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.

Ifish 2013

Posted by mikeh On December 1st, 2013

The Ifish Fly Fair is a new event and the only one in the south of England. There was a nice range of fly tying materials on display from various companies, books and tackle plus lots of fly tiers displaying their art. It was a very well run and friendly event and, we hope, the first of many to come in the future. It’s great to bump into people you don’t see from one year to the next and catch up. There were fly casting demo’s from Mike Marshall, Charles Jardine and Scott Simmonds. The BFCC and GAIA were there to provide fly casting lessons and we had a pretty brisk trade all day despite the cold weather. I am sure I speak for all the instructors when I offer our thanks to the organisers for providing plenty of tea and coffee and going that one extra step by bringing us out some sandwiches and mince pies. Nice touch.

I am still a bit surprised when someone comes over to check out the rods and lines we use and their disbelief that it is just bog standard fishing equipment. Most of them just don’t appreciate the potential of their own gear when it comes to casting distance. I would like to think we opened a few eyes. Mark Surtees and I were certainly kept busy all day with everything from beginners to some very useful casters who just wanted to get a few tips and tricks to gain a few extra feet. I would like to hope that they all learned that casting for it’s own sake can be (almost) as satisfying as going fishing and the benefits of a bit of casting practice will also enhance their fishing experience.

Many thanks to David Fisher and Mike Marshall for staying in the warm and sending out a constant stream of customers to Mark and I out in the cold.

All in all, a really nice day among some really nice people.

Slightly knackered,

Mike H

Ifish Fly Fair

Posted by mikeh On October 20th, 2013

Sat. 30th November 2013 10am – 4pm.

 Ifish Fly Fair, Clair Hall Perrymount  Road,                                                                          Haywards Heath, W. Sussex, RH16 3DN. Entry £5.oo.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The BFCC will be performing casting demonstrations and teaching at the usual fee of £5.00 for 20min. throughout the day. For more information please e-mail Paul Davis:

Shenfield 2013

Posted by mikeh On October 9th, 2013

Who would have thought that an October meeting would still be shorts weather? But it was and Trevor Hayman wore them to prove it and several others of us wished we had done the same. Along with the sunshine however came absolutely still conditions, the very slight breeze that occasionally got up was just a baby’s breath and neither helped or hindered us. We didn’t get the dead air dumping we had in Glasgow but we still couldn’t get the lines to fly, especially in the morning when the grass was covered in dew that wouldn’t disappear. Despite that we had an enjoyable day with some stiff competition. John ‘machine gun’ Reynolds shot himself in the foot by suggesting we do dry fly accuracy instead of wet fly so his usual rapid fire technique had to give way to a more refined style and he only came third instead of his usual first. Mark Surtees however found that refined suited him perfectly and proceeded to win the event.
No big casts in the five or seven events but Dan Shillabeer and Danny Keane acquitted themselves very well for their first time competing. One other name you might not recognise is Roger Simeon. Take my word you will be hearing a lot about him in the future. He is a 12 year old lad with a huge potential. He set a new J13 record of 104′ 7” while casting for a distance badge, a phenomenal cast in those conditions.
I cocked up in the st27 by putting the wrong tip on my rod and I broke my trusty old Bloke XL50 when casting in the seven. Not that either made any difference to the results with James Evans winning the st27 and relative new comer Steve Parkes winning the seven after a shootout with James because they had tied in the competition. John Reynolds showed us the way home in T38 and Steve Parkes thumped out a winning 192′ 11” in the T120.
Trevor Hayman took the honours in the B100 and Mick Copeman won the B110. Dan Shillabeer qualified for his 25yd badge and young Roger Simeon qualified for his 30yd badge, very well done both of you.
James Evans won the overall event.

The BFCC would like to thank everyone who attended for helping out with all the tasks that are so necessary for the day to run smoothly.

So, that’s another casting season done with.

We hope to see you all again next year.

Please see below for an interesting addition to this post:

Member Dan Shillabeer shot this short movie clip of BFCC coach John Reynolds  making double hauling look so easy.  John was using Dan’s Shakepeare Trion rod loaded with a John Norris WF7 line.

Click on the link below to see the movie.

Here is another short clip of John putting out a full line with just a single haul.

Glasgow 2013

Posted by mikeh On September 16th, 2013

For the first time in living memory we held a meeting without the presence of Mike Marshall who was unable to make the trip. This presented a unique logistical problem because Mike usually drives to all the events and transports all of our equipment with him. This year meant getting it there by other methods which was personal luggage, delivery service and local assistance. As it turned out it all arrived, with the exception of cast markers which we improvised. For once the weather seemed kind to us, no torrential rain and no prelude to a hurricane, as in previous years, but the sting in the tail was some very ‘heavy’ air and a fickle breeze which caused the majority of the casts to dump short of where they might have gone in kinder conditions.

Despite this we still had a very good competition that had some new faces in the leading positions. Scott Louden and young James Hek are certainly names to watch out for in the future. It was great to see Andrew Toft taking an interest in single handed fly rods and trying out the double handed tournament gear for the first time.

James Hek improved the J17 #5 record to 116’1” and set the J17 benchmark. Tracy Thomas continued her advance through the women’s records by adding the T120 event to her list of achievements.

I would like to thank everyone who helped with all the work needed for the event to run smoothly, so that’s all of you. And special thanks to Ben Dixon and Alberto Laidlaw for all their help in making sure all the equipment we needed was delivered and returned.

So, not a lot to report really. It all went well and everyone enjoyed themselves. ‘Nuf said’.

The next meeting is the last of the season at Shenfield (Brentwood) so see you there.