Start fly-fish­ing at Meon

Know some­one who wants to learn how to fly-fish? Try Meon Springs where new­com­ers just need to bring them­selves!

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

A friendly place to start down south

IF you’ve got a pal who’s keen to start fly-fish­ing and you live in the south of Eng­land, then the per­fect venue to ‘show them the ropes’ is Meon Springs in Hamp­shire. A warm wel­come is guar­an­teed in the plush wooden lake­side lodge and the lakes cater for an­glers of all abil­i­ties, with fish clearly vis­i­ble through the crys­tal clear wa­ter. You can stay over too, and truly re­lax in the peace­ful sur­round­ings. There’s su­perb and unique ac­com­mo­da­tion in the shape of Fish­er­man’s Huts sit­u­ated close to the lakes, and glamp­ing in the yurts tucked out of the way, fur­ther from the lakes and near the farm it­self. The lat­ter caters for larger groups and cor­po­rates. But most im­por­tant of all the fish­ery recog­nises the need to in­crease the num­ber of fly an­glers in the UK. Tim Richard­son, who works at Meon said: “One of the things we’re re­ally push­ing at the mo­ment is fish­ing tu­ition. We’re keen to get new peo­ple into the sport. Our ‘Fly Fish­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence Days’ – which are a com­plete in­tro­duc­tion to fly-fish­ing – are prov­ing re­ally pop­u­lar. Ba­si­cally, peo­ple turn up and ev­ery­thing is pro­vided – tackle hire, tu­ition, two-fish ticket, En­vi­ron­ment Agency rod li­cence. It’s re­ally pop­u­lar and peo­ple buy them as gifts for friends and fam­ily. “For some peo­ple, it’s a bucket list thing – they do it and it’s fine. But for oth­ers, they love it and they keep com­ing back. We’re also keen on teach­ing ju­niors and in par­tic­u­lar, we en­cour­age them to en­ter Trout­mas­ters when they catch.” To­day we’re joined by TF con­trib­u­tor Peter Cock­will who lives not too far away and as usual, he walks around the lake a cou­ple of times be­fore even cast­ing a fly. He likes to as­sess fish be­hav­iour first as this will dic­tate his ap­proach. Al­ways take time to ob­serve the scene as op­posed to rush­ing in. It pays off in the long run. Get the ap­proach right first and you’ll have a much bet­ter day. Peter is joined by Alan Wood who of­ten ac­com­pa­nies him on trips abroad. It’s not long be­fore they’re both into a run of fine rain­bows which are eas­ily spot­ted in the clear, shal­low wa­ter. It’s fun spot­ting the fish, cast­ing so your weighted fly lands close by or in the fishes’ path and then – af­ter al­low­ing the fly to sink to what you per­ceive to be the fish-hold­ing depth – be­gin a sharp re­trieve. It’s heart­stop­ping stuff watch­ing the trout’s re­ac­tion. Will it fol­low? Or will it ig­nore your of­fer­ing? It’s the ex­pectancy that drives us to en­joy this kind of fish­ing for hours – it’s amaz­ing how fast a day will pass fish­ing like this. Add in the ex­tremely friendly at­mos­phere and you’ve a ‘be­gin­ners’ par­adise. Spend a few nights on a hol­i­day, and en­joy the fish­ing and the food at the Thomas Lord pub in the vil­lage of West Meon – that’s where many visi­tors spend their evenings. There re­ally is no bet­ter place to show your pals the fun and so­cial side of­fered avail­able when trout fish­ing.

Fish are eas­ily spot­ted in the lake near­est the lodge.

The lodge wel­comes walk­ers as well as an­glers.

Alan Wood with a Meon rain­bow.

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