IT HAS been a few weeks to treasure for fly fisher Sheena Goode who has enjoyed superb success in two prestigious events.
The 2011 ladies’ international champion, who was born and lives in Solihull, won England team silver at the one-day Ladies’ International competition in Twarsfynydd, North Wales before heading to the Commonwealth Fly Fishing event in Devon where she was team manager and fished to help get the England Ladies team top of the table for ladies’ teams in the three-day event.
Success at the latter event is of particular pride for Goode, as it took her two years to plan and it was the first time it has been held in England for a very long time.
Her medal successes are quite remarkable, as Goode has only been fly fishing at international and European level for nine years.
It was actually a summer holiday camp for her children which inspired Goode to get involved with the sport.
“I took my children to an organisation for free fishing nine years ago. A man was there giving fly fishing lessons, I had a go and took to it like a duck takes to water,” she said.
“Within 12 months I was a member of the England Ladies Fly Fishing Association and from there I began going to qualifiers.”
In North Wales Goode, along with her England team, won silver medals.
“The feeling of representing your country is amazing. Putting on your uniform with the England badge on makes you so proud,” she added.
“The pride was even more so this year because we were in Wales and we knew we’d have a good chance of getting silver or gold.”
After the Internationals, Goode travelled to Devon for the Commonwealth fly fishing event.
“I knew three years ago the Commonwealth was coming to England. I knew I had to be there. I thought, I have to get an England team together,” said Goode.
“Nobody else would do it though, so I had to take it on myself to do everything. I managed, fished, coached, planned, trained and recruited.”
Fly fishing, unfortunately, is not a very popular event for women in the UK, so Goode had an almighty task on her hands.
She went on: “For two years, I’ve been trying to get a team together, trying to find women who want to compete and give them the chance to represent their country.
“I finally got the team together and three of the ladies had international experience. The other two ladies had never competed in the event before, so there were a lot of tears.”
Not only did Goode achieve putting a team together, but she also led the team to the top of the table in the Commonwealth.
“The first goal was to get a team together. The second goal was to motivate the ladies and organise practice sessions – we were from all over the country so that was logistically problematic,” she said.
“The third goal was to get top of the table and we did that. We also beat a couple of the men’s teams on the way too. It was amazing.”
When she is not competing, Goode spends her time raising awareness of the sport.
“There isn’t much awareness of ladies’ fly fishing. I would really like to get it up and running and teach ladies to fly fish,” she added.
“There is so much you can get out of it. It’s therapeutic. You’re out in the environment trying to impersonate nature. The ethos behind fly fishing is that you are trying to imitate the flies that land on the water that the fish eat.”
Despite her recent successes, Goode has no time to relax as she prepares for summer events including the Airflow Team event, promoting women’s fly fishing at Blenheim Palace CLA Game Fair, a trip to Bosnia and the Ladies National Championships in August.
“The National Championships are very important as this is how I can qualify for the England team next year,” she said.
The reason Goode wants to qualify so much is because the 2016 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships will be held in Quebec, Canada.
“The Commonwealth and being crowned international champion in 2011 are the highlights of my fishing career. To cap that, I’m going to try and captain England Ladies next year,” said Goode.
“The 2016 Commonwealth is being held in Canada. The next big dream is to go there and retain that top ladies spot and represent my country in Canada.”
Sheena Goode leads the Commonwealth parade at the opening ceremony. (s)
Boat fishing. (s)
Sheena Goode with the England Ladies’ team at the Commonwealth Fly Fishing, Devon. (s)