Fly Fishing shops

Alresford FlyfishersJack Shepherd, a real old style fly fisherman, had a fly fishing supplies shop and workshop in the Mews in West Street, behind Design Realities, under the arch beside Tiffin and to the left, the single storey shop. There you could buy feathers and hooks and other things to make flies, plus also rods and reels. Because I had a son, aged around 8/9, who was obsessed by fishing, we spent a lot of time in there.

But Jack also owned or leased the fishing rights to the section of the River Arle between the Fulling Mill and the Eel House. My son Nick was in his element here and spent hours patrolling this bit of the river, and helping Jack, but actually learning all about the river. The first job was to get rid of any Pike that were living in this stretch, which called for a different type of coarse fishing. Then Jack stocked the river with trout, presumably rainbow trout from the fish farm, and after the regulation weed cutting in the water with scythes, and bank trimming, the beats on the river could be sold to fishermen for the day or for the morning.

The next level of fly fishing shop was the Rod Box, which when my son was aged 12-14 was in the centre of Winchester, in the shop with the basement, across St George’s Street from WHSmith. Then the Rod Box moved out to Kingsworthy, where it still trades. So we spent a lot of time there buying fishing things, and eventually Nick worked there in his holidays and Saturdays.

For 2012 it looks like the Pike are back in that section of the Arle, and it is not used for fly fishing. My son Nick  went to Sparsholt and studied Fishery Management, but then I think got fed up of the cost and cold of fishing in the UK, and moved to Mexico, still teaching people to fish, but in warm Caribbean waters. There they get lots of fish, Jacks, Permit, Dorada, Octopus, Rays, all in reach of the shore. But he still has called his business “The Western Caribbean Fly Fishing School”, working from a base on the beach attached to the Nohoch Kay bar/restaurant in Mahahual, in the southern Yucatan. Occasionally, now being a Spanish speaker, he comes back to the UK to work on the salmon streams in Northern Ireland, with Simeon Hay, the son of the previous owner of the Rod Box. The fly fishing for salmon attracts a lot of Spanish fishermen to take fishing breaks in Northern Ireland!

So possibly Jack Shepherd and his fly-fishing shop has a lot to answer for!

Contributed by Nick Denbow (Snr)

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by oliver nash on September 25, 2013 at 7:25 am

    HI, thank you for your post regarding Jack Shepherd, my mother talks of him teaching her to fly fish on the same stretch of river as your son. do you have any more information/stories about him and also can you remember the name of his shop?
    thank you


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