Exciting News

In October 2017 yes, that long ago! I got a phone call from the producer of The Outlander4 series asking if I would be willing to be their technical advisor for a fly fishing scene in the series which they had started shooting.

Of course I said yes.

This meant that I would go up to the studio and attend a production meeting with directors, producer and props department to discuss what was needed and advise on tackle needed to be as authentic as was possible, bearing in mind this scene was to be based in USA in the late 1700s

I would also have to teach a member of the cast to fly fish! This was a great opportunity for me, I have done a fair bit of on camera work before for BBC news items so filming wasn’t such a mystery to me but the scale of this was entirely different.

First of all we got hold of the equipment we would need, as it happened an old green heart rod, and wood & brass reel, then a silk line, a little later than the period but trying to obtain a horse hair one was not possible.

I then had a meeting at the shoot site so as to see if it would work as a venue, luckily it was perfect, with just enough space in amongst the trees for a cast to work.

The scene involved Jamie Fraser (yep the actual Sam Heughan), and his son William, (Oliver).

So William was my pupil, we spent two sessions in very cold winter weather getting to grips with the art of fly casting. He was a very apt pupil and a joy to teach. He has a sharp sense of humour and is adept at dropping into a broad Irish accent!

Shooting was scheduled for the 31st of January 2018 and the two hour drive there started with a little snow and ended with snowflakes the size of 50 pence pieces. When I arrived on set at 9.30 am the place was buzzing with crew, tents set up for the actors to warm up in and cables, lights and MUD everywhere.

The actors arrived and their attendant helpers loaded down with blankets, and hot water bottles. The weather varied throughout the day from bright sun to blizzard with thunder and lightening. The actors certainly earned their keep filming that day and Sam with his hands in the freezing river a lot of the time was beginning to look a bit blue. My young actor did me proud and made some perfect casts really looking the part.

For a very short scene (episode 6) it took all day to perfect with a nice break at lunchtime in the catering bus to warm up.

If you are a fan of the series and have been inspired to take up fly fishing I can take you to the venue where "William" had his lessons. Green Frog Fishery.

Photos From The Day Of The Shoot

World Championships

In 2018 The World Casting Championships cam to Cumbria in the UK.

I decided at the age of 63 that if I was going to compete at this level I had better get a move on and do it. So after attending some of the qualifier sessions at Millom I qualified in the 4 events I went for.

55g Salmon overhead distance
Seatrout overhead distance
Trout overhead distance and
Accuracy trout.

I didn't really hope for a medal so much as the opportunity to represent my country, but also ladies in general in fly casting competition.

I put in a lot of practice using rods and lines which were entirely new to me, trying to find the balance of gear that felt right for me. Eventually I settled on what I thought I could manage as well as I could without spending huge amounts of money of bespoke rods etc. With no backing from government it can be an expensive thing to do, travel, accommodation, kit and entries all cost money, luckily I managed to get a grant of £250.00 from my local Dumfries & Galloway Sports Council which went to pay for my accommodation during the event.

The opening of the Championships in August 2018 saw a very windy Port Haverrig, just what we needed for my first event - Trout accuracy. "Hah", I thought "This is going to be fun, I have zilch chance of hitting the targets". Surprisingly though I did, and more than once! I didn't make the final but certainly wasn't last.

The seatrout class was my best of the event, I made it to the final out of 19 competitors and ended up 6th overall.

I was happy with the result, managed to break my personal best from practice sessions with a cast of 40 metres and then broke my salmon distance best in the heats too with a cast of 50.5 metres

All in all it was a great experience, meeting competitors from all over the world and having some very interesting conversations. I have opted out of this level of competition now, because there aren’t enough ladies world wide who are old enough to have a veterans class. Finding myself up against most of the ladies at least 15 years younger than me is a bit of an imbalance that my muscle mass can’t make up for. The next World Championship event is in Sweden in 2020 by which time I will be 65, We need to have a ladies veteran class for me to go for this again.

Go to here if you would like the opportunity to compete in the qualifiers, or to see records etc.

Hourly Lessons available from the 1st November until 15th February @ £35.00 per hour per person. Please contact me for venue and to book a place.

2018 has been a busy year for me, starting the season with a group of 33 Dutchmen having a fishing and tuition session at the Green Frog Moffat. All but one were complete beginners however within 2 1/2 hours there were fish caught.

We have again had lots of ladies for tuition comiong from as far away as Australia and Florida including one of the Rockefeller family. Some clients returned for second and third visits to polish up technique and some to move on from Trout to Salmon. Many have come to gain longer distance in their casting.

We have mothers and sons and fathers and daughters too.

August saw me off to the World Castiing Championships in Port Haverigg, Cumbria. Having not competed before I was pleased to reach the sea trout distance final and be placed 6th overall. In the Salmon distance I was 10th overall out of 18 female competitors. As this was only the 5th championship to be held there were not enough ladies to have a veterans class and at 63 competing against women 20 years younger is a tough call but very enjoyable.

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