Posted by: AAPGAI | July 15, 2016

AAPGAI at Irish International Fly Fair

An article written by Clive Mitchelhill (AAPGAI Membership Secretary)


AAPGAI has been represented at the IIFF since 2008 and this year was no exception.


Fly Fair Entrance

Since its inception in 2007 the Irish International Fly Fair has evolved into a great institution that brings people together from all around the world and also strengthens the community spirit within the village of Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland where the event is held. If you have ever attended this event you will certainly perceive this strong bond from the very outset.


Killyleagh castle

The fly fair is held within the grounds of Killyleagh castle, a formidable venue which is kindly offered up to the Dibney River Conservation Trust, (who instigated the fly fair) for the duration of the event, by its owner and staunch supporter of the Trust for many years, Gawn Rowan Hamilton. Gawn always makes you feel very welcome and is most definitely a hands on pillar of the community; we would therefore like to thank him once again for his hospitality towards the AAPGAI contingent and for accommodating our instructors within the castle grounds.


AAPGAI instructors

The fly fair is host to many fly dressers; several trade stands and plenty of casting instructors. It offers a great opportunity for AAPGAI instructors to work closely with fellow instructors from APGAI Ireland, many of whom are also members of AAPGAI. However it is not just a fly fair, it is also a place for good friends to get together and enjoy one another’s company.

This year’s event was a little unique, with the opportunity for those who were prepared to arrive a day early to attend some very interesting workshops regarding The Role & Formation of River Trusts in Ireland. Chairing the workshops was Dr Ken Whelan (also an AAPGAI instructor) in his role as Director of Research for the Atlantic Salmon Trust.


AAPGAI at the workshops

The workshops offered up some very prominent speakers throughout the day, and Ken also very kindly managed to find a slot for a small group of AAPGAI instructors to address the Trusts with regard to their work with Borderlines, a not for profit organisation that introduces people from all backgrounds to angling and the Environment, and at this moment in time have introduced around 16,000 youngsters to this arena. This also gave our association the opportunity to showcase another string to our bow. Excellent!

The weather for the fly fair itself stayed relatively fine over the weekend, although very
windy at times, but this didn’t deter any of the guys getting out there with the fly rods and doing a spot of teaching, in fact if anything it made them even more determined to do so. However, regardless of whether you were inside or outside, the Craic, as they say in Ireland, was very entertaining.

Speaking of entertaining, the speeches at the conclusion of the fly fair were just that, and some very special presentations were made, including an honorary certificate presented to Dr Ken Whelan by AAPGAI for all his exceptional work in the piscatorial world, not to mention all his voluntary work too. “Well Done Ken”.


Finally, it wouldn’t be the Irish International Fly Fair if we didn’t mention Dibney the Rooster, fast becoming a very well known Cockerel (stuffed of course) that is presented to: “the fly tyer of the show”. This year the prize went to Long Nguyen from Norway.


Dibney the Rooster

So as you can see; a fantastic event and a great opportunity for AAPGAI to work with many local and international colleagues. We look forward to attending the Fly Fair again next year and would like to thank everyone involved for all their hard work which makes this event possible.