AFTER completing his 2019 bucket list in one month, a self taught-fly fisherman has bigger fish to fry.

Following a successful year in multiple competitions, Myddelton College pupil James Penwright has been snapped up by top end Scandinavian company Vision Flyfishing and British firm Sportfish to be the face of promotional materials aimed at younger fishermen.

Rhyl Journal:

James will cast his sights on even greater achievements in 2020

Not only has James, 12 of St Asaph, retained his place as the youngest member of the England’s youth fly fishing team for the second year and been commended for his performance on a “four day beasting” on Loch Menteith, he has also smashed his goal not once, but twice.

Michelle Penwright, James’ mother said: “James has had another amazing year in the fly fishing world.

“At the start of 2019, James set himself a bucket list which included him fishing for England again, catching a wild salmon and catching a pike using a fly.

“In July, he received a commendation for his efforts - being out on the lochs, constantly casting, for seven hours a day, four days straight - at the youth international competition.

“The same month he caught his first wild salmon - and put it back - and won the trophy for biggest junior wild salmon on the River Tyne at 6.5lbs.

“Then, also in July he caught his first pike on a fly in Trawsfynydd which was 16lbs, and then beat that personal best in November by catching a 25lbs pike in a secret location.

“Pike fishing with a fly is a skill in and of itself, the flies are very large and it’s very difficult. He’s since been picked up by the Pike Angling Association to encourage younger fishermen too.”

Rhyl Journal:

The trophy James received for his incredible salmon catch on the River Tyne

James’ passion for fishing began at age two after being given a plastic magnetic toy rod and leading to an increasing fascination with water and fish. He now regularly fishes across North Wales with the three Denbighshire clubs and fisheries in Llandegla, Clwyd Springs, Tan y Mynydd and Llyn Brenig.

Rhyl Journal:

James Penwright with actor Robson Green

James’s prowess has netted him a few high profile admirers in the fishing world. The Free Press reported last January of James’ impromptu ‘fish off’ Extreme Fishing Celebrity Robson Green, and he also has fished on the Tyne with BBC2’s Earth’s Wildest Waters: The Big Fish winner James Stokoe.

Mrs Penwright added: “Everything he’s achieved is a testament to his own hard work. Aside from taking him to different places, he does it all on his own and I’m so proud of him.

“Fishing has taught him patience, resilience and connected him to an older generation giving him new friendships. I hope other parents will see this, and the benefits of such a rewarding sport for James and consider taking their children to a local venue and give it a go.”

James is due to represent the England Youth Fly Fishing team in a Youth Fly Fishing International in Lough Leane, Ireland in July.