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A Kylie fan and Eden fisher of 30 years, Mark Strong answers our questions

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Meet Professional Caster Eoin Fairgrieve!

30 September 2015 15:53:23 BST

Want the chance to pick the brains of a true casting expert? Then pop down to our store this Sunday 4th October, where we’ll be welcoming author, photographer and world speycasting champion Eoin Fairgrieve who hails from the Scottish borders and just about lives on the famous River Tweed.

 Eoin Fairgieve

As well as being an ex-river guide and casting consultant to a number of angling bodies and government agencies, Eoin is now a full-time professional speycasting instructor at his own fly-fishing centre on the River Tweed, Scotland. Fully qualified in all modern casting techniques with both single and double-handed fly rods, Eoin is the perfect candidate for answering all of your casting questions, with over 26 years of experience giving fly fishing seminars across the world.   Besides being a qualified member of the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors, Eoin is also a writer and photographer for the UK’s leading angling magazine Trout & Salmon. So you may indeed already be familiar with his extensive expertise!   Eoin is a fishing consultant for Loop Tackle and will be available to provide in depth knowledge on this first class fishing brand.   For more information about Eoin and his fly fishing centre, visit www.eoinfairgrieve.co.uk.

The Evening Rise with David Garfoot

19 August 2015 16:31:38 BST

The evening rise is regarded as the crème de la crème of trout fishing in this country. As daylight hours have now peaked, warmer weather has gradually moved in from the continent boosting the fly life present on the river bank. Insects can hatch in great numbers during these periods and thus create feeding frenzies among the trout of the Eden valley. This increase in the insects available can prompt even the most reluctant and wily of trout to move out of their day time lies to feed. Amongst these fish, now gorging on an array of fly life can often be specimens of three pounds and well above! Evening Rise The evening rises begin as the summer’s day starts to come to an end, the temperature cools and swarms of insects begin to lay their eggs on the surrounding rivers and lakes. The most frequent insects that occur within Cumbria at this time of year are; Sedges, Dun’s, and a variety of Midge’s.   The time of which an evening rise occurs varies from day to day. To make the most of this dry fly sport I avoid the more productive looking pools till later in the evening, when the fish are rising more freely. By doing this it prevents the better quality fish from becoming spooked and leaves things more in your favour when fishing for them.   Greys XF2 Streamflex Fly RodTo effectively target these brown trout a variety of tackle set ups and techniques are required. My tackle of choice when targeting fish on an evening rise, is a Greys XF2 Streamflex 9ft 4wt and a Rio Perception 4wt fly line. This setup is by far one of the most effective on the market to date. It allows for the most careful and delicate presentation, yet also offers great versatility in a variety of fishing situations. The Perception is built upon a low stretch core (around 6 percent stretch) which allows for quicker hook sets and easier mending (see footnote 1) of the fly line.     From my fly line I will always attach a tapered leader to aid the turnover of my fly. My personal favourite being the Rio Powerflex 9ft model which is both supple and low in diameter. As well as this, I always carry a range of tippet strengths in Riverage Grand Max Fluorocarbon and Frog Hair Copolymer which come in useful in many different situations. These can include either tying a dropper or extending the tapered leader if it has become too short. In my opinion these tippet materials are tried and tested and have always offered great reliability on my fishing outings.   Griffiths GnatOn my arrival at the river I will attempt to identify what the fish are feeding on and consider how I might try to catch them. There are a few main approaches which should be considered when fishing an evening rise. These include:     -       Up-wing fly’s such as the Medium Olive and Small Dark Olive hatch throughout June and July. Once they have mated and deposited their eggs within river system (known as Spinners at this stage of their life cycle) they can often become trapped in the surface film. When trapped they are an easy meal for trout and often get eaten before they can escape. To represent Spinners I use a fly known as a Sherry Spinner. I will attempt to match the size of real insect as closely as possible and then target certain fish once I have seen them rise confidently.   Whiting Farm Medium Olive -       As dusk arrives sedge and caddis flies can often be seen skating across the water’s surface. The wake that’s caused seems to attract the attention of most fish in the surrounding water. Trout will readily chase these fleeing insects and aggressively attack them in hope of a large easy meal. In hope of attracting these aggressive brownies I use a select few buoyant sedge patterns such as a Deer Hair Sedge and an Elk Hair Caddis. I cast upstream and directly across, and then retrieve my fly in a variety of different movements. I aim to match the movement of the natural flies as best as possible and find this produces the best results.   -       When fish appear to be feeding on midge species my go to pattern is a Griffiths Gnat. The bushy design of this fly seems to be often irresistible to these wild river trout. I match the size of the fly as closely as possible to the insect. When using small dry fly’s like this it is as important as ever to ensure you get a drag free drift. Flies that are affected by drag usually result in fish ignoring your fly or even becoming spooked.   Sherry Spinner The evening rise can regularly continue well into darkness. During this time I rely on hearing the rise in order to set the hook rather than seeing it. Difficult as this may be the darkness often brings with it the peak of trout’s feeding activity. Great sport can be had on an evening rise and in my opinion is something well worth having a late night for.     David Garfoot   Foot note: 1 – Mending – the process by which you counteract the effects of current on the fly line, thus enabling a longer dead drift.
Former England Youth International and now the Shakespeare European Brand manager, James Robbins answers our questions.   Name: James Robbins Age: 42 Location: Warwickshire Job Description: Shakespeare European Brand manager Likes: All kinds of fishing Dislikes: Cormorants James Robbins 3 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!   James Robbins 2What 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.   James Robbins 4What 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!   James Robbins 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.  
Fisher, Shooter, Golfer and Newcastle United fan, John Henderson of Pure Fishing UK fills us in on his fishing experiences and provides some sound advice on what not to do with yellow snow.   Name:  John Henderson Age:  35 Location:  Alnwick, Northumberland Job Description:  Head of Sales & Marketing – Pure Fishing UK Likes:  Outdoor sports, in fact most sport but the stand out ones are - fishing, shooting and golf. I also enjoy football but this can be quite stressful as most NUFC fans would testify! Dislikes:  Walking around a crowded shopping centre or supermarket! John Henderson Describe a typical day for you?   Up early and walk my dogs – Clay a black Lab and Holly a black Cocker Spaniel!  This would be followed by either a day in the office (our headquarters are in Alnwick) or on the road with one our sales team visiting one of our customers, this could be anywhere in the UK & Ireland.   What age did you start fishing? I started fishing when I was 8 years old, my Father took me fly fishing on our local river Aln for wild Brown Trout. This first trip was enough to hook me for life and drive my passion for the sport to not only try different types of fishing but to have a career in fishing too.   What is your first fishing memory? As above my first trip with my dad, the main memory that sticks with me is me catching my very own fish! I made the cast with my Black Pennell and hooked a wild Brown Trout around ½ a pound! I was so happy this is what made it stick! John Henderson 3 What do you love most about the sport? It all connects back to my love for the outdoors; I love the peaceful side of the sport and my main target species would be either wild Brown Trout, which like I say stems from that very first experience and also Atlantic Salmon. Salmon for me have such an elusive nature and that moment when you get that take is like nothing I've ever experienced before, it’s magical!   Describe your casting style? I suppose every single person has a different casting style, I’m not sure how mine would be described as I have been influenced by so many different people! I think when it comes to single handed casting I have what you would call a crisp casting action where a fast action rod would be best suited to me. Spey casting is slightly different as I have been taught by very traditional anglers as well as very modern style casters, if you mix this up it is probably where I am – a 'traditional style with a modern twist'. I love the more modern styles of Spey casting with casts like the Circle “C”, Snap “T” or Snake Roll. However we mustn’t forget that all of these casts come back to the MOST important of all – the single Spey cast!   What is your most memorable fishing experience? This is a really tough one, I have so many great memories when it comes to fishing but I am going to split this into two!
  1. The first has to be that very first fish caught on my local river with my dad, this fish is what ultimately got me into the sport that we all love and even helped me choose my career path!
  2. The second is more about a specific fish, I mentioned above about my love for Atlantic Salmon, a very dear friend and family member Mr Andy Murray (not the tennis player) asked me many years ago if I would like to try Salmon fishing on the mighty river Tweed where he Ghillie’s on a beat called Tweed Mill. Andy is a world renowned Spey caster and very well respected in the industry so who better than him to show me the ropes! It wasn’t long before Andy had me casting a decent line so we ventured out in search of the elusive Atlantic Salmon, it was around an hour later that I experience my first PULL, this has stayed with me ever since and is what drives me and many fellow anglers to go out again and again to try and catch others! I have to thank Andy for that opportunity as without him I wouldn’t have had that memory!
  John Henderson 4What piece of kit could you not live without? I would say the most versatile kit I have is a 9’ 5# fly rod, this can be crossed over for many different species and it can be used in many different locations – example small/large rivers, small Stillwater’s and even reservoirs as a back up!   What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list? I have a few dreams when it comes to fishing!
  1. To fish in British Columbia
  2. Fish in Argentina for Sea Trout
  3. Fish somewhere exotic (anywhere would do) for several species on salt water flats!
  4. To fish for Wild Trout in New Zealand
  Any funny fishing tales you would like to share? I have a few funny tales but most have elements of rudeness! The main thing though is that all of the funny memories that fishing has brought me has been with some fantastic friends along the way – many of them have been made through fishing so for that I am very thankful.   Your perfect day would consist of? As above - friends are a massive part of fishing for me, so it would start with a good group of friends and fishing somewhere like the Tweed (I only say the Tweed because it is closest to me, other rivers would be fine :) ). We would then fish for the day for Salmon with some nice food for lunch and then when we have finished we would have a few drinks at a pub to discuss what the day consisted of.  Normally it’s how someone lost a fish that could have been a world record! We never seem to land them though, funny that!   John Henderson 5What are you most proud of/greatest achievement? Well this one’s easy and it’s not fishing related! I have 2 fantastic kids and this remains my greatest and proudest achievements.  My daughter Caitlin who is 14 years old and my son Tyler who is 11 years old.   Who or what inspires you? My Family are my main inspiration and what makes me get out of bed in the morning – My wife, children and my dogs!  Followed by my job, both of these things are extremely important to me!     How did you get a career start in the fishing industry? As I said above I love of fishing started when I was 8 years old and as I went through my teenage years this love grew stronger. In 1994 I had to choose somewhere to do my work experience, I chose fishing tackle manufacturer – Greys of Alnwick, they accepted me and I spent 2 fantastic weeks learning all about how to build a fishing rod. I then followed this up with some part time work during school holidays and when my schooling finished I chose to work full time at the company who gave me the chance to prove myself as a rod builder. House of Hardy which any fisherman would know as one of the largest tackle companies in the world acquired Greys of Alnwick to become known as Hardy Greys Ltd, I carried on my path with Hardy and Greys which in 2013 was acquired by Pure Fishing, this is now where we are today with Pure Fishing owning several of the world’s biggest brands’ including Hardy, Greys, Penn, Abu Garcia, Shakespeare amongst others.   John Henderson 2Checkout what we have to offer from these great brands –   Hardy Greys Abu Garcia Shakespeare     Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world? I was very lucky as a teenager and knew what I wanted. I would say for anybody wanting something similar - work hard and set out your goals at a young age and understand what you need to help achieve them.   What is the big thing for your brand this year? As I said above we have many fantastic brands within the Pure Fishing family, I would say the best thing for us is the versatility we can offer anglers from young to old, this in turn gives us the ability to get more new anglers into the sport, this could be kids, women or men. Can you give us any advice or useful tips? Never eat yellow snow :) Seriously though, in life you have to work hard to get what you want - it will not just happen on its own! In fishing, listen to others, Ghillie’s, river keepers, shop staff/owners – they all know what’s going on, what flies or methods to use! If you listen to them the chances are you will have success in what you’re trying to do. Hopefully some of the above will help you catch your next PB or fish of a lifetime. Tight Lines John Henderson
Glyn Freeman, a fly fishing instructor with a passion for seeing his students succeed, talks to us about perfect days, unplanned adventures and positive thinking. He has travelled across the world fishing, gaining experience and making memories, but there are still plenty of places he’s yet to go.   Name:  Glyn Freeman Age: 58 Location: North Cumbria Job Description: Fly fishing instructor/guide, working with Borderlines and river keeper Likes:  Teaching people who are keen to learn and improve Dislikes: Negativity on the river Glyn Freeman Describe a typical day for you. There is hardly ever a typical day in this business. One day it could be teaching or guiding one to one on the river, guiding a small group of anglers somewhere on the Eden, running a residential salmon course in Scotland, fishing for sea trout at night, working with youth with Borderlines, river keeping duties and every now again fishing for myself when there is a spare moment!   What age did you start fishing? I started fishing when I was eight.   What is your first fishing memory? My first time out on the river Avon near Bristol, trotting a quill float down a swim, watching it disappear and catching my first dace. That was it, I was hooked there and then!   What do you love most about the sport? For me it is some of the nice people we often meet, I have made most of my true friends through fishing in one form or another. It has been an excuse to travel to some really nice places that I would have never visited had I not fished. I love the outdoors, the nature, the challenge, sharing an experience with others, all that is around us on the river and trying to understand it all.   Glyn Freeman 2Describe your casting style? Laid back with the minimum of effort and movement. Why buy a car and push it yourself?!   What is your most memorable fishing experience? Latching on to and landing a lively twenty pound plus sea trout in Argentina on a seven weight outfit.   What piece of kit could you not live without? Quality Polaroids are a must. Check out the John Norris range of fishing sunglasses here   What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list? Fishing some of the rivers like the Cascapedia and Bonaventure, where you can witness salmon behaviour in the clear water.   Any funny fishing tales you would like to share? Most days we have a story to tell! We have a laugh and I meet some wonderful characters but I would hate to embarrass anyone.   What would your perfect day consist of? Teaching is my passion. For me the perfect day is not for my own rod, as I have had many "perfect days" on the water. It is to see a relative beginner, after you have spent time with them, make that first perfect cast or catch their first ever salmon or trout.   What are you most proud of/greatest achievement? As well as being proud of my family, I am totally proud of making this business work as a full time occupation. I’m still enjoying it and have been so lucky.   Glyn Freeman 3Who or what inspires you? Positive people.   How did you get a career start in the fishing industry? After getting the necessary qualifications to improve my own fly fishing in 1998 and meeting a lot of people in the fishing business, I began teaching on a part time basis. That soon evolved into a full time occupation - totally unplanned, but a great outcome.   Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world? Nowadays it is not as easy as when I first started, as there are plenty out there doing the same thing. You just have to be more special and do things a little differently to the rest. If you want it badly enough and have the passion, it will happen.   What is the big thing for your brand this year? Showing off the great river that we have in the Eden Valley and a much overdue revamped web site.   Can you give us any advice or useful tips? Enjoy the river you fish and get to know it well. Work on and enjoy your casting as it can be very satisfying. Think about how the fly is fishing, rather than just swinging it across the current aimlessly, and think positively!
Based in Northumberland, 27 year old Scott has represented England in World and European Championships together with a whole host of other international competitions at both Senior and Youth levels. He is currently the Northern Sales Manager at Sonik.   Name : Scott Nellins Age: 27 Location: Northumberland Job Description: Northern Sales Manager at Sonik Likes: Competition fishing, Catching Big Grayling and Fishing Dries Dislikes: The bad press Comp Anglers get & people posting absolute nonsense on Facebook! Scott Nellins Describe a typical day for you? Although I look after all of the northern accounts for Sonik, I do spend a lot of time in the office working on new products for all of Sonik ranges as well as the marketing & website side of things. Typical isn't really in the Sonik vocabulary!     What age did you start fishing? I think I was 3 or 4 fishing for flounders in the local estuary.     What is your first fishing memory? Catching my first Flatfish, I was very impatient at an early age and always wanted to reel in minutes after casting out. I had cast out (about 5 yards), and wanted to reel it in about a minute after. For some reason a flounder had grabbed my bait within seconds!   What do you love most about the Sport? The fact you never stop learning and every day is different.     Describe your casting style? I would call it fluid and efficient. I try to spend as least time casting as I can, and more time fishing!   Scott Nellins 2 What is your most memorable fishing experience? I've a lot of excellent memories from fishing, and the more I think, the more I have. Perhaps one of the most memorable is being awarded the Grafham Lodge Trophy (Top English Rod) in my first loch style home international at the Lake of Mentieth, by the late great Moc Morgan. Moc is a true legend of our sport and being awarded that trophy from him was absolutely amazing.         What piece of kit could you not live without? My fly boxes. I've spent countless hours putting them together and you couldn't fly fish without flies. I have boxes for World & Euro competitions, Loch Style Competitions, Bank Fishing Competitions and a couple of ‘leisure’ boxes as they all have different rule sets. Check out our range of fly boxes – products from C&F, Greys, Guideline, Snowbee, Vision and Wychwood as well as our very own range of plastic and wooden boxes.   What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list? My next goal is winning a medal at either the World or European Championships, however as far as destinations I have a book-full! Alaska, B.C, Iceland, New Zealand, Galapagos, Aussie etc. Every time I look at a new place on TV I add it to my list! Ha   Any funny fishing tales you would like to share? I’ve a few but I think they would only be suitable to read after the 9pm watershed…   Your perfect day would consist of? I love Loch style fishing when the fish are on top and rising. A warm day with high, thick cloud and light ripple is perfect for me, slowing drifting down a windlane picking of rising trout!...where’s my rods!...   What are you most proud of/greatest achievement? Representing my country at the sport I love on so many different levels, Youth, World Youth, Senior River, Senior Loch Style, European & World. It’s also nice when you see someone you’ve helped out achieve something. I’m involved in the Angling Trust Talent Pathway, which is there to help kids get into the England Youth Team. It’s great to help young anglers achieve their goals too.   Scott Nellins 3Who or what inspires you? I get inspiration from setting personal targets and trying to achieve them. I always try to set little targets for myself, even if it is just a pleasure day on a river. I’ll try to target 10 fish out of the next 100 yards of river for example within a certain time frame.   How did you get a career start the fishing industry? I worked Saturdays in the shop at Hardy when I was still in school, and when I was 18 a job came up in New Product Development which I was lucky enough to get. I was there for 5 years which gave me a really good insight to the industry.   Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world? Keep your eyes open for any opportunities. There isn't many jobs in this sector so you may have to look at something that wouldn't be your first job of a career if you want to work in angling.   What is the big thing for your brand this year? Our SKS Black Fly Rods are amazing value for money. I've been using them for a good while now, and I've never had a rod at that price point put a smile on my face so much just by casting it. Sonik Rods, Reels and Spools   Can you give us any advice or useful tips? Never stop experimenting with new things. The angler who is catching more than you is the one that has worked out what the fish want on that given day, and you only reach that level by experimenting.
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