I was lucky enough to be invited to be a mentor at the fishing for forces day at Theale. This is a charity set up by Bill Howell for members of the Armed Forces returning from operations. As well as a number of Army Angling Federation representatives’ including the new chairman Phil Thomas from the RAF came along to help mentor. With Sportfish on the doorstep of this fishery and the promise of a hog roast for lunch you know it was going to be a good. I started the day of with Rob a member of the RAF and an accomplished course fisherman who had represented the RAF in the course discipline. The guys had spent twenty minutes being shown how to cast, this is not even remotely enough time to learn but the day was only an introduction. We were given the windward shore making it virtually impossible for a beginner to cast. After persevering for twenty minutes we made our way round the bank till the wind was at our backs. It was evident that the fish had been pushed out by the constant thrashing of water. I started to cast to get the distance required and then handed the rod to Rob. Still no action fish were being caught around us but we just could not entice an offer. Rob had a great understanding of what was needed and took on board everything I was telling him to no avail.
Only half an hour before lunch and not a touch. We borrowed a bung from a couple of guys fishing next to us and to be honest never looked back. Rob got his first fish just before lunch, after enjoying a first-rate lunch I gave the Hardy Sintrex and the Orvis Helios rods a go. Both very nice tools and I think when the season is finished a change may be in the wind. Straight after lunch and first cast Rob had his second fish. We were allowed to go and fish the catch and release pond once you had reached two. The fishing here was much tougher and I did not see one fish taken in the two hours we spent there.
At the days end the usual speeches’ and prize giving was well received and it seemed everyone involved had a great day. This is a real worthwhile charity and it does make a difference to serviceman who otherwise may not get the opportunity to try their hand at fly fishing.