Almost £3,500 was raised at the weekend for a leading wildlife charity following a popular fly fishing competition at Meon Springs, near Petersfield.
Now in its seventh year, the Three Fly Challenge – which is run in support of the Wild Trout Trust – has now raised more than £20,000 for the wildlife charity.
More than two-dozen anglers took part in the competition, the aim of which is to earn as many points by catching rainbow trout using one only of three specified flies.
Normally, anglers can choose any fly pattern they want from thousands of different imitations.
But by restricting the number and type of fly used, it makes the competition more challenging.
The angler with the most points this year was Neil Mundy, who won the coveted Three Fly Challenge Silver Platter for the first time having taken part in all seven events. The runner-up was Bob Niall followed by Ron Wilder. The angler with the biggest rainbow trout was Mike Edwards.
For Roger Greentree, fishery manager at Meon Springs, the most important part of the day was to see so many anglers come together to compete and raise money for charity.
“The event raised £3,461 for the Wild Trout Trust taking the total money raised over the last seven years to well over £20,000,” said Roger.
“We also donated £575 to Fishing for Forces with money raised from the raffle and auction. The charity is a wonderful organisation, which offers fishing as part of the recuperation process for those who have been wounded in all conflicts and those who continue to serve on operational duties.”
The Three Fly Challenge is held each year in memory of Pasco James, an avid fisherman, whose life ended tragically early in 2010 at the age of 22. Since then, the Wild Trout Trust and Meon Springs Fly Fishery has run the Three Fly Challenge in his honour. All the money raised is used to improve the wildlife and habitat on the River Meon.
Shaun Leonard, Director of the Wild Trout Trust, said: “We decided some years ago to commemorate the Three Fly Fundraiser to Pasco James, a young man who adored, worked on and fished the Meon. He started a degree in fishery management at Sparsholt College, near Winchester, but died tragically young in 2010.
“The money raised at Meon Springs is used on habitat improvement projects for the Meon and has thus far funded work by Wild Trout Trust, the Environment Agency and local people at East Meon, Meonstoke and Midlington.
“We also share some of the proceeds with another charity, Fishing for Forces, that does a brilliant job in offering fishing as restorative time to ex-Services personnel coming back from operational duty,” he said.
Next year’s Three Fly Challenge will be Saturday 17th June 2017.
With the improvement in the weather and the longer days we've been able to do quite a lot of work on the banks, cutting swims and generally tidying things up. These pictures really don't do it justice - but it was stunning down there on Tuesday morning. The martins were swooping and the brownies were rising. It was magic. Absolute magic.