It has only this week suddenly dawned on me that I have managed to pull this off for 10 years ! I have just had a quick scroll back through some images from various chapters within the last decade , some of which seem like 20 years ago. I guess that means I have been keeping busy . Ten years ago I launched uksaltwaterflies.com from the spare bedroom at our old house overlooking Porthleven harbour . I had run out of options in Cornwall as every other avenue had back fired on me so I decided to follow my heart .
In the early days Cally went to work and I looked after our baby boy 3 days a week . (He’s not a baby now , he’s talking too his mate on his mobile phone !!) It was hard work juggling a website and a baby . The business grew 2 fold year on year from 2005 to 2009 it was an exciting chapter and I worked my nuts off . Then the recession found its way to my door. The fishing trips seemed to balance on a knife edge as more and more people put a stop to the exotic holidays in the salt. I had a great run of luck but I knew that that chapter was drawing to a close. 6 or 8 weeks a year out of the country was starting take a toll on my heart. I just seemed to miss my family more with each new trip. . 7 years of fishing 2 – 3 weeks on Cape Cod was starting to wear thin too. Ive landed every Striped Bass I ever need too . I had a deal with the landlady of my base camp on the Cape. It was simple . I said the day she solicted my customers was the day it ended , she let me down , it broke my heart to be let down by someone I had come to treat as family. Cape Cod was over . I said goodbye to that lady knowing I would never return .
I think the greatest pinnacle of my travels was the second trip to St Josephs Atol in the Seychelles, Everything about that trip was epic. We had great bone fishing in the flats , we fished for GT’s with Popping gear, we drank ice cold beers at lunchtime . I slept out on deck under the stars and listened to music on my first generation i Pod staring up into space every night .Cally was heavily pregnant with our daughter and holding the fort at home . It was the great company that made those first 2 trips. The final one perhaps not !!
So as time went by these tropical urges started to weaken. I was travelling to fish with great guides but what I really wanted was too be a great guide at home . At this stage I was just scratching the surface of the bass fishing potential in Cornwall. I had a cheap boat with a limited operational area. I wanted to take my qualifications to a higher level and operate a serious boat . Nobody had done this properly, we have guides here now but most had crap boats and questionable operational status . (This is still the case now ) All my love , time and money went into launching Zen2 ,as with all boat projects the costs spiralled and by the time she was fully complete I had spent close to 50 K . I had come so far I could not turn back ! I also launched a sister website www.ukbassfishing.com around the same time . The greatest spin off from that project was the increased awareness of my guiding within the lure fishing community . These days I fish with as many lure guys as I do Fly fishermen , possibly more actually .
So much has happened in the 10 years , so many foreign fishing adventures , great times , hard times , good friends lost and found and a few no longer with us unfortunately. Its time for me to take stock of where I am and where I would like to be in another 10 years time. uksaltwaterflies.com was the start of everything . Its the one thing I will never let go. I can feel those tropical urges welling up inside me again so lets see where they take me in the next decade. The world of fly tying materials online has become very over crowded . That element of the brand may have to go . Its time for me to get out the vice and launch my own range of saltwater flies .Watch that space !