This year angling is taking centre stage – quite literally – at The Game Fair, with a new and improved Fishing Village at the very heart of the event.
Building on the success of last year’s venture under new management, the Fishing Village will be positioned opposite Gunmakers’ Row, to ensure everyone visiting gets to see the line-up of manufacturers, retailers and destination firms/outfitters.
These stands will be boosted by eight fishing lodges, which will recreate a lodge on the banks of a French lake which The Game Fair is giving away in conjunction with The Times newspaper.
These lodges will be hosted by top firms like Orvis, plus destination angling companies covering everywhere from Alaska to Spain.
The lodges will provide a fascinating insight into what these companies can offer and what their core brand values are.
All of these will overlook two casting pools – one for visitors to try out rods before they buy while the other will host demonstrations and advice from top names including Charles Jardine, Hywel, Yasmin and Tanya Morgan, Scott Mackenzie and more.
A special fly tying area (backed by supplier Veniards) will allow those attending to watch these amazing skills and pick up some useful tips at the same time from an expert panel.
Also on hand will be antique tackle expert Victor Bonutto, who will be showcasing a range of artefacts including a salmon fly box used by Edward VII and information on a rod and reel commissioned for Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to commemorate his efforts in averting a world war in 1938.
Victor will also be offering antique tackle valuations throughout the weekend, both on his stand and in The Game Fair Theatre.
The River Bank
A walkway through a beautiful glade and woodland (or accessed via a dedicated road train for those wanting a break from walking) is The Broadwater, part of the River Lea, which provides a picturesque setting for fishing demonstrations, tuition, celebrity talks and competitions.
The British Fly Casting Club (BFCC) will be running daily fly casting competitions for non-professional anglers between 10am and 3pm in the following categories:
- Single-handed 7# – Junior 13 and under, Junior 14-17, male & female
- Double-handed Overhead Salmon – Junior (under 18), male & female
- Double-handed Spey – male & female
There will also be a qualifying on Friday and Saturday between 9am and 4pm and between 9am and 12am on Sunday for the Sunday Championship Finals for the following events:
- 7# – Junior 13 and under; Junior 14-17, male & female
- ST27 – overall winner
- Overhead Salmon – male & female
- Spey – male & female
Prizes at present include custom-made rods, a day guided fishing with Charles Jardine, fly lines, a free year’s membership with the BFCC, etc. The Daily winners will be announced at 3:15pm on Friday and Saturday.
The Sunday Championship Final will commence at 1pm starting with the 7#, then ST27, Salmon overhead and then the Spey at 3:30pm; winners will also be presented with Trophies provided by the BFCC.
Rod/line outfits will be provided to enter the competition events, although casters can bring their own outfits for the Championship events (as long as they meet the rules). Entry charge for all competition events is £3.
HAVE A GO
For those itching to try their hand at fishing, here will be an extensive have-a-go and tuition area down by the river, run by National Fishing Month (if you need background for copy, see www.nationalfishingmonth.com ). This will cover coarse, lure and fly fishing including casting taster sessions.
Then head back to The Carter Jonas Game Fair Theatre on the edge of the Fishing Village for talks from the likes of Martin Salter and Keith Elliott discussing ‘Himalayan monsters’, Charles Jardine, Alex Jardine and Lewis Hendrie plus an antique tackle spot and Wayne McGee on fishing in Alaska.