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Meet Neil – Fly Fishing Champ and Good Bloke

June 11, 2021

Meet Neil 


Upon his return to New Zealand after eight and a half years exploring the world, Neil dived into fly fishing. “That’s when I really cranked it up, shall I say.” And he dived deep.


An international fishing champion, Neil “fished 13 years with the New Zealand Fly Fishing Team” travelling to World Championships and Commonwealth Championships. It’s safe to say, Neil knows a thing or two about how to catch a fish – and fly fishing, in particular.



When he’s not building fishing rods and flies in his home workshop, Neil can be found casting on the rivers and lakes around Tīrau, Rotorua, Taupō, and Taumarunui. An Auckland local, he says that “with trout fishing, you need to travel at least 2 hours south to get to a reasonable trout fishing spot”. Not that anyone is guaranteed a fish. Neil cautions that “you’re dealing with a wild animal” which means that “there are no rules”. While daybreak is an ideal window for fishing, “you can get on the river at six o’clock and catch nothing, then at nine o’clock you start catching fish”.

Well, if the time of day is no guarantee for catching fish, there must be a fair amount of skill involved. Which is evidenced by Neil’s gold, silver, and bronze medals. And hanging casually in his wardrobe is something most Kiwis can only dream of. “I got my black blazer – like the All Blacks!”

It’s impossible to avoid catching Neil’s passion for fly fishing. A master of his chosen sport, he enjoys the natural environment he fishes in even more than catching the fish. A true pioneer, Neil has lived a life of freedom and adventure and shows no signs of stopping. In fact, we had to wait for his return from a fishing trip to interview him for our latest lifestyle magazine!

Special thanks to Neil, championship angler and resident at Ryman’s Bruce McLaren Village. You can read more about Neil in the latest edition of Hibernate, our lifestyle magazine