- Born in Canterbury Kent in January 1953, in the height of floods in Southern England – Aquarian? Floods ? Is it any wonder I was destined to fish? My Father Alexander Jardine, was the well-known angling artist responsible for a series of UK fish stamps, the Luron illustrations and many books and a leading wildlife artist of his day and also a passionate salmon fisher of note who encouraged me to start fishing from the age of three. As I recall, on the first trip I managed to catch perch - is everyone’s first fish a perch? I then, after usual school, attended art colleges in Canterbury and Medway. Starting journalism and artwork on local newspapers in my late teens with the Kent Messenger Group I also fished a lot – on rivers, but increasingly on still waters, both for tench, pike, roach. Mostly though, this was for trout. What fun it all was. We had full rivers back then and big hatches. Lord! How times have changed.
- I craved adventure – still do – and started my passion for salt-water fly-fishing for bonefish in the Florida Keys in 1976.
- Also in 1976 I was invited to join Dermot Wilson’s Game angling operation in Hampshire at Nether Wallop Mill as a guide on the rivers Test and Itchen. I also gained the Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors (APGAI) qualification, during this period (1978), with National Angling Certificate (this became STANIC and now Level 2) four years later.
- On leaving Nether Wallop Mill in 1981, I then turned to mainstream teaching concentrating on the disabled and teaching them art, sport and English.
- But with a growing interest and demand in writing and illustration, I started working through the early 80’s as an angling columnist for the Daily Telegraph; also as a contributor for Trout Fisherman, Game Fisher and Trout and Salmon. During this period I started to fish competitively, winning the then Benson and Hedges on the first occasion (completely by luck, I have to say!) at Grafham water and then went on to fish for English teams in European Stillwater events.
- In 1986 I left my teaching post to pursue a full time career in both art and journalism and illustrated my first book for Bill Currie (Days and Nights of Game Angling) and increased contributions for EMAP angling titles. I also gained the prestigious Society of Wildlife Artists accolade.
- In the new Millennium I embarked on new career in angling politics: becoming the Angling Director for the Countryside Alliance, creating the Water Matters pack dedicated to taking fishing into the school classroom and telling the truth about angling and its worth to everyone and the great conservation of our wetlands that comes with it, whilst also countering attacks on the sport by single-issue animal liberation organisations. I was awarded the Goodson Wickes trophy for this work within the Alliance. I maintain my association with the CA and now the Countryside Alliance Foundation its charitable educational arm, as Angling Advisor and director for delivering the national Fishing for Schools initiative that helps educate young people with learning disabilities through angling. It is exciting, frustrating and fantastically rewarding work. I love it.
- Also in the “Noughties” I gained a much coveted silver medal at the ESPN outdoor championship in up-state New York. But more importantly during this more recent period, I have been visiting the USA and supporting organisations like the Federation of Fly Fishers and regular demonstrating at their various conclaves and other USA shows. They have all been phenomenally kind to me and awarded me things way beyond what is sensible or warranted; things like: the FFF Presidents Pin and being made a living Fly Fishing Legend in the USA! Most recently I was given the very rare honour of being awarded the FFF Ambassadors award for growing the sport throughout the world, and also gained European and USA FFF Masters Fly-casting accreditation.
- I continue to demonstrate fly-fishing and fly casting throughout the world and fish in as many places as I can: Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Austria Slovenia, Italy, Denmark, Africa, the Czech republic, Cuba, the Bahamas and of course UK and the USA.
- Throughout this period I have been associated with some fantastic companies; For nearly fifteen years many years I have been proud to be a part of Team Sage and still maintain my association with this amazing company. But have also assisted companies like Shakespeare, Rio, Fulling Mill and more recently Simms. I am closely associated with Patagonia. I have also enjoyed being able to write for all the U.K.’s fly fishing magazines: Trout & Salmon, Trout Fisherman, Stillwater Trout Angler, Total/Today’s Fly Fisher, Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine and other publications.
- I also believe that we have a commitment to the sport’s future and thus, I am very proud to be part of it, in various roles such as the past Chair of the Game Angling Instructor’s association, A UK Sport’s Coach, International Director for the Federation of Fly Fishers, and board member of the Angler’s Conservation Association – now called the Angling Trust.
- I shall continue to fish and paint unabated and write for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine each month and as angling columnist for the Field magazine, whilst making the occasional appearance on Sky Sports (who kindly honoured with their viewers me Game Angler of the Year Award a year or two back: thank you). I am currently in training as part of the English Commonwealth squad to fish in Tasmania, writing my fourth book, looking after my labrador, Midge (or is he looking after me?) and just been elected chairman of the Fly Dressers Guild…. and trying to fish more and tying the odd fly. I really look forward to meeting you at the show! Do please come and say: “hello”…in any language!!!