The short version
I’m an obsessed angler and closet engineer. I’ve lived all round the UK but always as close as possible to the sea. I'm married and a dad of two boys.
The long version
I’ve been obsessed with fishing since I persuaded my dad to take me when I was 6. For the first few years, all of my fishing was done on the west arm of Shoreham harbour. My dad wasn’t a fisherman at all, so we muddled by with the help of the friendly anglers down at the harbour.
When I turned 9 my dad took me on a boys camping trip to the outer Hebrides were I started learning to fly fish in the lochs of South Uist and Benbecula. Fortunately on our first trip we bumped into a retired gillie (the late Brian Concannon) who took us under his wing and helped me catch my first brown trout. Over the next few years we did four more of these trips, with varying success.
I have never been academic but love working with my hands, so at the earliest opportunity I left school and in my late teens got a job with Abernethy Trust at the foot of the Cairngorm mountain range. Here I fished the Nethybridge to Aviemore stretch of the Spey and because I was young, a permit only cost £10 a year!
After meeting Ali (my wife) and moving to London I got itchy feet working behind a desk and being so far from a river or the sea. It didn’t take long for me to persuade Ali that South Wales would be better for her work ;-). Wasn’t anything to do with the amazing coast line or the Wye and Usk! At the same time I trained and worked as an Arborist.
It was on the Gower that I first saw a lure caught bass. It was an 8lb fish and despite the angler giving me tips and even the lure it was caught on, I was unsuccessful! When I realised it took more than just chucking a lure, I became obsessed with fishing for bass.
We then moved to just outside of Edinburgh, which is where we are now. We have two boys and two jack russells who are my dedicated fishing companions. While still working as a Arborist I retrained as a blacksmith and continue to work with my hands. I wouldn’t describe myself as a perfectionist but if it can be done better I will try.
Because I love working with my hands, I’ve always managed to build some sort of mancave at the end of the garden. This is where I build lures and make anything in metal.
While witnessing first hand the effectiveness of wooden hand made needlefish lures with Marc Cowling, I bought a ‘few’ for myself. If you ask me when Ali’s not around I’ll be honest about how much I spent! There is no doubt about the effectiveness of a wooden needle, they are deadly. But one thing bugged me, if and when the wood swells in water, it cracks the clear plastic coating which then falls into the sea. This happened to every single wooden lure I bought, and on some occasions after just one session. While losing the outer plastic shell didn't effect my catch rate, it did not sit well with me.
For the past 3 years I’ve been trying to make a 100% degradable lure, I haven’t got it nailed yet. It either disappears in a week or lasts so long it might as well be covered in plastic. I will find the perfect balance of longevity and degradability so that’s one for the future. While I continue to chase the perfect degradable solution, I’ve settled on making lures from polyurethane which doesn't swell in the water and therefore have a better chance of staying in one piece. I believe wooden lures have their place and think it comes down to personal preference.
I took a handful of my lures on a ‘family holiday’ to the south coast of Ireland and I managed 15 bass between 50cm to 60cm fish in an evening, I couldn’t believe it! I took the same lures on a trip to see Marc Cowling in South Devon and in the space of an hour landed a 66cm fish followed by a 73cm fish! To have landed the biggest bass of all Marc’s clients on my own hand made lure was such a buzz I struggled to get to sleep that night! It continues to be my go to lure for night time fishing. I’ve now made some subtle changes to the original lure while keeping the same body shape, it’s 160mm long and 22.5g. I’m so excited to be able to offer it to other anglers alongside the fantastic Marc Cowling 125 signature model.
Hope to meet you on the water one day