Overdue Tuition at Curley’s Fly Fishing, Lancashire

It’s been well over a year now since our initial taster lesson at Mere Beck with Gordon into the art of fly fishing so we booked ourselves a whole days tuition with Mike Roden, a qualified APGIA instructor and member of the Hardy Greys Academy. We’d been looking forward to this since we’d booked it but the weather looked a bit grim and as we made our way to Curley’s Fly Fishery in Horwich through some very heavy showers we hoped the lesson would still be possible.

The practice lake at Curley's Fly Fishery
The practice pond - somewhere safe to get the hang of casting

We were a bit early so we had a brew at the very comfy cafe and planned our lunch from the simple but extensive menu while waiting for Mike.

Mike arrived not long after and after asking about our previous experience and skill (not much of either) we moved into the tackle shop away from the cafe’s punters but still out of the rain to get to grips with the basics of safety, rods, lines, flies and basic watercraft. Mike was a great ‘teacher’ and I managed to learn a lot in such a short time as well as how to tie a few new knots.

We moved onto the practice pool where, as predicted, the wind was blowing a bit much to make learning the overhead cast a bit difficult so we concentrated on the roll cast, a cast that doesn’t involve the fly line travelling behind you so it can be made in more confined areas or, as was the case with us, when the wind is blowing a monster over your shoulders.

Mike was very patient with us and after a while we got the hang of things and the morning flew by until it was time for a lunch break, cheese and bacon toasty and a mug of tea – lovely.

We devoured our lunch and as the wind didn’t seem to be abating we moved onto a local playing field that was a bit more protected to have a go at the basic overhead cast. We stayed here for ages although it didn’t seem long (as they say… time flies as you’re having fun) as Mike helped us grasp and execute the basic overhead cast, culminating in us learning how to ‘shoot’ line to gain a bit of distance. It was fantastic, when it went right the smile on both our faces must have made us look like complete goons.

The main lake at Curley's Fly Fishery
Pontoons on the main lake at Curley's Fly Fishery

We ended the afternoon with a bit of fishing, putting into practice a few of the things we’d learnt. We didn’t catch anything but that really wasn’t the idea and the conditions were a bit rubbish to say the least.

I should have taken some photo’s of Mike casting as to see anyone skilled in their chosen profession doing what they obviously love is always a pleasure but I was too busy trying to learn and put into practice everything we were being taught. Seeing Mike casting to demonstrate certain techniques and even being skilled enough to add errors to his casts to show us what happens when you do it wrong was amazing. Mike even let us have a go with one of his more expensive rods just to show us how a different ‘action’ of the rod can affect your cast.

If you are interested in giving fly fishing a go I thoroughly recommend getting tuition from a qualified instructor, and if you live in the North West of the UK, give Mike a call – it will be worth it.

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