Editing, Flyfishers' Journal

The Flyfishers’ Journal: Winter 2021

Mayflies must surely constitute some of the most perfect symbolism of a flyfisher’s sport. Beautiful, fragile and famously ephemeral. Patient and enduring, living stoically and nearly-invisibly among dark stones and silt for a year or more… before emerging together into light and air for a celebration of life that seems all the more urgent and spectacular because we’ve also have been anticipating this transformation for so long. (Not least, the Mayfly hatch is also an annual event which sometimes gives non-flyfishers a hint of what they’re missing!)

At a time when many Members of the Flyfishers’ Club have started cautiously re-emerging from the worries and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s felt quite right to mark such a moment with a special issue of the Flyfishers’ Journal inspired by the metaphorical rebirth of our beloved Mayflies. And thanks to very many energetic and talented contributors, that nymphal idea has hatched and taken flight beyond all original hopes and expectations…

Duncan Soar accepted the commission of photographing the ‘Champagne Mayfly’ which finds itself immortalised on the front cover, and Paul Collins composed a long and amusing account of the Club’s Young Members’ Mayfly Day on the Orvis Ginger Beer beat of the Test at the end of May. From a practical Mayfly-fishing point of view, Peter Hayes has provided an erudite and entertaining study of what a trout is really looking for when it’s focused on a hatch, while he and Andrew Farr also reveal the combination of back-room detective work and high-llyn derring-do that was needed to capture some elusive specimens of the Claret Dun (and how this has now very nearly completed their restoration of the Club’s historic Natural Fly Collection).

Tying outsized flies is often an integral part of the Mayfly-fishing experience, and there’s a magnificent close-up image of a CDC Mayfly Spinner on the page opposite this issue’s Editorial. Both photo and fly have been created by Barry Ord Clarke, a supremely talented tyer who became a Member of the Flyfishers’ Club in 2020, and has now been voted Fly Tyer of the Year 2021 by Fly Tyer Magazine. Thanks to Barry and our mutual publisher Merlin Unwin, the complete tying sequence for the CDC Mayfly Spinner appears on page 40, and I’m hoping to build step-by-step instructions like these into an interesting series in the future. (I’ve also reviewed Barry’s latest book, Fly-Tying for Beginners, in this issue’s book reviews section).

With our fishing horizons gradually expanding again, this Journal also aims to offer inspiration in the form of Norwegian salmon river recommendations from Morten Harangen, tales of Russian fishing guides from Simon Bath, and Bahamian bonefishing with Graham Stephens.

And last but not least, our customary ‘good cause’ article is focused on the Wild Trout Trust’s Mayfly in the Classroom project – an engaging way to bring the life cycle of the Mayfly right into the school curriculum, or even your own home or fly-tying club…

(The Flyfishers’ Journal is a complimentary benefit of membership of the Flyfishers’ Club, and should have started landing on Members’ doormats a couple of weeks ago; it’s also available to non-members by subscription).