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Bigger and better than ever: The fourth annual Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival

For a fourth year, the festival returned from 1st – 3rd September in Chichester Harbour and Hayling Island. With record fish, beautiful weather, and huge tides, the event was bigger and better than ever with over 140 anglers from all over the UK descending onto the beaches of Hayling Island in pursuit of anything from bass to mullet, and garfish to mackerel.

Adding to a new schedule, competitors were able to start fishing a day early this year, with the competition beginning at Midday on Friday and ending at 2pm on Sunday.

Based from The Langstone Quays Hotel on Hayling Island, anglers holding the new Festival Tickets enjoyed bass and mullet workshops from experts and a renewed guiding team, which included our trusted friends, Colin Macleod, Michael Rescorle and Philip Spratt, as well as two new additions, Rodney Wevill and Andy Miller – both keen saltwater anglers and previously competitors at the festival themselves. Whilst Joe Walker focused on the Saltwater Fly Fishing for Beginners in his talk, Colin Macleod covered the nitty gritty introduction to Fly Fishing for Mullet. With the biggest tides the festival has ever seen, the team from Spinlock gave a short demonstration covering their life saving devices.

Charles Jardine also returned with his coveted Casting Sessions, this year taking place on the beach so that anglers could apply knowledge into practice.

Event partners Watersports World UK, wowed the attendees with a Fly Fishing from a Kayak workshop at the Oyster Beds, joined by a friend of Orvis, Paul Bettley, demonstrating casting techniques.

The weekend celebrated a record number of catches alongside a record number of competitors.

Longest bass

Joint 1st: Ben Worley & Steve Lawes (59cm)

Longest mullet

1st: Matt Fender (60cm thick-lipped mullet)

2nd: Lewis Clark (56cm thick-lipped mullet)

Longest other species

1st: Lewis Clark (32cm horse mackerel)

2nd: Mike Bilson (30.5cm mackerel)

Multiple species

1st: Lewis Clark (bass, thick-lipped mullet, horse mackerel)

2nd: Paul Jennings (bass, golden grey)

All winners and runners up were awarded prizes including bespoke Orvis rods with handles customised by TimmyGrips, vouchers, YETI tundras, and more.

The event was proudly sponsored by YETI, Fulling Mill, Delivita, Lakedown Brewing Company and Watersports World UK.

A huge thank you goes to our trusted partners, and to Delivita and Lakedown Brewing Company who hosted the Saturday night social with Orvis. Delivita Chef Ambassador, Marco Biasetti, cooked a fantastic selection of fresh pizzas on the night, and the Lakedown beers were flowing right through to the sun setting.

With some incredible catches – including one beautiful sea horse – it really was one to remember.

For a first hand account from a Festival attendee, read about Reuben Manicom-Smith’s experience on FishMag.

Check out our highlighted Instagram stories, or our online gallery, for photos from a fantastic weekend and keep an eye out for details of next year’s event!

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