The England youth fly-fishing team is swinging into action. At the end of July they will compete in the biggest international tournament of the year, against teams from Scotland, Wales and Ireland. They have come to the majestic Tal-y-Llyn lake, at the southern tip of Snowdonia, for an intensive training weekend; as this August is the 20th annual National Fishing Month, I have decided to join them.
Their manager, a burly man called Phil Longstaff, gathers the 10-strong under-18 team on the shore for a pep talk. As a layman, I find it completely incomprehensible. “You’ve all got the dibble sorted,” he says, “so try your sparklers, try your boobies. We’re not fishing stockies – these are wild fish. So let’s really focus today.”
The boys nod sagely. Clearly, they are in their element. The newest team member, 14-year-old Toff Crowther from Rutland, tells me that he is preoccupied with angling all the time, even when he’s at school. Last year, Scotland won the tournament, and prior to that England were victorious two years running; this year, they are determined to reclaim the crown. The competition is simple: whoever catches the most fish wins. It is not unknown for a single fisherman to catch more than 20 fish in an afternoon. Continue reading on the Telegraph website