My book Life of a Chalkstream
is now out in paperback.
FEATURING IN 2016
Two days on the river, a campfire at dusk and a night under canvas with the sound of the stream to lull you to sleep. Summer dates now out.
NEW A week just fly fishing – could the summer holidays get any better? Summer programme now out.
The perfect antidote to work. Two magnificent River Test venues and Nether Wallop Mill. Now booking Mayfly dates.
Your favourite beat, on the day you want it for the season ahead. All the options, on all the rivers.
But more than that they are engaging and informative companions on the riverbank, blending information, hints and anecdotes to help you get the best from the day. They will know the best local pub for lunch, transport you from hotel to river if required and carry a full stock of flies, tippet material and chalkstream outfits.
The Guides are available for hire by the day; the daily fee covers all the extras, including flies. All we ask is that you tip the Guide at the end of the day if everything has been to your satisfaction. Sharing a Guide amongst your party is absolutely fine; we recommend a ratio of one Guide to two fishermen.
Our Fishing Guide fee includes all of the following:
• Chalkstream outfits
My introduction to fly fishing reads like a Mark Twain tale: a neighbouring farmer inherited a few miles of that lovely Hampshire chalkstream, the River Meon and gave me free range over it. Not having a clue about fishing (nobody in my family did) the village doctor was enlisted as my tutor. However, he had no interest beyond a day of free fishing so as soon as we reached the river he abandoned me.
My confident casting, self taught on the lawn at home, soon fell apart confronted with the narrow stream and wild vegetation on the bank. Having lost all my few dry flies I disconsolately rummaged in my bag and found a grubby Bloody Butcher which I proceeded to fish in true wet fly fashion. No doubt F W Halford was spinning like a top in his grave but I didn’t care two hoots as within a few minutes I had landed a twelve inch (well probably 10”) wild brown trout.
Nearly four decades on I still feel bad about that fish as I knocked it on the head and transported it home with great ceremony. My father soon arrived home having met the Doctor in the pub (I am pleased to report he caught nothing) and our family ate the fish for tea.
Now retired Alan spends his time guiding, looking after his fishing on the River Ouse and in the winter enjoys beating and picking up with his dogs on the local shoot. He recently completed 10 years as Chairman of the Fly Dressers Guild.
First fish: A sprat off South Shields pier
Of all our Guides Tony King has to be the most travelled having caught a fish (species unspecified!) in every continent of the world. Equally at home with a salmon, trout or saltwater rod in his hand, Tony is a highly accomplished fly fisher with a natural eye for teaching. He covers all the disciplines running our saltwater and salmon classes and specialises in guiding on the Dorset streams.
Born and raised in the south, Tony now lives in Weymouth, Dorset overlooking Portland Bill with one of the best vantage points for the sailing during the 2012 Olympics.
Earliest fishing memory: Catching bleak on the River
Lee with Uncle Den
Dream fishing destination: Any small atoll in a big ocean
Dry fly or nymph: I enjoy both equally
Most memorable fishing day: Catching a 27lb Salmon in my back garden
Item of fishing tackle to send to Room 101: Overly stiff rods
Favourite film: Mr Hulot’s Holiday
Favourite food: Fresh mackerel, fresh peas, and mashed potatoes with mushroom sauce
Fishing hero: Richard Walker
Would you teach your wife to fish? It would not be my first choice of activity
Best fishing related joke you have ever heard: “Anyone who thinks they know a lot about fishing hasn’t done enough yet.”
John Stephens was born close to the banks of the River Avon at Salisbury Hospital in Wiltshire, the river on which he caught his first trout on a dry fly at the tender age of ten. He spent his formative years on the Avon at a time when Frank Sawyer, inventor of the Pheasant Tail Nymph, was still active. As a young boy John frequently met Sawyer but never realised the legend that Frank had become by that time.
First fish: A mullet in Spain
Most memorable fishing day: Catching my first trout on a fly (a dry fly!), when I was about 10 years old on the river Avon at Enford in Wiltshire
Dry fly or nymph: Dry fly
Item of fishing tackle to send to Room 101: 99% of flies sold
Would you teach your wife to fish? I did and we are still married.
Best fishing joke: Q. "What time do the fish rise?" A. "Before you arrive, after you go home and sometimes at lunch time depending on whether you go to the pub or not."
Born and bred in Dorset, Marcus McCorkell spent his formative fly fishing years on the River Allen, having been taught the essentials by his father who ran a local syndicate. The youngest of our Guides, Marcus has managed to dodge a career thus far: in his time he has worked in Farlow’s, guided in the Russian salmon camps and laboured long and hard as a river keeper on our beats.
Earliest fishing memory: Learning to fish with my
Dad aged six near Dorchester
Dream fishing destination: A small wild chalkstream on a sunny April day
Dry fly or nymph: Nymph
Most memorable fishing day: Guiding on the Brevyeni section of the River Ponoi. The camp was shut and we were fishing Brevyeni by flying down each day from the main camp. The most downstream set of rapids were impassable so we parked the boat and hiked down to a football pitch sized pool of calm water in between the rapids. My client caught two salmon in two casts, both over 15lbs. The location made it feel like we were catching salmon on the edge of the world
Item of fishing tackle to send to Room 101: The dry fly only rule
Favourite film: The Three Kings
Favourite food: Thai
Would you teach your wife to fish? I'd give it a go but she's more used to teaching me things so not sure how the role reversal would go. Badly I suspect.
Tony Hogg is slowing easing his full time career away from his IBM day job that pays the bills to more time teaching and guiding. A native of Hampshire, Tony was born almost equidistant between the Test and Itchen. Despite his illustrious birthplace it took Tony a few years before he was able to fish either with a fly.
Tony first became keen on fishing in his early teens, going coarse fishing on free fisheries then on local club waters, including the Itchen. He dabbled with fly fishing in the close season, but didn't do fly fishing seriously until his mid 20s when he started on small stillwaters and then lochs and reservoirs before finally moving on to chalkstream fishing.
Earliest fishing memory: Catching immature pollack
and coalfish off Scalloway Pier in the Shetland Islands with a bamboo
pole rod, string, hook and a bit of mackerel, aged 6
Dream fishing destination: New Zealand or Iceland
Dry fly or nymph: Nymph
Item of fishing tackle to send to Room 101: Fish finders
Favourite film: Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Favourite food: Italian
Would you teach your wife to fish? No
Favourite fishing book: 'How to Fish' by Chris Yates
Best fishing related joke you have ever heard: Two not very bright anglers are out fishing in a boat when they start catching a lot of fish. First angler: "We should make a note of this spot and come back here tomorrow" Second angler: "I'm ahead of you, I've put an X on the side of the boat" First angler: "Don't be daft mate, we might not get the same boat tomorrow!!"
Mark spent his working life in the Lloyds insurance market before making a career changing decision by moving to Dorset where he divides his time between guiding, beating and helping out on the river. Born in Germany, Mark learnt his fishing with his father on the River Itchen with his formative years spent on the banks of the River Avon, which likely explains his favourite book and prowess with a nymph.
Earliest fishing memory: Fly fishing with my father
on the Itchen
Dream fishing destination: Patagonia
Dry fly or nymph: Dry fly
Most memorable fishing day: First salmon on the Spey
Favourite fishing book: ‘Keeper of the Stream’ by Frank Sawyer
Favourite film: Tin Drum
Favourite food: Shellfish
Would you teach your wife to fish? Yes
Best fishing related joke you have ever heard: With apologies to Tommy Cooper; “Two fish in a tank. One said to the other I'll steer, you man the gun...”
Born and raised in West London, Peter relocated to the Hampshire/Dorset border in the 1970’s. Over the years he has probably fished for nearly all the fresh and saltwater species that swim within or around Britain.
Having spent a number of years competing as a tournament caster, Peter
eventually turned his attention solely to fly fishing, and now divides
his time between coaching, guiding and chasing that elusive 3 pound
Earliest fishing memory: Catching my first perch on
the Grand Union Canal near. Paddington at the age of 7.
Dream fishing destination: Cuba for bonefish, permit and tarpon
Dry fly or nymph: Whatever the fish are taking.
Most memorable fishing day: : Hooking my first bonefish on the flats in the Dutch Antilles. WOW!!!
Item of fishing tackle to send to room 101: Waders that leak after one season
Favourite fishing book: “Single-Handed Spey Casting” by Simon Gawesworth
Favourite film: American Graffiti
Favourite food: Pie, Mash and Liquor (Brings back childhood memories)
Fishing Hero: There’s two: Richard Walker and Fred J Taylor
Would you teach your wife to fish? No. Life’s too short.
Best fishing related joke you have ever heard: Q) What’s the fastest fish in the water? A) A motor pike.