Iterview, Martin Founds Mr Angling Tourism

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(1) Martin, You are now and have been for many years Mr Angling Tourism sending folk not only to Ireland but to almost everywhere on this planet. As a good old Yorkshire lad, how did this come about?   GC.

MF. I started my working life 44 years ago in a travel agency in Sheffield, your home town too. I have fished since I was a kid and some 34 years ago started arranging holidays for clients and friend to Ireland. Things have progressed, I was and am involved with a number of filming projects and go to explore a lot of other places too.

(2) What do you regard as great about Ireland. GC

MF. Ireland has always been one of my favourite venues. Why? For genuine friendliness, easy and cheap access with plenty of unspoilt waters and countryside. It still remains one of my favourite destinations. I have built up a lot of excellent contacts and friends over the past three decades too. You will understand better than most as you have chosen to live there.

(3) I believe your company is the only ABTA bonded company catering for anglers needs. What is the benefit of being ABTA bonded and are there pitfalls for other companies that aren,t? GC

MF. I do believe we are the only ABTA bonded angling specialists to Ireland now. An ABTA bond basically guarantees the clients financial protection and ABTA has been at the forefront of providing clients with financial safeguards and standards of practice. We always have been full members of this excellent organisation. In this current economic climate it is simply not worth taking the risk.

(4) I hope you don’t mind me bringing this one up but you and I have not always seen eye to eye. In fact at one stage it was almost pistol at ten paces. Set aside we are both Sheffielders and are both big enough to settle our differences over a pint or two. Do you think being forthright, honest and straight talking helps to make a better working relationship. GC.

MF. I reckon we get along fine Geoff. Sure there were times when we had our diffrences of opinion and I am not too big to admit you were possibly correct in respect of certain issues.  Open and honest dialogue is essential in any long term relationship and both you an I have met a few ‘dodgy’ characters along our long and interesting journey. Arriving in a tough part of  Steel City at the age of 10 soon taught me that to get along you had to be fair and honest and that hads been my business philosophy and wil remain so.

(5) We both now admit the fishing in Ireland has changed quite dramatically over the last 20 years. There are now fish for all on almost every water but not always bream or bust. I lke it better now. How do your customers feel about it.

MF. That is the very essence of my new strategy on Ireland, but it is no different in other countries. Denmark and Sweden for instance! Ireland has always provided wild waters with wild coarse fish. It has changed with the introduction and amazing spread of roach, creating more competition for the bream but also producing some cracking hybrids. As you know there are still waters where decent bags of bream can be caught but techniques and thinking have dramatically changed. This year we intend to cover all aspects on film, spring and summer. Some current customers understand how it is, new clients may not. Education and honesty are both equally important.

(6) Once again I hope I am not letting any cats out of bags but I know you and your company have exciting plans for Ireland this year of which I will be playing part of. Dare I ask you to reveal more at this stage. GC

MF. Anglers World Holidays and Tourism Ireland are teaming up to produce a very detailed presentation on what, where and how to ensure better catches.  Some of it will appear perfectly logical other aspects may be somewhat controversial. One thing is for sure, everything we state has already been proven by our team of experts which of course includes you. We will be presenting techniques and species in a different manner to the ‘old days and ways’ approach and as you know under normal weather conditions they work very well indeed.

(7) What are your feelings regarding the match and festival scene over here. GC.

MF. Numbers have dropped away but the events that are well run by anglers/local organisations do offer a good time and generally good fishing. It is important to remember that pleasure anglers well outnumber the match circuit and that sufficient good waters always remain available to them. This is not currently a problem.

(8) Some folk say Ireland is now an expensive destination. What say you. GC

MF. With a weak pound no where is cheap anymore. Britain is hardly cheap either. I think the ferries still offer great value. I never fly over now as the excess baggage charges are scandulous and its too much hassle. Take into account that accomodation is still very cheap in real terms, fishing is generally free and unrestricted and the price of fuel is a little less now than in the UK. A pint is a little bit more expensive but much nicer to drink in Ireland. Overall I think it is damn good value for money.   (Couldn’t agree more GC)

(9) I know you are very selective on the guest houses you use and all come highly recommended. Do you still vet them personally. GC

MF. Yes we are pretty carefull who we deal with. Many properties have worked with us since we started 34 years ago. We pre pay all our accounts, something unique in the industry and there fore there is a mutual regard for one another. This ensures our clients get the best service and value. Either we, or Tourism Ireland validate all our properties. Of course they vary significantly in price and standard but all represent the best value for money. Many offer good and accurate fishing information, as I know you do and satisified clients always come back.

MF Sadly I know I maybe don;t have another 34 years in front of me but with new incentives (all will be revealed soon) you, and I and a few other choice experts will show how good the product is AND WHY!

 

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