Monday, 28 July 2008


Nuff sed!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Surf's Up! Or Should That Be Surfs Down?

Once again not a lot happening here in the suburbs, so I've taken to dreaming of a trip to Namibia. Where amongst other attractions you can cardboard box surf down the biggest sand dune on earth. Aparently the walk up is 'only' 50 minutes, and after an invigourating glass of Champagne the trip down lasts a full 5 minutes.

Did I mention you can catch Bronze Whaler sharks from the shore?
Now that HAGC has pointed out that surplace of chum I'd be a fool not to (well at least think about it)!
(wistful sigh) Such is suburban life....
Thanks for reading

Friday, 18 July 2008

Can Trout Laugh?

"When the beginner can cast his fly into his hat, eight times out of ten, at forty feet, he is a fly fisher; and so far as casting is concerned, a good one."
James A. Henshall, MD, 1881

In the spirit of 'what gets measured, gets done' I thought James Henshall's criteria could be tracked. I mulliganed the first two casts, but as you can see from the landing sites of one through ten, I'm still falling some way short of the hat. When you deduct the length of the rod (eight feet) it's even worse! I keep telling myself the Chalksteams are only ten to fifteen feet wide and that the fresh Trout aren't the only reason I'm doing this......

"Unless one can enjoy himself fishing with the fly, even when his efforts are unrewarded, he loses much real pleasure. More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done."
Charles F. Orvis, 1886


But then he would say that wouldn't he? He's got an agenda to push, and fishing gear to sell!!

I'm lovin' spending time outside, but the Trout are perfectly safe.

Any pointers gratefully received!


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fishing In A Barrel

Am I psychic? Or are the public just extremely predicable?

One day a week I spend at home with The littlest Bushwacker; generally we drop Bushwacker Jnr. off at school and make our way home via the bakery, or weather permitting we take a walk in the park. As my fly cast is still in its embryonic stage I'm trying to get as much practise in as possible so I take my fly rod with me and practise on one of the ponds. Half an hour once a week isn't much but its better than no practise at all.

I use a short leader tied to to a feather from that pheasant. I don't need a hook, I don't use a hook. I knew this was going to happen, and this morning it did.

While I was happily thrashing at the surface of the water a black Labrador bounded up scaring TLB into hiding behind my legs. Ever one for instilling confidence (tempered by realism) into the kids I said 'you're all right honey, that's a friendly dog'. Then looking around the pond to its approaching owner I added 'It's the owner I'm frightened of'.

I was going to describe the woman as having a face like a Bulldog sucking on a Wasp, a face only a mother could love. When my own mother used to see faces like that she'd tell me and BoB 'stop pulling that face, the wind'll change and you'll be stuck like that'. The wind is obviously changeable on Blackheath.

I could feel her rage before she pulled up alongside me, her eyes ablaze with indignation as she shouted "this is not a fishing pond" to which I replied "I'm not fishing" I let a pause hang in the air while she gulped like a feeding Carp before adding, "this is casting practice". Spying her chance to feel justified she waded in a little deeper "you're leaving hooks in there, there's Ducks in there, and you're leaving hooks in there!" she went to turn away in a huff, no doubt intending to report me to the park maintenance guys, further round the pond, who were busy using a small John Deer thingy to drive the six or seven feet between individual pieces of rubbish.

Restraint, Respect, Control - whoever has the slowest heartbeat wins....

"Madam, maybe you'd like to take a look at this" by this time I'd hauled in the line and was presenting her with the end of the leader, "And if there's a hook on it you can report me, and if there isn't a hook you can apologise".

She muttered "I apologise"

Her withdrawal was made all the less dignified by my laughter.

I know, I know, no points for fishing in a barrel, but you've got to make your own entertainment. Such is suburban life.

Thanks for reading

photo credit (some very good pix)

Saturday, 12 July 2008



Further in the spirit of living vicariously through others, this is the first in a series of photographs taken by a friend of mine. He gets out a lot more than I do!
Thanks for Looking

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

This Weeked I'll Be Reading

Maybe you've noticed in recent months I've developed an interest in the gentle art of fly fishing. Why? Well opinion varies; Skippy has it 'you're so lazy no wonder you've chosen fishing as your sport, if you can call it that'
Thanks Skip.
Jonah (who taught me to fish) "you've got everything! When are you going to do some actual fishing?
Well Jonah I might say the same about your 'adventures' in carpentry.
Regretfully I must concede, our chubby coastal dwelling friend has a point - I don't really manage to get to the water that often. But I do enjoy reading about/living vicariously through, those who do.

I found This Is Fly a few days after my trip with Jeremiah. As we'd sat outside the pub we both noted the way the fishing media have failed to keep up with the times, where was the magazine aimed at us?
Fishing magazines are pretty dull, written by and aimed at an older crowd. Which is strange when you think about it, as the canal sides, river banks, beaches and piers where I meet people fishing are enjoyed by all ages. Teenage louts, and grumpy granddads are well represented, as are paunched hipsters in the full flush of middle youth (like myself and Johna) with young children in tow.

If even golf can be 'reinvented' - w'appen?

Where there's an obsession, there's a niche, and where there's a niche, there's an audience, and where there's an audience, there's the potential for ad revenue... ....and at the end of the line there'll be a bunch of obsessives with long suffering wives, dreaming of someone else paying for them to pursue their obsession, and a laptop. Starting a magazine.

There are loads of 'online only' magazines most of them not worth the paper they're printed on. But every so often something happens which defies the natural order of things, confounds inevitability, and surprises.
This Is Fly is just such a magazine. A fishing magazine that starts with 'mixtape': what we were listening to as we put this edition together. It looks like the graphic designer was previously working on a skating magazine, and reads like it was written by guys who'd be good value around the camp fire. The editorial style is brave enough to say "you wistfully dream of 'A River Runs Through It' if you like, this is our time, this our thing and this is how we do it".

So this weekend, if you like fly fishing, or have ever been puzzled by the rules of understatement and reverse snobbery that the English live by, be sure to read 'A Duffers Guide To The Chalkstreams' by Rufus Cartwright in issue 9!

Thanks for reading
Your pal the bushwacker

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Jus' Like That!

After my recent outburst on the comments section of Andy's Blog, and this weeks exaltation of the biscuit there are two reason to show you the picture at the top of this post.

One: Tra-la! They really are as easy as I said, and if you get down to the shops later today you've still got the chance to be a hero tomorrow morning.

Two: Andy's point about the farm shop being the best place to buy your eggs from is so true. Look how flat the yolk is on that egg. It's perfectly cooked, but being from a supermarket, it's not really fresh and so instead of being a perfect hemisphere the yolk has sagged.

Such is suburban life

PS Here's how I poach eggs

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Breakfast - It's All Good This Weekend

This one you gotta try!!

American readers will already know this, so this post is really for those of us not residing in the USA. America leads the world at breakfasting, really, and here's for why...

It's not just a legend, there really are special breakfast beers brewed in Germany, a wonderful idea, shows real imagination, but no. It's not quite what I'm looking for.
A croissant, even a chocolate stuffed croissant or pan au chocolat, washed down with a bowl of hot chocolate is good. But not good enough.
The 'full English' while a fine thing in itself could do with a few additions. Those additions hail from the US. The American take on the pancake, all risen and fluffy is a wonderful thing too, and may well become the subject of a future blog, but this post and this weekends breakfasts are dedicated to the majesty of the Biscuit.

By biscuit I don't mean the English word for cookies, I mean the half way house between bread and scones that ANYONE can make in TEN MINUETS. Transforming themselves at a stroke from kitchen lummox to culinary hero in less time than it took me to write this post. TRUE.

I've eaten biscuit with American family's and in dinners loads of times but it never occurred to me just how easy they are to make.Until I read A Proper Breakfast by GWH (the Great White Hunter). His recipe cannot over state just how easy they are to make!

Shortening isn't that easy to come by in the UK so I use vegetable suet which all the big supermarkets sell. You'll find it in the baking section it looks like this

The only things I would add are;
Don't make them too thin. At first I was nervous of making them too doughy and rolled them a little thinner than the recommended three quarters of an inch, as soon a I started to roll them out a little thicker I got a perfect biscuits.
A sponge tin (round and not very deep) is perfect for making one large biscuit which you can serve slices of.

This weekend you're a hero, even if it's only until the end of the meal!
Thanks for reading

PS This summer while camping out, at the music festivals or later in the year at deer camp, this recipe makes a good alternative to banock -you can mix and bag the dry ingredients and take them with you. While the others are lamenting the state of the squished, soggy loaf they brought with them, you can bake your biscuit in a Dutch oven over the fire. How bushwacker will you look then!