Professional Fly Tier, James Fox takes our Lucky 7 interview this week. Supplied to many Retail outlets, Charter Guides, and many private clients, Nationally and Internationally, James’ flies have been the source of many amazing captures…
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is James Fox, I am married with 2 children. I was born in Bristol, England in 1966 and thankfully immigrated as a baby to Australia with my parents in 1967 as part of the 10 Pound Pom Scheme. We settled here in Brisbane, where I have spent most of my life. My Wife Penny and I moved north to Cairns in the very early 90’s and then returned to Brisbane in 2003 to be nearer to Family.
2. What part do you play in the fishing community today?
I am the owner and operator of Tunz@Flyz in Brisbane, I am a Specialist Commercial Saltwater Fly Tier. I first started tying professionally in 1992 as “Tropical Saltwater Flies” operating out of Cairns. Following an extended break, I re-established the tying business in 2011 after being made redundant from my full time work. Today I supply several retail outlets, Charter Guides, and many private clients, Nationally and Internationally.
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
I was very fortunate when I was a child that my Mum actually loved fishing, she used to take my older Cousin and I down to the local waterway. I don’t remember any of it really as I was a baby, yet somehow her talking about it in after years, inspired me to develop this passion. Yet even though we lived along way from the water as a young child, and only got to the seaside about once a year, I just wanted to go fishing, I loved it! My Grand Parents bought me a book for Christmas in 1979 called “How To Catch A Fish” by Roger Hungerfood which I studied in side out (I still have this book), I used to go to the school library and read fishing books. I have always had a love for water, whether that be in it, on it, or around it, so fishing just seemed like a natural extension for the love of water.
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
I guess I don’t have any greatest memories, I have an accumulation of many, many good ones, catching my first Juvenile Black Marlin in Cairns was adefinitive moment, as well as pulling in monster Jacks, Red Bass, Red Emperors, Spanish Mackeral and Coral Trout from the outer reefs, North of Cairns. Catching GT’s and metre + Queenfish, on Flies is a huge highlight. My favorite moment really is teaching my Son to fish and then seeing his face when he caught his very first one, a Flathead caught off the Urangan Pier at Hervey Bay when he was 4.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
5 years time? This is an interesting question, and if I were honest, I haven’t really given it a lot of thought until now. Seriously, being a commercial fly tier is really hard work, you commit so much of your time to your product as it is so hands on. The market for Saltwater Flies is huge and fiercely competitive, and especially since the birth of public internet access. To get ahead, one must really seek an edge to stand out from the crowd in a global market place. Fortunately for me though the internet is also an amazing tool, for which I dedicate a good portion of my time to, promoting my products and my business. I would ultimately like to see Tunz@Flyz become a major player in the International Saltwater Flies Arena…I am stepping in the right direction with many international Fly Fishermen already owning my flies.
6. What’s top of the “bucket list”?
There are many forms of fishing I would love to experience, though sadly having chronic back issues will stop me from achieving most of them. However… There are a couple of things on my bucket list which rank highly on the must try at least once list. I have always wanted to head over to the States and fish for the monster Tarpon off Florida, Try my hand at the Black Bass and Barramundi in New Guinea, Catch Bonefish on Fly – anywhere Exotic, and to Visit Exmouth in WA and exclusively fly fish for anything that swims, but Queenfish and the Trevallies are my idealistic targets.
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
I really can’t answer this question. In one way, I have honestly fought tooth and nail over many years to find my own niche in the fishing industry, trying several different ventures along the way, and I have done it all on my own. I did find inspiration in a bloke I met at Erskines Tackle Shop in Cairns, over 2 decades ago, Peter Haynes was the sales guy there and also an accomplished tier himself, but it was he who encouraged me to undertake my journey into the world of Fishing business.
Another bloke that inspired me (yet for a very different reason to Peter, mainly because he laughed at the flies I attempted to sell him) was Dean Butler, he was the Manager at Erskines at the time when I first developed my interest in tying. I remember him chuckling to himself and grabbing some of Peter’s flies of the shelf, giving them to me, and saying, now go away and come back when you can tie flies like these. Well as they say, the rest is History, and from here, the future..