I started this blog with one of Halford’s flies – No.77, the Artful Dodger. So to end my most recent day in the VR Cave at the Corsham Institute I wanted to do my interpretation of Halford’s original pattern. So here it is, the Artful Dodger Reboot. Anyone want to try this one out on the Test? Neil?
For those of you not familiar with the history of dry-fly fishing (me included until quite recently), or the provenance of the Oakley Beat at Mottisfont, the key figure in this very English drama is F.M. Halford (1844–1914). This photo of him was taken not long before he died. During his life he wrote many books on the subject and articles for ‘The Field’ magazine under the pen name of Detached Badger [Ed: why? SR: still to find out.]
This laser scan of the sea surface off the Isle of Portland came to mind as Neil, the river keeper, was pointing out how the ripples and swellings on the surface of the Test can reveal what’s happening beneath. Variations in flow and depth are exploited by the fish; slow eddies as resting places, fast flows to bring food downstream. Just as the fish play these currents to their advantage, so the angler reads the surface signs to reveal the fish’s likely location. Well, my next task is to understand this fluid lexicon for myself. [This laser scan of The Race off Portland was part of A Natural History of Pseudomorphs.]
That’s the title of a recent article in ‘The Field’ magazine about my plans for Surface Tension. I never imagined that I could be described as a ‘sporting artist’! It does show, however, that I am reaching beyond my usual audience. I also didn’t expect the grilling I got from the journalist: straight to the point, no messing around, what the hell did I think I was up to? Well, you decide. You can read the article on line here. Much rather ‘The Field’ than any art magazine. [Yes, I know, I haven’t been posting much of late, but am planning on that changing in the New Year. Here’s looking ahead to 2018!]