An Interview With Our Talented Ghillie: Frank Williams

The fishing season is almost upon us and who better to chat to in preparation than our fantastic ghillie, Frank?

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After many years ghilling for guests at Gliffaes, Frank Williams is a familiar face around the hotel and runs our fantastic fishing courses. Frank is an FFF MCI (Fly Fishing Federation certified Master Casting Instructor) and holds an advanced certificate from the Game Anglers Instructors Association (GAIA), so he certainly knows what he’s talking about! We thought, to get you in the mood for the opening of the season, we would sit down with Frank and have a little chat about his lustrous fishing career…

Q: How did you get into fishing? Has it always been part of your life?

A: I got my first rod at the age of five and went fishing in the canal with a worm and it’s been part of my life ever since.

Q: Can you tell us exactly what a ghillie is/does?

A: People’s time is precious in such a busy world and I can show them where to fish and how to fish to make the very best of their time. I also help people develop their skills at all levels and broaden their river craft.

Q: How did you come to be a ghillie?

A: I always seemed to catch more fish than my fishing friends and was constantly being asked to help them. Eventually somebody rung me up and asked me how much I charged and I was on my way. I have since gone on to study and pass various exams and gain the highest qualifications in the sport.

Q: Obviously the Usk is your chosen beat, what attracts you to this particular corner of South Wales?

A: The Usk and its tributaries have some of the most beautiful trout and varied waters that I have seen anywhere in the world, offering challenging fishing in stunning scenery. It’s also close to home!

Q: When is the best time to come fishing at Gliffaes?

A: Late April, May and early June before the days get bright and the river drops makes for easier angling than when it is hot or when it’s very cold at the start of the season. September is also a grand time for us fishermen.

Q: What’s the biggest fish you’ve ever caught? 

A:I caught this brown trout in New Zealand and it weighed about 10.5 pounds and it went back. Pictured above. 

Q: Any top tips for fishing the Usk?

A:Fish a short line and keep moving. Divide the river into many small streams and fish them individually. Don’t forget the margins.

Q: We’re sure you’ve got all the best equipment, any advice on what’s best for game fishing on the Usk?

A:Chest waders and a five weight rod about 9” long with 3lbs line is perfect.

Q: Where’s the best (or most exotic) place you’ve ever been fishing?

A:Blue Marlin off Antigua is the most exotic but NZ has the best trout fishing by a country mile.

Q: The season opens on the Usk soon, are things looking good?

A:We could do with more rain to ensure a steady flow throughout the season. But having had five months of the closed season the new season always looks good to a keen angler.

We hope that’s got your fishing sense tingling and ready to take on the Usk! If you would like to make the most of Frank’s invaluable help and advice on fishing in Wales, then why not visit his website book onto one of our fly fishing courses? To find more about what Frank can offer you, you can drop him a line on 01594 541 229 or 07824 363 376, or visit his website.