Willesborough 2016

Posted by mikeh On May 30th, 2016


For those of you that wonder what a day at a BFCC event can do for you then I suggest you pop here  and have a read . Many Thanks Ed, we really appreciate your comments.

Horrible day for competing but a great day for instructing. You can’t have everything, can you. After the rain on the previous day the air was heavy and nothing flew, even with the help of breeze that came and went and changed direction now and then.

We were pleased to have a visit from Mike Marshall, who immediately stepped into instructor mode and also went on to cast a new V70 record in the T38 of 151′ 8”, which just goes to show that it’s technique that counts, not brute force.

On the competition front there really isn’t  anything outstanding to comment on, James and Steve outshone on the day but were hotly pursued buy Mick Copeman in the #5 and Craig Brown in other events. Where are you serious distance guys? we need to add some spice to the comps.

Mike, Mark Surtees and I, with some help from Bob Goble, gave those that came for instruction some pretty intensive instruction on the day. As you read in Ed Turneys comments we do our best to help improve the casting of those that ask for help.

You may have read that The BFCC had several rods stolen a while ago and we are in the process of replacing them so we are very grateful for some outfits that have been donated. Charles Jardine has donated a #5 Sonic. Dan Shillabeer for 8′ 6′ #4 with reel and line, perfect for some of our younger members and students and, Steve Parkes for a 9′ 6” #7 Atom Six, for the big boys to play with. Many thanks guys, we really do appreciate it.

Willesborough Cricket Club once again proved superb hosts and a big thank you to Bobby Ades and others who provided the refreshment.

I am sure I speak for everyone when I send our best wishes to Wendy Bath who is fighting a serious illness. Go Girl.

Mike H

Cullumpton 2016

Posted by mikeh On May 23rd, 2016

It was great to get the BFCC roadshow up and running with the first event of the year at the Cullompton cricket club ground in Devon.  There was a good turn-out of fly-fishers from the local area and from much further afield, thankfully the motorways were clear!

On arrival everybody was refreshed with tea and coffee and the introductory briefing was provided by Mark Surtees and myself.  We then commenced the fly-casting with a demo from Trevor Hayman AAPGAI on single handed Spey casting.  Several people commented that Trevor made these casts look so effortless.

Casters were then split into groups for tuition, led by Mark Surtees MCI, Sekhar Bahadur MCI, Mike Heritage MCI and Trevor AAPGAI.  These instructors ensured that everyone attending the event got the best instruction possible, and they are all very much thanked for their efforts.  Those participating included four young lads, who are very keen anglers, taking advantage of the BFCCs new policy of free membership and tuition for juniors.  Andy Parker, Rob Doyle and John Clark are also thanked for providing extra tuition when needed.

As far as the competition went, Steve Parkes’ practice has paid off with him taking top spot in the #5 event with a stunning cast of over 126ft (the first time he’s gone over 40 yards in a 5 weight comp) as well as winning the ST27 event.   John Clark won the B100 in his first ever BFCC competition, closely followed by John Dawson.  The #7, T38 and T120 events were mopped up by James Evans.   I managed to extend my women’s records with the #5 and T120 outfits, which I was particularly pleased about – hopefully there’s more distance to come as I work on some specific details.  At this point I should also mention young James Mockridge, he did a fantastic job of judging one of the casting lanes and then went on to cast 65ft himself once the competition was completed.  Many thanks James, next time I think you’ll give your dad a run for his money!

Finally a big ‘Thank You’ to John Dawson for his sterling effort to promote the event which resulted in such a good turn-out and to Richard and his wife from the Cricket Club who hosted the event and provided a constant supply of drinks. Thank you also to Rob and Tony for the lunch-time sandwich run, and to everyone else who helped out during the day, we couldn’t have done it without you.

The next BFCC event is the Sportfish show in Theale on the 7/8th of May.  We will be providing instruction and advice, so please pop over and say hello if you’re attending.  The next competition day is on the 22nd of May in Ashford, Kent.


Shenfield Report 2015

Posted by mikeh On October 17th, 2015

The Shenfield event marked the last BFCC casting competition of the year and was the venue for the AGM.  At the meeting there were a number of changes to the club agreed, one of which was that the authorship of these reports would be rotated – so here goes for my first one!

 The day started with a masterclass on T38 casting given by John Reynolds, supplemented by advice from Mike Heritage.  John went on to win the T38 event in tough conditions to underline his ‘master’ status.

The attendees requiring tuition then split into groups led by Mark Surtees, Sekhar Bahadur, Mike Marshall and Trevor Hayman ably assisted by Keith Jones.  Many thanks to all for your efforts on the day and for supporting the BFCC throughout the year (along with our other instructors) – there’s a lot of people who are casting better, and hopefully enjoying their fly-fishing more, as a result of your instruction.

The competition events were hard fought and of a high standard, demonstrated by no fewer than seven casters in the #7 exceeding 40 yards!  One of those going over the 40 yard mark was Meinrad Rohrs, a visiting CI from Germany – great to meet you.  Competition highlights included Kei Okamoto taking his first ever event win with the T120 outfit (the first time he had cast it!).  Kei also went on to win the #5 event, really well done.  John added wins in the #7 and accuracy events to his T38 first, and would have won the overall event if it wasn’t for his #5 result.  As it was James Evans won the overall title through consistency, with John second and Steve Parkes in third.

Mick Copeman took his last B110 win with some great casting in the full line events, including extending his V70 record in the #5 (he also extended his record in the ST27).  Mick has now become the first member to start in the B100 class and be promoted through to the open category, showing what can be achieved with regular instruction and practice.  Well done Mick – I’m sure you’ll be slaying the bonefish in a few weeks time.  Dan Shillabeer also deserves a mention for his continued progress, the 40 yard mark is getting ever closer.

It was also great to see some juniors entering the competition, with Nicholas Surtees and Hannah Okamoto taking part.  Hannah was awarded the B100 medal to go along with her gymnastics trophies, hopefully it will be the first of many.  This is probably a good place to note that the committee agreed to make junior membership of the BFCC absolutely free, so hopefully we’ll see more juniors in the future.

 Many thanks to Steve Roach and his team at Shenfield Cricket Club for supplying a continuous supply of drinks and sandwiches during the day and for hosting the meeting.

 A number of changes to the club were agreed which will be communicated in due course, so please keep an eye on our Facebook page and here for details.

 So that’s it for the 2015 competitions.  The BFCC will, however, have a presence at the iFish show on the 22nd November in Ardingly so if you’re planning on attending please pop by and say hello.  Here’s to 2016…


Oswestry June 2015

Posted by mikeh On June 21st, 2015

The weather Gods smiled on us, I drove through downpours on the way up and on the way home, Several times we were told it was raining just a few miles away but all we had as a nuisance shower as we did the accuracy and while packing the gear away. The breeze was pretty well non existent apart from the odd gentle puff now and then. The air was a bit heavy so we were never going to cast any records, except one of us did, more on that later.

I think Oswestry is one of my favourite events of the year. It always pulls in a good attendance and we are always well looked after by the Rugby club. Naomi even made some early bacon sarnies for those of us who needed a breakfast. What a nice woman.

We seem to have settled on a formula that appears to work well. We do the tournament heavy stuff first thing which gives anyone who wants some instruction time to get some in before we tackle the full line events in the afternoon and they then feel more comfortable joining in.

The majority of the instruction fell to Mark Surtees, Sekhar Bahadur and Paul Brown, who were all kept busy most of the day. Many thanks guys, you do a brilliant job that adds so much to the enjoyment of the people who turn up.

The results are up so I won’t bother repeating them except to say that in the conditions there were some commendable distances. Anything over 100′ in the five weight or 110′ in the seven weight  was bloody good going so Lisa Isles 112′ 7” in the #7 was an outstanding cast and well deserving of her new womens record. In better conditions and with some distance coaching I wouldn’t be surprised to see her take it beyond 120′. Well done Lisa.

The conditions were good enough to have an accuracy competition to finish the day off. Mark had to be dragged to the okey kicking and screaming and then proceeded to win the event.

The distance badges are often a testament to the instruction those who are awarded them have received during the day so well done Leighton McDonnell, Malcolm Milner, Matt Pearson and Sekhar.

As I mentioned before we were well looked after by the rugby club throughout the day so a big thank you to them. Thanks to everyone who helped with the running of the completion and a big thank you to everyone who turned up to make the day so enjoyable.

See you next year

Mike H

Ashford, May 2015

Posted by mikeh On June 10th, 2015

Just before the meeting we had the news that Mike Marshall had suffered a heart attack. As I write this a couple of weeks later I can tell you that Mike is home and recovering well. I am sure we all wish him well.

This was possibly the best meeting we have had in Ashford, It’s not an area known as a fly fishing hot spot. The weather was pretty good, the wind as fickle as ever. It was James and my turn to see the stiffish breeze seem to disappear whenever it was our turn to cast. There is no point me repeating the results, they are there in black and white on the results page. James 204′ with the T120 deserves a mention, he seems to have hit a purple patch with that outfit. Mick Copeman is like a good wine and gets better with age because he increased his S70 records in the five weight and ST27 (but I still want to see his birth certificate!)

Congratulations to Dan Shillabeer and David Fisher for qualifying for their 35yd and 40 badges respectively.

We didn’t have too many for the instructors to cope with so we were able to give everyone some quality time, which is nice. Not that all our instruction isn’t quality all the time, but not feeling the need to rush around trying to fit everybody in makes for a relaxed atmosphere and a pleasurable day for all.

One slightly unusual event happened, which, I think, sums up the BFCC. Mark Weatherley had heard about the event and came along to ‘just see what’s going on’. I suggested he watched the competition and, if he felt like it, he could help out with timing and marking. After lunch he asked if he could have some tuition. Tracy took a few bob off him and off we went. He kindly wrote a comment to the club afterwards and I have taken the liberty of publishing it here.

”What a very enjoyable day I had . Everybody was so friendly , even though it is a competition day. I was made very welcome to the point where I was even asked to do the timekeeping for the morning session . Having a casting lesson from one of the regular competitors was such a good idea and it is something I would suggest all novice anglers do , as it helps to show where you can improve and polish your technique, ( I will hopefully be able to cast as far if not further with better presentation all day without feeling exhausted) .I shall make a point of telling all new anglers that I meet on my fishing days out to visit one of the BFCC shows”.

This is by no means the first thank you the club has received but it does highlight the quality of work people like Mark Surtees, Trevor Hayman, RogerMiles, John Reynolds and others do to help improve peoples standards of fly casting.

Many thanks To Willesborough CC who hosted us and provided the refreshments again this year. And, finally, a big thank you to everyone who turned up and helped out and created such a good event.


Newark 2015

Posted by mikeh On May 31st, 2015

This report is going to be slightly different from the usual ‘what a great day we had’, even though we did. We had the usual mix of great competition and tireless and excellent tuition. For me the stand out feature of the event was how having the  event in a central area drew people from wide and far. People were prepared to travel from as far as Cumbria and Kent and Wales and the East Coast. For various reasons this particular event location may not have been ideal but it certainly highlights the fact that the BFCC should be looking for somewhere in the region so I would ask that if anyone who knows the area has any idea of a suitable location to contact Mike Marshall so that he can look into it.

Back to the event. Apart from seeing people from such a wide area turn up it was great to see Alan Bath is making a good recovery and was able to help out with the competition and Wendy back sorting out the admin. The nature of the gusting wind caused a few problems in the tournament events  where line management became a critical issue. Andrew Bagshaw is to be complimented on his outstanding ability to unravel the most horrendous mess of mono with superlative patience while dismissing my suggestion we get the scissors out. His reward was to win the B110. The outstanding cast of the day was John Reynolds 177′ 5” in the T27,  a new club record. That is an outstanding cast in any conditions.

As I was mainly dealing with the competition I can only comment that the instruction team of Mark and Sekhar were very busy doing their instructional magic all day. I know from experience just how tiring instructing all day is. John and I managed to chip in occasionally but it was Mark and Shaker who did the hard miles and deserve the compliments that we have received from some very satisfied people they instructed. Well done guys and many thanks.

If I have missed anyone out please accept my apologies and accept my thanks .




Posted by mike On May 22nd, 2015

The Sportfish fund raising weekend was very successful for the BFCC and great fun, so many thanks to all those who supported us: Ally Bremner, Mark Surtees, Nicholas Surtees, Trevor Hayman, Brian Szukala, Sekhar Bahadur, Roger Miles, Paul Brown, Andy Parker, Gilly Bate and Alex Titov. Plus thanks to the Sportfish team, particularly Tom Festing and Jono Tomlinson. We appreciate how hard everyone worked to make it a success, not least Mark for donating two BFCC signs which greatly improved the look of the stand.

Special thanks go to Ally who braved the cold and strong winds who, with James, helped to adjudicate the spey casting competition run by Sportfish on Saturday. She provided advice and tuition to competitors in the event, which was won by James that day. Brian was amazing on the Sunday when he borrowed a kayak from an exhibitor to measure distances on the water, whilst Jono judged safely on dry land. New member Andy Parker was great as he supported me on the stand and also helped with running the competition.

All of us had a great time chatting with old friends, making new ones, promoting the club and providing tuition – Paul, Trevor and Sekhar were enjoying themselves so much on the Saturday on the tuition field, they forgot to take a break – when even the lure of the cakes I bought didn’t encourage them to stop for a while! However, young Nicholas more than made up for their absence! Paul and Trev supported both days, providing lots of tuition and advice. Mark, as always, was brilliant in offering tuition not just to the ‘punters’ but to the other instructors as well – sadly we didn’t have any veg for him to demonstate with. Everyone who took tuition came back with a big grin and an improved cast! Paul was impressed with one of the many young lads that came for tuition who, on his first lesson, was managing great looking loops and aerial mends around cones! With the usual BFCC team splitting resources to cover two events on the same weekend (a first for the club I think), it was lovely to have Roger back supporting the BFCC – he worked hard both days to make sure everyone had a good time and enjoyed themselves. I couldn’t have done without him and I hope to see at more of the Club’s events.


Thanks also to Charles Jardine who kindly lent us some hoops for target practise and to the Wild Trout Trust, who didn’t seem to mind when I used their trout cushions that were hanging from the roof of the marquee, as targets too! It was fun to watch the demos and Trev managed to get us a mention in one of them.

Tracy (& James)


Cullumpton 2015

Posted by mikeh On April 27th, 2015

Sorry for the delay in reporting but things have been a bit hectic.

I think I left home at 4am for the drive down to Devon and when I arrived at about 8.30 it was blowing quite strongly but as luck would have it the wind gradually eased off during the day to a stiff breeze. Luckily it remained fairly constant in direction so we were not inconvenienced too much during the day.

An unfortunate set of circumstances meant that we were a bit light from the normal crew. James and Tracy were on holiday and we heard a few days before the event that Alan was having severe back problems so neither he nor Wendy could make it. A speedy recovery Alan.

Thanks to a sterling effort by Mark Surtees and Trevor Hayman those that came for instruction were given as much help as was possible. They also both helped John Bunce to improve his casting from his wheelchair. Both of them also gave short workshops, Mark on presentation casts and Trev on single handed Spey casting. I missed Marks but was very impressed with Trevors easy style of demonstrating. Thank you both very much for your hard work.

Our shortage of normal crew meant I had to be more hands on than normal in the competition and David Fisher and I organised it between us, with, I’m glad to say, a lot of help from those that wanted to compete. In fact it went so well we were done and dusted by about 3.30. As you see by the results there were no humungous casts but Rob Doyles 196′ with the T120 was a noble effort.

One reason this piece is late is that I attended the EWF event near Munich last weekend which meant I had the pleasure of presenting Toby Merrigan with his trophies at his Funky Fly Tying stand at the event because he had to leave Cullumpton early in the afternoon.

A big Thank You to Richard and his wife who hosted the event and provided a constant supply of tea and coffee and even made sandwiches to order, how cool is that?

A big thanks to everyone who helped out during the day, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Mike H

Shenfield Oct 2014

Posted by mikeh On October 19th, 2014

Group Photo

Oh perfidious weather. Nice to be out in, not so good for casting. At least we were finished before the rain came. It was great to welcome Mike Marshall to  the only event he could come to this year. He seamlessly dropped back into the instructing which allowed me, for the first time this year, to concentrate more  on the competition with only the odd spell of instructing thrown in.

There was hardly a breeze and what there was couldn’t make up its mind which way it wanted to blow, plus, the air was heavy, so not the best conditions. It did make for some pretty close competition however. James 168′ in the T120 would normally be pretty average, well under par compared to his normal distances, the same for his 150′ in the T38, but in the conditions were winning casts. Tracy nearly blew us all away and came second only 7′ behind James but ahead of me, so we are going to make her an honorary man from now on.

After a bit of a break we came out to find a very slightly stronger breeze and after some discussion moved the tapes around to what we thought would be a more favourable direction, if slightly up hill, but sods law said that the moment we started casting again the breeze decided to swing this way and that and was no help to anyone. I dismissed my 104′ in the #5 as not in contention and was hugely surprised to find it the winning cast, Kei Okamoto, Alex Titov and John Reynolds not quite being able stick one a bit further. Again it was close in the #7 with James pipping Alex by 8”, 107.08” to 107′ with John only a couple of feet behind. John had a relatively easy win in the 27g, his 123′ outpaced James and I by some margin.

To end the competition we gave a first outing to our new accuracy event run to the same rules as the World Championships, four targets, three rounds with variable points depending on where you hit. A total of 60 points up for grabs. Once more it was close with John Reynolds on 42 and Mark and I tying for second with 40 each.

Overall winner on the day was Mr consistent, James Evans, a worthy champion.

Special thanks to Steve from Shenfield CC for providing is with a continuous supply of coffee, tea and sandwiches. Much appreciated by everyone.

So there you have it, nothing outstanding but some close completion which made for a nice relaxed meeting. Coupled with Mike Marshall and Mark Surtees doing their usual sterling work giving instruction and everyone chipping in to help out it was a very nice end to the 2014 season.



Posted by mike On September 17th, 2014

Well, here goes – this is my first BFCC report as both Mike H and Mike M couldn’t make the trip.

The day started with cloudy, humid weather with little or no breeze – no sign of the predicted 10mph winds, so not a day for records to be set.

Other than a few people from the local area, most people travelled quite far to attend the event! When we turned up at the Sports Ground, the cars overflowed the car park into the rugby pitch and we briefly thought we had one of our best turn-outs ever, until we realised there was also a cycle race happening at Fintry.

It was good to catch up with old friends and make new ones – Joe Roughley came with Angus McLeod and had lessons from several of our instructors during the day and entered her first ever casting competition and won her 20 yard badge, however, in practise she cast 25+ yards. Brian Adam, a local who spotted the event on the web, also joined us  and helped run the competition as well as receiving tuition.

Mike Barrio won the B100 for the last time as his cast over 100ft meant he is promoted to B110. Ally Bremner, this year’s CLA salmon distance winner, joined us and was competitive with the men in the T55 overhead salmon event.

Steve Parkes had a great T120 cast and won – but still the elusive 200ft evades him! It was good to see young James Hek, who is competing with the seniors, hold his own and win the T38 and come 3rd overall – thankfully he brought his dad Jimmy (or should I say his Dad brought him!) who helped out with timing and organising the events. Thanks Jimmy.

Ben Dixon had a great day, winning 7wt, 27g Sea-trout distance, and an event just for Fintry – the 55g overhead salmon event (tackle kindly provided for us to use by Ben); he also came joint first on the 5wt with James Evans with 114ft 10in, but in the shoot-out, Ben beat James. Ben was the overall winner followed by James.

Although we didn’t run the Accuracy event as we ran out of time, we set out the new rings, attempted to get them as round as possible, and some of us cast at them for fun – seemed a good event; took 2-3minutes per person.

Thanks to Alberto Laidlaw for finding the venue and providing tuition early on. Thanks to Brian Szukala for transporting all the gear to the event. Thanks to Fintry Sports Club who have a great venue with good food and drinks and thanks to James, Steve and everyone else for helping me run the event and making it an enjoyable day out.

Next year’s Scottish BFCC will alternate to Aberdeenshire, however, the next BFCC event is in Shenfield on 12th October 2014.