“I started fishing as a little kid. When I was about six or seven, we moved to a farm. And within about three or four miles of the farm was a lake, and they stocked it with bass, so we were just fishing there every chance we got. Then a friend of mine when I was about nine introduced me to fly-fishing. We used to walk around the country roads and find roadkill, grab the pheasants, and pull the feathers out to make flies. The first thing I ever caught with a fly-rod was a bullfrog. I just dangled the fly in front of him and he took it!
New Zealand was one place that’s on fly-fishing’s top to-do list. You just have to come here. I was so blown away. First off, because of the size of the trout, the other thing that blew me away was no matter where I was fishing, I could bend down, cup my hands and have a drink.
I kept coming back to New Zealand to fly-fish. And then around 1996-97 I came here and just traveled and fished and I seriously thought about staying. I sent out 300 CV’s, and I got one interview. They called me and they said most people don’t want to hire immigrants anyway, because you’re going to get homesick and go home. I said, ‘but how can I stay if I don’t have a job?’ So anyway, I went back to the States.
And then I decided, after 9/11, that it was time to ‘shit or get off the pot’. I always wanted to have a restaurant; I’d been collecting ideas for 10-15 years. A good friend of mine lived here in Lyttelton, so we bought the building at the end of the street, sight unseen. We had the restaurant there for three or four years called London Street. But it was like having seven kids. Every day, somebody had to be there.
So, I sold the restaurant & building, and we went to Melbourne. We thought we’d be there a year, but we were there for four years. Then my partner, she’s English, got homesick, so we moved back to the UK. Then we went to Spain because we wanted to learn to speak Spanish. We finally decided Lyttelton & New Zealand was home, so we’ve been back for five years now.
I’m retired. During the fishing season, I just get in my old Land Rover and head off in no particular direction and just keep going until… I’m not catching fish.”