Tuesday, 2 August 2011

I had a dream. The Irish Fly Fair & Game Angling Show.By Stevie Munn

For numerous years I wanted to run a high-quality fly fair and game angling show in Ireland. I always thought that our art and passion was never well enough represented in this part of the world, though many have tried and done their best and some shows and I must say some have been very good that I worked at , although normally game angling and fly dressing have continually shared with other angling disciplines, I always thought the country deserved a proper game angling and fly fair like those I had demonstrated at many times in the U.K and Holland, after all its one of the biggest sports in the country. So several years ago I bought the domain name Irish Fly Fair and started thinking how I could make this dream come true. I have worked a 100s of angling and country shows over the years so I had the contacts, I knew so many wonderful fly tyers, fly casters, traders and well known names in the angling world and they knew me, so I had the basic plan, but what I needed was funders and sponsors or even better very good event organizers to team up with me. I wanted a top class show but never had the money to put into it to make it what I required. This opportunity arose when I was working at a show in Dublin the Angling Ireland Expo and met Hugh Bonner from Mara Media who were running this show; I must say they are excellent event organizers and impressed me immensely. Irish Angler editor David Dinsmore knew I owned the name and suggested I talked to Mara Media, so I did and our first meeting went pretty good though Hugh did not agree to anything there and then but suggested we should meet again after he got his head around the idea . On the next meeting Hugh and Grace McDermott from Mara’s sales team, both attended and we all agreed that we should work together on the show.

We then started thinking about venues I originally wanted to have the show in Belfast or Dublin because of their large populations as I wanted a good turnout at the door as I knew this is how to keep the traders and everyone contacted with the event happy as I have had a lot of experience from that side of the fence, I wanted it when the game fishing season was over also for that reason , but Hugh suggested that perhaps Galway would be an excellent venue for a game angling show and the more i thought about it ,the more it seemed to make perfect sense, the west although it is in the midst of so much great game angling with world famous names like Corrib, Mask, Conn, Galway weir ,the Moy and the Delphi to name just a few, but this part of Ireland had never had a great angling show and this one would be dedicated to Game Angling which the west of Ireland has been a Meca for hundreds of years for Trout and Salmon anglers.
I wanted this show to have some of the best attractions for game anglers not just a show that the public paid into to browse angling shops, although trade stands are a major part of any show and it’s a great place for the anglers to get a deal on some new tackle but also with a large foot fall good for the trade stands who want to show off their products. I wanted a mix of top quality trade stands, fly casting demos, common interest stands, teaching, talks, fishing simulators, competitions and at its core a large host of the best fly dressers in the World that would keep the public entertained and pass on their knowledge. So this is what I and the Mara Media team went about trying to create.

The Venue for the show had to be impressive too. I wanted elegance, style and comfort for all that attended the show, the guys and girls that were working and demonstrating and the public alike, so Hugh suggested we used the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill, and what a venue it is overlooking Galway Bay and the Clare Hills, it is an Award winning 4 star hotel considered by many to be one of the top hotels in Galway. It has massive function rooms for prefect for trade stands and a huge conservatory which would be fabulous for fly dressers to give demos, so that’s where we have it .On the first morning of the show last year everything was in place we had an impressive list of fly tyers from all over the world, though with a strong Irish back bone, we had a large number of trade and interest stands, we had our fly casters and angling instructors, we had our well known angling celebrities, we had our experts like Dr Ken Whelan to give talks. We had everything in place to run our event, after many months of planning and hard work by me, my sister Elaine who built the web site and the Mara Media team ,who where a dream to work with I must say. We had promoted it to the best of our ability at great expense to Mara Media, with me pulling some favors from my contacts in the angling world. I remember standing at the front door alongside Hugh silently praying for the game angling public to arrive, I had not slept the night before the show, I was so worried that all our hard work, effort and their money was going to be in vain, I remember standing at 10.15am 15 minutes after the doors had opened thinking’ S##t’ what have I done. But then all of a sudden people started turning up and the door numbers became great the interest in the show from anglers was incredible they came from all corners of the Isle and many even from overseas. The feedback we had last year was fantastic with many saying it was the best angling event they had attended , you can read the feedback on our web site www.irishflyfair.com .

This year the show should be even better for the public as we have assembled the largest group of fly tyers ever to dress flies at a show in Ireland ,more than last year, at the moment I have no more space left for fly tyers we have around 60 of the World’s Best Fly Tyers from 15 different countries, we have also a larger number of trade stands selling all the top brands , we have great talks and fly casting by World Campion fly casters among them Scott MacKenzie, Glenda Powell and Hywel Morgan, we have tuition by APGAI- IRE that in their ranks have some of the highest qualified game angling casting instructors on the island such as Peter O'Reilly, Pat Hughes, Paddy Mc Donnell , Joe Stitt and Jim Hoy, we also have for the first time the youth fly tying competition, we have the fishing simulator from France and much much more, to keep you the angling public happy.

Here is a list of international fly tyers that I must thank as they are all giving their time for free, Alice Conba - Ireland, AndrĂ© Miegies - Netherlands, Andy Boekholt - Netherlands, Andrew McGall – Ireland, Arthur Greenwood - Ireland, Brian Burnett - Scotland, Caroline Emmet - England, Chris Reeves - England, Chris Sandford- England, David Wolsoncroft-Dodds - England, Dean Armstrong - Ireland, Declan Tuffy - Ireland, Dougie Loughridge - Scotland, Emyr Breese - Wales, Erik Strijker - Netherlands, Fergal McKiernan - Ireland, Frankie McPhillips - Ireland, Frank Moors - England, Frank Reilly - Ireland, Gary Bell - Ireland, Gerry Teggart – Ireland, Stephen Moates-Ireland , Glyn Davies - Wales, Ian McKenzie - England, Jim Lees - Scotland, Jeanette Linnarud - Sweden, Marc Fauvet - France, Jens Pilgaard - Denmark, Joe McDonald - Ireland, Joe Stitt - Ireland, Johan Put - Netherlands, John McLaughlin - Ireland, Lawrence Finney - Ireland, Michael & Betty Hayes - Ireland, Michael Monahan - Ireland, Mike Keady - Ireland, Mike Shanks - Ireland, Mikko Stenburg - Finland, Moreno Borriero - Italy, Pat Mulholland - Ireland, Dr Paul Davis - England, Paul Molloy – Ireland, Peter Dunne -Ireland , Peter O'Reilly - Ireland, Robert Reilly - Ireland, Sean Cassidy - Ireland, Sean Dempsey - Ireland, Stoyan Filipov - Bulgaria, Stuart Wylie - Ireland, Riny Sluiter - Netherlands, Ryan Houston - Ireland , Terenzio Zandri - Italy, Tom Delahunty – Ireland, Trevor Jones - Wales, Vytas Markevicius - Lithuania, Wendy Gibson - England, Roger Salomonsson- Sweden, Skuli Kristinsson- Iceland, David Edwards – England, Evert Eenkhoorn- Netherlands, William Heckel - USA,Walter Bayer - Germany and more . A pretty impressive line up you must agree.

This show is a must for the angling enthusiast with many clubs and anglers coming down and making a weekend out of it, we have entertainment on the Saturday night on top of all that. So I hope to see you all there please come along and give it your support, we need events like this to work in Ireland in these challenging times. If there are any companies out there who can help us in any way with sponsoring please contact us we would be only too glad to listen. I also must add again it is a pleasure to be working with all the Mara Media events team and I hope this event goes from strength to strength. See you all there in November.
19th-20th November 2011.

Hotel: Galway Bay Salthill Galway

Duration: Two days (Saturday & Sunday)

Times: Saturday 10-6pm - Sunday 10-5pm
For more details www.irishflyfair.com

For further information:
Hugh Bonner - (074) 9548935 - hugh@maramedia.ie
Grace McDermott - (074) 9548936 - grace@maramedia.ie
Stevie Munn - anglingclassics@aol.com