Over the 10th and 11th of March, the magnificent venue of the Business Design Centre in Islington – London, opened its doors to the capital’s first annual fly fishing event: The London Fly Fishing Fair. Founders John and Fergus Kelley were delighted to welcome fishing enthusiasts and newcomers alike from all over the UK and could be seen regularly walking the floor of the show, greeting friends, exhibitors and guests alike. Visitors flocked to the two-day show to explore over 70 specialist exhibitors, fishing destinations and lifestyle brands from the UK and overseas, bringing a truly international and unique flavour to the fair compared to other consumer shows.
One of the UK’s best known and respected fly fishing brands, Orvis, offered a full range of high performance equipment from waders, boots, rod outfits, reels, flies and luggage and also hosted our Editor-in-Chief, Paul Sharman, representing the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust in this instance that he represents in the UK. Joined by Fin and Game, Jack Barclay Bentley, Frontiers Travel, Anglers IS, Go Fishing Worldwide, Fly Odyssey, Flatsbag, Casting for Recovery (Countryside Alliance), Fly Dreamers, Fin Hunter UK, The Game Fair, BASC, Thornwood Fisheries, Urban Angler, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Salvelinus and Fish Mongolia, among others, the show championed some of the best and most interesting of the fly fishing industry.
Those visitors and exhibitors we spoke to were all unanimous in their praise for the show and the venue and were delighted by the numbers of people to be seen watching the demonstrations and walking the aisles.
The show saw all-round angling guru, Charles Jardine, reel in the crowds with his unyielding passion for the sport. Charles, along with cast-master Hywel Morgan, engaged spectators in his fun demonstrations on the impressive casting pool. Matt Hayes, one of Europe’s well-known anglers, presented films on the History of Salmon Fishing and Fishing in Norway. The fair’s ambassadors Marina Gibson and James Stokoe (plus several of his other fellow Big Fish TV show contestants) were also in attendance, getting visitors enthused about the extensive events programme. There was some fascinating fly tying demonstrations by the Veniards’ flydressers, talks, presentations and films on all disciplines of fly fishing including screenings of the Fly Fishing Film Tour F3T, which documents first class fly fishing destinations worldwide.
Charles Jardine said of the show, “There are not enough superlatives to describe this year’s London Fly Fishing Fair. From the best indoor fly casting pool I have worked on, the floor lay out, to the stunning video screen and sound system and arguably one of the best atmospheres I have ever experienced at a Fly Fishing show. The genius of John and Fergus Kelley and their team, should be applauded from every river, lake and shore line for being brave enough to put this show on in the capital. If you don’t go next year, frankly, you’re bonkers.”
“We are delighted to be able to say that the first London Fly Fishing Fair was a roaring success. We are so thrilled at the huge of amount of support we’ve had from everyone in the fly fishing industry. The feedback we’ve had from both visitors and exhibitors has been fantastic and it means so much, particularly in our first year. We hope the support will only grow and continue for year two of The London Fly Fishing Fair!” – John Kelley (co-founder of The London Fly Fishing Fair).