Tony Pawson was a much-loved sportsman. He had played football and cricket at the highest level, but it is for his contribution to fly-fishing for trout he was best known. In 1984 I qualified for England to fish in Spain along with Tony, he was elected captain. Tony was the perfect gentleman but also had a very competitive streak. It was clear to me England had the right captain in Tony. We were to fish the River Tormes in Salamanca. Going to Spain a week before the competition day gave us time to practise, the river was running high from flood. Instead of the usual dry fly method, Tony and the team opted to use slow sink lines and traditional English fly patterns such as the Black & Peacock Spider. Casting to the centre of the river and allowing the current to swing the flies into your downstream bank and slow figure-of-eight retrieve. We stuck to Tony’s decision and it worked. Tony won the whole event. Tony was the new World Fly Fishing individual champion and we as his team were a close runner up as second. So it was gold for Tony and silver for the team. Tony was presented with the largest cup trophy I had ever seen. It even had its own seat on the plane coming home. In 1987 he was the main organiser along with David Swatland in hosting the World Fly-fishing Championships in England. Results, England won gold on Grafham, Rutland and the River Test. Individuals, first, second, third, fourth, and sixth, missing one place only for a clean sweep. The best ever organised Championships. Finally Tony took the same team to Tasmania in 1988 where the terrain on the central plateau was tough. Tony’s team did it again managed by the late Geoff Clarkson. England won yet again. Tony also started the Commonwealth championships where it has grown from strength to strength with India hoping to compete next year. Tony brought joy to many people raising funds for charities and was always great to be around. A great legend and will be sadly missed.
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