Bewl Water’s fly-fishing legend decides to hang up his rod at 82

Red Kite

One of the country’s most respected fly-fishing instructors has decided to hang up his rod at Bewl Water.

Iain Thomson, 82, has been the leading casting coach at the reservoir at Lamberhurst for more than two decades.

During that time, Mr Thomson has taught thousands of pupils how to start casting and helped many others improve their techniques.

One of his methods was to advise fly-fishers on tackle to choose which would best suit their style of casting.

Mr Thomson said: “I’ve taken the decision because of my advancing years. I have been very happy at Bewl and it is such a good fishery because of its consistent stocking policy.

“To be a good instructor you need a well-developed sense of humour and to be gentle with the pupils.

“Fly-fishing has been documented since Greek times 3000 years ago, it is a wonderful sport with a real sense of freedom, you can travel over mountain and moorland to find your perfect fishing spot.

“The biggest fish I’ve caught was last year in British Columbia, a 37lb fresh run king salmon. It is beautiful to fish in the wilderness, and then return the fish to the rivers. I’m looking forward to more of this in my retirement.”

During the Second World War, Iain was evacuated to Scotland at the age of six. It was here amongst the lochs and rivers that he first found his passion for fishing.

Iain spent many years in Australia and Africa working and fishing. In 1981, he became the resident instructor for Southern Water, running group courses at Bewl Water.

Bewl Water estate manager Howard McKenzie said: “Iain is an immensely talented and knowledgeable instructor who has been a major part of what makes Bewl such a great fishery.

“He is also a really good guy who is very popular in the fishing world.”

Mr Thomson was a founding member of the ’55 Yard Club’ for fly-fishers who can cast that enormous distance.

The Bewl season runs from March to November and fishing can take place on several miles of bank or from a fleet of 54 boats. Permits, tackle, boat hire, courses and free introductory sessions for beginners are all available.

Iain Thomson will continue to take on private clients for tuition and he can be contacted on 01580 241219.

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