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A Mid-June Excursion - 24/06/12


As we live in North Devon, we try to combine a series of meetings together when we travel, saving petrol and reducing the amount of driving, and our latest trip to see old friends and new was fairly typical in the planning but exceptional in the people we saw.


We started out on Sunday to visit Chris Elliott, probably the best fish taxidermist in the country; he has been working on a cast (shown) of the UK British Record greater amberjack destined for the Landlord of The Royal Exchange in Torrington. (You will always get a friendly welcome if you visit to look). The actual fish was mounted and is now displayed at River Reads bookshop.

We've known Chris for a few years, ever since we met on our first memorable trip (so far) to India where we were fishing the River Cauvery for mahseer.  On the second trip. we met his partner Jenny and they're really great to spend time with so we really enjoyed our overnight stay.


On Monday, we called in to see David Hall, a well known match angler of yesteryear, who fished for the Cofton team with the likes of Clive Smith and Ken Giles, and, who is now the owner of the biggest angling magazine publishers in the country. We are keen to further people's knowledge of Angling Heritage and David kindly offered to help promote it by publishing articles, initially in Tackle and Gun, about how it was established and a second one about the Recollections' series of books.  After we'd enjoyed lunch together, we drove to our next destination; Great Missenden; we were due to see Fred and Margaret Buller the following day.


Fred Buller is the Patron of Angling Heritage (UK) so Sandy was keen to update him on the latest developments in the work of the Trust but the main reason for the visit was to take them to lunch and spend a little time in their company.  We enjoyed a lovely lunch together at their local pub, The Nags Head, and as ever, it was a great pleasure to see them, and we hope it won't be too long before we meet again.  During our visit, Fred loaned us a photo and certificate of his record powan for scanning for AH archives.
A second night stay at The Missenden Abbey Conference Centre enabled us to prepare for the following day's recording session in Cobham, with two people of note; John Goddard and Brian Clarke and what a great day that was - the sun even shone!  Sound recordist John McCombie travelled from Bristol to make the recording and as usual, did a superb job.  John's business has developed into selling sound recording equipment and is such a success, he doesn't do much recording these days so we were lucky to have him there.  It was the first time Sandy and I had met John and Brian and not only was it a pleasure, we both learned from the experience.



For younger readers, John first came to my notice in the 1960’s as the founder of the tackle company Efgeeco (from F G Co – a subsidiary of the company started by his grandfather, Frank Goddard).  This rapidly transformed the company from a garden furniture maker into a tackle company until he later sold to Sundridge.


John then pioneered underwater macro photography of insects and became a pioneer of still water fly fishing, developing flies to replicate their subsurface appearance.


At this time, he met Brian Clarke who was also taking a different strategy to still water fly fishing using a logical analysis that he been instilled from his day job as a management consultant.  His book “The pursuit of still water trout” has been reprinted many times.


This convergence of ideas lead to them working together, and forming a lifelong friendship. It was an honour to spend time in their company and to hear about their life and times.  This should lead to Recollections IV once they have both heard the recording and are satisfied that it includes all they wanted to say.


So, it was a hectic few days, but the time just flew by as we met such interesting people and this is what makes our lives at River Reads and working for Angling Heritage so rewarding.  It is all about the people we meet and their history.

Sandy & Keith