The fly-fishing bug engulfed me about twenty-five years ago when I was in my mid-thirties and like many other fly anglers from the industrial north of England, I started my journey on small stocked still waters, fishing for rainbow trout. My fly tying started at this juncture, tying lures and buzzers. I soon became involved in the competition scene which changed my interest to large still waters, fishing lough style. I was lucky enough to be a member of the 2002 England lough style team. In 2001 I was invited to fish in Ireland. This event changed my life. I now have a great love for Ireland, its people, its wild brownies and the sea trout. I have fished all over Ireland from Carrane in Kerry, Corrib and Inagh in Mayo, Sheelin in Cavan and Arrow in Sligo. Whenever I fish in Ireland, I never want to come home. I was lucky enough to visit Rob Tyes shop on the shores of Lough Mask and I am pleased that I met the great man but unfortunately it was just months before his untimely death. I could not believe the shades and blends of colour the Irish tiers use. They truly are wonderful. I now incorporate these blends in to my flies – which are largely influenced by the Irish style. I also fish all over Scotland from Perthshire to the Outer Hebrides and Orkney. I have also salmon fished in Norway. My localish salmon river is the Ribble and I also get a day or two on the Eden every season. My local river is the Yorkshire Calder. It’s full of brown trout and grayling. You would not believe the quality of the fishing from such a small industrial river. My preference is to fish spiders’ upstream when the fish are sipping. The water I simply love to fish is Malham tarn. You will find me fishing their every week throughout the season, casting sedgehogs and dabblers to some truly wonderfully huge brown trout – in some of Yorkshires finest scenery.
As far as the fly tying goes, I tie all types of flies. From classic salmon flies – which I have a love hate relationship with – to the simplest of lures. My passion is for tying lough flies in the Irish style. I am also a member of two branches of the fly dressers guild – Pendle and Leeds and in Leeds I also teach the beginners class which is something I really enjoy.
I was also involved in my local Rivers Trust Board and set up the invertebrate monitoring section which hosted seventy members at its peak. I am also a Riverfly trainer and have trained over one hundred volunteers.