Celebrity angler James Stokoe will join Stirling Fisheries this Friday (1st February) to officially open the salmon fishing season on the iconic River Teith.
James Stokoe releasing his catch

Fishing fanatic James was catapulted to worldwide recognition after winning the BBC’s ‘Earth’s Wildest Waters – The Big Fish’ competition.

The competition sent eight passionate anglers from the UK to epic locations around the world, where they had to combine their own talents with new techniques to outwit the challenging local environments.

As guest of honour in Callander, the top salmon and sea trout fisherman will help promote the fantastic range of opportunities that Stirling Fisheries offers to experienced anglers and newcomers alike.

Popular permit prices offering residents and visitors to Stirling some of the best value salmon fishing in the UK are being maintained from last year, and, after a successful trial in 2018, anglers are again being welcomed to fish for free on the Council’s sections of the River Teith between Friday 1st February and Saturday 9th February.

James said: “I am really excited to be a part of this incredible day. It’s a shame that other councils down here don’t take a page out of Stirling’s book as we have nothing like this.

“For so many people to gather in order to celebrate not only the stretch of water and the fish, but also what we love doing, is phenomenal.”

James, who is a guide on the River Tyne, first cast a line at the age of 13 and knew straight away that fishing was forever going to be a part of his life.

“I think I caught my first salmon after about 15 minutes on the water and that set off a fascination with fishing that sent me on the path to where I am today. Being totally self-taught, my skills are something which have developed over time, with persistent effort, many broken rods, and a lot of near misses.

“I’d always dreamed of fishing adventures around the world from being a boy, watching people like Matt Hayes, John Wilson and Rex Hunt on TV, and never thought I’d get the opportunity or chance myself.

“When I won the BBC competition ‘Big Fish’ it relit my passion big style. It opened my eyes to see that there is a lot more to life than just working in a job that you don’t enjoy.”

James has recently finished filming a new series call Britain’s Iconic Fish, as part of the fishing duo the Untamed Anglers.

“Since the BBC program I wanted to do something else along those lines. We travelled the length and breadth of the country in search of some of the most incredible species that inhabit our waters, while also meeting some of the characters that have spent a lifetime chasing them.

“I enjoy talking, I enjoy being in front of the camera and I enjoy fishing, so it is great to be able to combine them all.”

James is an ambassador for the Angling Trust and the Atlantic Salmon Trust, and also works in association with Costa Del Mar and Fulling Mill, who provide fishing accessories.

He added: “I have been fortunate to be able to travel to different locations around the world over the last few years to follow my dream of fishing, and I want to pass that passion on to other people. If you can inspire one person to pick up a rod and get on with it, job done.

“Hopefully this year’s launch event in Callander can help inspire more people to get involved in our fantastic sport.”

The launch event will begin at 9.15am in Callander, when the piper-led parade of anglers armed with fishing rods leaves Ancaster Square. Once the river is opened there will be competitions running for the first spring salmon caught and also the largest, if there is more than one.

This year anglers can fish for nine months for just £200, while young people up to the age of 21 can now fish the whole season for only £15. Up to the age of 12, youths are welcome to fish for free with a paying adult on a catch and release basis.