Rising phoenix-like from the ashes and at the 2016 Reading Show with a superb range of British fly boxes…
The Great British Fly Box Company arose phoenix-like from the demise of Richard Wheatley Limited, who didn’t really survive the financial downturn in 2008, limping along for a few years before going into liquidation in 2013. A sad end to a company that started before 1860 and whose products are still in production.
I had been connected with the old company because of my interest in collecting Richard Wheatley angling products that they had made over the previous 150 or so years. This started when my wife bought me a Wheatley Fly Box one year for Christmas, one thing (in this case a Wheatley Fly Box) leading to another until I had a significant collection of Wheatley memorabilia. I decided to put part of my collection online and formed the virtual Richard Wheatley Museum. This reference collection of Richard Wheatley Angling goods runs to over 1500 items from the earliest box to the latest fisherman’s gadget. It includes aluminium, wood and plastic fly boxes, leather goods, black japanned boxes, wooden boxes and storage units as well as catalogues, printing blocks and even the official Company seal. Daily I answer queries from around the world. I have just started updating the information contained in the reference collection and making it much more accessible by incorporated into a new YouTube channel. The first video has been filmed and is awaiting editing at the time of writing. Others are in the planning stage.
At the request of Richard Wheatley Limited I started to answer queries that were sent to the company concerning the past and slowly built up my collection and knowledge. When the company got into trouble I (along with its USA agents) purchased the trademarks and intellectual property rights and I began to make and sell Richard Wheatley products around most of the world.
The knowledge that the Richard Wheatley brand is still based in, and most of its angling products are still made in the traditional way in the United Kingdom, matters to me. We still assemble the boxes in the same manner as the old company did, using the same components supplied by the same companies, the only difference is that they are now made in Somerset.
I feel that the way forward is to promote fishing tackle made here in the United Kingdom. At the end of 2013 I was able to acquire Fox Tackle Products who made the iconic Fox Fly Box. This is the last plastic fly box made in the United Kingdom and these will be available at the Sportfish Reading Show. Over the next few years we will phase out most of the foreign made items in our catalogue and with this in mind we have restarted the in-house manufacture of our range of mahogany fly boxes, and have started to expand the range of British made leather goods in our listing.
In the middle of 2015 we started the ‘Jack Taylor’ brand where our coarse fishing tackle is finding a home. We hope to have a drop shot box soon, to join the pike fly wallet and a zig box that have already found a niche in the market.
Do take time to come and see us at the Reading Show and give your precious flies the box they really deserve!