Urban Fly Fisher Kicks Ass!

Hello new and old readers – the spring appears to be springing (although we could have -15 temps back any moment).

Just thought I would make a boring old post about housekeeping – don’t panic, do not run away you might actually hear something interesting and possibly slightly controversial – I know there are some folk that wonder what this blog is really all about so I suppose I had better explain it to new folk and remind some of the oldsters.

Essentially this blog started more years ago than I care to remember due to extreme boredom during my summer holiday from university – it had been raining and I could not fish the Kelvin. I had been toying with starting some kind of diary and consequently I dreamt up the fun name of “Urban Fly Fishing On the Kelvin” It was the first fly fishing truly dedicated blog on the internet – I should know as I hunted long and hard to find another one so I would not feel lonely. Of course now fly fishing blogs litter the internet and it was nice for a while there when folk got in contact with me to say I inspired them to start their own – of course the buggers then went on to outdo me on design and coolness but I don’t hold grudges (that is a total lie I hold grudges for years – if you ever meet me in real life ask be about the bus driver I set a voodoo curse upon)

So “Urban Fly Fishing on the Kelvin”was a simple diary of fishing trips which then over time became a sometimes social commentary of fishing in Glasgow as well as heckler of the association that held the fishing rights of the Kelvin. I then changed the name to “Urban Fly Fisher” (should fly and fisher be all one word I never know?) as I learnt to drive and could travel to other rivers. During this time I opened the Urban Fly Fisher Forum and gained a stalker – interesting times all round.

Anyway – posts these days are made up of social observations, posts about fly fishing trips, reviews of gear, weekly water photos, pictures of “things” named after the mighty River Kelvin (we call it Kelvinography) and whatever else takes my fancy, for example why I think the brand Hardy particularly sucks.

Something that has always puzzled me is the fact UK brands shy away totally from the internet – they point blank refuse to have much to do with trying to promote there products on blogs. This is in total contrast with US bloggers who are accepted by the big brand names and whose opinion are sought when testing products.

UK brands appear to have no faith in their own products – they worry that after a few months it will fall apart and we will complain about it. Airflo for example have a policy not to provide products directly to bloggers – I know this because I asked them for a fleece to review a while ago (I only ask for gear I am going to use) and their Product/Marketing Director Tim Hughes wrote back  stating “…we don’t generally send items out for review on blogs.” I would have suggested Airflo needed a new Product/Marketing Director that understands how internet marketing works however I reckon I may have ended up with a sore face. Nope – they would still rather send their gear out for reviews to magazines where they are buying huge tracks of adverting space which in turn is keeping the mags afloat – the mag is hardly going to give a poor review and risk losing the advert revenue is it?

Folk in the fishing world that do understand the value of the internet are few and far between – considering the number of fly fishing shops shutting down and magazine sales plummeting you would think manufacturers would be cottoning on to this fact and looking to the future however they appear to be sitting on their asse

However , there are good companies that have cottoned on to how the internet works – one of which is Orvis. They are the most canny out the lot – they have a slick website (have you guys checked out Orvis News), they have a most excellent podcast and customer service that frankly leaves our UK manufacturers looking like a bunch of chumps. It is whispered that if you  write the Orvis PR Contact’s name three times he pops up to ask how the fishing is: James Hathaway…..

As a direct opposite of Orvis has anyone tried to use Greys “unlimited” warranty? You end up giving them the cost of the part you have broke as a “handling fee”

As you can see folk do not like sending me stuff – because I tell them if it sucks I am going to say it is sucks. Which is probably why you only ever see positive reviews on this site – only the manufacturer who stands 100% behind his product is willing to send it out to someone blindly on the understanding they have absolutely no power over what is written.

Of course sometimes the manufacturers do actually try and embrace this new fangled internet thingy and start blogs – however they then get totally mixed up on what a blog is and call each post “a blog”. For the record a blog is an online ongoing thing and a post is an entry in the thing – jeesh, it aint that difficult – there are sites that help you to sort it out – Sometimes it is like watching your Dad trying to disco dance!

One of the only times I felt humbled by a manufacturer was when I was sent my Jvice – jeepers that guy played me – he knew I was going to love it, he knew his product was the best vice out there – that vice was made with skill and dare I say it quite a bit of man love too.

More than a little manly love went into this bad boy!

Anyway – now that I have thoroughly pissed off most of the UK manufacturers I should really tell you all to please support our UK fly fishing magazines – the problem with the amazing internet is that it is difficult to read it when you are on the toilet – sure sometimes I read stuff on my smartphone however sometimes you just want an honest to goodness mag to read. So please, if more people bought Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, Trout Fisherman etc they would not have to rely on the advertising poppy.

In a couple of days I am going to show you how sex sells fishing gear and how one company have finally taken things too far – watch this space.


So there you have it – a rough and dirty history of Urban Fly Fisher with a hint of what has yet to come – one future might be “Urban Dad Who Used to Go Fishing But Now Just Gets Sent Free Stuff and STILL Complains About It” however I am betting the ten minutes a week it takes to drag my fingers across my keyboard to compile something that keeps my loyal band of  readers (all eight of you)) happy will also ensure I receive absolute bugger all attention in the mainstream media ever again – other than possibly this:

It is now 22 days  until the trout season opens – I fear that Trout Madness may be setting in!

A man can dream cant he?


  1. Paul R · February 21, 2011

    I certainly wouldn’t want to receive a gift made with ‘man love’.

  2. Paul R · February 21, 2011

    I’m thinking you should change your title from blogger to blagger.

  3. Alistair · February 21, 2011

    Paul – I hate to say it but that is a bit of a typical institutional attitude of someone that has been brought up on being told what is good and bad!
    Who do you trust ? A guy using the product day in day out or someone who’s income depends on whether you buy it or not?
    Anyways – this post is not about getting free shit – I would have thought you would seen that!

  4. Marcelk · February 21, 2011

    I thought it was about receiving free good shit 🙂

    But in earnest, I am a fan of Orvis.
    The brand is however not that well represented here in the
    Netherlands but as you stated market situations have changed.

    I do like their service which is top notch in the US and in
    in Europe via their UK subsidiary.
    Orvis – good website, nice to read their fishing conditions post
    or follow Tom Rosenbergs podcast and I like their products.
    (I think I earned some free orvis gear now 🙂 )

  5. Byron Thiel · February 21, 2011

    I buy all four fly fishing/tying magazines and subscribe to Total Flyfisher. I always wondered why uk manufacturers shied away from using the web and now after reading your blog I know why. Though I live in the northwest(Cheshire) I feel a real affinity to you Scots as my only daughter was conceived there on my only ever visit to your beautiful country-reminds me so much of my native Washington state with all your mountains, trees, salmon rivers and grandiose scenery. After retiring late in 2009 took a trip back to the old state and to South Dakota where I went to scool (1949-1963) and the fabulous scenery along the Grand Coulees and the banks of the Missouri River were truly dare I use the americanism Awesome! Well worth the air fare on its own.

  6. David · February 21, 2011

    Great post or should that be blog, I’m confused. It was good to give the history lesson on “The Urban Fly Fisher” as it made me realise why I keep reading your stuff.

    I don’t buy the fishing mags as they retail around €5 Euro each here in Ireland and I get fed up with skipping through page after page of adverts for stuff I neither need or can afford just to read the few interesting bits.

    I do feel a little uneasy looking at your Playgirl front cover, a centrefold image just keeps popping up in my mind and the little trout your holding doesn’t hide much. Keep up the good work.

  7. Si · February 21, 2011

    David, that “little trout” is the the River Kelvin record weighing in at a heavyweight 14oz. 🙂

  8. Stuart_Lands · February 21, 2011

    Totally agree with the props being given to Orvis, they show that it is possible to provide great products, customer service and have a cracking website.

    By the by, the camera highlighted in the previous blog looks like something from the 1980s now!

  9. Alistair · February 21, 2011

    Marcelk – Do you have any Orvis shops in the Netherlands?

    Byron Thiel – Aye, the good Scots air obviously put you both in the mood 😉

    David – Post/Blog, it can be both however this time I think you mean post 🙂

    Si – I was wearing crotchless waders!

    Stuart – Camera?

  10. Alistair · February 21, 2011

    Now that is spooky Stuart – I had totally forgotten about that camera – it was a great wee thing though – I think I ended up giving it to one of my pals.

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