I have been fly fishing since I was 6 years old and tying flies since 12. My interest in tying spans a wide range of species and includes patterns from huge Striped Bass patterns down to little 26’s for grayling and trout. I’ve toyed with hook sizes down to 32’s, but that was just silly. My primary interest, for many years and regardless of species, has been imitation of the natural food of the species I’m targeting. I’ve had my spell of tying super realistic patterns (you’ll find a gallery of examples on my blog); I really enjoyed the challenge. Producing “art flies” fit for framing rather than fishing was a worthwhile direction to take for a while, but my interest in producing practical, fishable flies has steered me back to “fishable realistics”. These are patterns that are fairly quick to tie, highly imitative and expendable.
Recently I have started taking an interest in sea trout and salmon: I have avoided these species in the past because they have to be targeted in a non-imitative manner because they, apparently, don’t feed in freshwater. I have come to see the challenge in catching these species and also that imitation of marine food sources does play a role in many sea trout and salmon patterns… I suspect I will be focusing on this intersection between attraction and imitation more in the future.
I’ll cast a fly at anything that swims, I’ve even tried to tempt a crocodile, but my primary focus, passion and interest currently lies with salmon and sea trout. Grayling and trout still making an appearance in my thoughts somewhat because both are within 15 miles of my home in rural Kent.
Recent travel for salmon has had me in the Swedish Arctic for Baltic salmon, the Scottish highlands for Atlantic salmon and British Columbia for a family holiday with some fishing for steelhead on the side!
I love the salt. I’ve been throwing flies in the briny since 13 and fish it often in South East England and whenever I can squeeze it in on trips abroad. Striped and European Bass give me a huge rush. I’ve also fished the salt in various parts of Africa and the Caribbean and Indian oceans.
I have contributed to or been featured in a number of flytying and flyfishing publications including local media in South Africa (1980’s-2007) and more broadly published books such as “Fly Tyers of the World- volume One” by Steve Thornton, published by VEM Publishing.
My love of fly fishing is firmly rooted in my deep connection with natural, healthy ecosystems and to that end I am a trustee of the South East Rivers Trust which is focused on restoring the catchments in this heavily pressured region of the UK. More info here: www.southeastriverstrust.org
I’ve attended some wonderful fly fishing and fly tying shows in the UK and abroad where I have demonstrated a range of my fly patterns. I’ve also enjoyed doing demonstrations and talks at Fly Dressers Guild meetings in the UK. You’ll find pictures of many of my patterns on my blog, fliesandstuff.com, as well as writings on my fishing around home in Kent and further afield.