About Stevie by John Todd
Many of you may have heard of or had the pleasure of meeting one of the UK and Ireland's best known and most qualified angling guides, fly casting and fly-tying demonstrators namely the incomparable Stevie Munn.
A lifetime fly fisher Stevie has been on the angling and demonstration scene for over twenty-five years often representing some of the best-known tackle manufacturers and innovators such as Hardy, Greys, Guideline, Marryat etc. You do not suddenly become a worldwide name as an angling guide/instructor without serving a long, and often hard, apprentiship in the various skills and knowledge you need to catch trout and salmon across the globe. Stevie started early at the grand old age of seven when his father, George who was a dedicated and gifted angler and fly tyer, introduced him to the sport.
One of Stevie's greatest assets is his versatility. He is equally at home fishing size 20 dry flies for rising trout as well as handling a double handed salmon rod while deep wading in a fast-flowing river be it in Scandinavia, Ireland or Scotland. Some guides and ghillies are purely either salmon or trout fixated, and they are often very competent in their chosen fields. However, Stevie has that fairly unique ability to take what he has learned and experienced in one facet of the sport and apply it to other situations. Perhaps this comes from his early days with his father where they would often go on 'trips' to other rivers and loughs instead of their own local Six-Mile-Water. One of these was the then famous Ballinderry River which produced some fabulous wild brown trout, Dollaghan and the occasional salmon. Soon Stevie was to fish all over Ireland and then when he started demonstrating he had the opportunity to fish many rivers and waters in Scotland and England. Now of course he will work and fish all over the world from Norway to Patagonia.
Stevie has won fly casting competitions including Two Accuracy Casting Championships in England in the 1990s and at Blenheim Palace CLA game fair 2011, Stevie helped set a New World record in single hand fly casting, which was done in aid of the charity, Help the Heroes. He then was invited to Argentina, to fish and demonstrate at the world-famous event Rio Grande Fly Fishers TDF Argentina . Stevie has given lessons and demos at many of the world’s élite events and has fishing/demonstration experience in Norway, Ireland, England, Scotland, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Finland and Italy. Stevie is enthusiastic about conservation and was a founder member of The Lough Neagh Dollaghan Trust, which helped with the genetic studies carried out by Queens University and a member of, NSN conservation group, which lobbied the Irish and Northern Irish Governments on drift netting.
He holds some of the world’s highest qualifications including APGAI-Ire Master, APGAI and GAIA in Fly Casting and the teaching qualifications including FETAC Level 6 , showing a commitment to providing a first-class service.
Some may think this is a dream existence, and it certainly has its moments, but it is no “get rich quick scheme” and involves a lot of hard work. In fact, it is more of a lifestyle choice than anything. You have to be passionate to want to do it. It is one thing knowing how to catch fish, cast and tie flies but quite another talent to have the skills required in imparting this information to a range of other people. Most guides will tell you that if you give them a good angler in good conditions on good water the chances are everyone will leave with a smile on their face. Poor conditions, an inexperienced angler and even on good water your guide/instructor is going to have possibly a very different day. This is where personality and good demeanour can mean everything. This is probably Stevie's ace card. He is quick to realise people's capabilities and therefore not ask or expect too much or too little. He is always enthusiastic but above all he is good fun and great company. If it happens to be a not so good day for fishing with Stevie, you will learn something. It could perhaps be about your angling techniques, about yourself or maybe just how to enjoy the ambience of your surroundings. Whatever, the chances are you will have a precious memory and still leave with a smile on your face.
John Todd. Fly Fisher, Author, Angling Columnist the Irish News, former Angling Manger, Guide, Instructor and long-time Friend.