Eoin Fairgrieve has come a long way since he started as a young 19-year-old ghillie on the River Tweed around Kelso back in 1988.
Nowadays, you’re just as likely to find him piloting a remote helicopter along stretches of the famous river, capturing video footage for his latest angling-related venture, as you are finding him with a rod in his hand.
Eoin worked as a ghillie for 13 years before opening his own fishing school from a cabin at the Teviot Smokery.
However, in recent years he has based himself and the fast-growing school at the Roxburghe Hotel, just outside Heiton.
As well as running the school as part of his company, Eoin Fairgrieve Fly-Fishing, and introducing thousands of youngsters to the myriad delights of angling; making videos and taking clients on exclusive trips to exotic fishing destinations such as Norway and Russia, Eoin also makes time to work on his own range of fishing tackle and to pen articles, complete with his own photographs, for some of the world’s leading angling publications.
His latest venture, set up towards the end of last year, sees the business take off in a new direction, however.
He has christened it Speycast Media – speycast because that is the main casting technique that Eoin teaches to salmon fishing clients.
“A few years ago I started writing articles for angling publications and eventually I was asked if I could supply photographs to go with these,” Eoin explained.
“So I got myself a decent camera and started learning about basic photography.
One thing led to another and last year I acquired a remote-controlled quadcopter helicopter, which has a gimbal underneath from which is slung a GoPro camera.
“Its four propellers make the Phantom highly manoeuverable, so it’s great for getting a panning effect when filming, as well as being a very economic method of doing aerial filming compared to the traditional method of hiring a full-size chopper and pilot.
“It brings a third dimension to what I can offer, and I can now make videos, not only for people as a reminder of their fishing experience, but also for magazines, broadcast companies and others who need stock video footage of angling and the Tweed.
“I currently have a major project in the planning for a tackle company, so the video side of things is certainly gathering momentum.
“The GoPro camera has been great because I can wear it on my head or shoulder when I am teaching, or when I have someone out fishing, and it means I am shooting masses of footage just while doing what I call my normal ‘day job’.
“It means I can be standing beside someone in the water as they reel in a fish and can capture that magical moment when it breaks the surface in front of them.”
Although Eoin admits the times he gets just to pick up his own rod for a few hours’ quiet fishing are few and far between these days, he doesn’t feel he can complain.
“I have a huge amount of passion for my job and get an immense amount of joy from it – from all aspects of it. “I get equal enjoyment from taking people out on the water and getting them enthused; or teaching kids on the loch at the Roxburghe and it’s fantastic when you see them thrilled by the experience.”
Visit www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk to see Eoin’s video.