Gareth Lewis at the UK's first ever Fly Fest

The weekend of October 4th & 5th 2014 saw the UK’s first ever fly fishing film festival, Fly Fest, take place at the Rheged Centre, Cumbria. Even with this being the first event of its kind, we saw a great crowd through the doors over the course of the weekend, despite this being even without the usual trade stalls. This first event was to be, simply put, a showcase of quality fly fishing films, fly tying, and fly casting. Best of all, entrance to this event was totally free, with only a small charge for those wishing to book tickets to one of the many great fly fishing films.

Speaking to the event’s organiser, Davy Newell, over the course of the weekend, the Fly Fest vision is to “promote, inspire, and represent fly fishing through film and we also want to host fly tyers and pro casters of every discipline from all over the world”. Hosting a number of fantastic short films in the Rheged’s amazing iMax cinema, the weekend event also boasted eighteen pro fly tyers as well as fantastic fly casting demonstrations from the likes of Stevie Munn, Glenda Powell, Hywel Morgan, Chris Aldred, Vera Carlson, and Eric Hope.

I was lucky enough to have received an invite to the event as one of the Pro Fly Tyers earlier in the year and, as such, attended to promote both Partridge of Redditch, their fantastic range of hook models and, of course, my own tying and guiding services.

Joined by fellow Pro Team members Ilan Evans, Dougie Loughbridge, and Jim Lees, and with the fourteen other fantastic tyers, we tied, talked and demoed a huge range of patterns and tying styles between us, and I think all would agree that this first event was a fantastic success!

As always, participating in these events is a great honour, and it’s always a real buzz chatting to visitors, fellow anglers and tyers alike; the guys who pop by to ask for tips and advice, talk fly patterns, or just to say ‘Hi’, this is exactly what these events are all about.

After the long drive back home from Cumbria to South Wales, I was left a little tired, but I’m already looking forward to next year’s event, what will (I’m certain) be bigger, better, and even more amazing.

My thanks to Davy and the Fly Fest Team for such a great event, and to all the fellow tyers, casters and the fantastic visitors. Thanks for a great weekend and see you next year!

For more information, simply visit the Fly Fest website at


Take a moment to look at the below images which really sum up the great Fly Fest weekend - maybe see you there next year?