Former England Youth International and now the Shakespeare European Brand manager, James Robbins answers our questions.
Shakespeare European Brand manager
All kinds of fishing
Describe a typical day for you?
Apart from in the depths of winter I try and fish everyday even if only for a short 1-2 hour session. I often fish before or after work and at least a full day at the weekend.
What age did you start fishing?
I got my first rod when I was 8 whilst on holiday in Cornwall. Before that I used to spend hours fishing in rock pools with my hands or a net. My parents used to say I was addicted to fishing!
What is your first fishing memory?
Catching a Chub whilst visiting some family friends in Wales, I was about 9 and remember they had a small river at the bottom of the garden. I caught a nice Chub on floating bread and as no one in my family fished, I truly caught and landed the fish on my own – a big surprise to everyone.
What do you love most about the Sport?
I love so many aspects of the sport: The varied environments we fish and the different seasons we experience. I enjoy being competitive when fishing in individual and team competitions and also catching fish on new methods and venues. Most of all I love the comradeships that fishing brings, I think fisherman are a certain breed that are typically friendly, funny and generous. I have many such fishing mates from different backgrounds, ages and countries.
Describe your casting style?
Agricultural but effective.
What is your most memorable fishing experience?
I have to split this into 3 answers (coarse, fly, sea):
In 1991 I represented England in the World Youth Championships in Slovakia, this was a great experience and achievement.
I caught a beautiful sea-liced 16lb spring salmon from the South Tyne. This is my biggest salmon taken on a fly and is memorable for the fight and also the fact I was with one of my best fishing mates.
My first halibut caught when fishing in Norway. We were fishing for a week in the Arctic-circle with 24 hour daylight. I don’t think I’ve ever fished so hard and intensely as on that trip.
What piece of kit could you not live without?
A top quality hook.
What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list?
Sea trout fishing in Patagonia, hope to go next year.
Any funny fishing tales you would like to share?
I have many but have just read a fantastic book: ‘Terminal Chancer’ by James Galbraith, think it’s a brilliant and very funny book – recommend it.
Your perfect day would be consisting of?
My other big passion is skiing so a perfect day would have include both skiing and fishing:
Start early with a full breakfast - Skiing off-piste in powder and under blue sky - Long lunch in my favourite mountain restaurant - salmon fishing in perfect conditions and a catching a 20lb+ fresh salmon on the fly – dinner and night out in with my mates………..you did ask!
How did you get a career start in the fishing industry?
I was a member of the Shakespeare Super-team (match fishing team) and in 2004 was asked to be a consultant for Shakespeare match and coarse products and also help at consumer shows. In 2005 I was offered a full time job as a product development manager for Shakespeare and I jumped at the chance!
Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world?
Obviously being a keen and experienced angler is a great attribute when looking for a career in the angling trade. However it’s also important to have experience, qualifications and skills in business sales and marketing. Unfortunately few jobs in trade involve fishing full time!
What is the big thing for your brand this year?
Our new Oracle Skagit and 4pc Switch rods will be great additions to our extremely successful Oracle salmon range of rods, reels and lines. For sea fishing the new Agility Tipster rods are generating a lot of excitement with our consultants and the press. They are specifically designed for the UK and reflect the modern techniques of sea fishing with soft tip rods and sporting actions.
Receive a FREE Shooting Head with every Shakespeare Oracle Switch and Scandi Rod
View our range of Shakespeare Reels and Spools
Can you give us any advice or useful tips?
Don’t be afraid to ask other anglers questions and never stop learning. Also don’t be in a rush to start a fishing session, take your time! Spend time observing the water and keep as stealthy and quiet as possible.