A SELF-taught fly angler who has been selected for the England Youth Fly Fishing Team is hoping to inspire others to learn the craft.
James Penwright, 11, who has enjoyed an impromptu ‘fish off’ with actor and Extreme Fishing Celebrity Robson Green, has made a short video with Game Fishing Centre Sportfish to help encourage others into fly fishing.
James, who lives in Rhuallt near St Asaph and is a pupil at Myddelton College in Denbigh, has achieved a number of accolades and personal highs in the last 12 months; he ended 2018 by achieving a fly fishing grand slam catch of a blue, brown, rainbow and tiger trout in one afternoon at Tan-y-Mynydd in Abergele.
Last summer, he won runner up in the National Junior Trout Masters final having caught the first fish in a “nail biting” competition in Northumberland – one more fish would have would have catapulted him into first place.
He was awarded a Troutmasters Gold Badge for catching a fish of notable size at about five different fisheries.
In September, he secured a place on the England Youth Fly Fishing Team; he is the youngest member to date to have qualified after a gruelling eight hours at Draycote Water.
Proud mum Michelle said: “He is self-taught and his passion started out of nowhere, at aged two, following an increasing fascination with water and fish after being given a plastic magnetic toy rod. He would carry the rod around and went to the lake to try and use it. It has simply progressed from there.
“He first asked to learn to fly fish at about five years old. He would watch others and say to me ‘I want to fish like that mummy’.
“He set heart on trialling for England after watching older team members practicing at Ellerdine Fishery in Telford some three years ago. He said, at the time, that is what he was going to do. He has never questioned his own ability or determination.
“When he was told he had qualified after Draycote Water it was a dream come true for him.
“His next challenge is to stay in the team until he is old enough to compete in the England Men’s Team.”
Last October, James, a member of Vale Of Clwyd Angling club and Rhyl and St Asaph Angling Association, enjoyed a chance meeting with Robson Green at Newmills Fishery in Cumbria.
Michelle said: “James has been afforded some wonderful opportunities.
“The support from local angling clubs, Renee Foxon and her team at Foxon’s in St Asaph and the staff and regular anglers at Tan-y-Mynydd, have all been integral in getting him where he is today.
“He watches videos and fishes with those who excel to improve his skills and knowledge. He is so skilled and accomplished.
“I’m extremely proud of all achievements but most of all, the way he conducts himself – the passion he enthuses, the young fly fishing ambassador he is becoming and how humble he remains by it all.”
James, who is a member of the Corwen and District Angling Club, will attend boat reservoir training sessions throughout this year before fishing in the Youth International at Lake Menteith in Scotland in July.
He recently took part in a chat about why he loves fly fishing with Nigel Botherway, Fisherman’s Blues presenter on Talksport radio.