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World Champion Stevie to impart his wisdom at North West Angling Fair

04 April 2018

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 on Saturday April 7th and Sunday April 8th.

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.

“I was selling tackle for a shop in Scotland, Mitchell’s of Pitlochry, and was also tying at a few local country fairs and I met an English man called Dave Havers who runs a company called Tackle Bargains.

“Dave asked me did I want to tie and sell my flies at his stand at Scone Palace at the Scottish Game Fair, it got busy while we were there and he asked me to take a customer to try out a Scott rod.

“Once Dave saw me casting he immediately took me off fly tying duties and said he would pay me to sell rods.

“We ended up doing maybe 20 or 30 shows per year and although Dave became busy with his online business to do the shows I had built up a lot of contacts and took a job with Lennox fly rods which was then run by the late Allen Brown.”

Steve went on to work with World Sport Fishing selling fishing holidays before being employed as a casting demonstrator with Hardy, Partridge and Semperfli before moving to the exclusive Guideline Power Tean at the start of this month.

He runs the Irish Fly Fair in Galway, teaching casting and guiding and helping as an angling consultant with Irish Country Sports and Country Life.

While it is a lifestyle he enjoys, he warned young people considering a career in the sport of the levels of dedication required.

“You need to keep yourself active to make a living in fly fishing it’s definitely not easy but it has its perks,” he noted.

“Like most anglers that have fished for a long time I thought I was a reasonable fly caster, after all I have basically been casting all my life and my father helped me when I was young.

“It was only when I went and did my instructor certificates that it hit home that I needed to put a lot of work in to become a qualified instructor.

“After a lot of time, effort, money and practicing with qualified mentors, I passed my GAIA certification and went on to do their higher qualification - APGAI.

“I also did the advanced casting qualification with APGAI - Ireland where there were many highlights casting at angling events worldwide including England, Germany, Argentina and the USA and many home shows.”

One of the biggest highlights was the world record in Fly Casting which I did charity at the CLA game fair at Blenheim Palace in 2011.

“I love teaching people, it’s great to see the improvement you can make with a few lessons and some practising.

“When it comes to guiding it’s a fantastic feeling when your client lands a fish. Good guides will all tell you the same thing it can be as good as catching yourself – well almost!”

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 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.