A Brief History

“How it all started”

The idea for a Commonwealth Fly fishing Championship originated following a successful World Fly Fishing Championships held on the River Test in England in May 1987.  Competitors from Australia, Canada and New Zealand approached Annie and Arthur Humbert with the aim of holding a separate competition based on the simple mantra of “friendship in fishing”.

It was hoped to promote the pleasure of fly fishing with the avoidance of “politics” in the sport.  Rule 1 of the original rules states “Rules and organisation should be kept simple, the twin aims are enjoyable fishing and companionship and a chance to sample each others waters and methods.  The results to be secondary to these aims”.   Mention here should be made of the invaluable help and technical advice we received from Tony Pawson.  Annie and Arthur with these aims in mind organised and held the inaugural Championships with the enormous support and co-operation of Jason and Barbara Garret at London Lakes Tasmania in December 1988.  Six teams from Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales participated together with a celebrity team which included Australia’s former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.  Below is an excerpt from the itinerary from London Lakes and as you can see it was a particularly early start to proceedings.


3.40am Leave Bronte Park
4.00am Briefing at London Lakes
4.30am Competition Starts
8.30am Session 1 ends
9.00am-10.30am Breakfast at London Lakes
11.00am Session 2 Starts
15.00pm Session 2 ends
15.30pm Barbecue at London Lakes and Presentation of Prizes


Australia won the Championship and handsome piscatorial prizes were presented to the team members, a magnificent perpetual trophy was donated by Jason Garret and presented to the team most promoting friendship in fishing.

Several successful events have taken place since, England hosted the Championship in 1989, Wales in 1990, with generous sponsorship from Welsh Water, New Zealand in 1991, Canada in 1993 and Scotland in 1995. 

Thereafter the Humber's relinquished the reins and passed the management into the capable hands of Jill Mandeno.

            Jill Mandeno
Chairperson Commonwealth
             Fly Fishers



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