Monday, 1 September 2008

Hart Flyshop Open Day

What a cool weekend we have just had, well no, actually it was really hot! As Henry Gilbey will tell you I am well known for picking the wettest, coldest days to go fishing (easy in the UK this year!) but this time I got it right and we welcomed a large crowd to the 2008 Hart Flyshop Open Day in blistering heat.

We were very pleased to have Pete and Charlotte from Aardvark McLeod with us, they supported the event and wowed people with their amazing excursions to far away places such as Los Roques. They were also trying out their new marquee. Both Pete and I purchased a marquee each while at the gamefair and so this was our first trial run. Erecting it was easy, so they tell me. I am afraid I hid in the shop busying myself while Pete, Neil and Charlotte got to grips with the rather bewildering looking instructions. Anyone who has seen me near a tool box will know why I stayed well away ... DIY is not my forte especially when there are spanners involved! Sharing the marquee was Jackie of Exe Valley Smokery plying the public with her gorgeous smoked fish and some very tasty jacket potatoes. Perhaps the only thing we were missing was a bar, an addition to the forthcoming open day perhaps? More of that later.

While the event was taking place battle had commenced on the lakes between 27 competitors who took part in our open day fishing match. All were hoping to strike gold and win a Hardy Demon Rod worth £279.00 for an entrance fee of just £10.00 on top of their usual permit. A few bags came in early but this was a really simple match. No fly rules, no pegs, no time bonus and just a 2 fish limit. This attracted anglers of all abilities including the rapidly improving Pete Tutton who started casting just a few years ago during a course with Nick Hart Fly Fishing. Since that time I have fished with Pete and his wife Marcia a couple of times on both lake and river so it was great to see one of them walk away with top spot. Pete displays one of his winning fish here that made up a total bag weight of 9lbs exactly for 2 fish. 2nd spot went to Dave Dodd from Bristol with 2 fish weighing 6lbs 7oz and 3rd place was filled by Paul Prictor from Wiltshire with a weight of 5lbs 9oz.

We spent the day running around the new look shop helping people with advice regarding all manner of tackle items and Neil spent a good bit if his time offering casting assistance. But of course we found the odd moment to have a play including Pete Gibson representing Hardy & Greys , who couldn't resist testing out his Streamflex on a few Exe Valley Rainbows.

During the day we rolled out our new Hart Flyshop Club providing members with many benefits including 10% off tackle at the store plus a host of activities to enjoy through the year. I will post some more details here soon and there will also be an online joining facility available through Hart Flyshop. Thank you to all of you who joined and double thanks for coming along and making the day such a success. It was so satisfying to hear such positive feedback regarding the shop, the club, the fishery and the open day itself.

Your support has turned a rather spartan looking store from this in 2007 to this on open day 2008! We will continue to improve it and welcome your feed back and comments.

Already we are working on the 2009 open day and will post details soon. We have plenty of exciting ideas that will make this a diary date for many years to come. This week it is back to the river for me with a very old friend of Nick Hart Fly Fishing, Hugh Caslake. He will be attending along with his two best buds and we always have a blast. Two other people who will also be enjoying the week are Pete Mc Leod of Aardvark Mcleod and Henry Gilbey who are taking off to Canada in search of Atlantic Salmon. Check out Petes blog here and Henrys here for up to date reports. If you start to drool, don't worry, I will be too! But you can do something about it! Check out Aardvark McLeod and see this blog during the week for details of my next hosted trip.

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