These are the premier events of my guiding calendar. The whole idea is to offer something uniquely special to anglers looking for an ultimate learning experience. The Masterclasses are designed to fill two days completely and, hopefully, leave you a much more competent angler as a result.

Masterclasses are run over two days, in the Wensum Valley Norfolk, because this gives us a real opportunity to get into the detail and application of specimen fishing techniques and watercraft as well as putting this into practice and hopefully catching specimen fish, even a PB!

What the Masterclass offers

  • 2 days fishing with focussed tuition from John
  • 2 nights stay at Carrick’s with breakfast and dinner
  • Individual lunch hamper on both days with local deli produce tea or coffee
  • Access to selected Private Waters
  • Complementary gifts of selected Ian Lewis handmade floats in presentation tin

What you can expect?

Accommodation will be based at Carrick’s at Castle Farm, right on the banks of the River Wensum. A new meeting room has just been designed there which we will be able to use for all the seminar and theoretical work. I envisage two or three hours each  morning talking about the fish, watercraft, how waters behave, baits, rigs and the habits of the fish that we are targeting.

Thereafter, the rest of the day will be devoted to putting the theory into practice on one of the many beautiful waters that I have exclusive access to.

The evening will be spent, in our luxurious accommodation, enjoying great food and discussing where we went wrong and, hopefully, more often, where we went right.

I envisage no more than three or, at the most, four anglers for each of these events, so that it is a very personal experience. It could well be that you have two or three family or friends that you want to join you on this educational angling exploration. I’d welcome that. Equally if you are on your own you can meet new like-minded friends. The whole idea is to build up friendships along with exploring angling’s possibilities.

We will be throwing in a lot of goodies during these master classes. The lunch, we like to think, will be something special too. There might be small gifts, as well, perhaps donated by one of my many sponsors. We will have photographs of the trip. There will be lots of diagrams and  handouts, too. What I’d like to think is that you will leave Carrick’s, leave Norfolk and leave me with a really strong idea of where your fishing can take you in the future.

The master classes will follow the seasons. In the spring, we will look at tench and perhaps bream on typical stillwaters. In the summer, we will focus on barbel and chub, the main river species at that period. The autumn is all about river roaching, perhaps my legendary area of expertise. We will visit some of my favourite river haunts from over half a century. In the winter, we will major on pike, another species that I have become famous for since the 1980s.

For example in the Specimen Tench Masterclass;

So what can you expect? Let’s take tench in the springtime as an example.

Day One 9.00 – 11.30 a.m.

We will look at tench, how they feed, how they behave and  how they use the water that they live in.

From there we will move onto prebaiting techniques and baiting on the day.

Floats, feeders, leads and all tench approaches will be analysed.

Finally, we will concentrate on the hook length, hook and baiting set-up in very close detail. This is the key, the absolute be all and end all of potential success or failure.

Day One 12.00 – 5.00 p.m.

From 12.00 – 5.30 p.m. we will go to one of the many waters at our disposal and begin to put the skills into practice that we have learnt in the classroom. Because numbers are low, I will be able to pass on intimate, one-to-one advice. We will enjoy a fine lunch bankside and retire to Carrick’s in the early evening. It could be a pint at the pub is called for before dinner and probably early to bed, exhausted by everything we have learnt, seen and caught!

Day Two 9.00 – 11.00 a.m.

We will discuss our success and failures from the previous day. We will certainly have a question and answer session. We will look at all manner of refinements now that we have accomplished the basics. We will also think off the wall, considering new ideas, new techniques, new baits and how we can approach tench fishing in our future angling life.

Day Two 11.30 – 5.00 p.m.

In the afternoon, once again we will go to either the same lake as on day one or perhaps a different water to involve a different challenge. It could be that if you float fished on day one, you might want to feeder fish on day two.

Don’t stress overly about what tackle to bring. I always have plenty of gear that you can use, test and even occasionally buy from me. Don’t worry either about baits. By and large, these will be provided throughout the duration of the master class.

Upon your booking for a master class you will receive all details about how the trip will unfold and hopefully all your questions will be satisfied. Any other queries can easily be settled upon the phone or email.

Masterclass dates for 2018 are;

10th, 11th, 12th May – Tench Master Class

  • Understanding how tench feed
  • Bait and baiting up for tench
  • Tench location
  • Float rigs and techniques for tench
  • The feeder approach on larger waters

4th, 5th, 6th October – River float fishing

  • Float gear and the floats themselves
  • How floats, shot and baits work in the current
  • Location Crabtree style
  • Trotting in theory and in practice
  • Centrepins vs fixed spool
  • Laying-on, the overlooked method

15th, 16th, 17th October – Predator Master Class

  • How pike and perch feed
  • Bait approaches for pike
  • Unhooking predators safely and with respect for the fish
  • All manner of lure approaches (in conjunction with Savage Gear maestro Robbie Northman)
  • Forgotten methods – wobbling roach
  • New predator rigs

Why book a Masterclass?

  • Access to one of Britain’s most popular and knowledgeable anglers with over 50 years of experience across all species and angling approaches
  • Opportunity to catch specimen fish from Private waters
  • Opportunity to meet and discuss with a small group of likeminded fishermen
  • A relaxing and enjoyable stay at beautiful  5 star  accommodation on the banks of the river Wensum in Norfolk

What people say

It really was a real eye opener for me, I’ve been fishing for many years and like to think of myself as reasonably competent but I learned so much from John’s tuition particularly about watercraft and understanding how to read the situation and the water plus great tips on technique. And I caught a pb!  The whole two days were a great experience, I would definitely recommend it.”

David Chapple


Early booking discounts available

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