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Fluff Flinging 2004 by Steve (eelfisher) Richardson

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BFW fluff-flinging day No.III

Felix Farm, 25th Apr '04 - a light-hearted report

dubbed as the 'Northern Rocks' vs the 'Southern Softies'

Written by Steve (eelfisher) Richardson

edited and abetted, with minor interjections
by Paul (paul4barbus) Whiteing

(photos by courtesy Mike Berridge and paul4)

Intro : As usual we were all looking forward to this day as the normal bit of fun, as something different during the close season, lazy, peaceful, non-competitive .............but then along comes Neil H-D who mentioned North v South - well talk about whip their whippets into a frenzy - a story to unfold and be told.
Well, I arrived at 10.15 without getting lost (believe this or believe this not) and was duly informed that the score was a few to the north and a few less to the south. I had seen no fish, but had to accept the impartiality of the referee, a man I have known for a few years and respect. Still, we must let the story be told by this 'fisher of eels from the area of Sherwood Forest', this impartial referee from the 'frozen wastes above bedford' (ed.)

He writes henceforth, and largely ('ish) unedited :

The Northern perspective - unbiased edition written by Steve (eelfisher) (unbiased? yeah right - ed) :

Saturday evening……Time 9.00pm. "Erica, I am going up to bed".
"Oh right, I shall switch off the telly and join you".
"Sorry duck, can't help you there……I need an early night. 'Blackheart', 'The Old Man' and 'Supermarket Sweep' are arriving outside at 4.00am. The RATS are going south….".

Sunday morning…… Time 2.30am……
Very quietly I snook out of bed. Not an easy feat when the bed contains Erica (sleeping beauty) and three Siamese cats entwined around my feet at the foot of the bed. Zak, the pure white rebel, saw his chance and slid in where my warm body had laid only seconds previously....typical tomcat.

On my way along the landing, I entered the tackle room and switched on the computer, then headed off downstairs to make a much needed coffee. With my caffeine fix made, I headed back upstairs to make sure that the 'Southerners' hadn't cried off at the last minute. It was obvious from the last few posts on the BFW thread that everyone was looking forward to a day's friendly and unbiased trout fishing competition.

Dave arrived first at 3.45am and requested a coffee to keep him alert for the drive down the big wide road south. (He had gone to bed at 8.30pm, woken up at 10.00pm, watched the footie, gone back to bed and rose again at 2.00am.) Keith arrived a shade before Cahal at 4.00am, the cars were parked and the tackle transferred into Dave's boot and backseat and the rods were placed down the length of the passenger's side…..it was like 'Walkers of Trowell' on wheels.

The drive down was carried out with all manner of banter….poor old Cahal feeling rougher with every mile travelled due to having never risen at 3.00am before, only ever retiring/falling over at such an un-Godly hour. Keith wasn't much better, he was shocked to find out we were leaving at 4.00am as he thought we were only fishing 15 miles up the road when he agreed to join us. Anyway, the journey was completed in just under two hours with 'Blackheart' managing to use all three lanes of the motorway and treat us all to some rather interesting comments aimed at the few other early rising car owners who had the misfortune of coming anywhere near us on their journey down.


The RATS - and no, the T does not stand for temperence
left-right Cahal , Keith, DaveW, Eelfisher

Now where have I seen that Cahal before? YES, it's Hiram Holiday from the telly?
and Blackheart? looks quite intelligent in them specs

6.00am………Dave pulled the car up outside Graham's house in a leafy little village just off the M4 motorway. We all rolled out and had a much needed stretch. The morning air was filled with collared doves and wood pigeons cooing, blue and great tits chasing each other in courtship and a lone song thrush just starting up its engaging song. No human presence but ours was visible, so we stood around and waited until 6.30am before daring to knock on the front door. Graham opened up and welcomed us to his home……greetings made, coffee and tea issued and we all relaxed in the front room, awaiting the arrival of the next batch of BFW'ers.

Sky telly provided us with the secret to Graham's youthful looks……we had probably just disturbed him from his early morning ordering on the shopping channel and he had forgotten to switch channels so that his secret would remain safe……and as Cahal was heard to mutter, "At least it's waterproof, so if he does fall in he'll be alright". Dick (Aka… 'Shrewheart' / 'The barbel God') arrived next and handshakes were exchanged along with introductions of the two RATS that Dick had not yet met. Soon after Dick's arrival, KeithT and Bernard turned up…… the atmosphere and excitement was quickly building…….and the smell of bacon and sausage was starting to fill the air.

'Biggun', 'Steady Eddie', 'Bamboo' and 'the Yorkshire Ninja' followed soon after and we all made our way out into the refreshingly cool garden area and, as can be imagined, the banter duly started. Not long after, IanH arrived and then Severn Wanderer and Simon made their entrance. These were followed shortly after by PaulM ('Lurker'). A few more fellow barbel anglers showed up just as the food was being dished out (My apologies to those of you not mentioned, the names escaping me now) and everyone mixed in well. Graham was doing the bizz as a spot on host. Orange juice was brought out, along with more of the afore mentioned food plus plenty of brown and white cobs. (buns, rolls or baps to any who are not accustomed to the terminology.) Coffee and tea was on tap all the time. I was somewhat concerned as the North's number one trout catcher was sitting in the living room feeling none too good. However, after a sausage sarnie or two he started to perk up.

In need of yet another cup of coffee, I ventured into the kitchen to be met by Graham's lovely wife Jane. Graham introduced us and mentioned that I had a fondness of eels. As I walked out of the kitchen with my replenished cup in my hand Jane called after me…"Oh, you like eels then……how do you like them……jellied".
This amused all who heard about it afterwards……as you can imagine.

(There's only one good use for an eel and that is on a plate - ed)

This was it…..the competition / fishing was almost upon us.

The drive to the lake was not too far and before long we turned down a small country track and entered the car-parking area……before us was the lake……surrounded on one half by a large wooded area and the other half open countryside…..a superb location and a lovely looking water as well. The cars emptied out and the usual getting the gear ready and rods being made up was done in an excited manner……the banter was beginning even then and I felt intoxicated by the atmosphere being created unwittingly by the passion exuded by the result of anglers and water coming together. As each person completed the task of their tackle being sorted, they then made their way to the lodge to pay the fishing fee and then make the choice of bankside or boat fishing for the morning session.

Seeing the boaters moving off into the lake to select which buoy they would moor up against was amusing…..oars were swishing water one side of the boat and air on the other…..the three small islands set within the lake being assaulted by the bows of a couple of boats….no names mentioned. Biggun and Tony's boat was making head way and leading from the front…and with Mike in the backend, the profile of the boat made it look like it had an outboard engine propelling it across the surface of the lake. (I thought it was going to take off at one point.)

Eventually all the boats, bar one, were occupied and moored up. The rest of the group set off walking to the different parts of the lake that they thought might bring about their limit and points for their team. The points system was deemed one point per ('proper' - ed) fish landed.

I took up my umpire position behind the other three RATS….who had all decided to fish near each other on the same bank. Cahal flicked out his line and then made one false cast to straighten out his line and on the retrieve the bend in his rod announced that the first fish of the day was hooked……soon enough, it was 1-0 to the North…..second chuck by the 'old man' brought about another take but the fish came adrift. Third chuck saw fish number three grab the hook and this was soon landed. 2-0.


I'm 'ard - I just bit a bl**dy yorkies head off

Blackheart then struck with his deft fly chucking skills…..3-0. Graham craftily wandered up towards where the fish had so far shown and soon had one on the bank…3-1. Cahal then took another and made it 4-1. Ten minutes in and Cahal had nearly reached his fish limit…and with Blackheart adding another to his tally soon after it, at 5-1 it was looking like difficult times ahead for the Southern Softies…..the cry rang out around the lake…… "Rock on RATS".

Tony2canes and the Burmese barbeler were moored up right in front of the scoring area and soon Tony had a fish on and eventually landed the fish to push the score to 6-1.


Tony2C decides to put his rod back together (after trying spearfishing
with the tip section)

Fish were being hooked by other anglers but were coming adrift just as quickly but everyone seemed to be enjoying the day regardless of what was being caught.

The Southern hearts were lifted when just after the first hour of fishing, their intrepid and charismatic team coach and umpire, paul4, made his way down the lake to offer words of advice and encouragement. Interesting to note, from an impartiality stance of course, was that 'Silky Smooth Paul' (just paul4 to you all - ed) stated that considering that he had only seen one fish caught, that the score must be only 1-0…..after some persuasive debate, 'Silky' chose to acknowledge the originally stated score line but promised that his Southern contingent would rally and bring the points back into line later in the day.

Can this eel man reeeely write or what? 2 pages so far and I'd only just arrived, at 10.15 - ed


Ian (Hagget) showing Rob (le blanc) the finer points of the slow retrieve


Looks like it worked - or did it? my lips are sealed

At this time Cahal was giving fluff flinging lessons to PaulM…aka 'The Lurker'.…..and, whilst in the action of showing how to cast the fly, a fish took the offering on the retrieve. Cahal plunged the rod into his pupil's hands and allowed him to savour the fight of the lovely looking and hard fighting rainbow trout. The pleasure Paul got from that fight inspired him to thrash the water to a foam mass all day in the hope of a repeat performance. (Outstanding generosity from the North's 'Old Man' giving lessons and the resulting fish to his Southern opposition. The score now stood at a slight 6-2.


KeithT giving Peter Stone's rod a real workout

Blackheart scored with fish number three for him and pushed the score to 7-2. Out in the boats, the southerners struck back with two fish coming in quick succession. The score was sitting nicely at 7-4……however, the skies were clearing quickly now and the brilliant sunshine was going to prove to be a grueller from a prolonged catching point of view.

High above the lake, making the most of the warm weather and the thermals building up, three common buzzards took to the air…..watching them effortlessly glide overhead was an added bonus to the day's joviality.

Paul4 and I decided on a walk around the lake in order to have a chat with the other anglers. Help and advice was given by Paul4 as we toured the lake. Slowly we wandered back towards the producing bank. A telephone message from boat number 1, with Biggun and Tony S on board, gave clear indication that they were hooking fish and then losing them…Biggun and TonyS saying that they had hooked and lost 13 fish between them, being snapped off at least twice. So up to normal fishing standards then for Mike…….what a good job they were not all for Mike too, otherwise the score would have gone through the roof for the Northerner's (in your dreams - ed) - but as it was 7-6 or 6-7 , call it even, ok?.


Some casual posers

Paul4 offered a break for a few minutes with refreshments for the umpires via a coffee break at his car and I accepted the gesture gracefully……maybe he had hoped that whilst I was away from the bank that the score would be kept low….but the coffee and biscuits were very enjoyable.

Dick was seriously getting to grips with his casting……each cast improving on the last until soon he was dropping the fly a good ten yards. Perhaps trying his best to keep his birthday a secret was playing havoc with his concentration.


The minimalist (barbel god)

In the boats, The Yorkshire Ninja hooked and landed his first ever trout……..8-4…..and the impartial cry once again echoed around the lake…."Come on you Northern Rocks".


Hobby plays his first ever trout (not that you could tell)
(note birthday boy in the frame again)

Lunchtime was fast approaching and it was decided that at 12.30 we would see an end to fishing for the morning session. Just after noon, most anglers had decided to pack away for lunch and were walking back to the hut area or rowing back in shore for the ritual group photographic record of the event.

At this juncture the North played their trump card and Keith 'Sainsbury's' Mountain hung on in there for one last cast and came up triumphant with a fish…..this was the only instance of a trout being caught and played being photographed during the day. As the trout hit the net, Keith cried out a relieved 'yes'…….so at the lunchtime break the score stood at 9-4. (Interesting note, the Hazelford Piscatorial Society members had taken the bulk of the Northern fish tally at this point.)


This one was a fish

The group shots taken, the convoy headed off to the nearby public house. A welcoming cold beer being just the ticket on what was turning out to be a scorcher of a day.


L-R : mike (biggun), daveW, keith, gordon, ianH (burmeseB), tony2C, paul (severn), graham,neil H-D,
ianH, keithT, tonyS, eddie, clive, paulM, rob leblanc, steveB, bernard, cahal, simon, steve (eelfisher),
dick (on one knee, hopefully inwardly embarassed that it was his birthday and he'd told no one)


L-R : mike (biggun), paul4, daveW, keith, gordon, ianH, ianH (burmeseB), tony2C, paul (severn),
graham, neil H-D, keithT, tonyS, clive, eddie, paulM, rob leblanc, steveB, cahal, simon,
dick (again on one knee)

Now talking of birthdays - and we are now, BFW FF seems to bring out the clams regarding ageing. Last year it was that despic N H-D who decided to keep mum on his, albeit that it was the previous day.11th MAY for the diaries folks. This year it was the B-God who decided to remain incog. OK Dicky, you prefer the background being a modest sort but we would have been gentle('ish). You didn't think you'd need a change of clothes surely. (ed.)

he continues :

Lunch was enjoyed by all (with the possible exception of Tony S, whose veggie platter didn't see to go down too well with him…nor me at that price for a plate full of green grass) and the banter abounded throughout.

At 2.30pm the exodus back to the lake was underway, although begrudgingly by some….Biggun included, who then proceeded to get lost on his way back to the lake……maybe that was the excuse for one last pint, who knows.

The decision to bank fish in the morning session proved to be the best bet, but in the afternoon it would be the turn of the boats to bring home the fish.

Dick and Graham partnered each other in a boat and hooked and lost a few fish straight from the start but they also added to the score and soon the score was creeping up from the southern perspective. (Someone was heard to shout that they were pleased that a southern fish/point scorer had dropped off near one of the boats at the netting stage ……..but it was given and taken in good humour by all)

The three RATS chose to stay bankside once again for the afternoon session and this proved to be a duff move by them…..Democracy rules within the RATS and, at a vote of how to fish the afternoon session back at the pub, my idea of boat fishing was poo-poo'ed into touch by the other three.


Hobby and Paul (lurker) try their hand

It was at this time that Micky H turned up (wearing a cracking good shirt - ed) for a walk around before he headed off to watch his beloved team look to win the premiership, can't say the name, sorry. (Yes you can Steve, try very hard, A..AR..ARSEN..AL ..........yesssssss) Before he left, Micky gave Paul4 a donation of £20.00 to forward for the Macmillan appeal and also left a ton of doughnuts for the other lads present as well.

The Northern score was left to be boosted by 'Steady Eddie'….however, he was boat partnered by Steve B, who was one of the main reasons that the south moved up the points tally. (Yes, we did appreciate you netting the northern fish as well Steve.) By mid afternoon, the only fish coming to the net were from the boats….and at some point the score reached 12-8 but then moved on in favour of the North to 16-9.

By mid afternoon, most anglers fishing from the bank were just going through the motions, as they knew the fish were lying deep out in the lake due to the heat and calm conditions.


The arranger (hiding his flies as usual)

Severn Wanderer coolly moved round the lake and struck into a fish in the late afternoon…..not a scoring fish though as it was a lovely coloured rudd. Paul4 was of the opinion that it should go 10 points for a rudd until I said that Severn Wanderer was batting for the northern team. A heated debate then ensued (heated due to the sun) over the selection of him into the northern team……as it happened, PaulS contributed nil points to the day so the matter was irrelevant to the score. (On realising that Severn wasn't a point scorer, 'Silky' said it was alright for him to be a northerner…..It has to be said that the north wouldn't have given him away regardless of points or not)

By now, most bank fishers were relaxing on the grass, their rods laid down and their weary limbs being rested. Not Blackheart. He was still gamefully flinging on but weariness was quickly taking over and his coat took yet more bashings from his back casting hooking up time and time again…..his rod was having bets placed on it by the watchers as to how far he would fling it if he caught the coat again.


Dave's favourite species - hooked this coat several times but not landed
(shown with the south's secret weapon)

KeithT and Bernard were way over the other side of the lake and giving it good time when, on his first effort in fly-fishing, Bernard connected with a fish and duly landed it. Well done that man.

Neil HD took to trying to pull the tree behind him out of the ground on each successive back cast as well……good to see perseverance in plentiful evidence.


neil H[hyphenated]D - hold the line in your teeth


neil H[hyphenated]D - concentrate on your quarry - that bush
yes, that bush you caught 27 times in all

At 5.30pm, the final score hit 20-10…….a robust and convincing display from the Northern Rocks……and like true Southern Softies, they conceded defeat with good grace. (read on - ed )

At 6.00pm…the RATS left the scene of battle…..out of a total of 20 Northern fish, the three had scored 11 of those points. Awesome fishing….. 'Steady Eddie', 'Blackheart' and 'The Old Man' ensuring a 'rainbow win'. (Goodness knows what the score would have been if either the 'Biggun' or TonyS had managed to land all the fish they hooked - as it was, nowt between them)

NOW HOLD ON just a mo you northern lot, put thee pies down and take note :

All this stuff written from the (so called) Northern unbiased perspective is all very well but there are a few points to be made. Conceding with southern grace is taken as expected - in this case 'defeat' is somewhat contentious. I make the observations that the afformentioned Rudd could well have attracted an additional score, and that the captor's roots have long since been severed even if his voice remains 'tainted' (no offence Paul); that the scoring BEFORE the arrival of the southern referee was graciously taken as proffered without contention; and that the south allow the enthusiasm of the northern victory - yes a victory without question - but a victory by a narrower margin than the scorebook recorded before it was whisked away and closed before the day was brought to a 'proper' close. There remains the few intrepid southern team fishers whom did stay for a while when all had fled and to whose rods did the following captures (see below) lend a considerable bend - and by what would the scores have been swelled by each had the south made appeal - which of course they did not. They thought it was all over...................


Is this a c**p? so where's the rudd?


Now THIS one must have been worth quite a few points

............................it is now​

A brilliant day was had by all……..more importantly, it was made by all……so pat yourselves on the back for making it a great day out. It has already been stated that next year will see the two sides come together on a northern water…….maybe, just maybe, the end result will be a successful southern invasion……but don't hold your breath.

The Macmillan appeal total reached £130.00. The money being entrusted to a RAT, Keith, to forward the money on to the charity.

BFW camaraderie…you can't beat it. Here's to next year's bash when hopefully Paul4 and I will be partaking along with the others.


There remains just a thought that there should be some prizes awarded - if only notionally. These are our opinions, some may be shared, some may be denied :

These are in no particular order of excellence or desirability :
The players
  • Keith (narf) For the best reverse action - facing the water is better Keith
  • Gordon (sarf) For his patience awaiting his grub
  • Dave (Wingers) (narf) For entertainment value when hooking 'the coat'...the coat...the coat
  • Rob (sarf) For the best action shot
  • Cahal (narf) For the best action with a magic elbow aid
  • Tony S (sarf) For the best action without a magic elbow aid
  • Simon (sarf) For the best action with elbow in
  • Clive (sarf) For equal patience
  • Mike (biggun) (narf) For gerring lost on t'way back from t'pub - it made lost & found's day
  • Neil H-D (sarf) For somehow managing to get in the most piccys
  • Graham (sarf) For.....well, just being Graham, without whom the day would not have
  • Keith T (narf) For having the best tackle (the rod!)
  • Bernard (narf) For perseverence and getting his first (virgin no more)
  • Paul (Severn) (sarf) For the biggest rudd (worth several points)
  • Ian H (sarf) For perseverence until a late hour - alas nowt extra to count
  • Eddie (narf) For resorting to the underhand - boobies, I ask you
  • Ian H (BB) (narf) For the lesson, NOT, in playing a fish, rod pointing low
  • Dick (sarf) For not succumbing to the underhanded legering techniques
  • Tony (2 canes) (narf) For handling carbon without a whimper (even underwater)
  • Paul M (lurker) (sarf) For perseverence also and improving his action, but alas no more fish
  • The intrepid referees
  • Steve (eelfisher) neutral For nowt much apart from from being a good bloke
  • Paul4 neutral For nowt much apart from........well, nowt much
  • The visiting guest
  • Micky H neutral For the generous donation and doughnuts

the footnotes (ed.)

We say stuff the grammar - t'was written in jest

Apologies must again go to those whose action goes unrecorded in word and in picture. It is a fact that when fishing from bank or from boats only the most immediate action is seen and lots goes unnoticed.

Apologies too from the camera crew :

paul4 - brought along Nikon SLR with telephoto - but had no film
steveR - brought along digital with zoom - but had no battery
biggun - bought along digital with zoom but forgot to point it often enough

we did our best to capture the day - sorry that there are no pics of fish, doooooohhhhhhh!

the credits (ed.)

steve (eelfisher) richardson - the lion's share of the words

paul (paul4barbus) whiteing - the lion-cub's share of the words, loadsa piccys and captions
mike (biggun) berridge - piccys and opinions

and to Arsenal FC for bringing the day to a CHAMPION close

may '04
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