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Author Topic: Ringstead Grange Invitation Open Day - October 18th.  (Read 3058 times)
bracken
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« on: October 19, 2014, 11:17:55 AM »

Following a generous invitation from John Barlow at Ringstead Grange Fishery, four stalwart members of the BFTA went along on Saturday to attend an Invitation Open Day. ( Andre was also invited, but Sue deemed that he couldn’t be trusted to be loose with these ‘rough’ characters if he wasn’t  concentrating on his pot-hunting  to win a match, so she apparently dragged him off to a God-forsaken North Eastern town where nobody other than my Brother in Law can understand what they say)! We were asked to demonstrate float tubing and if possible to take Ian Barr the double British Champion out in a tube as he had never had the chance before. There were around 175 lucky people invited, but the bad weather in the morning unfortunately kept some of these away.

Steve Warner, myself, Steve Frakes and Ric Dunnet went along on your behalf. We arrived about 9.00 am and were told by John to go fishing C&R until around 11.30 am or 12 midday. This, so the throng could actually see a float tube on the water. With great self-sacrifice, and as you can imagine much reluctance, we agreed to this and quickly raced onto the water! The weather cleared up a bit so only a vague drizzle was occasionally felt in this phase of the visit. The four of us covered most of the water between us, keeping clear of the guests in boats while trying to locate the fish, which John had told us were probably in small shoals and well spread out. Ric was most successful at finding the prime spot, distinguishing  himself by getting a double hook-up, with the best of the two fish weighing an estimated 3.1/2lbs. Steve W. lost one on a blob, before unselfishly retiring from the water to chat to the assemblage now showing interest on shore. I never had a pull, but in my defence was trying out a couple of different lines and searching the depths with some strange flies. Steve F. was now getting pulls in the corner below the lodge. I then left him to join Steve W. on the bank. Shortly afterward the other two came ashore as well.

Ian Barr had by now arrived and we were introduced. He agreed to be taken out on the water later in the afternoon. It turned out that courtesy of his consultancy with Airflo he already had waders boots etc in the boot of his Jag, so really all I had to do was fit him up with a tube. I decided on Alan’s ex Guideline as a safe platform. Ric supplied a non-auto lifejacket and a net, Steve W. lent him some Caddis fins and we were ready to go when the time came. In the meantime Ian stood on the platform by the boats teaching a lad how to cast a flyline. He proved he could put a line a long way out, and then showed why he is a Champion by hooking three fish none of us had suspected were there, (on one of his pink and lime green blobs).

A pleasant hour or so was now spent chatting to other fishermen who showed interest in tubing and who it must be said showed some reluctance to accept the invitation to go out in one. Steve W. was quite persuasive too! In between the chats, we dissected some of Steve F’s fly boxes, and closely studied some of the beautifully tied flies therein. This was very educational and seriously interesting. My eye was particularly taken by a selection of flies with tails, which in my innocence I was assured  resembled  mini sex toys. Apparently these wobble and rotate at a phenomenal rate in the water and are very attractive to trout, (as well as the young lady who was looking over Steve’s shoulder). Apparently these flies evolved from an original developed by a D. Lee, occasionally from Bury-St-Edmunds! (Having seen some of his other creations I can well believe this assertion)!?

Sadly the educational session was cut short by the enforcement of the order to go and get some food from the hog roast! A 60 kilo hog was roasted for all the guests to enjoy. It was beautifully cooked and there was more than sufficient for everyone present. It was at this point we deeply missed the presence of Dave C. At the end of the afternoon, there was sadly around 20 kilos of lovely pork left over, and enough crackling to start a porky scratchings franchise! I’m sure Dave would have managed to finish this up for them! It must be said here that I failed miserably early morning, when stopping at a Little Chef for an Olympic breakfast – there were enough potato slices to feed a family of six and I had to abandon my efforts at eating them, sending half to waste! I’m getting old aren’t I?

After a hog roll, we got Ian into the float tube and briefly instructed him how to use it, while I stayed close to him for a while. I must be a good teacher as he had learnt to paddle, spin and drive it in a straight line in about three minutes flat! He then went on to teach me how to catch a fish from a float tube, and declared himself delighted with the experience of being on the water in this wonderful device. At this point I left him to it, but kept a weather eye on him - while I also caught a trout on one of his blob creations. This was one of the most peculiar takes I have had in fifty years or so, the line never noticeably moved or did I really feel anything, I just sensed there was a fish there and lifted gently into it after thinking about it for about three seconds of the uncertainty. I was going to just tweak the hook out of the fishes mouth without netting it, as I often do when fishing C&R, but then realised I couldn’t see the hook at all – so had to net it. All I could do then was to run the forceps down and gently lock them on to what I thought was the hook, and ease it free. Fortunately no blood appeared and the fish swam away strongly upon release. Shortly afterwards, Ian now hooked and netted another fish right against the lower shore, and was having no problems holding station against the stiffening breeze. He was obviously a natural in a float tube, and appeared to be loving every moment of the experience. When he finally came ashore, he declared he was going to have one delivered to him next Tuesday and be back at Ringstead next weekend. Andre better hope he doesn't join us for Comps next year, (although he is always welcome), as I have a very strong suspicion whose name could appear on the Trophy!

We then managed to get another couple of guys out in the tube. One willingly, who was amazed at how easy they were to move and use. He also wanted to get one. The second chap was more reluctant, but was being heavily goaded by his mates to go out. Again he was very taken with the experience, and readily silenced the p*** takers on shore – one of whom had already declared that he and his son were now very interested in getting afloat in an FT. I also spoke extensively to a couple of other gentleman while this was happening, who when handed a copy of our flyers suddenly became much more interested when they realised all the waters that were available to BFTA members.

This turned out to be a very enjoyable and I think successful day! I would like to thank the two Steve’s and Ric for joining me and freely lending their gear out in the interests of the BFTA. I am also grateful for their help in clearing up and packing up afterwards.


We thank John Barlow, his family and friends, for issuing the invitation for us to join him on this great day out. The lads playing the guitars were pleasant to listen to and provided a nice background for us to fish to. I would also particularly like to thank the people who spent all day preparing the hog roast and for presenting us with some super pork rolls.

« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 02:44:33 PM by bracken » Logged
davec
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2014, 04:24:10 PM »

Great report Tony and well done everyone, sorry I couldn't make it. but I would probably have just made a pig of myself.
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andre
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 11:23:35 AM »

Well done lads, good job done, this is the best advertising we can do for the association.

Andre.
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