When I finally had an opportunity to sit down and reflect on last week’s North West Angling Fair, I would have to say it had to be one of the most enjoyable and entertaining weekends I’ve ever had since I’ve been involved in working in Angling.
It was an absolute pleasure to have spent time in the company of so many individuals that through my life I have looked up too: the likes of Ken Whelan and Paul Young, who’s books and programmes I enjoyed reading and watching in my early teenage years.
It was amazing to watch the modern day Masters of Spey Casting, Andrew Toft, Gordon Armstrong and Scott Mackenzie. Not to mention probably the finest teacher of all modern casting techniques Robert Gillespie. I couldn’t help but keep pinching myself.
Henrik Mortensen was also on hand demonstrating his Scandinavian style of casting. Henrik was the man who’s DVD’s I watched endless number of times when I began double handed casting.
It was great to have the likes of Stevie Munn, Ali Hutchens, Darryl Mooney, Mark Paterson, Maurice Cahill and Steve Peterson joining us in Strabane for the North West Angling Fair, they are representatives from all the big angling companies around the World.
Their presence helped to promote the fair and to bring the attention of the rest of the Angling community and the focus on Strabane. We also had a huge number of other guests demonstrating fly casting and fly tying that added so much to the fair, with a great variation in the different techniques on display that were there to be appreciated by all those that attended.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Derry & Strabane Council for running this magnificent event in Melvin Sports Complex for the second year. Strabane is the perfect place to have an Angling Event. Our town is at the meetings of two of Europe’s finest Salmon Rivers, the Mourne and Finn. The Gateway to the North West and our main link to a Donegal and all it’s beautiful Rivers.
The perfect amphitheatre is provided by our new foot bridge in Strabane from which to demonstrate fly casting. The beautifully refurbished Melvin Sports Complex is also a readymade venue that is situated perfectly on the banks of the River Mourne for this Angling event.
I would also like to thank Sean O’Kane and his team at Melvin for all their work during the fair.
The most professional, helpful and pleasant staff you could ask for. I would also like to thank Liz Cunningham and the Team from the Derry & Strabane Council Events department whose dedication and determination to deliver a World Class Angling Event paid off.
I have been overwhelmed by the response of nearly all the demonstrators who attended.
I would also like to make a special word of thanks to the people that helped me over the weekend. To all the staff at River Mourne Guns and Tackle, Anne Speers at Finn Valley Cottages for looking after everybody so well, Laurence Doherty for his his amazing Rod Stands and Glenn M Garrigle for the shop flags, Michael Kelly for hosting a fantastic night’s craic at his bar MK’s in the town and Marty McGuigan for providing the music. A brilliant Saturday night was enjoyed by all in Strabane.
What more can I say than I hope to see everybody back at Melvin next year.