I started fishing on the River Annan, and just about any other river/loch I can find, when very young and for over 30 years I have made a business out of fishing – by organising holidays for people. Using my farm holiday cottages for accommodation and offering fishing on my own beat – Kirkwood – although I also rent other fishing locally – the Jardine Hall beat for example. I have fished just about every river in Scotland at some time and whilst I can be incredibly unlucky at times, I can also be very very lucky, catching lots of fish! So some people regard me as a “good fisherman”!
I have been involved a fair bit in “fishing politics” (trying to minimise it now). I sat on the Annan’s Fishery Board for 20 years, the Improvement Association, and Nationally the Association of Fishery Boards, the Sea Trout Group and many other committees. I write articles for magazines and newspapers, have appeared on TV fishing and organised the National Sea Trout Festival for many years. It pains me to think of all these things – the time I “wasted” when I could have been fishing! – but that’s wrong – I have tried to give back to the sport I love and it has helped my business.
I am not a qualified casting instructor even though I have been teaching people since I was a teenager, but I support and encourage those who are qualified and often send guests who need that level of expertise to qualified instructors. The instructors can teach (and cast) far better than I can. I do however organise the SalmonSchool.com and SeaTroutSchool.co.uk which are rapidly gaining the reputation as the best place to learn to catch these fish in the UK. The guiding/teaching I do myself at these schools in recent years has been graded by guests an average of 8.8/10! Not too bad.
Whilst mainly regarded as an expert on salmon and sea trout I have enjoyed trout fishing in New Zealand for many years . It’s the best. From now on, every December, January and February I will be living in NZ and hosting British visitors who want to fish for trout in New Zealand