WORLD champion Fly Caster Stevie Munn has travelled the globe in his role as an angling instructor and competitive caster but he ranks the waterways of Ireland as on a par with anywhere he has fished.
Local angling enthusiasts will have the opportunity to learn from the internationally renowned instructor when he delivers single handed demonstrations on the pitches at the Melvin Sports Complex at the North West Angling Fair in Strabane today and tomorrow.
The Belfast man has fished since childhood and helped set a world record in fly casting when he casted for 141 miles with a score of 627 casts at distance in 30 minutes.
“The North West Angling Fair is a wonderful, friendly event that just gets better each year,” he said. “I would recommend it to all the fly anglers as there is something for everyone young and old to get involved in, it’s great to have it on our doorstep.
“Fly fishing brings together like minded people with a love of the countryside, it rises above class and brings us all together, we are all just brothers and sisters of the angle.”
Stevie grew up in North Belfast in the shadow of cave hill with sisters Lorna and Elaine, mother Maureen and his late father George.
“It was my Dad that got me into fly fishing when I was very young,” he recalls. “I was probably about six or seven and it was probably to keep me off the streets and out of trouble as at the time we lived in a place of turmoil.
“I loved getting into the countryside and fishing is great for the body and soul.
“I was tying a lot of flies and started selling to a few shops and doing some guiding in my mid-20s, just trying anything to pay the bills and survive after leaving the shipyard where I had worked from I was 16.”
The North West Angling Fair is aimed at all levels, from novices to experienced anglers, and Stevie noted that the natural resources in Ireland make angling one of the most accessible sports available for local people.
“We have great fishing and are very lucky,” he continued. “We have very affordable fishing that is very accessible, it really can be a sport for everyone.
“This has a lot to do with the great work that many fishing clubs do to look after the rivers and we should not forget that and the highest praise must be given.
“Places I also love like Iceland. Argentina and Norway where I host guided fishing each year are sparely populated not as busy and don’t suffer as much or at all from pollution, it’s really wilderness fishing and wonderful but we still have fabulous fishing at home and I love my home rivers more than most.”
The full programme of events for this year’s Angling Fair can be viewed at www.derrystrabane.com/anglingfair.