Fly Fishing in the UK | Pt.1 of 3
In this video, part 1 of 3, Tim Gaunt-Baker (AAPGAI) from norfolkflyfishing.com gives a brief insight into the history of fly fishing in the UK and the joys of fly fishing on some of the many beautiful rivers here in England.
Interviewer: So, Tim, what's the fly fishing like in the UK?
Well, UK fly fishing has been established many years. It goes back to the early 1600s where Treatyse, which was a book in those days, by Dame Juliana Berners all about fishing with long poles and rods to catch trout. And (in fact) it goes back even further than that to the Macedonians catching fish with hooks and lines in the first century. So nothing's new about fishing and fly fishing in England particularly is seen by the rest of the world as probably one of the places where fly fishing actually was born; particularly dry fly fishing.
So we've got some very famous rivers: the River Test in the south of England, which runs out into the sea near Southampton; we've got Derbyshire Wye and the (River) Dove, all written about in history going back into the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s. There was a wonderful man called Harford, who wrote books on fly fishing in the 1800s when it got really popular during the industrial revolution from the people in London coming down to the (River) Test. They would come down from London on a train and disembark and they would get their bikes or the carriages out and trot down to the (River)Test an go fly fishing.
Interviewer: Where does the (River) Test run from?
Tim: Well the (River) Test runs from hills of Salisbury Plain right out into the sea; it's about 20 odd miles long or a bit more and it is true chalk stream. To be a true chalk stream it has to run over chalk all the time, it's based on chalk and the beauty about chalk is the clarity of water, which is so important.
Inteviewer: What does the chalk actually do for the clarity of the water?
Tim Gaunt-Baker: Well, it acts as a filter and keeps the clarity there and it gives a really good, vibrant fly life because the insects like the type of water that they are in and they lay their eggs and they hatch in there. Then we've got the freestone rivers which are the Derbyshire Wye and the .....well...not so much the Derbyshire Wye because that has a degree of chalk but some of the other rivers like th Wharfe.
Interviewer: And what do you actually mean by a 'freestone' river?
Tim Gaunt-Baker: Well a freestone river is a river where the river comes of the hills and roams over boulders and rocks and gravel and that is a different type of habitat but again a very exciting habitat for fly fishing.
Interviewer: And what is the comparison of clarity between chalk stream and frestone rivers?
Tim Gaunt-Baker: Well there's clarity in both beccause both in their own way: because it's (a freestone river) running over rock all the time it doesn't get silted up therefore it's clear. You'll find that when you get to the lower parts of these rivers, particularly on the freestone rivers, they'll get into a slow, muddy, rather grungy looking stuff, likenthe river just up here that we've been looking at, the River Ouse, the Great Ouse, which comes right the way from Bedfordshire, all the way through Cambridgeshire and out to sea near King's Lynn. (It's) one of the major rivers in East Anglia in fact.
Now there are no trout just around here, (but) having said that, sea trout run this river. They very often find them up at Denver Sluice which is, as you know, about 10 miles from here.
Interviewer: And we are in Norfolk (Downham Market).
Tim Gaunt-Baker: And that's in Norfolk, yes. So, there're a lot ot of different rivers; in England and the UK as a whole there are some tremendous fly fishing opportunities.
Interviewer: What about up in Scotland? What's the fly fishing like in Scotland?
Tim Gaunt-Baker: Well the fishing in Scotland, is traditionally .... probably everyone thinks of Salmon fishing and that's probably very true........
........continued in Fly Fishing UK Pt.2 and Pt3