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|Hello, my name is Stephen Peart and I would like to welcome you to Weardale Fly Fishing.com.|
I have been fly fishing for Trout, Salmon and Seatrout for over twenty years and have been fly tying since the age of 10. For the past twelve years I have been extensively involved in competition fly fishing. Over the years competitive fly fishing has been largely responsible for the development of Stillwater flies and fishing techniques by anglers striving for a competitive edge.
My angling career started as an eight year old schoolboy on the River Wear and one of its tributaries, the Waskerley Beck. My first ever trout was caught on worm, not fly and as my parents like to remind me, was unceremoniously paraded home by a triumphant eight year old child with the trout still hanging from the end of the rod and line! From then on, so to speak, I was hooked.
From the age of ten I started to become interested in fly fishing and started to hone my skills on the wild browns of the River Wear. My progression from the river to Stillwater's began at about the age of fourteen. My first season tickets soon followed on Tunstall Reservoir were I began my Stillwater education.
Tunstall is a reservoir of about 60 acres located near my home town of Wolsingham known as the 'Gateway to Weardale' and an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. It is a typical upland reservoir with peat stained water and very little in the way of water born fly life so the trout rely on terrestrial insects for food. The trout are free rising and I soon learned about fishing wet fly and dries.
My early years on stillwaters were mainly confined to fishing from the bank and it wasn't until I was sixteen years old that I started to boat fish, with Tunstall again my learning ground. Soon I was catching good bags of fish using traditional wet flies and traditional short lining techniques which are still deadly today. As I was learning and developing my loch style methods, Brian Leadbetter started writing articles for Trout Fisherman about his exploits on the competition scene and the various angling techniques that he employed. This started my interest in competitive fly fishing.
As my interest grew in competition fly fishing a local group of anglers were advertising for anyone interested in forming a team to enter national competitions. Soon we began fishing in competitions as a club named Weardale Fly Fishers. Although we had little success as a team, we all learned a lot from each other and started fishing Rutland, Grafham and Keilder on a regular basis.
My first of four England Caps came in 1995 when I qualified from the English National Final off Rutland Water at the age of twenty one. It was the most amazing feeling qualifying to represent your country at the sport you love and was the highlight of my career at the time. The International Match was held on the Lake of Mentieth in Scotland. England won the coveted gold medal and I was fortunate to finish in 7th place overall and fourth England rod.
My 2nd cap was for the Spring International in Ireland, which was held on Loch Owel in 1996. England again won the Gold medal, much to the satisfaction of the team.
Cap number three came again in 1996 in the Autumn Home International match held on Llyn Trwsfynedd, Wales, after qualifying from the English National Final held on Keilder Water were I managed a very credible 4th place finish. Unfortunately gold medal number three had to wait as England finished third behind Wales and the winners Scotland.
The pinnacle of my International Career came in 2001 when I was asked to captain the England team for the Autumn Home International held on Loch Leven. Having again qualified to represent England from the National final held on Grafham Water, finishing in fourth place being asked to captain England was a great honour and privilege. The team pulled out all the stops in a very hard competition, held in near gale force winds, to enable an England victory at the spiritual home of fly fishing. This completed my hat-trick of gold medals and the distinction of captaining a gold medal winning England team.
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Web Site Last Updated 12th Aug 2012