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.


Aldermaston July 2014

Posted by mikeh On August 11th, 2014

First of all deepest apologies for the lateness of this report. One thing after another and I forgot.

The weather was nice but the air was heavy and the slight breeze contrary. When there was one it was mostly from behind but as the day progressed it switched round and some of us had a slight headwind for the full line events. Not the best for casting long but Mick Copeman continued his recent run of good form by increasing his V70 T38 record to 143′ 10”.

Despite no big casts it was a fun day, if a bit quiet. Not necessarily a bad thing occasionally because it makes for a very relaxed meeting. No-one had to get the whip out to keep the competition moving along.

Well done to James Evans and Steve Parkes for keeping the winning distances respectable and having a ding dong battle for the event champion, which James eventually won by two points.

Thanks to everyone who came.

Oswestry June 2014

Posted by mikeh On June 22nd, 2014

Oh what a perfect day. Lovely weather, lovely people. What more could you ask for?

Now I don’t compete with the same level of intensity I did a year or two ago and I am more focused on the instruction part of the meeting I get a slightly different perspective on how the day goes. In fact it’s pretty much switched 180deg as I now see far less of the competition and a lot more of the people who come for the instruction and have a far greater appreciation for what they get out of the day. We can make a huge difference in many cases. For instance we had two guys, Phil Stott and Raj Boojawon, who would have struggled to hit forty or fifty feet in the morning and by the end of the day were double hauling like pros and getting their 25yd badges. Huge smiles all round, not least on the face of Mark Surtees who has to take the lions share of the credit for getting them there. Other successes include Paul Ainsworth who did the treble and achieved his 25, 30 and 35yd badges and Richard Jaques  his 30yrd badge and Nigel Conlon who achieved his 50yd badge with the T120 during competition. Absolutely well done guys.

It was a very well attended meeting so I won’t be able to mention everyone but congratulations to James Evans for winning the #5, #7, ST27 and T120 events with some really nice casts that saw him the over all winner on the day. John Reynolds popped out a good cast on the T38 to take first place and then finished with a flourish to win the accuracy event. Steve Parkes is still suffering from tennis elbow but managed to throw some very respectable casts, even I managed to come second in one or two.

Not forgetting the Ladies, well done Tracy for extending her T120 record to 163′ 7”.

Many thanks to everyone for helping out during the day, we really do appreciate it, the meetings would be very difficult to run without your help.

Finally, a big thank you to the rugby club  for being such great hosts.

See you all next year,


Mike H

Ashford May 2014

Posted by mikeh On June 1st, 2014

I did try to count how many were on the field but for some reason I never did do it so I can only estimate that there were about twenty of us scattered over Willesborough Cricket Club’s field, all apparently having a good time. We were blessed with near perfect weather, nice and sunny in the morning and a bit of cloud building in the afternoon with a breeze which came and went but for a change stayed in pretty much one direction. I would like to thank John Reynolds and Trev Hayman for driving quite some distance to help out with the coaching and it was nice to see big Trev Bourne and Lee Martell again after a bit of an absence from our meetings. James, Tracy and David took control of the competition and it rolled along smoothly. The heavy stuff was cast first and I took those who didn’t want to cast tournament gear off to do a little tips and tricks workshop on distance casting which then merged seamlessly into general instruction. We had ‘one of those days’ when we saw improvement from everyone John, Trev and I gave instruction to Ken Pierce double hauling, David Shiell smoothing everything out, Dan Shillabeer  learning to self diagnose and fix his faults, not that he has many, Mick Copeman warming up for his assault on the V70 records and, the cherry on the top was 13 year old Tom Marchant who claims to have been fishing only four times but improving so much during the day he qualified for a 30yd badge. Roger Simeon, also 13, improved both the junior ST27 and the junior seven weight records and in doing so qualified for his 35yd badge. Both these young men are going to be serious competition for some of the more senior members soon.

In the competition Trevor Bourne hit a stonking 217′ to win the T120, God knows what he could achieve if he even bothered to practice. James Evans put one over the 200 as well with Steve Parkes and John Reynolds not too far behind.

In the T38 JR pulled one out of the hat and hit 180′, not bad for someone held together with string and sticky tape.

The ST 27 was won by James with a very creditable 147′.

The #7 was won, just, by me just managing to pip Mick Copeman on the post.

The #5 was won by Steve Parkes with a nice 115′ cast.

Again, not a day when everything flew off the rod tip but some very nice casts despite that.

During the presentations I was surprised to find Mick Copeman had improved the V70 #5 #7  and T38 records. Not surprised he hit records, surprised he was V70, well done Mick. There are more to come I am sure.

Roger’s records I have already mentioned, super well done on those.

Dan Shillabeer is what the BFCC is all about, mad keen on casting and actually practices so very well done on your 30yd badge Dan.

And, I have just noticed JR qualified for S60 records, welcome to the club mate. Nice cast though.

I would like to thank everyone for all joining in and helping out, those of us running the event really do appreciate it.

A big thank you to Bobby Ades and WCC for being fantastic hosts and providing some of the best tea, coffee and rolls on the circuit.

Cullumpton 2014

Posted by mikeh On May 5th, 2014

Hi Guys, I’m sorry for the delay in posting but I have been suffering a bad back. Sitting down was fine, it was the getting up afterwards that was painful so I have been standing or laying and neither is conducive to writing.

James pretty much summed it up with his foreword to the results. We got off lightly if the forecasts were to be believed, which they rarely are.

This is the first time I have done a BFCC event and not been very involved in the competition. With Mike Marshall still indisposed I took over his instructing role, with very grateful assistance from Trevor Hayman, that’s to say I was grateful, I’m not sure about Trevor.

It’s clear to see from the results that James, Tracy and Steve managed to get some practice in over the winter as they came out all guns blazing whereas some of us were trying to remember which end of the rod to hold. James especially has improved out of sight with the tournament gear, 183′ with the T38 is impressive enough but the 220′ with the T120 is a huge improvement from last year, really well done James. Steve Parkes was a bit below par because he was suffering with tennis elbow but still managed some really good casts. Alan Bath took the B100 with some nice casting, doubly impressive when you take into consideration he had a horrible winter health wise. Trevor won the B110 and moves up to elite. Well done Trev. Tracy improved  her T120 ladies record to 155′. Nice going Tracy.

Several Thank You’s. James, Tracy and David Fisher for running the comp. Wendy Bath for taking everyones money with a smile. Alan Bath for timing and keeping everyone in order. Trevor for his more than able assistance (and letting me cast his Winston, nice rod btw). John Dawson and Alan Barrow for helping promote the day. Everyone who helped put the gear up and take it down again, which was pretty much everyone. And, last but not least, Cullumpton CC for making us so welcome.

If I have forgotten anyone I’m sorry, this is all from memory………and I don’t have one.

Mike H

Roadford Lake Reservoir Fly Fair

Posted by mikeh On March 9th, 2014

We are a dedicated  in the BFCC, up at three thirty am for a 250 mile drive down to darkest Devon. Well, it was dark when we left anyway. David Fisher arrived dead on time and we were on the road at four and arrived at Fleet Services, where we were to meet up with Mark Surtees, ahead of schedule with time for a coffee and a sticky bun breakfast. We then set off in convoy down the A303. We passed Stonehenge at dawn and had to turn down a suggestion from Mark that we stop off and dance naked around the stones. Maybe next time…..or not.

We arrived on schedule to be greeted by brilliant sunshine and a dead flat reservoir, a really beautiful sight, especially considering the winter we have just come through. We were met by Ben Smeeth who was organising the Roadford Fly Fair and had invited us to attend. Everything was ready for us and it was just a question of setting up our stand and checking out the casting area, which, apart from being on a 30 deg slope, was fine, except I ended up instructing at the bottom and had a steep climb every time I needed a drink or the loo, while Mark, somehow, bagged prime spot at the top!

The show started at 10am and we had our first client before 10.30 and were kept busy until the area had to be cleared for demonstrations at about 3pm. I did one on distance casting and was followed by Charles Jardine who did a superb one on fishing casts.

Two other BFCC stalwarts were also on the casting field, John Dawson and Alan Barrow. They have been doing a lot of work in helping organise the Cullumpton event that will be happening on Sun 6th April and by what they were telling me it’s going to be a good one.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank David and Mark for making the effort to come down with me, it would have been a near impossible and very less enjoyable day if I had to do it on my own. Thanks guys, I thought we made a brilliant team and I think our efforts during the day were appreciated. And Ben for making us so welcome. Oh, and Devon, for not raining or blowing a gale on us. The sun shines on the righteous they say. We must have been very good boys then.