Photograph by Steve Barnett

Friday, 26 March 2021

Another Derbyshire Fly Box is (re) Born

 Well it took a few sessions, but that lovely old Richard Wheatley dry fly box now has every compartment occupied by families of new tenants.  During the tying sessions, immersing myself in Italian via Radio Garden, it became clear that to simply use this box, as if I'd bought it new, was not going to be good enough.  This had been a fellow dry fly angler's box.  Looking at what was left of his flies, even though the insects had certainly enjoyed some very festive banquets, it was just possible to discern what some of these dry flies had been.  This brought me to the conclusion that he had fished rivers in Wales and the North West of England.  Somehow this made him real.  We had never met, but there was still a connection...

Jack's Box:  The note is attached to a sheet of ethafoam in which I keep a needle. 
It fits neatly inside the leather wallet in the lid.  On every tangle Jack will be noted!

I contacted my pal, who had been so kind as to pass on this box, and some other fly fishing items of his late father's.

"What was your Dads' name?"

"John Charles William Wilkinson.  He was known to all as "Jack"."

"Thank you.  I want to keep a record of him in the fly box."

"That's a nice thought..."

Well it's more than a thought now.  Jack is duly recorded and every time I reach for my untangling needle, I will see his name.  Henceforth, this box is to be known as "Jack's Box".  It's full of Derbyshire flies in readiness for this season.  I hope he would have approved.

Regular Rod


  1. I have my granddad's Wheatley, A Scot who came to America via Canada after WWI. His fishing was done mostly in western Maryland with an occasion trip to fish and visit family in Colorado. And yes, I call his Wheatley 'Grandad's Box'!

    1. Excellent! You are keeping connected to him. Each trip, your hands touch the same surfaces that your Granddad touched. He, through his box, still helps you while you fish.


  2. A lovely tribute. Great to see you back writing again too.

  3. Rod
    A treasure for sure and one that you can pass on to someone close to you on day. I often wonder what will happen to all my fly fishing equipment one day. I do know my grandchildren will get most of it, but the small items to me are just as important as the fly rods and reels. Each item has special meaning to me. Thanks for sharing

  4. Touching post, thanks for sharing RR. I still have my grandfather's split cane rod and fly reel, plus a collection of his flies. Wish you all the best this season.