And I enjoyed it.
Never let it be said that I am a moany bastard who never looks on the bright side of anything, today I spent a good couple of hours in the Glasgow Angling Centre and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Gary Wingate (Game fishing manager or something like that) had asked me if I was coming down and I had told him the chances were against me unless he had a creche, however it turned out I had a spare couple of hours with only one of the boys so headed down I did. Gary also kindly a while ago turned a small amount of fishing vouchers into a rather large amount of fishing gear for some of my social work clients who have now formed a highly successful fishing group *
I think I hinted at it before however long time readers will know how I started out thinking the GAC (as it is lovingly known) lacked a bit of soul. However over the last few years it really has started to gain a bit of character and the staff have been there long enough to get to know the punters that come in. Nicolas Valentin the most famous Frenchman with a Kayak also works there, he is one of the first person I look for when entering the shop. He is probably the person that got me into pike fly fishing purely by being so passionate and about it and telling me stories and most importantly places to try.
Dare I say I actually enjoy my browsing around the shop – yep!
They usually put on two open weekends a year, one in the Spring and one in September, they are big events lasting the whole weekend with lots of reps from tackle companies and fly tying demos. They also have some fishing “celebrities” stoating around the place like Matt Hayes and Paul Young. A few years ago I asked for a photo with John Wilson and after told me he was too busy he has not been back – I like to think it is because he totally blanked me and I moaned about it here however it is probably because showing his holiday slides cost a fortune.
What the hell, here is the official video and advert for the event.
I remember when John Norris of Penrith was the big boy of angling gear. I visited them on my way to the Lakes and was super disappointed by the amount of gear they sold compared to the GAC.
It was nice stoating around with the boy in tow, first stop was the fly tying demo area and watched some Pike flies being tied up by Dougie Loughbridge. Dougie is the man I think of when I think of Pike fly tyers.
One of the flies looked like a realistic wee fishy, I was kinda disappointed when he told me it was not a “fishing” fly it was really just as a demo fly tied for fun. Bloody hell, I thought to myself, he obviously does not have any kids! I can barely find the time to tie flies to actually fish never mind some just for a bit of fun. Still, he was fair churning them out and was not slowing down when I left.
The Bug Bond guy was sitting next to Dougie and was hard at it..
What is this?, I asked, holding up a hook with a blob of something stuck to it, turns out it was an egg fly – I mumbled something about it being good for Grayling and he smiled and nodded. Obviously he thought I was a baboon and should be encouraged to complete complex things like tying my shoelaces so I moved on with a mental note to get myself some of this wonder bondy stuff. Hopefully I will not get high off it like the epoxy which took me yonks to get out my system. Noone ever tells you this when you start fly tying.
Anyway, if there was a fishing Royalty then Paul Young would be it (not just saying that as he reads this blog) and as usual it was nice catching up, we have been threatening to meet up for a pint for years and have just never got around to it.
Alberto Laidlaw joined us and we had a chat about fishing programs, we mused that anglers were a funny bunch and that pretty much every presenter had folk that thought they were shite whereas nobody had a bad word to say about Paul. He simply turns up and goes fishing and enjoys himself no matter what. There is none of that extreme shite or falling in the river or any bloody nonsense. Paul had gone by this point so was not witness to our praise, he was signing a wee laddies “Trout and Salmon”.
Gary Wingate dragged me down to look at the new Daiwa rods – I picked a few out and they were pretty nice, I mused that the next time I get to buy a fishing rod there will be laser guided sights on them or something or we will only catch fish in a virtual reality world due to the technical advancements while my kids grow up. Purely by accident I picked up a new Hardy 9 foot 5 weight and waggled it around.
Gary pointed out some of the features and I got embarrassed as I thought it was a Daiwa #grin#
As I was waggling it around I considered just what would happen if I arrived home with it and showed it to the wife plus the price tag. Let us just say that my dinner would not be on the table for quite some time. Living in my shed would be pretty shit as well.
Speaking of Hardy I got chatting to Stevie Munn who is a Hardy/Greys fly fishing instructor and all round good guy..
At this point can I just point out how creepy it is asking someone for a photo of them “foor ma blog”
Stevie looks a bit terrified as I had just moaned at him for a half hour about my GRX that was snapped a couple of months ago. ” Yes, I bought the rod over ten years ago and now insist on a new one due to my own incompetence” is probably what he heard instead of my well thought out reasoned argument about shady warranties. I was telling Paul Reid (RKAA Secretary) later on about the conversation and said that Stevie Munn agreed with me that I should have got a new rod for a lot less than the fifty bucks, “Best course of action when you are dealing with bams is to agree with them” said Paul.
Sarcasm is not lost on me unlike this huge wall of Sea Fishing rods..
Anyway, Stevie Munn had to dash as I think someone stole a couple of lines from his desk. His pal, another Hardy rep, said not to worry as they were in security cases. Obviously a man who does not know Glasgow I thought, those lines were either now sold to someone or were actually being fished by this point.
Next on my wanderings around the shop I bumped into Alberto and Davie McPhail .
Now, as fly fishers and fly tyers go Davie McPhail is proper famous in Europe, I suppose not just in Europe as his YouTube videos are world famous and meeting the man left me speechless. The man after all has over 10000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. I cannot remember if it was when I was talking to him or someone else that I suggested I tie some flies at the demo table at a future event – Gary Wingate quickly said a flat out big no. How rude, I can tie over three flies as long as they are biggies and I have had a bit of practice.
All in all a rather good affair. On my way out I met a couple of well known Kelvinators and we had a chat about some stuff to do with the Kelvin. If I did not have the bloody work party cutting down trees tomorrow I would be back as it is that will be my whack until the Spring.
Did any of you guys head along to the open day? What did you think? Is there anything they could add?
*and that my friends is one of the few times I will write about work.