Editing, Flyfishers' Journal, Writing

The Flyfishers’ Journal: Summer 2022

On the few occasions when I’ve tried saltwater flyfishing – also known to its real cognoscenti as SWFFing – around the coast of Britain, I’m happy to admit that I’ve not been very successful.

Yet if the fish were fairly insignificant (mainly small pollack or coalfish lured up from forests of kelp with sinking lines and heavy Clouser Minnows) the experience certainly wasn’t. Out there on the rocks, humbled by boundless horizons, connected by crashing surf to the churning of planet-sized processes… this was elemental immersion at a level that’s rarely possible to achieve on even the mightiest loch or salmon river, much less on my usual placid trout streams.

Of course, I’m very far from the first to have felt the pull of those primordial forces, or appreciate the sporting opportunities to be found at the constantly-shifting edges of sand, sea and sky, and that’s what I’ve tried to suggest in this issue of the Flyfishers’ Journal.

Thanks to a timely introduction from John Knott, this summer’s theme was inspired by John McGill and the first of two meticulously-researched articles on the origins of saltwater flyfishing in the UK. Subsequent conversations revealed that the Club has its own in-house SWFFing experts too, and I’m incredibly grateful to Nigel Haywood, who hasn’t just contributed his own expert piece on SWFFing’s Victorian heyday, but also reviewed James Batty’s recently-published Fishing from the Rock of the Bay, and even opened his personal saltwater fly-box for detailed inspection.

Meanwhile, Barry Ord Clarke has photographed step-by-step tying instructions for his spectacular Hoodlum saltwater streamer pattern – deadly for Nordic sea-trout, but highly recommended on this side of the North Sea as well – and Steve Pitts has written about BASS, the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society, and its ability to bring anglers’ concerns about the sustainability of bass stocks to the highest levels of international fisheries negotiation.

All told, the latest issue of the Flyfishers’ Journal has turned out quite the seaside feast of SWFFing inspiration, and I’m hoping it’ll even launch a few readers on their own coastal explorations this summer and autumn!