home baked treats

Lucy Symons spends a day casting her line catching trout and catching up with other fish wives.

Fish Wives Fly FishingFish Wives is a simple concept – women should enjoy fly fishing and yet very few ever even try it. Is this because most don’t manage to get past the bastion of masculinity most fishing lakes represent? If the brave do get to stand elbow to elbow with a “proper” angler, they then need the confidence to have a go at what seems at first glance pretty simple, but is actually quite a tricky skill to pick up. Tracy Thew, who started Fish Wives, has a passion for fishing and one that is instantly infectious.

She also has a lovely, calming way of describing things so the women she teaches have the best possible opportunity to learn and because you are only surrounded by girls, there’s no one to point and laugh, except your sisters. Within an hour of careful instruction five of us were proficient enough to be let loose on the lake wearing hats and glasses – not a sartorial requirement, I discovered, rather to save your delicate facial features from meeting a barbed fish hook on its way back from a dodgy cast.

Range in age levelsWe ranged in age from 15 to 75, a group made up of a few seasoned experts mixed with total beginners. For starters, you are in a beautiful spot – almost by definition. Running water and peace is what you need to be a happy trout – so you can count on a day of bucolic splendor even if you don’t actively enjoy the activity. Hardly strenuous, the rod is very light weight and easy to assemble, the basics are pretty easy to grasp, however, I am currently suffering from what my mother described as “fisherman’s elbow”. Fly fishing requires you to simultaneously to think on many levels and concentrate on learning a skill thar seems straight forward, where the only sound is the running water and the occasional plop of a fish poking his nose out to taunt you.

But that isn’t where all of Tracy’s passion lies – she definitely wants you to be hooked (pardon the pun) but she also wants you to have a great day out – a day filled with home baked treats, a giant spread of deliciousness for lunch and scrumptious tea punctuated with a little bit of contemplative fishing. And because it is all women, we naturally had a good chin-wag whenever the fish weren’t listening. And we laughed: at each other and at ourselves.home baked treats

Inspired to get women in to bastions of traditionally male sports, Tracy is also formulating Game Girls: aimed at the older teens/early twenties to expose them to all manner of country pursuits. I certainly find her inspirational… she’s lived a life and is more than happy to chat to you and share her philosophies and experiences.

So… all in all, I would prescribe this as the perfect tonic for the soul: peaceful, not at all strenuous, repetitive actions in a gorgeous location, punctuated with the occasional burst of excitement as a trout is snagged and then (with any luck) landed. You can keep all the fish you catch – Tracy is a wealth of information on how to cook them once they are home – and there is nothing more delicious (it turns out) than a fresh fish that has gone from lake to table in a matter of hours.

Rods, fish licenses, instruction and hearty fare await you. All you need to bring is a sense of humour and a sense of adventure.

Fish Wives – Fishing Report: Western Court 8th Aug 2013

Lovely summers day, warm with some cloud and light winds.
Crystal clear with some weed
Who Fished:
Christine Ames. Sue Law, Penny Down, Harriet Spain, Jessica Bartlet & Becky Frost (Photographer).
Western Court this lovely private, fishery with three lakes stocked with rainbow trout and a stretch of the river Arle stocked with brown trout; is ideal for Fish Wives.  We were delighted to find that The Big Green Egg Company had installed their Chelsie Show Stand on the edge of the lake which gave us a wonderful location for lunch.
We had a very good, third day here with 14 fish caught between us. Jessica and Harriet arrived early. Harriet went off to catch the first fish on a green nymph. Tracy gave Jessica a lesson including the roll cast and overhead cast leaving her to practice for a while before putting a fly on. She successfully caught and landed her first fish after lunch.   The other ladies arrived and after we had enjoyed a coffee and a walk round the lakes we got on with some fishing.
Christine was straight into her first fish catching three in total. Tracy gave Sue and Penny a lesson on the roll cast.  Penny landed a very nice fish off the deck, followed later by Sue, who caught on a Black Gnat., always a useful fly in the sunshine.
After tea we went to fish onto the bottom lake and Becky caught a couple of nice fish. The only disappointment was that Tracy managed to lose a big one, at the net. It can happen to us all. We  had enough fish for everyone to take a couple home.
Many thanks to Toby Coles for permitting us to use Western Court for the day and we look forward to coming back on 2nd September.
fish wives fly fishing
Future Dates:
Meon Springs
Holbury Lakes
Western Court
Moorhen Fishery
Meon Springs
Holbury Lakes
Booking form email
Becky Frost has the photographs on 
Jamie Butler at Meon Springs is posting our fishing reports

We have lots planned

We have started fishing and will be at Holbury Lakes for our first day on Tuesday 11th March. There are still a few places if you would like to join us for a days fly fishing and lunch. Call me to book on 01425 403735.

Next week we will be at John O Gaunt We will be there on TUESDAY the 18th a change of date due to un-forseen circumstances on my part. (I did not check my diary) and the following week on Thursday 27th March we are at Church Paddock Trout Fishery in Winchester both new fisheries for this year.
Our last winter event will be the pre-season dinner which will be held on the 24th March at the Peat Spade a very nice fishing pub just north of Stockbridge. We still have 4 places left so if you would like to come and talk fishing for an evening please call me and book your space. 01425 403735. £35.00 per head for three courses including wine and coffee

River Teifi
River Teifi

We have lots of plans for the coming season:

A three day fishing trip to the river Teifi in west Wales to fish for brown trout, sea trout and salmon. in late June. If you would like to come and be involved in the planning please let me know you are interested.
A planned Ladies Day in conjunction with Howard Taylor of Upstream Dry Fly on a beautiful lake on the Leckford Estate near Stockbridge.
We are hosting a WIRE Women in Rural Enterprise meeting on 1st July at Holbury Lakes with the opportunity to have a go at catching a trout in the afternoon.