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Rising fly tying star Laoi bringing it home to NW Angling Fair

28 March 2018

Strabane teenager Laoi Coyle will exhibit his expert fly tying skills alongside some of the biggest names in world fishing at the North West Angling Fair this weekend but it is company he has become comfortable in in recent years.

The 15 year-old, who hails from the Five Acres area of the town, has already practised his art at fairs all over the UK and Ireland since setting up his own fly tying business at the age of just 12 but he admits that the Melvin Complex event in his back yard will be something special.

“It’s brilliant to have a fair in my home town,” said the Holy Cross College pupil. “It’s good for the town to bring people from afar and to show some of the talent and great fishing we have. 

“I enjoy attending angling fairs as I can learn a lot from the older and more experienced tiers and its great getting to meet new people

“I would recommend fishing and fly tying to all young people, it’s a good hobby and pastime, especially in the good weather to get you outdoors and if I would give them one piece of advice it’s just to stick and it and keep practicing.”

After initially beginning fly tying with the help of online tutorials, Laoi realised he had a flair for the art and quickly developed his craft with some professional guidance from renound tyer Geoff Hamilton.

Since setting up his Laoi Coyle Fly Tying business, he already boasts a regular list of customers on both sides of the Irish Sea and has sold and exhibited his tying skills at the prestigious Shane’s Castle Game Fair in Antrim and an was invited to take part in Flyfest in England’s Lake District.

“My dad Rodney had fished when he was younger and when I was nine I found his old rods in the garage and asked him to take me fishing,” he recalls. “I caught my first salmon not long after and was hooked. 

“I started fly tying when I was 12, I just thought I could save myself some money to begin with , I then realised how much I enjoyed it so I put more time and money into it and it developed into a hobby 

“The first few flies I tied were easy patterns and I got quite a lot of compliments on how tidy they were. I started classes with Geoff Hamilton and watched Davie McPhail’s YouTube videos, I progressed to harder and more intricate patterns and spent some time trying to perfect them. 

“When I started tying flies, I put a few pictures on my Facebook page, my dad’s cousin saw them asked me to make him a batch of salmon flies.

“I wasn’t expecting to be paid for them as I was only still learning but he paid me, it was then I realised that I could maybe make my hobby pay for itself.

“I set up a Facebook like page and it grew from there, I have now sold flies all over Ireland, Scotland and have sent a batch to a guy in Hampshire, England who bought them to fish in Palm Springs, California.  

“The highlight so far is definitely being invited to fairs and particularly being invited to Shane’s Castle game fair, hopefully I can continue to attend more angling fairs and try to expand my little business in the years ahead,” he added.

Laoi will join a wide range of world class experts providing demonstrations and advice at the North West Angling Fair’s ‘Fly Tyers Row’ which will take place on both Saturday April 7th and Sunday April 8th at the Melvin Sports Complex.

Special guests at the outdoor casting demonstrations will include Stevie Munn, Robert Gillespie, Scott MacKenzie, Andrew Toft, Glenda Powell, Pauline McClenaghan, Jo Stephenson and Gordon Armstrong. 

There will be a range of talks upstairs in the Mourne Room each day from the experts including; Glenda Powell, Jo Stephenson, Noel Carr from FISSTA, Dr. Pauline McClenaghan and a daily showing of Dr. Ken Whelan’s riveting film ‘Atlantic Salmon – Lost at Sea’.

The full programme of events for this year’s Angling Fair can be viewed at www.derrystrabane.com/anglingfair and further information is available by e mailing [email protected] at the Festival and Events team at Derry City and Strabane District Council or calling 028 71 253253.

More information on Laoi Coyle Fly Tying is available on his Facebook page www.facebook.com/lcflytying.