Hello 2011!!! (or, “Jeez! 2010 Was One Hell Of A Busy Year!”)

Before I begin my re-cap of 2010, I’d just like to wish you guys, the readers of FFISW.com, a wonderful and happy New Year! May all your lines be tight in 2011!

What a year here at Fly Fishing in South Wales, and it’s simply flown by! I’ve also, somehow, managed to neglect my fishing and writing priorities quite badly, however, I do have one or two valid excuses…

So, Where Am I?

The first four months of the year saw a ridiculously slow start to all things fishing. Hell! We had snow from January through to February, freezing temperatures well into May and, when the snow did eventually stop falling, we were presented with a very dry, very hot summer complete with pretty much zero rain until October – the end of our trout fishing season. Fishing conditions, I think you’ll agree, which are not particularly conducive to good trout fishing.

Needless to say, this hot/cold/dry/low water combo had a very nasty knock-on effect to our native trout. Consistently productive fishing failed to kick-in until at least June, and which was right around the same time that out weather changed from freezing to boiling, seemingly, over night. What productivity there was, however, was firmly confined to either very early or very late fishing sessions. The proof in the pudding came in the form of one such visit to the River Usk at a very early 4am, and which saw a high number of quite large trout caught.

June 2010 – The days of early mornings and big fish
June 2010 - The days of early mornings and big fish

In April I was honoured to be invited as a guest tier at the Gwent Angling Society ‘Fly Tying Demo Evening’ and was amazed to be added to a list of tiers which included none other that Mark Roberts, Alun Rees, Gwilym Hughes, Louis Noble, Chris Price, Keith Passant, Dave Wiltshire, etc; and what an amazing night it was. Gwent Angling are a fantastic, truly pro-active and future-minded club, and run by a fantastic bunch of guys. To find out more about the Gwent Angling Society, please visit their website at www.gwentanglingsociety.co.uk.

April 2010 – Gwent Angling Society’s Annual Fly Tying Demo Night. Chris Price (APGAI) ties a CDC Olive.
April 2010 - The annual Gwent Angling Society Fly Tying Demo Night

After chatting to Mark Roberts (APGAI, FFF Master, etc) at the GAS tying evening I felt that I’d like to progress my own fishing skills by joining the Game Angling Instructors Association (GAIA) in the hope of becoming an instructor. After seven months of hard practice and study (which usually found me either casting at cones in a field or falling asleep with a casting book) I was very proud to have passed the assessment for the Game Angling Instructors Certificate (GAIC: Single Handed).

After all the hard work and, thanks to an amazing group of  fully fledged and trainee instructors alike (as well as a number of emails and comments conveying support and best wishes from you guys!), I was relieved to finally be awarded the title of ‘Professional Game Angling Instructor (GAIC: Single Handed)’ in November 2010. ‘Pleased’ or ‘happy’ just don’t seem to cover it and, even now (nearly two months after passing), I still can’t quite believe it.

November 2010 – The reason for my lack of fishing during 2010…a lot of hard work, but worth it!
November 2010 - Game Angling Instructors Certificate (GAIC)

This of course, was the main reason for my lack of fishing during 2010; fishing simply has to be put on hold for the amount of practice and study required of each assessee. That said, it was one hell of a ride; a ride, I’m proud to say I’m going to be riding for, hopefully, quite some time as I continue to develop my knowledge and skills with the help and support of  a brilliant mentoring group and as a member of GAIA.

I’d like to thank everyone who was part of the first stage of this development; to my mentor, the assessors, instructors and, of course, to you guys reading this. There’s always something new to learn, and I have absolutely no issues in recommending GAIA to anyone wanting to either further their skills or in order to progress into the huge world of game angling instruction.

Backtracking a couple of months, July and August were, by far, not only the busiest months of the year, but also of my life!

During August I attended the CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire as a trainee instructor and where I spent three amazing (but truly exhausting) days working with GAIA. An eye-opener of a show (to say the least), but one which helped boost my confidence in instruction tenfold; the chats and discussions with the other instructors and trainee’s regarding teaching techniques, etc, have proved invaluable. A fantastic bunch of guys!

Leading one of my casting workshops: a demo and presentation on straight-line paths
July 2010 - Leading my own casting workshop (a presentation on straight line paths)

Also during August, I was also lucky enough to have one of my articles (‘Keeping Things Simple: A Guide to Fishing Small Streams’) published in Fly Fishing & Fly Tying Magazine (one of the leading fly fishing magazines here in the UK). Published under the title ‘Small Stream Addict’, I’ve had some fantastic feedback from readers both in the UK and across the world (from the USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany), all of which I’m so so thankful for.

August 2010 – ‘Small Stream Addict’ in the August Edition of FF&FT Magazine
August 2010 - My article in Fly Fishing & Fly Tying Magazine

During 2010 FFISW has also been increasing it’s social profile as we’ve now been successfully on Twitter since 2009. Twitter is a fantastic resource if you like staying up to date with my news snippets and what’s happening in the life of FFISW. Also, and just recently, FFISW is also making an impact on the social networking giant, Facebook.

Visit FFISW at either www.twitter.com/ffisw or www.facebook.com/ffisw.

FFISW is on Twitter and Facebook

What’s Coming In 2011?

If 2010 didn’t sound busy enough, 2011 will (hopefully) be busier! I’m sick, I know.

Gareth Lewis Fly Fishing

The start of 2011 will see the launch of my new website, Gareth Lewis Fly Fishing, which I will be using to promote my game angling instruction and guiding services. At the time of writing, I’m finalising a few details regarding my guiding/instructional services, however, if you’d like to contact me regarding either a casting lesson or guided trip during 2011, I’d love to hear from you. Simply email me your requirements using the Contact page and I’ll be in touch.

More Fishing!

As my fishing life has taken an absolute hammering this year, I’m aiming to get back to some plain old fishing, with a nice report and a few photos appearing on the site much more often! I have a number of new articles and fly tying step-by-steps already in the making and, once the Trout Season begins in March, I’ll be publishing follow-up reports featuring the new (highly secretive) ‘Stream B’ which I mentioned at the tail end of 2010’s trout season (click here, or here, or here…).

For Now…

To you guys who keep coming back time and time again, I’d like to convey my BIGGEST, most sincerest personal thanks to every one of you. Your support over the last year has been amazing and (as I’ve said before) Fly Fishing in South Wales would be a boring place without you! It’s grown and it’s changed, but hopefully for the better!

Most importantly, I’d like to wish you all the very happiest of New Years. Happy holidays everyone, and I look forward to seeing you in 2011!

My biggest thanks and kindest regards,

Gareth Lewis (Fly Fishing in South Wales)

A selection of memories from 2010 (click to enlarge and use left/right arrow-keys to step through)…
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5 Responses to “Hello 2011!!! (or, “Jeez! 2010 Was One Hell Of A Busy Year!”)”

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