“Fly fishing seems to me to be the perfect tonic for stressed or tired minds and having the ability to spend a few hours of quiet contemplation on the bank, alone with one’s thoughts is often what our soldiers need after a demanding operational tour… a big thank you!”

— Lieutenant Colonel J I R Phillips Royal Artillery

“The best stress buster going after operational duties. Come fishing.”

— Major Derek Saunders RAMC DPSA (Liase) PS4 (A)

Read more testimonials here.

We’d love to hear from more Fishing for Forces participants. If you’d like to share your experience with us, please use the comments box below.

82 Responses to Testimonials

  1. David King 17 March 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Hats off to FFF for their commitment and drive to create such fantastic days. Having witnessed the hard work, determination, commitment and generous support by all , it makes for a fantatic day and opportunity to say thank you to the determined teams that combat to protect our families. Respect and thanks for the great work.


    • bill howell 5 April 2011 at 7:22 am #

      My sincere thanks. Compliments such as this from one who I know does a lot of charity work supporting several causes is praise indeed. Your contribution for the forthcoming Leckford event was stunning and truly appreciated. Hope to see you at the waterside.
      Tight Lines. Bill Howell (Founder)

  2. Dean Vickery 14 April 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi Bill,
    many thanks to you and your team for a great day today, having never tried fly fishing before i must say i cannot wait to give it another go.
    i would thoroughly recommend this oppertunity to all members of the Armed Forces, Excellent day, excellent staff and excellent fishing well done .

  3. Henry Rushworth (Royal Artillery) 14 April 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    “As a somewhat novice fly-fishing recruit; the FFF event held at Leckford fishing lake Thu 14 Apr 11 was a somewhat overwhelming experience, which was greatly appreciated indeed. The warm hospitality and patient one-on-one tuition throughout was second to none. A big thank you to Bill Howell and ALL his team (Especially John) for such a fantastic day!”

  4. WO2 (Jimmy) Edge 17 April 2011 at 8:31 am #

    what a brilliant day, I’ve never fly fished before but the mentors made it much easier than I could have imagined. thanks to all the team for a great memorable fishing experience and i will definately be taking up fly fishing. once again thank you to all the people involved in making the FFF events possible.

  5. Charlie Lambert 17 April 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    If ‘Carlsberg’ could arrange a fly fishing trip I would imagine it to be like what ’Fishing for Forces’ organised on the 14th of April at Leckford Lakes, Hampshire.

    The Lakes had natural ambiance in a stunning location with plenty of wild life. To see a complete novice anglers land these hard fighting fish was first class.

    Thanks again for a great day

  6. WO2 Rob Russell 19 April 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    I was lucky enough to attend the John Lewis Partnership fly fishing day on the 14 Apr 11 as a complete fishing novice and rate it as one of the best days I have had in a very long time.

    John, my mentor looked after me completely and ensured that his knowledge was passed on, the team from John Lewis were outstanding and the representative from Red Lion Foods never seemed to stand still ensuring that we were fed and watered at every opportunity.

    Thanks to FFF and all who make events like this possible.

  7. Scott Bowles 23 April 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Bill can i firstly thank you and ALL of your team for the John Lewis Partnership Fly Fishing day that was put on for members of the forces on the 14 April, Testside.
    An absolutely amazing day. Our instructions were clear that all we would need was sunglasses and a cap and everything else would be provided. Thanks to you and your team we were met, fed,watered,clothed and tutored one on one which made an amazing days fishing. I personally had never fly fished before and finished the day with four fish thanks to Steve Robinson’s expert advice and tuition(Big thanks Steve).

    Further to this i have used your site and met Nick Evans and Bob Hogg on Rutland water. Again it was such a pleasure to meet people that wanted to pass on some great advice and top tips so that i could better my fishing skills and another awesome day was had.

    To anyone thinking of trying Fly fishing look no further than the FFF website. Thank you to EVERYONE involved, absolutely brilliant.

  8. David Poultney 10 June 2011 at 12:32 pm #


    Would like to say thanks to you and your staff for an excellent days fishing at Avon Springs on 8 Jun 11. I had never touched a fly rod before but your team made it a good day due to their diligence and expert tuition. This is definitely something I will have another go at. Having landed my first Rainbow trout after an amazing fight was an experience I will never forget and having the biggest fish of the day really made it for me. Thanks again and keep up the great work that you and you team are doing. I look forward to the next time I go fly fishing.

    Tight Lines to all

  9. John Goggins 10 June 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    As an injured soldier I have been off work for 18 months, which is a stressful time. To be offered this fantastic opportunity was in itself impressive, its good knowing that there are people out there who care. The help offered is invaluable by the experienced mentors; within an hour it seemed everybody had grasped the art and the competitiveness had started even though I think I was the only person who didn’t catch! (I did have three but they all got away) I would like to say a massive thank you to bill and everyone at FFF for this fantastic opportunity and now my newfound hobby.

  10. Capt R Reid 13 June 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I brought a group of soldiers along to an event held by FFF on the 8th June. A mixture of those recently returned from operations and those gearing up for future deployment. All had a fantastic day! I personally had never fished before and truly enjoyed it! Despite getting my fly stuck in my back and neck several times, with the help on my mentor i eventually got the hang of it and landed some decent fish! I would like to thank Bill and the entire team for putting on such a great day for us, being able to take a day out and relax at the lake is the perfect tonic!

    Thanks once again!

  11. Peter Reeves 25 June 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Many thanks for the opportunity of being involved with this brilliant initiative. Impossible to say whether the service personnel or their Invicta FFC,Cambridge mentors got most out of their day at Elinor Trout Fishery recently. A great comradeship developed very quickly. Certainly it was a privilege to get to know these brave lads better and help entertain them. The looks on their faces at the end of the day was priceless and I would recommend every fly fisherman to become involved with this great concept in any way they can to thank them for what they do for us.

  12. Wesley Gold 10 August 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bill at FFF for organising a wonderful day of fishing on the Dee. Although we never caught anything the gillie that came as part of the day taught us a great deal about the art of salmon fishing. Fishing on the Dee is normally reserved for the privileged few but thanks to FFF and a few others this wonderful opportunity was made available to soldiers. A very big thank you.

  13. Dickie Coppard 19 August 2011 at 8:23 am #


    Many thanks for arranging a day for myself and Wes to get on the Dee. I had an excellent day and saw plenty of salmon, unfortunately not on the end of my line… A great opportunity to get on the river and get some excellent advice from the ghillie. Next time a catch!

  14. Atpr Greg Smith 4 AAC 15 September 2011 at 10:21 am #


    Just wanted to say a massive thanks to you and all the guys involved in the ravensthorpe fly fishing event. 8 guys came along from 4AAC, some that had never cast a line before. Everyone had a great day ( even the ones that thought fishing would be boring! ). Our regiment caught 9 of the 20 fish caught on the day so all the lads were chuffed to bits, they are already pestering me to get them out fishing again, so that says huge amounts for you and all the guys involved! At the moment life is very busy at our regiment and forces wide so I can’t think of a better thing to do with your day than spend it out in a boat on the water. Congratulations on a very well organized event and again my I say a huge thanks from all the guys again. We hope to catch up with fishing for forces and yourself again very soon regards

    Atpr Greg Smith
    654 squadron
    4 Regtiment Army Air Corps

  15. Atpr Greg Smith 4 AAC 1 October 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Well, Bill fishing for forces has come good again! Had a great day out today with Mr Phil Wallis fishing a local lake in Suffolk. Conditions were not great but we both still managed to catch. Phil was a very easy going bloke and made the whole thing very relaxed which was great. I will defiantly be catching up again for another session. Thanks go to Bill again for setting up this organization and huge thanks to Phil for a great afternoons fishing, cheers! Greg.

    • bill howell 17 October 2011 at 6:28 am #

      Greg & Phil
      It is a source of huge pleasure for me and Phil when I read & hear these comments as all I do is introduce people through fishing and get results like this. I thank you both and there is more for everyone in the forces and veterans so spread the word. Please stay in touch and and Greg you can travel the country fishing via the website as there are a lot of generous anglers out there willing to show their appreciation and share the pleasure of angling.
      Best to both.
      Stay safe.

  16. Sgt Jim Wright 31 January 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I joined in helping out for the day out on Avon Springs along with a few of the lads form the Army Fly Fishing Team and had a great day with the young troops. I can definitely say that I’m more than happy to try and pull all the stops out to help Bill whenever he needs me. It’s heartwarming when you have a man who is prepared to give so much and ask for very little in return.
    Looking forward to the up and coming Season and hopefully seeing you on the bank ready and eager to catch a few fishes.

  17. Lt Sam Westlake PARA 28 March 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Soldiers and I from The Second Battalion The Parachute Regiment would like to thank Bill, FFF and the many mentors who have just shown us a fantastic day on the water. FFF offered our busy battalion an opportunity to unwind and learn a new discipline locally. We expected a good day but got far more. We were hosted generously and received outstanding instruction.

    A memorable day and for many of us, the start of regular fly fishing.

  18. Cpl Paul Lancaster, RAF 1 May 2012 at 7:44 am #

    I wanted to say thank you for tthe opportunity to try fly fishing at Sportfish, 24th april. Having completed multiple tours of Afghanistan, and being about to deploy again, this was a fantastic stress reliever. The memory of being stood on the bank, with the sun on my back will definitely help whilst I am away again. I cannot recommend this highly enough or thank you enough.
    I dont think the wife is too happy as I will be spending more money on fly fishing gear!
    Many thanks.

  19. James Craig 31 May 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Bill & Derek,

    A huge thank you from me and on behalf of all those who attended the fantastic fishing event at Avon Springs on 29 May. What a wonderfully relaxing day, sun shining, idyllic setting and plenty of action to get the adrenaline pumping, but enjoyably so! The mentors were terrific and so incredibly patient, they really helped make the day memorable and enhanced the experience immeasurably. Please pass on my thanks to all those involved in the organisation and in particular to the unsung heroes, the support staff (Bill’s harem)!

    Stress relief doesn’t get much better than this….I’m hooked!


  20. Del Allardice 7 August 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Bill & Derek,

    I have to admit that I had never heard of Fishing For Forces until the exceptionally kind offer was passed to my inbox. A day’s salmon fishing on the river DEE…I was gobsamcked so accepted the offer instantly and then requested leave. The day was superb (despite less than perfect fishing conditions) and my host (Diana), her friends and family were unbelievably kind and accommodating to both me and my wife, making for a superb day…champagne lunch and all!

    Thanks also to Orvis in Banchory for providing chest waders and being big supporters of FFF and also to the Ghillie (Jim) for the day who steered me along.

    Please pass on my thanks to all involved in creating these fantastic opportunities and rest assured that I am spreading the word.

    A great day on a maginfiicent river with fantastic hosts. My sincerest of thanks.

    Del & Sarah

  21. Cpl Nicholas Burger 13 September 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    I just wanted to write to thank Fishing for Forces for a excellent day at Ravensthorpe Reservoir. I and a group of colleagues attended the event and it was great to relax and de-stress. We had a wonderful time with friendly people who were willing to pass on their knowledge.


  22. PATRICIA WALL 16 October 2012 at 1:44 pm #


  23. Bill Howell 18 October 2012 at 11:27 am #

    A pleasure to assist and Andrew tells me that they will be taking your father out on a regularly. Andrew & his team really deserve the credit but happy to accommodate a ex Chindit.

  24. Robert whyte 13 April 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    On behave of all the soldiers from 5 Scots that attended the Tunbridge wells event. I would like to thank Bill and his team from Tunbridge Wells fly fishing society. It was an outstanding day and the hospitality shown by all that were involved was quiet humbling. All the lads that attended are now firmly hooked. My ears have been ringing with delight from all the lads. Thank you very much for the day it was a pleasure. Great work Bill.

  25. Roelf van Wyk 21 April 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    First time fishing with the guys from Tunbridge wells with 5 Scots, it was amazing. Many thanks to Bill and all the organisers as well as the instructors I will definitely want to join you guys again. Brilliantly organised and very much appreciated.

  26. WO2 Dean Williams (Battle Back Instructor) 8 May 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Fishing for Forces is an awesome charity, they have and continue to provide an excellent means of getting our guys and girls from Tedworth House (A Help for Heroes funded Recovery Centre) to the waterside for a day of fishing. Many have found that fishing has provided them with an activity that helps them escape from their worldy worries whilst having an enjoyable experience that they will remember for a long time. Thanks Bill.

  27. Clinton Williams 9 May 2013 at 7:23 am #

    I would like to thank Bill Howell and the rest of the organisers and instructors that made our fly fishing day a great success. Everyone was friendly and willing to get us going.

    This was a new experience for me and a great stress reliever. The guys and girls from Tedworth House all had a really good day.

    I would like wish FFF all the best in the years to come and I encourage anyone who would like to learn to fly fish and would like a great chilled out time to get in contact with FFF.

  28. Marcus Smith 5 June 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    5 June. Avon Springs.
    I would like to say a very hearty thank you from the Royal Marines contingent at today’s fishing trip. We had a great time with great people. The mentors were first rate as was the food.
    I can recommended fff to anyone who wants to forget the troubles and pressures of forces life whilst remaining in the cocoon of like minded people.
    Thank you once again.
    Tight lines.

  29. George Matthews 7 June 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I would like to thank Bill Howell and his team for the most fantastic days fishing.

    I had never fished before and thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. The mentors were superb, friendly, outgoing and good fun. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone. Our team of 8 all managed to catch fish and learnt a lot! The food was superb and we even won a prize.

    I will definitely be going again.

    Many thanks again from all at the KRH team.

  30. Gavin Dodds 13 June 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Big thanks to Bill and all the organisers,mentors for a very memorable days fly fishing
    The mother of all stress busters!!!!


  31. Don Howat 18 June 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    Bill, I came across a link to FFF on the WWW after hitting a bit of a low ebb in my life recently. It’s been a while since I saw active service in the RAF – 22 years ago (and a figure worthy to note briefly here – as it is also just a year or two shy of the age difference between me and my fishing guide Clark Colman), but it’s been a few things recently that haven’t been much fun in life which prompted me to reach out a hand – so to speak – and ask for a day out with a FFF guide for a bit of a break from the norm.

    After “contact”, it wasn’t long before a kind offer came, and Clark Colman guided me on a full day out Fly Fishing for Wild Brown Trout and Grayling on the river Don and Loxley in the Urban areas of the rivers in Sheffield. This “urban” fly fishing is perhaps a bit of an unconventional type, and one I have never tried being an occasional fly angler from time to time on reservoirs & the odd trip out to a river in the countryside, but, goodness me, what a day I had !

    A sincere thank you to: FFF, the organisation it must take, and to Clark – I really did learn so much in one day, and had great fun too, cheers mate, and not least for fitting the day in when you are so personally busy at work and at home and even sorting out our lunch-I still say that was above and beyond the call of duty ! Your kind approach, and camaraderie was very much appreciated.

    I think I remember a quote along the lines of: “I apologise for such a long report, I didn’t have time to write a short one”, well, there really would be too much detail to list here about how many valuable things I learnt in one day, wading, reading the river, the new skills and techniques demonstrated and coached that I had no idea existed in Fly Fishing, and of course about all our catches – of which there were many !

    Thank you for providing the opportunity for a superb, memorable and FUN day out.


  32. Bikram 18 June 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    I and rest of 10 QOGLR members who took part on 5th June 2013 at Avon Springs would like to thank Bill Howell and the rest of the organisers and monitors who helped, guided and made our fly fishing day a great success. That was the great experience for all of us. Your supports and help is really appreciated. Hope to see you soon again.

    Thank You Bill

    Tight Lines

    Bikram 10 QOGLR

  33. Chf Tech Billy Bowdler 27 June 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    Bill + Team,
    I would very much like to pass on the sincere thanks of myself and the the guys from Odiham. To see the smiles on the faces of all the people who caught their very first fish was truly amazing. The team of mentors where really patient and kind, they soon had everybody throwing out a decent line and amongst the fish. The fishery at Avon Springs is an excellent facility, immaculate and well stocked, again please pass on our thanks to the team there. I think you have ‘hooked’ some new recruits to the game angling scene. My final thanks has to go to ‘Bills Hareem’ who provided the most delicious catering on the day, the scones were fantastic and I was assured calorie free!!!! Once again we cannot thank you all enough.

    Cheers and Stiff Rods!!


  34. Mark Jones (ex RAF Regiment) 12 January 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Thanks to Clark Colman for a brilliant day on Sunday 22 September, we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Myself and my son spent the day with Clark as a birthday gift for me. We had a brilliant day. Clark couldn’t have done more to ensure we gained as much from the day as possible. His commitment to the sport and passion for teaching shone through, his knowledge was second to none.

  35. Paul Jaques 28 January 2014 at 10:58 am #

    As President of Army Angling and a keen fly fisherman, my two favourite ‘duties’ are fishing the Spring and Autumn matches. I could make only the Saturday at Grafham for the Autumn match last year and the gods of fishing were on my side as the Friday and Sunday saw awful weather. I am also always lucky enough to fish with an A or B team member and this time I had Clark Colman guiding me. I am always learning and observing and have over the past few years been taught the beauty of blobs and boobies on a Di 7, the ‘hang’, the ‘roly poly’ and that my fly box is inherently ‘illegal’. This time it was all about varying the retrieve. It was a tough day but things clearly got serious when I was three one up in the boat; I learn quickly. Clarky then concentrated and we focused on the pier off the dam for the whole afternoon and finished 4 all. Clarky had the biggest fish and I the heaviest bag; honours even. Grafham was as ever hard fishing but I had an excellent time with a great bunch of people. My thanks go to those who organised the match.

  36. Philip Arnold 4 April 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    “Thank you to Fishing for Forces and John Lewis Partnership for a great day fly fishing at Leckford Lakes. For the first time in a long while I finished a days work feeling physically fatigued but mentally adjusted. If you ever get the opportunity seize it. Apologies to Richard, my mentor, who suffered my inability to cast a fly”.

    Lieutenant Colonel Philip Arnold MBE PS4(A)

  37. Russ Say 4 April 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    4 April at Leckford Lakes – What a brilliant day out!! Superbly organised, Great food, great company and great fishing. Thank you to Bill, Derek, the John Lewis Partnership, and everyone else involved in the smooth running of this wonderful day. I must also thank Keith, my mentor, for his patience and excellent tuition. I really can recommend this as a superb way to de-stress – I will definitely be taking it up!

  38. Claudia Harvey 7 April 2014 at 9:31 am #

    4 April at Leckford Lakes, Hampshire – Thank you so much for a fabulous day. Having never fished before I was delighted to have caught four fish with the help of my very kind and patient mentor Chris. My prize for the smallest fish caught is now gracing my directorate’s trophy shelf!

    Major Claudia Harvey D Ed Cap

  39. Steve Bridle 7 April 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Just a quick line to thank Bill and all the John Lewis staff for a superb stress relieving day at Leckford Lakes. I encourage anyone who can, to participate-I had no prior fishing experience and managed to land a bag full but regardless of the catch, the day’s organisation was slick, the company excellent and the food was quite superb! Thank you all for an excellent day out.

  40. paul wade 7 April 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    To be asscociated with the fff charity is an honour and a privilege and also a very humbling experience.
    As civilians we can never know the true depth of sacrifice that members of our superb armed forces make to keep us safe from harm.So to spend a day mentoring goes a little way to showing our appreciation.
    In my experience of mentoring I have had the privilege of meeting some truly exceptional servicemen and women and its easy to see why our armed forces are considered the very best and envied by every nation worldwide.
    Long may the charity continue and bring many more of our armed forces to the waterside to enjoy a stress busting and enjoyable days fishing.
    ps I just wish bill would come up with some new jokes lol

  41. David Wakefield 8 April 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Spending a day at Leckford Lakes with Fishing For Forces was a unique experience and one which will stay with me for many years. The location was magical enough, as was the fishing, but to share the day with such extraordinary men and women, guests, coaches and organisers alike, was a privilege. Thank you.

  42. Major John Brock 15 April 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    The Fishing For Forces program is one the most fantastic programs I have observed in my 18 year military career. This is an excellent program that teaches people an exciting new sport and simultaneously helps bring both the military and civilian community together. I absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone. As one of the few fortunate international officers able to attend; I hope to develop something like this program when I return back the United States. Thanks for sharing your beautiful country, food and culture with me!

  43. Craig januszkiewicz 8 May 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    what a day today with fishing for forces, just when i thought they couldn’t top last years fish off with all from Tedworth house they did. great day great people and a t shirt what more could you ask for !!!!!! cant wait for next years event already and to join in on other events going on till then. thank you alllllll so much

  44. WO2 Adam Sinclair 11 May 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    I and the mentors that assisted on the SDFFA had a fantastic day on the 8 May 14. The work that you do is exceptional. I will support you and the charity in any way I can.

    The soldiers that attended the day were a great bunch and it was great to see that with all they have been through, they have kept their military sense of humour and moral. A truly fantastic bunch.

    Once again, thank you Bill

  45. WO2 Adam Sinclair 3 June 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Yet again, a fantastic day at sport fish/ Hayward’s farm. Ski, next time my friend, next time. Hope to see you all again soon. Tight lines and be safe.

  46. Dave Johnson (Ex AAC) 4 June 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    My first dabble as a mentor and I hope not my last. What a fantastic day, fishing, banter, squaddie humour, great food, top students and mentors. Well done to Lee who banked 2 and has now become ‘hooked’ on the obssesion that is fly fishing. I really hope that you do some more.
    Thanks Bill for the opportunity to meet some of the most Inspirational individuals that I have had the pleasure of meeting.
    Good luck to you all.
    Tight lines

  47. GDSM 'Dexter' Grant 5 June 2014 at 6:31 am #

    A fantastic day by the water even if the fish weren’t biting! Many thanks to Bill, Gerald and the rest of the team for a pleasant time.

  48. Maj Will Hignett 6 June 2014 at 12:06 pm #


    Thank you so much to you and the mentors for providing a really brilliant day. All the novices from 6 RIFLES had a great time trying a new sport and are keen to take it forward, so a great success. Hope to see you again. Will

  49. RFN David McMullen 12 June 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Hi Bill,

    I just wanted to say thank you very much for the event on the 6th June. Please pass on my thanks to all the instructors for giving up their time and especially Ben Bangham who was a great instructor and spent the day coaching me. For anyone reading this who is thinking about going along to an event I would definitely recommend it. Thanks again and I hope to see you again at another event sometime soon.



  50. Maj Al Bambridge AAC 7 October 2014 at 4:23 pm #


    I would just like to extend my thanks for what was for me both a humbling and a satisfying day that we managed to organised for Fishing for Forces here at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst(RMAS) on 10 September 2014. We even managed to book the right weather! I say humbling purely due to the spirit that your guests brought with them and satisfying due to the enjoyment and fun they looked to be having on the banks. The Commandant and Assistant Commandant had the opportunity to chat with the guests at various stages during the day and both were impressed by their attitude and take to heart the comments that were made towards the good work you do through your charity. Although I may not be at the helm of the RMAS Trout Fishing Club next year I have made special mention in the club history and will pass this onto the next incumbent with a view to running a similair event next year. I hope your guests enjoyed the day as much as I did meeting them. All the best, Al.

  51. Rob somner (2Flt 18/27 Eng Sqn) 24 October 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Hi to Bill and all The Fishing for Forces Team.

    I would just like to start by saying what an amazing day we all had on Wed 22nd October at Avon Springs. Everyone I have spoke to who attended the day has not stopped talking about the days events. It is truly nice to know there are people out there in the world that put their selves out and give up their own time to be able members of HM armed force such a memorable and relaxing day at the waters edge. Work was not thought about once! Many thanks for the opportunity to participate in a sport that not many of us have even thought of trying. But one that now a few of us are considering of taking up. As I did over a year ago. Big thanks to the catering ladies for the breakfast sandwiches, the delicious lunch and cake/coffee. We can not say thanks enough to all that made the day flow so smoothly! will defiantly be in touch for future events. Would reconnect to anyone wanting to try out fly fishing! Many thanks from 2Flt 18/27 Eng Sqn RAF Odiham and tight line to you all!

  52. Colin Redfearn 24 October 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Thank you Bill and team at FFF for an amazing day!

    I went with a group of Chinook engineers from RAF Odiham (the home of the Chinook) after a very long detachment to Afghanistan as part of our decompression week. The staff and volunteers made the day exceptional. Fatigue and stress are very much present when we (the armed forces) go to a place like Afghanistan and FFF was a perfect way to relieve a lot of that stress. The mentors were friendly and very knowledgeable and soon had us all fishing. The food was amazing and the idyllic surroundings of Avon Springs are beautiful.
    Pardon the pun but I am hooked. I’m just about to buy my first ever rod so I can continue in this excellent pastime. Who knows, maybe one day I will be able to become a mentor and give somebody else the fantastic day that I had.

    Seriously one of the best days in my 22+ year RAF career.

    Thank you FFF.

  53. Michael Lake 24 October 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    A very big thank you to all at FFF. The day was well organised and no thought of work was present during the day. Having never fly fished under the mentor tuition I was soon getting bites and then pulling out some good size trout. without the charity and the support they get I would never had such a good and relaxing post deployment event and I would seriously recommend this to anyone. Once again a massive thank you to all involved.

  54. Pete 26 March 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    Bill, a massive thank you to you and your team for what can only be described as a fantastic days fishing and relaxation on the bank of a stunning location in Avon Springs. We were utterly spoilt; food more food and yet more food, great fishing and mentorship, excellent company and you even managed to book some sunshine for us.

    If you are reading this and haven’t thought of giving fishing a go with Fishing for Forces, DO IT NOW you will love it. You really don’t need any previous experience and the mentors will have you catching fish in no time. I guarantee you will go home relaxed with anything but work pressures of work on your mind.

    Once again thank you and I hope to see you all again soon

  55. Nav 9 April 2015 at 10:05 am #

    To Bill and his FFF volunteers. Thanks for an amazing day out in Mar. The way you organised the glorious sunshine, cakes and a couple of biting fish was class! Thank you to you and your team for making such a great event. It has definitely opened my eyes to the sport and the camaraderie.

  56. scott wykes 17 April 2015 at 7:49 am #

    Cannot thank you enough for the opportunity to come fish with you yesterday at Leckfordt, everyone in my party had an extremely enjoyable day! Was great to get out of the usual mundane work environment and relax waterside,whilst under some excellent tuition.
    It also re kindled previous angling flames that had a most gone out. . I had forgotten and underestimated the impact a day waterside has on the mind, on that not, if you are reading this and haven’t fished before GO FISHING!
    Again many thanks
    take care and see you at the waterside.

  57. Claudia harvey 22 April 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Thank you for an excellent start to the fishing season – a fantastic day at Leckford lake! Following a ‘first attempt’ at fishing with FFF at Leckford last year, I enjoyed a great first season as part of the Army HQ Fly Fishing Club. Thank you for introducing me to fishing – such a well kept secret!

  58. Craig Januszkiewicz 24 April 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    I would just like to take this moment to thank Fishing for Forces as well as the John Lewis partnership for the days fishing at Leckford. It was by fare the best day out fishing i have had, the food was amazing (as could be told being the person at the front of every line) and the company was great. Was a pleasure to meet you all and thank you so much.

  59. Capt Kev Fletcher IRISH GUARDS 30 April 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    THANK YOU to everybody who hosted us at the Fishing For Forces day on 30 April 15, from ‘RSM Bill’ to the Lady who tried to drown me in endless cups of tea, whoever made the Apple Pie, Carrot Cake, and Ginger Cake they were all fantastic! The Chefs who gave us a great start with Bacon & Egg Banjos’ and everyone else; you all played a part and made it a truly fantastic and humbling day.

    A big thank you though must go to Dave my mentor, for his great company and his unwavering patience. Sorry Dave, but Zoro was my hero when I was growing up which probably explains my unique/appalling casting.

    Thanks again.

    Quiz Separabit.

  60. Capt Richie Sixsmith IRISH GUARDS 6 May 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    I will keep this short and to the point, I had a belly full of food a net full of fish a beautiful location and the most accommodating team I have come across in a long time. I am now hunting for that elusive publication about fly fishing by the renowned officianado JR Hartley. I will definitely be continuing with my endeavours all due to a cracking and generous group. Thank you to Ron the master angler for getting me on the fish

  61. Paul Davenport 20 May 2015 at 6:15 am #

    Thank you very much for an amazing experience yesterday. The One on One mentor ensured I received all the assistance I required (And it was quite a bit lol). I have never experienced fly fishing before, the day was extremely satisfying, enjoyable and frustrating when you had a fish evade capture at the last moment!

    The day has captured my interest – and I look forward to partaking in another event in the near future.

  62. Neil Mundy 20 May 2015 at 8:01 am #

    Well done to Bill Howell and the FFF team of mentors for another successful day at Avon springs yesterday 19 th May, and many thanks again to Jim Steele for paying for the day.i was a really rewarding experience to mentor Major Tom Eastman and great that my student won the prize for the heaviest bag too!

  63. Jason Crook 26 May 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    Thanks to the FFF team. Caught no fish but had a great day and was a fantastic experience. I am considering taking it up further because of the day and would recomend it to anyone. Thanks alot

  64. Heidi Dunne 9 July 2015 at 6:01 am #

    To all at FFF, TWFFS & Fidelity Worldwide

    A team of 15 service personnel (MPS, 1 Royal Anglian and MPGS) predominately from Woolwich attended a fantastic FFF day on Wed 7 Jul at Chalybeate Springs Trout Fishery.

    None of us knew what to really expect despite the detailed admin instruction and all of us were pleasantly surprised from the moment we arrived. We were made to feel so welcome and it was definately a break from the ‘norm’ of military life.

    The 1:1 tuition was fantastic and it didn’t matter if you were an absolute beginner (which most of us were!) All the mentors were patient, very encouraging and mixed well with us all and there was definately a sense of team comradery.

    The competition, prize giving and food was an added bonus. As a result of the day out some personnel will definitely be Fly Fishing again.

    Thank you so much for the experience!

  65. Lieutenant Colonel S D Alhaji RAPTC 27 September 2015 at 8:54 am #

    I fully understand the commitment it takes to organise successful events and I would have been proud to have organised the event Bill and his team of dedicated mentors executed on Wednesday 23 September. Out of the 13 guests who attended, 10 were novices and by the end of the day the majority are seriously considering taking up fly fishing as a hobby. This was the perfect way to introduce novices to the art of fly fishing in a relaxed and friendly manner. We were overwhelmed by the level of detail, expertise, dedication and quality of food. Bill you and your team have got it exactly right, so I thank you and your team for what was a fantastic day. Finally, I have to say a personal thank you to Mike Edwards for mentoring me for the day, I really enjoyed our time together.

  66. WO2 (QMSI) Scott Burrell RAPTC 21 October 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    On behalf of the Army Inspectorate and guests from other departments i would like to sincerely thank Bill and his team including all mentors for delivering such a professional and exciting day. All but one of us were novices but fish were caught by all and the skills required to cast and land fish were fast learnt.
    The additional touches such as feeding and refreshments make the day a Grade A day for all attendees. The food was excellent and the prizes given at the end of the day a very fine touch to make it memorable.
    Very much recommended to all serving personnel of all levels of fishing experience.
    Bill and Team, thank you very much and hope to meet on the bankside again sometime.

  67. WO2 Helen Cuskern Int Corps 22 October 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Many thanks to Bill, all of his team and the volunteer mentors for their dedication to providing this amazing experience.

    The Army Inspectorate’s day at Manningford Fisheries was a great success, thoroughly enjoyed by all. As a complete novice I’d highly recommend this event to anyone. It was great fun, even in the pouring rain and a wonderful way to take a break from the stresses of service life.

  68. WO1 John Francis 1 July 2016 at 10:04 am #

    A big thank you for an amazing day out with FFF at the Manningford Trout Fishery. As a complete fly fishing novice I can honestly say I’m hooked…! The day was expertly organised by Bill, his team, Manningford members and the expert mentors from Lloyds and Cozens O’Connell. I would especially like to thank Alex Hill my mentor who patiently coached me to a successful days fishing and hopefully was as excited as me when I caught my first fish..!
    I can hand on heart say I didn’t think about work all day, having a very relaxing time in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.
    Again a big thank you to everyone involved in the event, I recommend anyone to give it a go and if you can give your support to FFF.



  69. Jordan Woodhams 17 July 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    Being the girlfriend of one of the ambassadors of fishing for forces (Craig ski), The cast and blast fundraising event at meon springs was the first event I have ever attened. I had my first experience of fly fishing and clay pidgeon shooting ever in my live and had one of the most educational and memorable days. A well worth charity and the work they strive to deliver goes very far to helping our forces sick and injured. Was proud to have had the opportunity to take part, learn and experience what that charity does.

  70. Tom Kendall 2 September 2016 at 11:16 am #

    Spent a day with the FFF guys at Leckton Lakes, Stockbridge and thoroughly enjoyed it. Completely professional, great tuition from very experienced anglers, and a very polished day overall. Great food was included, and as a group of novices I can say we all felt included and positive about fishing and the experiences FFF provides.

    I cannot recommend enough. A very sincere thank you from all at Army Media and Comms.

  71. paul wade 2 September 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    great weather,great company great food and awesome fishing.
    another fantastic fff event held at testside lakes stockbridge
    it was a pleasure to mentor again at this annual event sponsored by the john lewis partnership.
    after being paired with “novice angler”jamie peters”i can now proudly add the title of “champion leader untangler”lol !!!
    in all seriousness a big thankyou to all the service personnel who attended and all the unsung heroes in the background without whom this special event would not take place
    cheers all and see you next year

  72. Dan Wiepen 5 September 2016 at 8:42 am #

    If you’ve never been to a Fishing For Forces event then make time to get yourself along. I guarantee you’ll meet some fantastic people, Bill Howell and his team will have you laughing so much your face will ache and, if you’re worried that you’ve never done anything like this before, you’ll probably surprise yourself just how much the mentors can teach you in a day. It’s a very satisfying feeling learning to cast well. Lots of people come along thinking they won’t enjoy fishing and leave with a completely different outlook. Get in touch with the team a have a great day out of the office!

    A massive thank you to Bill and all of the Fishing For Forces team for organising a great day at Leckford Lakes.

  73. Maj Ian Coulson 5 September 2016 at 9:36 am #

    What a superb day!

    On arrival I was greeted with a coffee and bacon sandwich and a bunch of very hospitipal people. A short (mandatory) safety brief and I was paired with Steve, my very own knowledgeable and experienced instructor and mentor for the day. I was soon getting to grips with the fine art of casting again, although I did take quite a few kicks up the arse from Steve throughout the day.

    No trophies but that was irrelevant, I had an absolutely superb day in the sunshine on the grounds and beautiful Leckford Lakes and caught three good sized fish (quality not quantity), but above all I learnt loads and was looked after like a celebrity so a huge thanks goes to Bill and the whole FFF team of organisers and doers who made the day so successful.

    Thank you – I’ll be back!

  74. Steve Blake 6 September 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    Had a fantastic day at Leckford Lakes with Bill and the Team.

    Having never fly fished before, I was suprised how quickly the instructors can get you learning the ropes.

    All in all, a brilliant opportunity that i’m glad I tried out. Food, instruction and morale were all top notch!

    Thanks to Bill and the team for your hard work


  75. WO2 Daniel Harmer 25 April 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    Another superb day with Bill and the team at Manningford Fishery.

    My second time fly fishing with FfF and it just gets better.

    First class instruction, food and a well deserved morale boost for the team!

    Thanks to Bill, Derek and all of the team for your hard work, I couldn’t recommend FfF more!!!


  76. Lt Col Fiona Scotter RE 25 April 2017 at 9:13 pm #

    A brilliant day hosted by a great charity…thank you Fishing For Forces!

    Thank you to Bill, Mike and the team of mentors for your patience, coaching, instruction and teaching me so much and helping me catch 3 beautiful rainbow trout! The work you do to provide Forces personnel with a completely relaxing day away from the pressures of work is amazing…I never thought I would enjoy fly fishing but you proved to me the value of trying something new and just slowing down…a tranquil day in the sun (and hail!) with great food, wonderful company and the beautiful location of Manningford Fisheries.

    I tackled the gutting as soon as I was home and the trout tasted amazing this evening!! Thank you!! Keep up the great work!

    • billHowell (Founder) 16 January 2018 at 8:13 pm #

      Hi Fiona
      A pleasure to have your company again and most pleased you enjoyed the day and your catch I hope we will see you waterside again soon so please check the events page and the first step is giving yourself a break and simply join us.
      Best thoughts

  77. Maj Caroline Wade 18 May 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    What a brilliant day! Thank you so much Bill and all the mentors for a wonderful day. Wishing Maj Detek Saunders a peaceful retirement replete with home brew and fly fishing. It was an honour to be part of his farewell fishing trip.

    Maj Caroline Wade

  78. Maj Mike Martin (Retired) 6 October 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    What a magical day’s introduction to Fly Fishing let alone a unique de-stress scenario for us staff of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation at the idyllic Manningford Lakes on the River Avon in Wiltshire. The last time I touched a fishing rod was as a 12 year old back in 1966 for a few day’s simple spinning on Lough Mask under the watchful eye of my grandfather. So here I was 51 years later, with the accumulated stress after 36 years military service with the Infantry and almost 10 years as an MOD civil servant being handed a fly fishing rod to cast for the first time; not sure who was taking that risk but certainly as risky as when I was first handed a self loading rifle as an army cadet! We were so warmly welcomed by Bill and his team of mentors on arrival – nothing like a good army style brew and a bacon or sausage butty to start the day. It was brilliantly well organised from start to finish. We each had the privilege of an expert mentor to teach us all day. Steve looked after me so well and I was in awe of his enthusiasm, knowledge and skill. He was also extremely patient as I tried to master the basics of casting; my style was typically infantry soldier like – too much bluster and over ‘whipping’ too he rod, rather than the calm and smooth approach. I apologise Steve for losing so many of your flies in the undergrowth or trees! However I improved with practice, taking heed of all the expert advice. We were treated to a lovely buffet lunch in the Fishing Lodge and that certainly sustained us for the afternoon session of trying to catch lovely rainbow trout. To our amazement we all succeeded, including a lucky person who caught a 10 pounder. The day ended perfectly with a lovely tea and cakes and then after the weigh in of the day’s catch, there were generous prizes for the best catches of the day. I cannot think of a better way to unwind, away from the battlefield, training area or barracks and I most strongly commend Fishing to Forces to all military units. Special thanks to the FFF team for giving so much of their voluntary time and effort, let alone skill and fly fishing passion for the benefit of serving soldiers and veterans. I salute you all for your voluntary commitment to FFF.

    • billHowell (Founder) 16 January 2018 at 8:09 pm #

      Dear Mike
      Thank you for the kind words and compliments. It is support like this that tells us we have the correct formulae to enable guests to de stress and return. A pleasure to have your company and I hope to see you waterside in the not too distant future.
      My best

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