Spend an hour with Janice Pinder and you have no need to make endless calls via the Yellow Pages to find a copy of Fly Fishing by J R Hartley – she knows it all.

The 55-year-old Worcester Park resident jets off to Ireland next week to compete in the Home Nations fly-fishing championships, where she will star for Team England’s 14-strong women’s outfit.

Pinder, a keen golfer, only took up the sport ten years ago and already has a national title and a string of international appearances to her name, I since making her debut in 2003.

As you would expect, the Banstead Downs Golf Club member has acquired an indepth knowledge of her sport, including an extensive range of equipment to match, and as such is a big fish in what is traditionally thought of as a man’s world.

A former police officer, Pinder started out by teaming up with the Met Police’s Angling Society and has not looked back since being crowned English champion in 2005, qualifying for the England squad.

And she is hoping a good showing next week will guarantee her spot in the international set-up for next season, and another shot at the number one event on the women’s fly-fishing calendar.

“The standard has got a lot better. Competition among the women is quite high. Just winning the national is an achievement in itself,” she said.

“You have to catch eight fish, in an eight-hour competition. I did that quite quickly when I won it, and was able to sit and watch the others struggle. That was a great feeling.

“There are usually about 20 to 25 women going for 14 places in the England team. My ambition is to finish in the top four next week, and pre-qualify for next year’s team, which is something I’ve never done.”

Pinder juggles her time between playing golf – she is the reigning Met Police women’s champion – and running her own dog-walking and house-sitting firm, and doesn’t get to practice as much as she’d like.

“I get out at least once a month during the summer and I’d like to think it is closer to twice a month between April and December,” she added.

“Once you’ve got the technique and the know-how you don’t really lose it. You have to let the equipment do the work. You might get a bit rusty, but it doesn’t take long to get back in the groove.”

Team England will spend two days checking out Loch Lein in Ireland next week to settle on their strategy – where to fish and what flies to use – before heading out on to the water on Thursday with coded messages to let each other know the best tactics.

It is the competitive side of the sport that has Pinder hooked.

“I’ve always enjoyed sport. I enjoy the competitiveness between other people, and in fishing there is a challenge between you and the fish,” she said.

“You could be in the same boat, using the same line and same flies, and they are catching but you are not. So it is all about strategy. You have to work it out.”

As for fishing as a blood sport, Pinder says: “In England, we eat what we catch. The stocked reservoir fish are treated a lot better than farmed fish.in the supermarket. At least they have a fighting chance.

“I don’t think fish feel pain. I’ve seen fish take a hook and not notice they have been caught until you pull them in.”

Fly-fishing deconstructed - Learn the lingo

Loch style: this is a type of fishing, used in next week’s international, where two fishermen cast from each end of a single drifting boat.

Single or double hauling: techniques used to lengthen the line.

Leader: a strip of material attached to the end of your line, to which you attach your flies.

Washing line technique: An English-style set-up of your ‘leader’.

Short lining: Another set-up and casting technique which is used more often in Ireland.

Booby: A double foam-eyed fly, used to help hang your washing line (see above).

Soldier palmer, black pennel, bibio, dawl back, buzzers, hatcher: all types of fly that you can hang off your leader.

What happens in a competition?

Competitors fish in pairs on a boat for eight hours, with each taking turns on deciding where on the lake they fish.

There is an eight fish limit, and the heaviest haul wins. In Ireland, however, you are judged on the length of the fish in your catch and how quickly they were caught.

What you need and how much it costs:
A starter pack of rod, reel, lines, flies and a leader will set you back around £150.

A day ticket for entry to one of the best reservoirs will cost around £18, plus the hire of a boat, or you can fish from the bank.

Where can I do it?

Pinder’s local reservoir is at Bewl Water in Kent, but there are others scattered across the Midlands, and there are smaller waters at Syon Park, Isleworth and in Guildford.

How do I find out more?

For more information, visit the England Ladies Fly Fishing Association website elfa.org.uk.

Did you know?

Fly fishing is a very good therapy for women recovering from breast cancer.

It builds up muscles which may have been damaged through chemotherapy.

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