Club History

PISCATOR NON SOLUM PISCATUR (There is more to fishing than catching fish)
PATRON: His Royal Highness THE PRINCE OF WALES, K.G., K.T.

To join The Flyfishers’ Club is to become a member of one of the country’s most friendly, welcoming, diverse, interesting, knowledgeable and entertaining fly fishing fraternities.

The Flyfishers’ Club was founded in 1884.  The Club is constituted as a social club for gentlemen interested in the art of flyfishing and for the study and furtherance of subjects and issues of interest to flyfishermen.  It shall be a private members’ club owned by its Ordinary Members and Honorary Life Members.

During the 120 and more years of its existence, the Flyfishers’ has had a number of homes. It first moved into rooms of its own in the Arundel Hotel in 1888, then to No. 8 Haymarket in 1889 and thence, in 1907, to its own premises in Swallow Street, Piccadilly, where it remained until evicted by enemy action in 1941. Since then it has leased premises in several other London clubs, moving on when they proved less resilient than the Flyfishers’.

Today, the Club’s rooms in Brook Street in central London are extremely comfortable – think of them as your favourite ‘fishing-hut’, discreet, cosy, understated … a haven to which fly fishers can retreat from the hustle and bustle of London.

Here, we have one of the most remarkable fishing libraries anywhere, notable not so much for its sheer size – well over 3,000 works on angling – or its substantial collection of rare books, but because so many of the volumes it contains have been written by famous anglers who, being members of the Club, have given inscribed copies to the library. Members are, of course, free to browse in the library, to borrow books from it, even to tie that killing fly at the Club’s well-stocked fly-tying bench with the relevant book open in front of them.

The Club also has a fascinating collection of fly fishing memorabilia – a creel reputed to have belonged to Isaac Walton; historic flies including a Greenwell’s Glory tied by Canon Greenwell himself; a magnificent collection of rods, amongst them Skues’s 1905 Leonard which his friend C.L.C dubbed the W.B.R. (WorId’s Best Rod); a host of other intriguing fishing relics and numerous mounted fish.

But it is the members who make a club, rather than the building or its facilities, and we believe the Flyfishers’ to be very special, not least because of its long tradition of warmth and friendliness. The Members include anglers who fish for all game species in all kinds of waters; the young and the old; the famous, the not so famous and those who simply enjoy the sport.

The Club has always had a lively literary tradition. Amongst its founder members were F.M. Halford, William Senior and R.B. Marston. Lord Grey of Falloden was elected to membership in 1899 and, in 1921, G.E.M. Skues dedicated his great work, The Way of a Trout with a Fly, to the Club, “in gratitude for so many happy hours and some priceless friends”. Francis Francis, H.T. Sheringham, Arthur Ransome, Eric Taverner, Hugh Falkus, Donald Overfield and Richard Walker are just a few of the almost two hundred members who have published works on fishing, And this literary tradition continues, the Flyfishers’ numbering amongst its members many of today’s best fly fishing authors.

It is the members, too, who make the Club’s respected, handsomely produced and highly ‘collectable’ house publication, The Flyfishers’ Journal. Published free to members twice a year, it is written very largely by Members, many of them amongst the most practised and skilful fly fishers and fishing writers in the country.

Although the Club owns no fishing and is ‘non-political’, it and many of its Members are closely associated with all the major national game angling bodies, and the Club’s views on the development of game angling and conservation are widely respected.

The Club has a fine selection of reasonably priced wines and diverse and imaginative menus and is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday. While dinner is available on all weekday evenings, members are particularly encouraged to dine together on the first Wednesday of each month. For a modest fee, the Club dining room may be hired for private dinner parties, cocktail parties or presentations.

A number of very popular ‘themed’ dinners are held each year, chiefly in the winter, after which eminent guests give presentations on fishing and fisheries both in Britain and elsewhere in the world.

An annual postal auction, open only to Club Members and run to raise funds for the Club, provides the opportunity to buy access to some of the finest fishing in the United Kingdom, generously donated by Club Members, usually at very reasonable cost. Similarly, Rummage Sales, which follow always convivial dinners and are also used to raise funds, enable members to purchase high quality ‘used’ fishing tackle, often at bargain prices.

Central to the Club’s calendar is The Flyfishers’ Annual Dinner, held every year since 1885. Since 1932, it has been held at the Savoy Hotel in October each year. Like all of the Club’s other activities, it is always a pleasant and entertaining evening, popular with and well attended by the members, an opportunity to meet old friends and forge new friendships.

There is also a developing tradition of local dinners in the  West Country, Derbyshire and Scotland. More intimate than the Annual Dinner, their growing success reflects the success of the Club as a whole in bringing together like minded people with a common interest in fly fishing.

Close ties to our hosts, the Savile Club, give Members access to accommodation and additional dining facilities. We have reciprocal arrangements with many other dubs in Britain and overseas, too, all of which offer our members the use of their facilities. Included is a number of Clubs in London offering Members overnight accommodation.

Although we are a gentlemen’s Club and do not therefore have lady members, Members may invite lady guests to join them in the Savile Club for lunch, tea in the afternoon, drinks  and dinner.

An Entente Cordial de la Pêche à la Mouche has been formed with the International Fario Club based in Paris and this will bring together like-minded gentlemen from both sides of the Channel. This has been further extended to arrangements with Clubs in New Zealand and Australia.