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'THE ANGLE OF THE CAST'
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Not exactly ' Fifty Shades of Grey', but, there is some sexual deviance within
I am fortunate that a great angler and Rugby Union legend Gareth Edwards CBE prepared the foreword for me and indebted to my close angling friend David Jones for editing the draft into 230 odd pages with two black and white picture plates and one colour plate.
'THE ANGLE OF THE CAST'
As a boy, the two loves of my life were fishing and rugby. The story is written on my rugby career but thankfully I am still fishing and enjoying it more than ever. It is also less demanding on the old body!
There are however fishermen and fishermen. Some have that special something that implies a form of understanding and skill well beyond normal anglers.
One such exceptionally gifted angler is Gwilym Hughes. I first met him many years ago when I was involved in making some fishing programmes in Welsh for the BBC. We have been friends ever since. Gwilym started fishing whilst he was at School and, like myself with rugby, he admits that little did he think as he walked to the river with his rod and worms that one day he would reach the pinnacle of achievement within the fine art of ‘Fly fishing’.
Gwilym was first capped for Wales in 1983 and soon reached the top of his game coming away from Loch Harray in Orkney with the coveted 'Brown Bowl' trophy for the top rod in that particular International match. Fifteen years later in 1998 Gwilym did the 'double', walking away from the River Tweed in Scotland with the 'Moc Morgan' trophy for the top rod in the River's International Match. This marked a historic moment within the home International Fly fishing scene as he became the first angler ever to have won both titles of’ Lake and River International Champion.
Over his career many more awards and prizes have come his way, including his induction into the prestigious 'Hardy Hall of Fame'.
Over the years I have been an avid reader of articles that Gwilym has published in various angling journals, always hugely knowledgeable but importantly you could go out and do what he suggested and see results coming quickly.
All this knowledge, skill and experience have now come together in this book about his life within the 'Angling' game. There is insight on every page - from the memory of his very first trout, boyish adventures and hilarious incidents, through the stages of learning and development of skills in angling to the fulfilment and elation of reaching International status. From all this comes a good read and an angling bible.
Gwilym might very well have set about his 'Fly fishing' as I set about my 'Rugby' trying to harness his natural skills and adapting them to the challenges at hand. He has covered every aspect of this remarkable angling progress with some original, thought provoking and simple-to-follow guidance. This book can only enhance one’s angling experience.
Gareth Edwards CBE
THE ANGLE OF THE CAST
Why write a book about my life in general and its connection through to 'Angling'? The reasons are many and varied and I cannot exactly say that one would take priority over another, whereas collectively it would make sense to say that 'Angling' is my life and always has been. Other matters within my life have quite often taken second place, such has been and still remains the grip of its addictiveness. I have set out to record memories of my experiences in the hope that one day someone may find them useful. The dedication within is directed at my parents, Ella and Griff who were doubtless bewildered by how their little boy evolved through time. It is also dedicated to my wife Sarah who understands me totally, cares for me, and allows me the time and space to be who I am. Last but not least, my children Jenifer and Heather who often wondered where their father was when he was not in work.
My thanks go out to everyone with whom I have had the pleasure of their company. Their advice, be it good or bad, has helped shape the character that will appear in the following pages.
I will do my utmost to avoid areas that I believe are adequately covered in other fishing publications but, in case if I do transgress I apologise to all you splendid authors now.
As advice goes, and for what it’s worth, always listen to others. It is the lessons from their experiences that will allow you to gain your own, easier and quicker, thus affording you more knowledge and time to exploit your own chances in angling. Try, though it be not easy at times, to be at peace with everyone and, whatever you do, don’t waste too much time reading this when you could be fishing, leave it for those moments when you can’t.
Sowing the fishing seed.
Home,Tackle, my first Seatrout and some tales.
( Picture Plate 1 )
Fishing, a hobby, obsession or both.
My first real fly rod Lobsters and Shrimps.
Introduction to Lake fishing and my first Salmon.
Moving on in life and mapping my future.
Strange Characters and chasing that elusive 'Cap'.
Fly fishing the Competitive side.
A double sting and 'Bugging'.
The River Internationals
Changing my life course STANIC and APGAI.
( Picture Plate 2 )
River Fishing Trout and Grayling.
The Atlantic Salmon.
Boat fishing Lakes and Reservoirs.
The River Flies.
(Picture Plate 3 )
The Lakes and Reservoir Flies.
My favourite Salmon Flies.
My favourite Brown Trout River.
Other species on fly.
The future what is in store ?.
SAMPLE PARAGRAPHS FROM VARIOUS CHAPTERS
'We set off through the village towards the river and there couldn’t have been prouder lads in wellingtons in the whole of Wales that day. Ifan carried the worms and I carried the rod and we negotiated a deal whereby we would take it in turns to catch the trout. My mind was racing with visions of a draining board full of fat golden-bellied beauties to await my father’s arrival home from work'
'As I threaded the next worm onto the small hook I decided to lift hard into the first pull, manoeuvring the worm out alongside the current. The line tightened and I gave an almighty heave and saw a small trout fly out of the river over my head, parting company with the business end worm and hook and drop off into the marsh behind, I was onto it in a flash - I suppose that the commotion could be likened to a cat attacking a mouse in long grass. The trout was finally in my grasp and almost speechless with excitement and shaking from the adrenalin rush, I shot off for home like a bolting rabbit in front of a spaniel, leaving poor Ifan to carry the rod and worm jar following on. I suppose I could claim the fastest half-mile in outsize wellingtons ever covered, for when I reached the back door I was completely out of breath. I produced the fish for mother - it could not have been more than five inches long'
'It was then that an angler appeared from downstream and as he did my father hooked into a Salmon. The Angler put down his rod and bag and produced a gaff ready to assist. I re positioned myself right behind them and sat on the grass bank watching the proceedings. I clearly recall the fish going round and round the pool with the tank aerial conversion arched over, the fish jumped ever so high out of the water at times. It must have been three times the size of the larger of the two sea trout we already had and I remember also the very deep blue back contrasting with its silver flanks.After what appeared to be an age, I shouted to my father, I had to shout for him to hear me above the roar of the flood in the river, 'Dad! Dad!', 'What?', 'Are you going to be long?', at that very point the fish pulled free of the small spoon, the hooks came back with one straightened out. Well, if looks could kill I would not have been here to tell the tale. He never said a word and to this day I wished I hadn’t said anything, but there you go. I knew I had to be back by six o clock because it was my first music / piano lesson in the village 'EGBDF', 'FACE' an all that. You had to be eight years old before the music teacher would take you on. The 'Speed Twin' had me back on time , and the fishing seed was well and truly sown within me. EGBDF indeed…. Every good boy deserves fishing!. The fishing lesson here stands more vivid in my mind than the piano keyboard and has saved the day on many an outing, move your feet into the right position and get the angle of the cast right'
'It was the returning fish that would be of great interest to the poachers, be they gangs operating nets and poisons or individuals using gaffs, spears, snares and the like to remove fish for personal gain'...//...'The sheltering stone was not as large as it had seemed and we were both on our hands and knees close up behind it, and to each other. No need to describe further than to say my nose was positioned in a rather un-desirable location, however my excitement was such that it did not occur to me in spite of small panicky farts all round. My father turned around and whispered to me, that they would get nothing upstream where they were looking but that there was a good lie for salmon under the far bank almost opposite our position. He also told me that if they got a fish we would rush them and apprehend them. Then he resumed his original position so he could see around the edge of the stone through a small clump of rushes and gave me a thumbs up sign. I took a peep over the stone to see that the men were now right above the position my father had pointed out to me'.../...'In the excitement that followed he again let off this time substantially as he set himself in position for the off and I had no choice but to live with it as I was too frightened to move. Holding my breath was my salvation. Then I heard a splashing noise from the river, followed by voices and within seconds my father gave the sign to move. This was a huge relief, I was glad as I could breathe again. He was up to his feet and running at the river shouting something like 'Water Bailiff' on the top of his voice, and at running speed and never breaking his stride he jumped right into the middle of the river towards the poachers landing with an almighty splash and, on impact, almost disappearing into the deep pool a few feet away from the two men'
'All the boats left the mooring just before 10am and as we motored out into a buoyed off area in the bay in front of the Clubhouse, a lone piper with his bagpipes was stood on the end of the stone pier, the pressure upon me brought tears to my eyes, and I turned to face the bow of the boat so that my boat partner and Eoin couldn’t see me. I can’t really explain that feeling in me, I just filled up , I couldn’t help but think back to the days that I had lifted myself up to look over the edge at the fish on the draining board at home and my mother making me that first fishing rod, that first trout from the 'Wen', right through and back to my present position representing my Country a sort of a mind race in time'...//... 'It was a great evening at the Stromness Hotel, collecting the most prestigious and sought after award in International Lake Fly fishing competition. The ‘Brown Bowl’ was mine and I just couldn’t believe it. ( Page105 ) The phone calls back to Wales that evening could well be described as the end of a particular journey in life, whilst it can throw all kinds of obstacles at you, it can also provide great moments. Is there an element of luck in fly-fishing? Of course there is, is there skill involved? Of course there is, all combined with dedication and total concentration, right time, right place, doing the right thing with skill and some luck thrown in. That’s how it works, simple as that!.1983 was an incredible year for me as it involved a total of nine lake fishing competitions in all - from local clubs, Police force, regional, national and, international matches. The incredible part was that I took the heaviest basket of fish in every one of them. Hardy Brother’s rewarded me with a certificate and a gold badge bearing 'Hardy Hall of Fame'. I don’t polish it every day, only once a week'
'I set about to tie a fly on the basis of the Greenwell’s Glory, but one that would have the body just under the surface film when floating down in a dead drift fashion. I used yellow tying silk rubbed through cobblers wax on a size 16 Mustad 80250 hook which has a curved shank. Over this along and above the hook shank, protruding out slightly past the bend of the hook I used a few strands of deer hair tips which when tied in splayed slightly and over the deer hair four natural coloured cul-de-canard feathers, set slightly shorter in length than the deer hair. These are the feathers which are found around the preen gland of a wild duck showing that blue hue. This dressing of the actual finished fly is what is termed today as 'F' fly style. The deer hair served three purposes, it was slightly buoyant, they had the appearance of legs when viewed from underneath the finished fly and held the cul-de-canard feathers in place off the hook shank ensuring that the body would be just below or in the surface film. Later I gave the fly a name, the 'Cul-de-Canon’ '...//...'Again the fish ran line off the reel and this time went straight into the ranunclus. where I could see it flashing about in the sunlight. I quickly made my mind up to go and get it and went in over the top of my chest waders and plunged the net down under it and lifted. It was my day, the fish was in the net and the weed broke away with it. I half swam ashore and got there about 1 minute to the end of the session. The trout measured 44.5 cm. I then lay out on the bank as, to be honest, I was exhausted from the effort I had put in during the day. I turned my feet around above me and lay sloping down and back towards the river, for the water to run out of my waders. I took one of those moments where I was looking up to the sky without a thought and then into my mind came the numbers - four, four, four and five - quite consistent over the sessions. On arrival back at the hotel not all the cards were in but from the conversations and buzz I knew the Welsh Team had done well and that the ‘Gold’ medal would possibly be ours, we didn’t have to wait long, 'Wales for the Gold, Gwilym Hughes International Rivers Champion and largest fish - a clean sweep'. I was elated, emotional and proud all at once - there’s no way of describing in words the feelings of that moment'
'We all have our views, some of us have our say for what it’s worth and more often than not dependant on the recipient of a common sense based view if it’s not to the direct advantage of that individual concerned, no heed is taken and this beggars belief in the face of the continual decline we are experiencing in our rivers. Maybe they do take on board what is said and shudder, a little, but only momentarily, or maybe they do not begin to understand or they choose to ignore in order to suit present financial and performance indicated figures someone dreamed up sat behind a computer in an over populated office block with a view to get to the end of the month to pick up a fat salary cheque driven by correctness within establishments that have become paper orientated ( Big deep breath ) people with ashen faces not getting that double hit of the sun once from above and the reflection of it off the rivers they are supposed to be looking after for us, dragged away from reality by a plethora of unnecessary and inappropriate meetings indoors'...//... 'We are living in a nightmare age of constant meetings where grown men and women sat opposite each other discussing and trying to agree what has gone wrong, sometimes I wonder if it involves matters that some of them do not even begin to understand. It is suspected that they know very little about the subject they are discussing or it is immaterial to them. There must be something wrong otherwise there would be no need for meetings and planning strategies,someone must have made a mess of things and in some cases paid well over a long period of time for doing just that'.
All's quiet at work and I'm on page 47 and exceedingly reluctant to put it down.If the rest is as good as the first 47 I would simply describe it as the best piece of angling liteature written in these Islands since A Man May Fish - and Im not saying that cause I got it for free.......In these days of very technical how to stuff its a breath of fresh air.After a mere few pages I found myself reliving memories long cast aside, memories of my own childhood angling heroes. reliving the day I watched the top of my fathers prized handnmade glass fibre salmon rod sliding down the nylon whilst I wormed for sea trout from a bridge, near wetting myself as I wound back in praying that the small hook would catch the rings. I still have that rod, and recall the 20 mile drive to collect it and above all the sheer joy it brought the father to have a much sought after rod - and boy can it handle a salmon in heavy water.
Yes, any old fart will get immense pleasure from this book, and any young lad that understands whats been said will have an insight into what it really means to be an angler.
Well done Gwilym, not bad for a Welshman that learned English one word a day - you should give your grammar school a free copy
This is a compulsive read and if you take the time to analyse his 'pearls'..........you will smile, laugh, question your current methods and catch more fish.
The Angle Of The Cast?.........yes it's a pun, but theirin lies the answer to so many angling nuances.
Dam good read,if you ask he will give you a personalised dedication
Mine refers to the fact 'you will not catch them in the trees' a comment from him when my attempts at dropping flys close to the far bank led too me thinning the foliage.
Definitely a book to cherish,some of it reminds me of my own formative years in the 50s early 60s,not just fishing but social history as well .
I have just finished reading this fantastic book written by Gwilym Hughes from Corwen. Without giving too much away it describes his fishing journey from a small boy to the present day. It contains excellent tips which everyone can employ in their fishing with some great patterns and excellent photography to accompany it. If im honest this is the first book that i have read cover to cover for some time, thats how good it is and at £15.00 great value for money. Go onto gwilym,s website and sample a taste of what this great book has to offer. Thank you Gwilym for sharing this with me.
Book arrived last week; and just like you - I couldn't put it down! I've read the book cover to cover; and I'm still going back to dip in to certain bits of the book over again! It's a fantastic read; especially as Gwilym is the same age as myself, I can relate to quite a lot of what Gwilym has written!
I'm sure everyone will enjoy reading : The Angle of the Cast!!
Excellent book ,packed with hilarious stories and more to the point vital fishing lessons . I've been to the Liffey twice with Gwil ,learnt a vast amount from him during that time .
I got one of the leather bound for a keepsake and a paperback as a working copy.
The thing that struck me most was that as a kid, I was exactly the same. The pity of it was, because the South Wales rivers used to run 'Bible Black' with coal dust from the washeries, I'd get a clout when I got back from the river because I was often covered in coal dust and dirtier coming home from fishing than before I'd started!
One of many memorable and priceless lines in the book.......Angler 'Any new flies Gwil............?' GH 'Is there any new trout food?'.............pricelsss!
I found it a damn good read and thoroughly enjoyable. This is a refreshing book - whether leather or paper bound! I've now had the opportunity to read it through at least three times - it is 'comfortably' written, it is a good read that tracks an expert angler's life and journey through fishing and for anyone who's grown up with fly fishing since the 50's and 60's it will ring a lot of bells. That however, is just the surface.On a deeper level, it's a book that contains a lot of instruction for the thoughtful and careful reader. The book title, 'The Angle of the Cast', is a carefully chosen one and speaks volumes about the 'message' that Gwilym is putting over. I have a lot of books ... and I like this one!
Just finished the book, not only a good read but instructional also.I was lucky enough to be taught by Gwil and it's all in there from 'waiting the tables' to his mantra 'move your feet'.Why 'move your feet'? Because it changes 'The Angle of The Cast'.
A note from Gareth Lewis
The Angle of the Cast (Gwilym Hughes).The immensely entertaining and brutally honest auto-biography from the living legend that is Gwilym Hughes.Beginning with his earliest years and the start of his fishing career, from his first sewin, through to his entry into the competition scene and beyond, this is one hugely enjoyable book.If you’ve had the privilege to meet the man himself, this book will be all the more enjoyable (and you may just start noticing some devilishly cheeky sarcasm/wit buried deep within the text).
A truly fantastic book, and one which I can’t recommend enough. Perfect for those cold, dark winter nights, and one which you’ll want to read again and again. A book which is already turning into a classic.
FLY FISHING AND FLYTYING MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2009
This is, more or less, an autobiography from Gwilym , but if you know him and know his phrasing and the inflection of his accent, this is the man. Funny, charming, irrepressibly passionate about fly fishing and all that surounds it. Gwilym's account of his introduction to fishing and his life in fishing is honest and warming; his stories of competition fishing at national and international level are self-depreciating and humorous; his account of the politics within angling and specifically angling instructor's organisations are frank and straightforward. An entertaining and informative read.
(Thanks to the team at FF@FT, Gwilym)
GWILYM HUGHES 01490 412731 or e-mail: email@example.com
THE ANGLE OF THE CAST
FLY FISHING BOOK
BOOK ON FLYFISHING
WILD BROWN TROUT FISHING IN WALES
WINTER GRAYLING FISHING
SUMMER GRAYLING FISHING
GWILYM HUGHES FISHING BOOK
TROUT/ SEATROUT AND OTHER SPECIES
SALMON AND TROUT ASSOCIATION
TROUT/ SEATROUT AND OTHER SPECIES
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