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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.
Gareth Jones, the Sales Director of Airflo, shared some of his secrets with us. He’s gone from catching his first fish on a grasshopper to fishing with the greats, all the while staying true to his country upbringing. Developing brand new products to advance the sport as well as captaining the winning team in a prestigious angling competition are just a couple of the things that make his life in the fishing world a wonderful mix of activities. He’s had some brilliant experiences and has a seemingly never-ending supply of advice.   Name: Gareth Jones Age: 44 Location: Usk, South Wales Job Description: Airflo Sales Director Likes: Technical Dry fly fishing Dislikes: Shopping! Gareth Jones Describe a typical day for you? Looking after the export of Airflo products around the world could start at the office in Brecon - liaising with production, customers, suppliers or graphics departments to keep everything running smoothly. On another day, it could start waking up in any of the fly fishing markets around the world and we could start developing a new fly line product for a specific type of circumstance.   What age did you start fishing? I started fishing the river next to my parents home when I was eight years old – I was tying flies and had my first Milbro Glass fly rod by the time I was ten.   What is your first fishing memory? It would have to be catching my first fish over eight inches (the size limit to keep a fish) on a natural grasshopper. The takes used to be superb and rattled all the way along the line.   What do you love most about the sport? For me, it’s all about the people I get to fish with. The knowledge that they have gained and are happy to share with a fellow angler, that’s what I really enjoy.   Can you describe your casting style? In a word; deceptive. My power stroke is generally quite short and I tend to generate a lot of line speed with the haul!   What is your most memorable fishing experience? There are too many to choose from, but recent ones include a great visit to Lough Corrib for the caenis feeders - this is super technical dry fly fishing for huge trout on ultra light tippet and small flies. Get it right and it’s heaven, but get any single part of the approach wrong and it’s game over.   What piece of kit could you not live without? I should probably say our latest range of Airflo fishing tackle, but the reality is I couldn’t live without tippet degreaser. Fish are just so sensitive to the line caught in the surface film on calmer days and getting your tippet subsurface helps you catch a lot more fish. Check out the John Norris range of tippet degreasers below: Loon Snake River Mud Fulling Mill Fullers Mud Orvis Original Mud   What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list? I’ve never been to Alaska, and although I’m not a big Salmon angler, I really would like to get hold of some of those heavily spotted rainbow trout.   Gareth Jones 2Any funny fishing tales you would like to share? None that could ever be printed!   What would your perfect day consist of? Fishing anywhere without a phone!   What are you most proud of/greatest achievement? I’ve been lucky enough to have won quite a few competitions over the years, but my proudest moment was captaining the Nymphomanics team to a win in the AWAI competition a couple of years ago.   Who or what inspires you? I get a huge amount of energy from the people I get to work with, from product development to being able to spend time on the water with some of the legends of the fly fishing world. I’m not going to start name dropping, but I have been very privileged when it comes to the people I get to fish with and call my friends.   How did you get a career start the fishing industry? Before I left University, I wrote to all the fishing tackle companies asking them for a job. I had just won the National qualifier and thought I knew everything about fishing tackle – which I didn’t. Both Airflo and Hardy’s in London made me offers and being a country boy I chose Brecon and the river Usk ahead of Pall Mall and the Thames.   Gareth Jones 3 Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world? It’s going to be tough and you may not earn the money you could earn elsewhere, but it will be fun.   What is the big thing for your brand this year? I’ve been working hard on our new top end Blitz and Rocket rods which are starting to get some good recognition. In fly lines we finally launched a stretchy floater; it’s called the G shock and gives a very similar feel to a PVC line in use, but with the added advantages of Ridges and Super Dri technology.     Can you give us any advice or useful tips? Firstly, practice your casting! If you can cast well, then you can put your fly into the position you need it to catch fish – sounds basic, but essential. Secondly, as you advance into the fishing try to think in 3D. Understanding how drag on both river and still water affects your presentation will make you more effective as an angler. Finally, don’t forget to have fun!
Howard Croston is the Global Brand Business Manager at Hardy and was previously the Assistant Shop Manager and Technical Product Manager here at John Norris. Based in Morpeth, Northumberland, Howard won a team gold medal in the 2009 World Fly Fishing Championships and was placed 4th in the individual 2012 World Championships in Slovenia.   Howard Croston Name: Howard Croston Age: I’d rather not think about it..... Location: Morpeth, Northumberland Likes: Fly fishing, kick boxing Dislikes: Wind and rain, turbulence when flying, Dentists   Describe a typical day for you? Arrive Office for 8 AM via Costa, catch up on emails and look at the day’s meeting schedule – normally consisting of product development meetings with the Head of Product Innovation Alastair Dandie a close friend of over 20 years and also formally an employee of John Norris of Penrith. Typically work on new product plans and financial analysis of planned projects or marketing related projects like video scripts / story boards etc. Lunch and more caffeine. Afternoons are normally video calls to the US office on various subjects and more product work – quite often casting the newest prototype blanks or reviewing early prototype reels. I normally leave the office about 5.30 and finish the day with either two hours of kick boxing or when the conditions are good an evening on the local river.   Hardy LogoWhat age did you start fishing? Probably around age 8 or so..... So that’s 30 years   What is your first fishing memory? Summer trips to the Lake District with my parents fishing the river Lowther with worms for wild brown trout.   What do you love most about the Sport? So many things – The places it has taken me too, the people I’ve met and the experiences I have had, it’s a blend of all the best things in life – beautiful places, great people and the outdoors. It’s also a technical yet artistic sport that can’t ever really be fully mastered meaning it never gets boring.   Describe your casting style? Compact   What is your most memorable fishing experience? Standing on a sand flat a long way off the coast of Venezuela right at the end of the day, the sea was as flat as a pancake without a breath of wind and the sea and sky totally blended together in a mix of blue, purple and orange light and was completely silent except for tailing Bonefish. It was a very surreal experience and sums up the best of fly fishing for me, to top it all the last fish I cast to was a textbook Bonefish eat that resulted in a personal best 11lb Fish. It wasn’t going to get any better so I reeled in and headed back to the lodge.   Hardy Zenith 440 Sintrix Single Handed Fly RodWhat piece of kit could you not live without? My 9ft 3# Zenith for dry fly fishing. It’s my favourite light line dry fly rod in calm conditions. Check out our full range of Fly Rods here   What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list? I have to be honest I have accomplished a lot of my goals , but if I could add anything to them competitively it would be an individual medal at a world championships and from a pleasure fishing perspective, probably a Golden Dorado or Goliath Tigerfish.   Any funny fishing tales you would like to share? After chasing Permit for thirteen unsuccessful years despite military like planning and execution the day I finally caught one was far from text book. Nursing a fairly substantial Hangover from a night out on Los Roques – a night in which I managed to lose my flip flops and get locked out of the hotel, I managed to hook a huge Permit whist wet wading a flat in strong winds – we chased on foot but had to transfer onto the Panga to give chase as it wasn’t keen on hanging around. Whist crossing a deep channel I managed to “moon walk” off the front of the boat (6ft drop) into 20ft of water and had to swim to the stern to get back on board – thankfully still attached to the fish, we landed it 15 mins later probably close to ½ a mile from where we hooked it, I went on to secure my first grand slam later the same day.   Howard CrostonWhat would your perfect day consist of? There are many days that could be considered “perfect” for different reasons but right at this moment it would probably be this – Waking up early in West Yellowstone Montana in mid-September, blue sky’s but the chill of autumn in the air, heading down to the cafe for coffee and corned beef hash before a day up in the park sight fishing to whatever we can find, there’s usually bull Elk starting to roar at that time of year as well. Fishing in Montana was a childhood dream for me and I’ve been lucky to do it many times with some of my closest friends. To make it an absolute perfect day I would rather not see any bears either thank you very much...     What are you most proud of/greatest achievement? Probably my 2009 Team Gold Medal from the World Fly Fishing Championships.  A close second would be my individual 4th placing in the 2012 World Championships in Slovenia, bitter sweet as I was one good draw away from being world champion – still that’s fishing!   Howard CrostonWho or what inspires you? The next awesome fishing experience or the possibility that the next person I meet on my travels may open another door that increases my knowledge and understanding of the sport that’s been a big part of my life for 30 years.   How did you get a career start in the fishing industry? I helped at some country shows for Airflo as a teenager but my real start in the industry was at none other than the world famous John Norris of Penrith. I shopped at John Norris almost every weekend growing up and ultimately ended up working there as a shop assistant and later as assistant shop manager. I spent 6 very happy years working in Penrith and fished a minimum of 5-6 nights every week in the season. I also made many lifelong friends there and have more amusing stories than I can count from my time in retail there.   Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world? Really just to be aware that working in the industry doesn’t mean you fish more – if anything it’s the opposite, in my experience though the quality of the fishing you experience is higher. If you’re planning to get rich in this industry you may also be disappointed most of us do it for the passion of the sport firstly and the pay checks second.   Howard CrostonWhat is the big thing for your brand this year? Hardy has a number of huge product launches later this year including new rods and reels. Without giving too much away in the 15 years I have worked with the Hardy brand I have never been as excited about the product line we have for 2016.   Can you give us any advice or useful tips? Tips, fishing wise - if it’s not happening “Make it happen” - change techniques / presentation / fly size / tippet strength – anything, just don’t continue on with an unsuccessful approach. Advice on Permit fishing trips – don’t accept “vodka cocktails” that come in pint glasses from an Irish man...... particularly if there doesn’t appear to be anything other than vodka in it ... although I did catch a monster the day after so maybe there is something in it after all.  ;-)   Hardy Zenith 440 Sintrix Single Handed Fly Rods are now half price from only £249.50!

Eden River Fishing Report

26 June 2015 16:29:34 BST

There are still fresh salmon running the river Eden despite the low water levels. On the Yorkshire Fly Fishers water near Wetheral, Robert Jollie tempted an 8 pounder on a small riffle hitched fly and the Yorkshire Fly Fishers Club Fishery Manager Mike Grimes, landed a surface caught brace at 8 and 9lb respectively - all three salmon were fresh run.   River Eden Fishing ReportStan Lane was in action again this morning with an eleven pound fish at Salkeld. Sea trout up to 5lb in weight have been caught although the general stamp of Eden sea trout has been in the 1½ to 3lb range. The majority have been caught by anglers targeting them at night between 10pm and 2am, but fish of up to 2lb plus have been landed by anglers fishing for brown trout with dry fly and nymphs during daylight hours.   Water temperature is 14⁰C, and water level is at minus six inches.       River Eden Fishing ReportThe trout and grayling fishing has been at its best the last couple of hours before dark using very small micro dries like Griffiths Gnats, Midge Klinkhammers and micro caddis. When darkness falls, try moving onto Sedge patterns either on the top twitched across the surface or fished wet down and across.  There have been reports of Brown Trout up to 3lb and Grayling of 2lb taken this week. John Norris Range of Trout and Grayling Flies       

Prospects for the Coming Week

With no rain forecast for this coming week, salmon fishers should concentrate on early mornings or late evenings using either Switch or single handed rods with floating lines and very small doubles, Sunrays or Hitch flies.   River Eden Fishing ReportJohn Norris Range of Switch Rods  John Norris Range of Single Handed Rods    For the sea trout angler this low water should not be a problem but leave the fishing until it is totally dark. Start with smaller wee doubles in a size 10 or 8 and as the night progresses, increase the size of your flies or even try a surface lure. John Norris Range of sea Trout Flies      To the brown trout and grayling fishers, if you’re fishing through the day look for shaded areas and target the fish with nymphs or by moving into the streamier runs and fish spiders.  For the best action on dry fly, this will be the last ½ hour before dark with micro dries and sedges. www.cumbriaflyfishing.co.uk
Jim Curry is a renowned AAPGAI master instructor and was a founding partner of Halstead and Bolton Sporting agency. He runs the Yorkshire Fly Fishing School in northern England, offering tuition on the stunning rivers and lakes of Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire. http://www.jimcurry.co.uk/tuition.html As a trout and salmon instructor with 20 years’ experience, a senior assessor of AAPGAI instructors, a writer and rod tester for magazines including Trout and Salmon and having lead countless international trips to destinations across the globe, Jim is widely regarded as one of thebest and most knowledgeable teachers of fly fishing and fly casting in the UK. We have been lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with the fishing legend, asking about everything from his latest products to his earliest fishing memories! Here’s what happened when Jim encountered all of our questions.   Name: Jim Curry Age: 44 Location:  Ilkley West Yorkshire Job Description: UK and Ireland Guideline Representative Likes: Swinging flies for salmon Dislikes: Bad etiquette on the riverbank - it drives me nuts!   Describe a typical day for you. Every day is different, but always fishing related. It’s been this way since I started in the industry as a ghillie when I was seventeen years old. There are always emails and calls to make to customers, and I’m still teaching, which I love after all these years. Evenings are spent either catching a brownie on the Wharfe or just relaxing at home with my daughter and listening to music. I love my music, but I think I’m the only one!   What age did you start fishing? I started with the fly at around age nine on the Findhorn. Before that, I was dangling worms for little brownies in a stream on the farm I grew up on.   Jim Curry What is your first fishing memory? Catching a trout on a piece of sweetcorn on a family holiday in Cornwall! My mum still has the picture in her house. I thought it was enormous at the time, but it only looks about a pound on the picture these days.   What do you love most about the sport? The people I’ve met, the places I’ve travelled to and the memories I’ve got – and all because of our amazing sport!   Describe your casting style. Relaxed and chilled out. I try to let the rod do the work.   What is your most memorable fishing experience? On my Dad’s 70th birthday in Norway, I watched him hook and land the most perfect bright silver 26lb salmon on the first cast of the first day. He went on to catch way more than me, as usual!   What piece of kit could you not live without? My polaroid glasses! I feel lost if I forget them on a day’s fishing.   What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list? The chance of taking a big salmon on a hitch or a dry. Just the thought of a big sea monster rolling on my fly gives me goosebumps!   Any funny fishing tales you would like to share? I’ve seen so many on my adventures around the world. In fact, I’m writing a book with many of them in, if I ever finish it (which is unlikely with the speed I type)!   Jim Curry What would your perfect day consist of? Spending time on a beautiful river, just dropping off and clearing after a lift of water and a good chance of a fish. But crucially, I would be fishing with a close friend. I much prefer fishing in good company than fishing alone these days.   What are you most proud of/greatest achievement? Becoming a father to my gorgeous little girl.   Who or what inspires you? So many people have and still do. I’ve been fortunate to work with many of them these days. Overall I’d say my Dad - not a long caster but a very canny fisher who always gets a fish when the conditions are super tough.   How did you get a career started in the fishing industry? I started as a Ghillie in Scotland. After that, I followed my passion for the sport and I ignored people who said I’d never make a living from fly fishing. I stuck at it, because I’m stubborn like that!   Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world? Follow your passion always. If you have a passion for anything in life you are very lucky; many people never find what their passion is. Never give in, work hard at your casting and love your fishing. Never think you know it all - nobody does or ever should.     What is the big thing for your brand this year? There are lots of cool products this year. If I had to choose one I would say the Guideline LXi salmon rods, both four and six piece. I just love these rods so much. The 13ft 9in 9/10 is a perfect fit for me and my fishing. Smooth, crisp and great with a fish on.   Can you give us any advice or useful tips? Get your casting up to speed and go to an AAPGAI instructor. You will enjoy this wonderful sport so much more when you understand casting and you’ll catch more fish, especially when conditions are tough. Keep your eyes open on the river and appreciate what a wonderful place it is. The more aware you are of life on the river bank, the more you’ll get out of this amazing sport.   Check out some of the other offers we currently have from our range of Guideline products - Buy Guideline Diver Sonic Seam Waders and Korkers Buckskin Wading Boots together and save £129.00 Buy a Guideline Fario CRS Fly Rod and get a Free Fario Fly Line worth £59.99 Buy a pair of Guideline Laxa Waders and Crosswater V2 Wading Boots together and save £99.99!  
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