About me - The Fly Fishing Instructor
me holding a 14lb Rainbow Trout


I started fly fishing when I was about eight years old. I was lucky enough that my mum and dad had a holiday home right on the banks of Loch Ness, set in 5 acres with about 200 yards of shore line. I could literally throw a stone from my bedroom window and it would land in the water. My dad bought me a fly rod, reel, line and some trout flies after a lot of nagging and let me get on with it. Needless to say I was hopeless, I didn't have a clue what I was doing and those wirily brown trout evaded me for some time.

The photo is a very young 17 year old me with a 13lb Rainbow Trout, still to this day one of the largest trout caught at that fishery. 

There was no "youtube" or "google" in those days, all fishing knowledge came from books, and after a lot of perseverance I could cast a fly a short distance. I never will forget that first fish I hooked. A tiny Salmon parr (very young salmon before it goes to sea) it was about 3 inches long and didn't exactly put up a fight but I was the happiest boy in the world.

me with a 14lb fly caught salmon

I suppose I really got into fly fishing some years later, I had just finished school and waiting to go to college in the September, I remember in the summer holidays about lunchtime "hooked on Scotland" was on TV. I longed to fish those Scottish lochs but they were 500 miles away, and then I discovered that there was some local still waters close to me in Northamptonshire that were stocked with trout, Elinor trout fishery to be exact. After nagging my mum and dad to drop me there I spent much of that summer catching Rainbow Trout. I use to get to the fishery at 7:30am and fish all the way through to the close at 10pm! Needless to say I was totally hooked by this stage. Over the next few years I fished all the major still waters and reservoirs in the local area many times. Taking rainbows to 14lb and many other double figure fish. I was regularly in the local paper on the Thursday fishing section. As a penniless student however I had to sell all the trout I caught to pay for the day tickets.

I still visited Scotland regularly taking Salmon to 25lb, Sea Trout to 14lb and brown trout to 8lb. I went to Inverness College and studied Aquaculture and fish farm management, the college had their own fish farm on the west coast at Kishorn and it was some of the best days of my life. The photo is me with a 15lb fresh run Atlantic Salmon from Loch Ness, the one below is a 16lb fresh run salmon.

a fly caught atlantic salmon

During a gap year in around 1999 I was employed as the water bailiff and fishery manager at Ringstead Grange,a dream job apart from the freezing cold caravan I lived in and small wage!, I basically got to fish every day after I had given anglers advice on the best tactics and areas to fish, and never tired of it or the thrill when you feel that "pull" as a trout goes for your fly. I also worked as the UK manager for a global fishing holiday company creating bespoke fly fishing packages for fly fisherman wishing to fish in Canada, Alaska, Russia, The Falklands, Mexico, Cuba and New Zealand. I was invited for trials for the England Fly Fishing team but declined as I did not want to fish competitively, purely for the enjoyment and love of it.

I now live in The Blackdown Hills on the Somerset Devon border surrounded by excellent trout fisheries to suit all tastes.

So I think its fair to say I have had a vast experience of what fly fishing is all about, from catching half pound wild brownies in remote hill lochs, fishing in the pitch dark for Sea Trout, hooking the mighty Salmon through to still water specimen rainbow trout. I hope I can help you discover this amazing sport, but be warned once your hooked you will want to be out fishing all the time! 


Fly fishing experience key facts

Key Facts
38+ years fly fishing experience

Fully Insured £ 2 Million Public Liability

GAIA Associate Member
  • 38+ years fly fishing experience for Trout, Salmon, Sea Trout and Course fish. 

  • Associate member of the GAIA (Game Angling Instructors Association)

  • Fully insured public liability insurance of £ 2 MILLION

  • Former trout fishery bailiff and manager.

  • Fly fishing Tackle tester for Fishing Republic Plc and Yorkshire Game Angling

  • Taken rainbow trout to 14 lb, Wild Salmon to 25lb, Sea Trout to 14lb and wild Brown trout to 8lb

  • Former Manager at a Specialist global fishing holiday company, creating packages for fly fisherman all over the world including Alaska, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, The Falklands and New Zealand to name just a few.

  • Highly experienced in ALL ascpects of fly fishing and instruction, from casting and fly selection, finding the fish, playing and landing the fish and even cleaning and cooking it.

  • Patient, Expert knowledge, adaptive and really want you to discover the magic of fly fishing!

Some guest testimonials



Kevin - Northampton
Michael Exmouth

Having once spent a week fly fishing during my teens (the best part of 30 years ago) I promised myself that I would give it a go again “one day”.

Having recently relocated to Devon from London I wanted to make it actually happen, but with no kit, technical ability and only a vague memory that it had been fun, I didn’t know where to begin.
Enter James, he took me out, got me set up and took me through the basics of casting. Over the day it got better and better!

Just got home and have bought my own kit (again super reasonably priced following James’s recommendation), ready to go back out soon and confident about how to go about business! Thanks for a great day and (hopefully) a new hobby for life!


Brendan

I needed a few bad habits straightened out with my casting and a couple of hrs with James sorted it right out. Easy to follow instruction, keeping me calm and consistent as my frustration was building. Finished off. with a nice few fish in the afternoon, taking some on a dry fly on James's advice. Thanks and I'll keep the wrist locked


Steve Kiddiminster

Hi James,
Thanks for a great day, I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to another session.


Shaun St Albans

Thank you for a great day, was very enjoyable and the trout was delicious, happy wifey! Feel a lot more confident with my casting. Have a good day.


Chris Stevenage

Hi James,

Just a quick email to say many many thanks for the tuition today at Summerfields. It was an excellent day and I got a lot out of it. Really enjoyed the sport and am definitely going to look at getting some of my own equipment and getting back there as soon as I can to keep the practice fresh in my head and because I enjoyed it so much.

The tuition itself was excellent from yourself and catching those 3 fish on my own, so to speak, was a massive buzz.
Just for one final time, I should of written it down lol, can you remind me what pattern of fly we used today?

I know you mentioned other popular patterns, like Damsels, daddies, buzzers and montanas, all of which I am going to remember.

Thanks again James, learned loads and had an awesome day. Looking forward to continuing with fly fishing
Regards
Chris


Ron St Albans

Hi James,
Just wanted to a big thanks for all your time and patience yesterday.
I will definitely be taking it up as my hobby, and will probably be bothering you from time to time with some questions or advice.

Looked at videos last night re gutting the fish , looks straight forward enough.
Would be great to catch up the sommerfield again for some tips.
For every 2 free tips ... I'll buy you a pint ?


Paul, Bridgewater Somerset

Hi James, Thanks for a great day, really enjoyed it, knackered but loved it!


Tom Taunton Somerset

Hi James, Thanks so much again for yesterday. It was fantastic fun and I was so pleased to have been able to land one from start to finish!


Robin and Kathy Milton Keynes

Hi James,
Thank you so much for guiding my wife and me yesterday. Cathy was particularly impressed with the attention you gave to her.


Scott Leighton Buzzard

Another cracking lesson today, thanks James really appreciated it and yes you are right, I am now hooked on trout (and still pike!) see you again soon! First trout fly lesson!!


Adrian, Chard Somerset

I came to James out of desperation and a recomendation, I can honestly say I learnt more in a single day with him than I had learnt in the previous year. He got my casting improving almost immediately by a clever little trick and most importantly he gave me confidence in trying new tactics and techniques which paid off in abundance. Now when I fish I think like the trout. Thank you so much


Simon, Taunton Somerset

Hi James, just wanted to say thanks again for a fantastic day!, I can't believe I actually caught two trout. Will be back in touch next week to book up some more tuition.


Sarah Woburn Sands

Hi James, Just a quick note to say thank you for the last two mornings. Mattie had a good time, and seems very much more positive about Scotland!


Kevin, Minehead Somerset

Hi James, Just wanted to say thanks for a great days instruction and fishing. I cant wait to get back out there catching a Trout or two, and want to book your boat course if you can send me an invoice. Cheers.


Steve, Somerset

Had a fantastic beginners day session with James this week. Had a very enjoyable time and learnt the basics of Fly Fishing in a beautiful setting. Casting was a challenge but with James' excellent coaching I improved with every cast. I wasn't lucky enough to get a fish but I'm sure with the skills picked up it won't be long till I catch something. Can't wait for another session soon to hone my fly fishing ability.