Sweets of Usk for Fallon's Angler
Words and pictures by Nick Fallowfield-Cooper
'Last year I visited the unassuming little tackle shop called Sweets, nestling between the River Usk and the old castle that stands high over the town. My short visit left more questions unanswered, I was drawn to make a return visit and find out more about the unique history of Sweets, a tackle shop that has changed little in almost a hundred years, I wanted see how it has played an important role with the anglers near and afar. This time I would return with an empty fly box and ask Jean Williams, the proprietor of Sweets and fly tyer, to create a selection of flies to take me through the season on the river Usk.
As I knock on the window I can see Jean coming to unbolt the door, a warm smile and the words “welcome to the US of K.” Jean has been tying flies in the back room of Sweets since the 1960’s where a single window floods light onto her handmade vice originally made by Lionel Sweet in the fifties. A piece of shammy grips the hook cut from a leather glove that Jean still owns, it is quite clear that Jean is not one to throw anything out! The shelves are stacked high with yellow Pezon et Michel cases, shoeboxes and sweet jars storing feathers, capes, furs and any other conceivable fly tyers material, while her desk is covered in ephemera and more tying material. The room has a cool stillness, old photos of anglers and great catches adorn the walls, only occasional bird song breaks the silence, this is a place of concentration and calm, it is magical.....'
The full article can be read in issue 3 of Fallon's Angler, available here www.fallonsangler.net