The joy of fly fishing

Some of you may recognise me as the chap standing on the grass at Beaconsfield Hall practising fly casting.  As has been pointed out to me on numerous occasions, I do not catch any fish on the field. As a professional coach and guide, I am always continuing to improve my casting technique.

I have been passionate about fishing for most of my life and for many years I was a keen coarse fisherman, but a few years ago I decided to try fly fishing and I have never looked back.

Fly fishing is my passion, and I may be a little biased, but I also believe it is one of the best sports to enjoy. There are many benefits to the sport, both physically and mentally. In addition to the challenge of fishing, you can also enjoy nature and our wildlife at its best. As the season runs, you notice the changes that happen from spring through to autumn.  As the game fishing season on rivers ends in September, it is then possible, on certain rivers, to fly fish for coarse fish such as the beautiful grayling known as the Lady of the River.

Having worked as an engineer in Formula 1 for thirty years, fishing was always a way for me to relax and unwind. I then decided that I needed to plan for my retirement, so embarked on qualifying as a fly fishing coach so that I could help and encourage others to enjoy the sport. I am a Level 2 Game Angling Coach, qualified to teach all ages and a member of the Cotswold Fly Fishers.

Living in West Oxfordshire, we are lucky to have some great locations for fly fishing close by, including the River Windrush and the River Coln. There are several places that I have access to where I can coach and guide on both lakes and rivers. In addition to coaching and guiding, my wife and I also manage the Lockinge Fishery Lakes located just outside Wantage. This is the perfect place to fish, with nine interconnected lakes set in picturesque parkland that offers the ideal setting for a peaceful day’s fishing.

I’m sure many of you watched the BBC series Whitehouse and Mortimer and saw how much they enjoyed their fishing trips.  If you are interested in finding out more about fly fishing, please feel free to contact me at or take a look at our website Whatever your ability or prior experience I can help you to learn or improve your fly fishing skills and at the same time introduce you to some of the hidden gems of our local countryside.

Tight Lines!

Mark Tickner

August-September 2021