So I visited the Glasgow Angling Centre on its Open Weekend.

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.

This was the smallest the queue was the whole time I was there..

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 question: where the crikey did you get that shirt?

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..

Bloody Impressive flies!

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.

The paparazzi have been trying to see him in a thong for years!

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#

This is what a £1000 rod looks like in my hands…

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..

Stevie Munn

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..

I actually felt a bit intimidated!

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 .

Davie McPhail & Alberto Laidlaw

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.



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  1. David Edwards (the BUG-BOND guy) · September 29, 2012

    It is a truly fantastic show with a broad range of fishermen/women from the very young to the young at heart! You always get a great welcome and both the customers and staff are brilliant. March and September at GAC are defined dates in the calendar… which goes to prove that Glasgow is the centre of the unverse. Thanks for the wee write up and I appreciated the tag on the photo of my flies #blush#

  2. Andrew Turner · September 29, 2012

    That is the 3rd open weekend i have been to and for me it is a 240 mile round trip but it is worth it i dont think you could improve on it the stars of fishing are all great and are really interested in what you have to say.The only thing i would like to see is big Dave lindsy from edinburgh i think he is the pike fly tying champ the guy ties the best patterns he is on you tube take a look and you will agree so thanks again glasgow angling i will be back.

  3. Ronnie · September 29, 2012

    I sadly missed the event due to other engagements……the other half needed a chauffeur and we were babysitting my grandson. I would have liked to have met Paul Young who comes across as a nice, down to earth bloke and also Davie McPhail, just to ask if he ever takes that blue shirt off.

  4. Si · September 29, 2012

    Managed to sneak down first thing in the morning with the idea of “beating the crowds” to some bargains. Ha Ha. Found myself queing at the front door with about a hundred people with the same idea as me! If you have ever seen the pics of the boxing day sales in London it was a bit like that. On your marks…..
    Anyway, thanks to having my wee girl with me in the pushchair some kind fellas held the door for me and let me head in before them. Result. Hot footed it to the rapala section to get some BOGOF. There were already a few guys there but I managed to push my way in and block the area with my pushchair while I cleared out as many good ones as I could find. By the time I got to the flying c’s they had been hammered.
    Just need to find some salmon to throw them at now!

  5. Anne Woodcock · September 29, 2012

    Urban Fly Fisher come and say hello to the ladies next year please….we were next to the Partridge stand, and we are now affectionately being called the fun factory by the Partridge team.

  6. Anne Woodcock · September 29, 2012

    The pink fly by Dougie was kindly given to the Ladies Fishing tombola to raise money for Casting for Recovery and Get Hooked on Fishing

  7. Alistair · September 29, 2012

    Aw shucks David – if I had known you were gonna visit I woulda posted your photo as well 🙂 Must say I am interested in your bug bond, going to get me some for some Pike flies!

    Andrew, thanks for commenting and I am glad you enjoyed the dat.

    Ronnie, at least the old bank balance did not get hit eh 😉

    Si – you must have been there at roughly the same time I was, I am pretty sure I saw another couple of pushchairs.

    Anne, I wonder why I missed you? Were you up on the raised bit near Dougie?

  8. Jim Perry · September 29, 2012

    A thousand quid for a plastic fly rod???!! *gasp* choke…..That’s like $1600 over here in the colonies….Which,I suppose,one can find them here for that much…..but….I’d rather have that much to spend on some old bamboo or fiberglass to play with.

  9. Alistair · September 29, 2012

    Not even a thousand pounds – £999, that £1 makes a difference 🙂