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Obituary - John Goddard - 31/12/12


27th August 1923 – 26th December 2012



After a long illness, John Goddard, all-round angler and innovator, died on the 26th December, 2012, aged 89.


Many tributes will have been written about John’s life and times by people who knew him well.  Friends included Peter Lapsley (aka J. R. Hartley) who fished with him over the years and more so in his final years.  Peter recently wrote that they had been friends for more than 35 years and his retirement coincided with John’s failing health, so they were able to  fish together regularly towards the end of his life.  Those who were fortunate enough to meet and spend time with him will have realised that he was an extraordinary gentleman who made a significant contribution to the world of angling.

Perhaps best known for his formation of the fishing tackle company, Efgeeco, he also gained a deserved reputation for his entomological knowledge and for the development of reservoir fly-fishing.  He would patiently study the movement, behaviour and appearance of insects as they alighted on the water and then he would the replicate them, developing highly effective fishing flies which often proved irresistible to his quarry.  His angling knowledge was greatly respected, as was his patient advice to less experienced fishermen, eager to learn just how to catch fish as well as John did.  He travelled and fished worldwide and wrote books, leaving behind a literary legacy which I am sure will be read and appreciated for many years to come.

On the 20th June, 2012, Keith and I travelled to the beautiful lakeside home in Surrey, which John shared with his wife Eileen, and in that idyllic  location, we spent a fascinating day recording some of his memories and those of his old friend, Times’ correspondent, Brian Clarke.  As ever, our charismatic sound recordist, John McCombie joined us – we now regard him as a valued member of the Angling Heritage team!  When the day ended, we said our goodbyes and left, not only with their recorded words, but also with an idea and appreciation of just what has been achieved by both men.  Due to his illness, John’s voice faltered at times and initially, there was some doubt as to whether he wanted to go ahead with the project which will form the basis of the fourth in the Recollections’ series of books and cds, but along with Brian, he listened to the recording and thankfully gave the thumbs up.  With help, I hope to complete this penultimate recording within a year, and those purchasing a copy will be able to hear and see just a little of the life and times of John Goddard and Brian Clarke.  We were privileged.


Sandra Armishaw


Angling Heritage (UK)

January 2013