ANGLER Bob Smith once retreated to the river banks simply to escape the pressures of his day job as a school teacher.
But his enthusiasm for fly-fishing and education led him to set up in business teaching others how to take part in the sport and he is now attracting tourists from around the world to Northumberland.
“I have been truly overwhelmed by the number of people keen to learn about fly fishing and the national and international interest in particular has been very rewarding,” he said.
“ Although I started coaching fly- fishing as a hobby a few years back, the business has taken off, so clearly there is demand for this type of activity.
“I have met some really interesting people since we started and hope more will visit the region to try their hand at this sport.
“Having fished for over 50 years, I’ve always found it’s a great way to relax, unwind and get outdoors. I enjoy teaching my techniques to anyone and everyone. We have all sorts of clients from experienced anglers to young children just starting out.”
He first expressed his joy in teaching fishing by founding The Hirst Park Trout Ticklers fishing club which aimed to encourage parents and youngsters to fish together. Since its beginning the club has introduced almost eight hundred new anglers to the sport with eight members going on to represent England’s Youth Fly Fishing team.
Smith’s expertise in fishing tackle was honed after spending several years working for renowned fishing tackle manufacturers Hardy and Greys in Alnwick.
He was invited to become a member of the prestigious Hardy and Greys Game Fishing Academy, a teaching accreditation held by only a handful of people across the UK. With exclusive access to private river beats in Northumberland and the Borders, Bob Smith Fly Fishing is gaining business from the corporate market for team-building days and North East hotels, as well as from tourists to the region.