Hardy Fin & Fly

Meet The Greys Brand Manager

How long have you been fishing?

Altogether I have been fishing 25 years. I first started fly fishing with my dad on the River Aln in Northumberland when I was nine years old. I loved spending time with my dad be it on the river or outside in the general outdoors.

Wild Brown Trout fishing seriously got a hold of me and I caught my first ever fish on the second time fishing on my own using a Black Pennell - the fish was a wild Brownie around 1 ¼lb. From then on I was hooked.

When I first started at Greys as a Junior Rod Builder a good friend and colleague Andrew Grey helped and guided me with his fishing experience into further exploring other fishing disciplines including Pike Carp coarse and sea. Due to the allusive nature of the Atlantic Salmon Salmon fishing fast became one of my favourite disciplines and I caught my first Atlantic Salmon on the River Tweed with a close friend Andy Murray. Andy is now a full time ghillie on the Tweed and with his experience in Salmon fishing he helped me learn the necessary tactics and techniques to land my first fish. Thanks to him many others followed.

What do you love most about angling?

I love the outdoors and angling has taken me to some of the most spectacular places experiencing some of the many thrills fishing has to offer. Socialising and making new friends while doing the sport I love makes me want to go fishing every day.

On a recent photoshoot for a new advert an opportunity arose to fish a small wild lake in the most stunning surroundings. Lined with trees all around and with gin clear water it wasn't long before I spotted two to three fish cruising around feeding on some damsel nymphs so I crawled into position. I was only going to have one chance to present my nymph to the fish and with only enough room to do a roll cast I presented the fly to the cruising fish. It was one of those perfect moments as it took and all hell broke loose. After a ten minute fight I managed to land the fish and to this day it is the most memorable and the best looking fish I've ever caught.

My children Tyler (11) and Caitlin (13) are at the age where they can really enjoy fishing and seeing the same look on their faces that I experienced when I was 9 years old is one of the proudest things for a father.

What's the funniest thing that's happened to you while angling?

There are lots of funny things that have happened to me over the years while angling but many can't be mentioned in this article!

The one thing that stands out didn't actually happen to me but it did make me laugh... a lot. My father who originally introduced me into fishing took me to a new water to try coarse fishing. He chose the peg that was 15 feet below the bank with several steps cut out to get there. I asked him if he needed any help to which he said "No I can manage myself" as proud fathers would. I carried on setting up my own tackle to then see in the corner of my eye my dad do about six roly-poly's down the bank straight into the water.

My first instinct was to see if he was ok but when I saw his head pop up I couldn't help but fall over laughing. He was absolutely fine and after he swam back to shore had a quick dry down and change of clothes he was back out fishing again. Moral of the story - fishing with your father creates memories Xbox doesn't.

What item of fishing tackle could you not do without and why?

A 9' #5 outfit like the XF2 Streamflex paired up with the GX900 4/5/6 Reel and a GR50 14' #9 Rod with a GX900 8/9/10 Reel that would offer me the ability to fish any Salmon or Trout river in the world or even a small stillwater - probably the two most versatile outfits a fly angler could use.

What does your role at Greys involve?

It's nearly 19 years since I started working for Greys. During this time I've worked in almost all aspects of the business - in the production department building rods in quality control and as Rod Shop Foreman. In 2004 I was given the opportunity to progress into a Territory Sales Manager role - this involved selling tackle to the North of England and Scottish retailers. Covering this area helped me build new relationships and fantastic friendships were formed where we would fish together in some of the most scenic fisheries in the world. Progressing into a Key Account Sales Manager position managing accounts across the whole of the UK also enabled me to further my knowledge and build new relationships.

My final role before I took up my current position as Greys Brand Business Manager saw me adopt a Marketing Manager job working with top magazine editors developing adverts and organising shows and events. I learnt a huge amount during this time understanding the whole industry from a different perspective and ultimately this gave me the opportunity to progress into my current role.

The day I started my new role was one of the proudest days in my life barring my two children being born and of course the day I married my wife Sarah who also works for the company in Sales Administration. My current role covers everything from product development marketing and brand promotion right through to the overall business development.

We have a very experienced team here in Alnwick which I have to say without them would make my job impossible. With their help the team and I will develop the brand as required to maintain as a market leader in fishing.

What are your hopes for the future of the brand?

Going back to when I said becoming the Greys Brand Business Manager was one of the proudest days in my life it was with this that also came along the opportunity to use my own experience to develop the brand into a global leader for fishing. When Greys was founded in 1968 it had similar aspirations to what we have today - Greys will continue to supply fantastic performing innovative products which our current and new customers can rely on through every fishing adventure.

I would like to wish all of you out there tight lines and happy fishing.

John Henderson

All round angler John Henderson has been fishing for 25 years. Here are some of John's PB catches to date:

17lb UK Atlantic Salmon
4lb 2oz UK Wild Brown Trout
16lb 7oz UK Rainbow Trout
17lb 2oz UK Common Carp (on the fly)
17lb UK Pike
3lb 12oz UK Perch
8lb UK Tench
4lb 4oz UK Chub
9lb UK Sea Trout
125lb US Lemon Shark (on a fly rod)
6lb US Red Fish

John has not yet caught a 20lb plus fish in the UK - size isn't everything but it is one of his long term goals.