Pre-season Dinner at The Peat Spade Inn

Fish Wives held their pre season dinner on Monday 24th March 2014 at the Peat Spade Inn at Longstock nr Stockbridge Hampshire
The Peat Spade is full of sporting photographs of the rich and famous shooting and fishing. The bar is candle lit in the evenings which creates a nice atmosphere. The staff are very welcoming so it is a good place to get together with friends. 

Five Fish Wives were joined by three guests for dinner in the private dining room on the first floor.  Ben the new manager of the Peat Spade had called earlier in the day to confirm numbers and the menu.

After a drink at the bar we moved up to the dining room which is well furnished and decorated. With specimen salmon looking down from their glass cases on the walls we settled into our seats for an evening of good food and good conversation, liberally embellished with fishing stories.

The food was well cooked and well presented. My steak was cooked to perfection. The salted caramel ice cream with honeycomb was really good.  Altogether a great evening to kick off the fishing season, we will be back before the season is out. Lunch is great too and you get to enjoy the scenery.


Fish Wives next fishing day is l on Thursday 27th at Church Paddock Fishery.

End of Season Dinner

We have had a wonderful winter program of fly tying, cookery, knots and dinners. For those of you who did not make it we had lots of fun and great food. The last event of the winter program has to be postponed for a week. Our end of season dinner will be held on Monday 24th March 7.30 for 8pm in the private dining room of the Peat Spade just north of Stockbridge.The dining room, with lots of fly fishing memorabilia, is limited to 12 so please let me know asap if you would like to come along. Three courses plus coffee and wine for £35.00 per head.

fish wives in hampshire fly fishing for ladies

Featured article in Countrymans Weekly 2013

Fish Wives dayThe logo for this organisation says it all: For ladies who do and those who would like to …go fly fishing.
Fish Wives is the brainchild of my wife, Tracy Thew, a level 2 Game Angling Coach, who founded Fish Wives earlier in 2013 in order to personally do something to resolve the dearth of female game anglers on our river banks and lakesides. Her research had revealed that there were, indeed, many women across the age spectrum and from all walks of life who had either fished in their younger days and, for whatever reason, had given it up or were complete novices who had always wanted ‘to have a go’. She discovered that the main stumbling block that prevented these would-be anglers from picking up a fly rod was the isolated and sometimes remote locations of most fisheries together with the lack of female companionship in a very much, male-dominated sport.

By nature, a determined and sometimes dogged woman, Tracy gave some thought to the problem and came up with the concept of Fish Wives; the very essence of which is to provide a relaxing and pleasant day with good food, good company and great sport in an idyllic location.

Having gathered a small group of ladies for the initial Fish Wives day, Tracy encouraged professional photographer Beccy Frost to come along and record the event. During the day Beccy took time out to exchange her camera for a fly rod and she was immediately hooked – not literally, you understand, and no pun intended! But she fell in love with fly fishing and is now, along with Tracy and daughter Harriet, an integral part of the Fish Wives management team.
Great  cacthThe format for a typical Fish Wives day is to meet in the morning at the chosen still-water venue. Although Tracy will always be there at 09.00 to meet members, there is no rigidly fixed arrival or starting time which enables anyone, despite their commitments, to come along, as and when they can. Every location is chosen with care by Tracy who insists on a comfortable lodge or fishing hut, well stocked and easily reached waters and, most importantly from the female perspective, a clean and accessible loo!! After coffee and an exchange of gossip those ladies who have experience in fishing get on with it whilst the novices are given instruction, at various levels, by Tracy. The morning session ends with a leisurely lunch, prepared and provided by Tracy; the cost of which is included within the Fish Wives membership package. Fishing continues beyond lunch with a break for afternoon tea after which members are able to fish into the early evening or, alternatively, they can take their leave at a time to suit their family or business duties.


Fish Wives have scheduled venues for twenty eight days in any season which include, among others, the delightful and well stocked, Meon Springs, Western Court and Holbury Lakes fisheries, and members are free to take as many of these days as they wish. An annual membership, which includes the cost of lunch and coaching, is available for a one-off payment of £300.00 and for those ladies who don’t have so much available time or perhaps just want to have a try, a day ticket is offered for £60.00 which includes the fishery hire, coaching and lunch for those with their own equipment and rod licence and £80.00 for those who don’t.

During the winter months, when fishing is perhaps not so much fun, events such as fly- tying evenings, talks and dinners have been arranged to maintain contact and continuity among the members.

fish wives banner
The official launch of Fish Wives had been planned to take place on the casting pond in the Countryside area of the annual, three-day, New Forest and Hampshire County Show; an event whose attendance figures are fast approaching those of the CLA Game Fair. In 2012, the rising status of The New Forest Show was lifted further still by a visit from Her Majesty the Queen and, furthermore, we were delighted to hear that, this year, we were to be honoured, yet again, by another royal visit from their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Excitement mounted as we learnt that the first, scheduled stop for the Royal visit was to our very own Countryside Area and, what’s more, Tracy had been chosen to escort the Royal Couple during their visit.
The theme for the show this year was ‘Get Involved’ and the Earl and Countess certainly did just that by ending their visit on the casting pond, where the Countess had a somewhat brief but none the less enthusiastic and enjoyable casting lesson from Tracy; after which she was presented with a Fish Wives bass bag containing an honorary membership and a Fish Wives cap; meanwhile, the Earl demonstrated his own casting skills on the pond, much to the delight of the watching crowd. What a day for the New Forest Show and what a day for Fish Wives!

Article written by Ian Thew

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.