I managed to get away to the snowy hills this afternoon for a couple of hours. Rico and I ambushed a group of birds and quickly put several in the bag, but lost a strong runner that ran over our boundary and away - unsighted by Rico. Moving to the next valley I shot two woodcock from the same clump of gorse within a few seconds of each other. Both fell into a steep dingle where they tumbled many yards into the stream below. Rico, despite not having seen woodcock before, hunted both of them down to the water and retrieved them. With the light fading rapidly we returned to the scene of our earlier success and, leaving the gun in the car, hunted down the hedges for a quarter of a mile before Rico pulled out across a field into a clump of rushes and picked up the cock pheasant we had lost earlier. Very satisfying and great experience for the dog.
Monthly Archives: January 2015
The sore rib, and a bad dose of flu after Christmas, made a mess of the shooting season. It's only the past couple of weeks that we managed a few days without feeling exhausted. The syndicate shoot in Llanbrynmair has been consistently successful - not with big bags but with sufficient birds to give everyone a shot or two and a brace of birds to take home.
It has taken me longer to get around to some proper fowling - the idea of trudging a mile or two through deep mud in heavy neoprene chest-waders has been quite a deterrent. I've managed an odd teal, but no wigeon - and time is running out.
During those housebound mid-winter days I was busy working on Rob Smith's book on "The North Country Fly." It was a bit of a rush but I got it to the printers for their first day back after the New Year, and they got an advance copy of the finished book to me this week. It looks terrific - and we will have the stock here in time for the launch at the BFFI on 7th February. What a relief!
I am pleased to announce the publication of Robert L. Smith's long-anticipated history of the North Country fly. The author's research has brought to light many rare documents, providing evidence for a tradition of imitative fly dressing, particularly in Yorkshire's Wharfedale, going back over 300 years. He has had access to several rare and early fly lists and his book includes the full texts of several previously unpublished manuscripts - from William Lister's fishing diary 1712-1724 to a number of fly-lists of nineteenth century beck-watchers. Additionally he provides much new information on previously published sources such as Walbran, Pritt and Edmonds & Lee, as well as up-to-date information on tying and fishing soft-hackle flies.
Beautifully illustrated with examples of actual flies and materials, and with images from the original manuscripts, this book tells the definitive story of the North Country fly.
The book will be launched at the British Fly Fair International, Stafford County Showground, 7th and 8th of February 2015. It is a large and beautifully produced hardbound volume and is priced very modestly at only £25.00. The author will be with us signing copies so everyone pre-ordering now will receive a signed copy.
We are also producing a very special de luxe edition. This will consist of two volumes, each finely bound in full dark blue Nigerian goatskin leather. Volume One is the text of The North Country Fly. Volume Two contains two panels each containing ten specimens of North Country flies dressed for this edition by the author. This selection of traditional patterns is taken from a wide variety of North Country rivers and streams, and the flies have been tied from the original dressings and utilising authentic North Country hackles and vintage silks. In order to best remain faithful to the profile of the original patterns, the flies have been dressed on straight-eyed, light-wire Daiichi dry-fly hooks. The two leather-bound volumes will be contained together in a handsome matching cloth slipcase.
This de luxe edition is limited to only 25 signed and numbered two-volume sets for sale. It is priced at £795 per set, but those ordered before 30th January 2015 will be invoiced at the pre-publication price of £750. Specific numbers of more than half of the edition have already been requested so if you desire a particular number please let us know as soon as possible. Click here for further details.