We have a special combination of speakers on Feb. 7, from the familiar to what’s likely the unfamiliar for most members. At our monthly membership meeting, an in-person event at our usual UNT Health Science Center venue, FWFF Education Director Russell Husted prepares us for the annual white bass spawning run on the Nolan River, while British guide Ben Bangham introduces us to the trout waters of England. Lovely, as our cousins on the other side of the pond might say.
Below you’ll find an article from Russell as well as one from Ben, who happens to be visiting the U.S. and comes to us through the efforts of FWFF member Ken Bowers. Ken last year fished the English chalk streams and you can read his first-person account of the experience in the February newsletter. See you Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. in Room RES 114 on the ground floor of UNT Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth!
Mastering the white bass run
A guide to England’s chalkstreams
By Russell Husted
FWFF Education Director
Alright, everybody. It’s almost White bass season.
Many of us dream of this time of year. Spring, bluebonnets, green grass and white bass. As rivers and creeks swell and drop from the expected spring rains, white bass flood into tributaries for their annual spawning ritual.
Thousands and thousands of white bass take their journey to keep the species going. It is then that the fly angler can locate large pods of white bass and entice them with small flies on ultra-light rods. What a great time can be had when conditions are right!
Please make the time to join us at our Feb. 7 club meeting at 7 p.m. at our regular venue, the UNT Health Science Center, Room RES 114. If you can come earlier, please do, as I will be available to show how to tie a simple Clouser minnow pattern that any of you can do.
We will dive into the how, when, why and where of white bass fishing in North Texas and beyond. You won’t want to miss this one, as you will now have the knowledge to help you have a great spring white bass season!!!
Then join us on the March 25 for the annual club outing on the Nolan River southwest of Fort Worth. We will meet in Blum at 6:30 a.m., and then head off to the river for a fun day of fellowship and fishing! Watch the FWFF website and future newsletters for updates.
Hope to see you there.
By Ben Bangham
I have fished for as long as I can remember, sometimes in places that most people will never get to see, let alone fish. My father was an officer in the British Army, so where he went, we went. My first memory of fishing was on a lake in the middle of nowhere near Lagos, Nigeria, trying to catch whatever I could. To say I wasn’t very successful would be an understatement. I lived and fished in many countries (France, Germany, Switzerland and more) before I started to catch fish with any regularity.
It wasn’t until I was about 10 that I was introduced to the wonderful art of fly fishing. We had a very rare posting back to the U.K. and were based up in Yorkshire. My father always wanted to learn how to fly fish, and since we were slap bang in the middle of the Yorkshire rivers, he decided this was the time to start. He would go off for a lesson and then come back to teach me what he learned. Slowly we learned, and even more slowly we started to catch fish. As time went on the love affair that we both have for fly fishing developed into an obsession.
My father eventually got a posting to the south of England and to the land of the chalkstream. This is really where my fly fishing flourished. I started working in a small fly shop doing anything I could in the holidays, where the owner took me under his wing and soon, at just 15 I was guiding for the shop. This continued until I went to university to study biology. Here my focus shifted to other things and other sports. An injury ended by rugby career, so fishing became the focus. A decade of moving around fishing in places such as Canada and Ireland ensued.
About eight years ago I decided it was time to strike out as an independent guide. I have been doing this ever since. Since the problems with Covid I have rapidly expanded the business, soon to be known as Pescary with an upcoming website. We are also looking at some very exciting new ventures centred around the mental health benefits of both being outside and fishing.
We are so lucky to have a plethora of both chalkstreams and fishing history in such easy reach of where we are based. With a lot of the modern fly-fishing techniques and patterns being born a stone’s throw from my front doorstep.
I have also competed for England in various fishing championships around Europe including Poland, Italy, Montenegro, Norway, Czech Republic, Scotland and Ireland. These competitions are generally fished over three to five days with around 100 to 150 hand-picked fishermen from many nations competing to catch the most fish. I have taken both a team gold and individual gold medal. I have been published in several fly-fishing publications in Europe and had a monthly column in a magazine for around five years.
Due to my connections with the armed forces, I have also helped with a program over here at a place called Tedworth House. This is where our injured soldiers and veterans go to rest and recuperate after serious injury and trauma received while serving. We teach them fishing to give them something new to focus on in their new lives after the military. They are faced with all sorts of injuries, and the positivity of fishing in their lives helps them greatly.
We run trips into other parts of Europe as well fishing for a variety of species in countries such as Norway, Czech Republic and Germany. We are bringing people over to the U.K. to get them to experience the amazing fishing that we have. To see the crystal-clear chalkstreams, walk in the footsteps of the past greats such as Sawyer, Halford and Skues. Most of all though we want to get you to come over and catch some fish!