Falling on World Fly Fishing Day, Saturday 25th June, the second annual Orvis Beginners Saltwater kicked off on Hayling Island. The event was held over two days and included talks on kit, species, where to fish, tactics, as well as casting clinics. Followed by a series of guided beach workshops, everyone had the opportunity to try and catch a fish and test out their new skills.
Expertly guided and looked after by our team of professional saltwater fly fishing guides - Michael Rescorle, Joe Walker, Philip Spratt and casting instructors from GAIA, the sessions focused on the basics of Saltwater fly fishing and fly casting.
With over 60 expectant and exuberant anglers at the event, there was a whole range of different abilities. Joe Walker and Philip Spratt wowed the audience of anglers in the morning sessions with an incredibly detailed, and often humorous, presentation which would ultimately set our anglers off for a successful afternoon putting new knowledge into practice. The team from GAIA, led by the Chairman John Reynolds, gave care and attention to each and every angler. In light of the strong wind forecast across the weekend, the casting tuition focused on dealing with conditions and adapting techniques.
Approaching the water in the afternoon now meant that our anglers had insight into tides, how to spot fish, safety, and great casting.
Finishing off a day of tough conditions, the group headed back to Langstone Quays for a pint with new friends, giving everyone a chance to socialise and get to know one another (not to mention already planning fishing trips with each other for the future!) Attendees also enjoyed the Orvis Pop-Up Shop, manned by Orvis Stockbridge’s Olly Newberry and James Doyle. David Dinsdale was also at the venue representing Go Fishing Worldwide specialising in International adventures in the salt.
Sunday brought more wind but renewed enthusiasm where a handful of bass were landed on the fly. 3 groups were spread around Hayling Island, all with access to 2 or 3 experts guides. Former Orvis associates, Hamish and Jerome helped the guiding team on Sunday and a newcomer, Liz, caught a small bass on the fly at Kench with the help of their their guidance.
Awards were given to the ‘guides choice most improved angler’ in each group, which included Allix Walker and young Max who had attended with his dad. Of course prizes were also awarded to those who caught fish, newcomers Liz and Dave – receiving an Orvis Encounter rod & reel or a Slingpack to set them up for the rest of their fly fishing journey in the salt.
And a big shout out to Shane Davies who tied flies and joined Phil and Joe at seafarers as a guide for the first time this year. We were delighted to have Aaron Rawling, the new General Manager of Orvis UK in attendance who joined the team and the attendees with his chocolate lab, Ophir for a weekend.
Orvis UK are proud to host the beginner's weekend in order to make fly fishing an accessible passion for those looking to learn and wanting to explore the outdoors in new and exciting ways. Keep a look out for next year’s dates and don’t miss out!
The Orvis Saltwater Festivals focus on the journey of novice to experienced saltwater angler. In between the Beginners Weekend and the Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival, Orvis plan to add a string of new ‘Catch a Bass’ days to fill the gap and continue the practice. More details to follow soon.