demonstrate our casting skills and attract members of the public to have a go.

Though the autumnal weather attracted many to the Country Fair we were not as busy as we would have wished and were able to enjoy the Balloons taking to the air and landing early morning and evening; the fantastic display by the Red Arrows on Friday afternoon, the heart stopping displays by the parachutist and the constant sound of the bagpipes as the Pipers either practiced or took part in competitions.

We thoroughly enjoyed the “banter” and the review of our casting from our colleagues at the Country Fair which proved to be a great family day out, with good fun for all ages combined with a strong country theme. There is much to explore, discover, watch, try and enjoy – as well as some great shopping – which for once Clive and I managed to resist! Note from Clive – not quite true – I did buy this silly (sorry Tilley) hat!!!!


Bernie providing tuition

Red Arrows

Close Encounter

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Fly poll

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