I attempted to write something yesterday, however, much like the tears, I failed to catch the words which tumbled through my fingers.
Like the rest of the fishing community, I reeled at the news that you had passed; you, one of the nicest, most humble and beautiful human beings I’ve been blessed to call a friend.
We only met in 2017, a chance encounter at the Rhug Country Fair outside Bala, North Wales. Never without a smile and always so gracious and welcoming, we spent the weekend tying flies and chatting about our shared passions – fly fishing, fly dressing and wine.
Despite being a tremendously talented and beautiful fly dresser, I was immediately hit by your humility, modesty, and general lack of confidence when it came to fly dressing…despite your tremendous talent.
You found it difficult to accept praise or compliments, but it was always refreshing (and a little funny) to see you squirm with embarrassment as a result. You’ll never know how many of us you inspired. You inspired us with your beautiful fly dressing, your graciousness and your endless charity. Always giving but never wanting anything in return.
Your excitement, energy and love were palpable and contagious. To say you were one of the best fly dressers I’ve had the privilege of tying with would have had you blushing in seconds. It’s true though.
I vividly remember your excitement at joining numerous pro teams during the past few years, something you’d worked passionately to achieve. You always felt these achievements were beyond you, however, the truth of the matter was that you’d transcended such goals years before.
I shared the honour of tying with you at many shows and loved the post-show beers, the laughs, and your ability to have the whole table in hysterics. Unknowingly, you always made everyone around you smile. You were a beautiful fly dresser, a beautiful person, and a wonderful friend.
From the bottom of my heart, my most sincere condolences and love to Nicki, Dylan and Beth, of whom you always spoke so highly, with such love, warmth and admiration; how proud you were. I have no doubt they know how much of a brilliant man you were, how much you were loved by all who met you, and how much you’ll be missed.
I’ll miss our chats, our banter, and our time tying together. Ironically, we never got to fish together, despite having planned to fish the Usk later this year. I’ll always regret not fishing with you.
There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll end on this: Paul, my friend, you made the world a richer place for just being you. We will miss you, but you will always be with us, and you will be forever in our hearts, our memories and happy stories.
Keep smiling, brother. We will see you again on that river after time.