About me and my fly fishing experience

My love of fly fishing - from beginner to Instructor.

fly caught 13lb 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 through 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.

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. 

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.

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 rainbows. 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

Me with a fly caught 16lb Atlantic Salmon

  • 35+ years fly fishing experience for Trout, Salmon, Sea Trout and Course fish. 

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

  • 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, 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!


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


Chris - Stevenage


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 ?

Ron - St Albans


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

Paul - Maulden


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!

Tom - Amersham Bucks


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

Robin & Kathy - Milton Keynes


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!!

Scott - Leighton Buzzard


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

Adrian Cook - Bedford


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.

Simon Pool - Thrapston


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!  

Sarah - Woburn Sands


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.

Kevin - Northampton