Belfast Telegraph

Strabane teen Laoi Coyle angling for success with fly tying business

By Donna Deeney

A Strabane teenager who set up his own fly tying business when he was just 12 will join some of the UK's highly ranked experts at this year's Angling Fair.

Laoi Coyle (15) from the Five Acres area of Strabane tied his first fly three years ago as a way to earn extra pocket money.

But such was his flair for the craft he is now well established as a go-to person for anyone interested in fly fishing.

Since setting up his Laoi Coyle Fly Tying business, he already boasts a regular list of customers on both sides of the Irish Sea and has sold and exhibited his tying skills at the prestigious Shane's Castle Game Fair in Antrim and was invited to take part in Flyfest in England's Lake District.

Laoi has already practised his art at fairs all over the UK and Ireland said that this year's North West Angling Fair at Melvin Complex in Strabane is one he's especially looking forward to.

He said: "It's brilliant to have a fair in my home town and it's good for the town to bring people from afar and to show some of the talent and great fishing we have.

"I enjoy attending angling fairs as I can learn a lot from the older and more experienced tyers and its great getting to meet new people.

"I would recommend fishing and fly tying to all young people, it's a great hobby, especially in the good weather to get you outdoors and if I would give them one piece of advice it's just to stick at it and keep practising."

After initially beginning with the help of online tutorials, the teenager quickly developed his craft with some professional guidance from renowned expert Geoff Hamilton.

He added: "My dad Rodney had fished when he was younger and when I was nine I found his old rods in the garage and asked him to take me fishing.

"I started fly tying when I was 12, I just thought I could save myself some money to begin with then I realised how much I enjoyed it so I put more time and money into it and it developed into a hobby.

"When I started tying flies, I put a few pictures on my own Facebook page and my dad's cousin saw them asked me to make him a batch of salmon flies. I wasn't expecting to be paid for them as I was only still learning but he paid me - it was then I realised that I could maybe make my hobby pay for itself.

"I set up a Facebook page and it grew from there. I have now sold flies all over Ireland, Scotland and have sent a batch to a guy in Hampshire, England who bought them to fish in Palm Springs, California."

Laoi will join a wide range of world class experts providing demonstrations and advice at the North West Angling Fair on Saturday and Sunday at the Melvin Sports Complex.

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