Like any chapter in any book, each has a start, a middle, and an ending. I’ve had the privilege of being counted as a Pro-Team member of both Partridge of Redditch and Semperfli for almost 15 years, and their support, fantastic hooks and materials (as well as the opportunities afforded to me by each) have been monumental. It was no small decision to stand down, and in no way due to any negatives. I leave loving the products, the teams, the people/family, and what both companies give to our fly fishing and fly tying world. Keep doing what you’re doing, guys. Love for you always!
I enter the next chapter a lot older, and my fishing has changed considerably in the past 15 years (hell, I was 27 years old 15 years ago!), as has what ‘fishing’ actually means to me. Long gone are the days of wanting to catch every trout in the river (or even catching any trout at all). It is the trout’s riseform that gets my heart racing, and a larger fish, even at 42yrs old, still seems to keep me up at night as I recount the moment after she’s been tricked into eating an imitation of fur and feather and, subsequently, safely released. Sometimes (more often than not), I recount the exact moment I screwed the job! Getting to flip a tiny dry fly to the rising fish is where my heart lies, and I’ll spend countless hours trying to work out the challenge of presenting the food imitation to the fish in a way it deems natural.
Likewise, over the years, my fly dressing has also changed to match suit. I am a huge advocate of generalistic shape and size and keeping things simple.
So, in this next chapter, I’m excited to begin working with Fulling Mill, whose combined portfolio of hooks and materials aligns perfectly with 42-year-old Gareth’s fishing and fly dressing, all of which is under one roof and banner in the shape of the wonderful Fulling Mill. Fulling Mill’s dubbing line alone (from their 100% natural, ethically sourced fur dubbing through to their synthetic superfine and dry fly-focused offerings) had me making ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ towards the end of last season. Their hooks, well, they need no introduction.
If you’d like to discuss dry flies, fly tying materials or simply have a chin wag about trout and the upcoming season, I’ll be tying at the 2024 British Fly Fair International in Stafford from Saturday, the 10th, to the 11th of February, on the International Fly Tying Row, Sandylands Centre (Hall 3).