The fifth annual Orvis UK Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival took place over the 12th – 15th September 2019. With over 40 angler’s competing across the competition, the picturesque town of St. Mawes was alive with festival spirit.
Based from a marquee on The Quay, the festival not only offered fly fishing, clinics and tuition for competing anglers, but also food demonstrations from local chefs of St. Mawes Hotel, Hotel Tresanton and Idle Rocks as well as Cornish brands showcasing local produce. The unique destination offered the perfect backdrop for the competition, with anglers of all ages and abilities starting bright and early to get to their marks in time for 7am.
Amelia Whitaker, Organiser of the Festival, spoke about its growth, “I was thrilled to see the numbers grow with ‘The Salt’, not just in terms of fishermen but also in the numbers of fish being caught over the weekend. There is no doubt that the fish sizes were bigger this year with quite a few bass coming in at over 42cm. We were so pleased to welcome the title sponsor, Orvis UK, to the name becoming the Orvis UK Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival. Orvis are a hugely respected and well-known name in the fishing world, and I am delighted to have the festival associated with them.”
A multitude of fish were caught and released over the weekend including Bass, Mackerel, Garfish and Pollock. Blaede Russell, a fly fishing guide from Gloucestershire, was crowned the winner of the Pro competition, with Neville Broad from Kent, taking second place. Robert Thong from London, won the Amateur competition, with Tom Barclay from Jersey, placing second as well as winning ‘Longest Fish’ and ‘Best Newcomer.’
James Doyle, UK Retail Manager at Orvis said, “Orvis was really excited to support the ‘The Salt’ once again this year. Fishing the salt combines the fun and familiar adventure of the seaside with the exhilaration of fly fishing. Orvis are absolute experts in fishing the salt and we are delighted to help anyone who wants to have a go. Rod and tackle requirements are really straightforward and it’s really easy to repurpose existing rod and tackle and find out what’s out there! It simply offers anglers a huge opportunity to find something new and adventurous in a really accessible and exciting environment.”
Blaede Russell, who placed 1st in the Pro competition said, “Superb organisation by ‘The Salt’ and fantastic sponsorship by Orvis meant we all had an amazing festival! Saltwater fly fishing is accessible to everyone and doesn’t require an annual membership fee like on a river, to be able to experience truly amazing fishing. All you need is a rod, reel, line and away you go! For me the very essence of fly fishing is to continually challenge myself in as many ways as possible, saltwater fly fishing in the UK has got to be right up there!”
Neville Broad, who placed 2nd in the Pro Competition said, “There was a groundswell of support for this year’s Orvis sponsored event. The festival achieved its main aim of a magical social spirit with an open desire to teach new starters how to start saltwater fly fishing. The weather and venues were spectacular and there were many bass caught and returned. In fact, I left feeling as though St Mawes is now an esteemed location for fly fishing, offering many other species including Garfish, Mackerel and Pollack on the fly.
Next year’s festival will take place from 18th – 19th September 2020. For more information on how to enter, readers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Tom Young Photography and Chris Sayer