Otley Shop Heroes: Wharfedale Angling Classics
11 Kirkgate Arcade
Tel: 01943 463528
If fly tying, rod fishing and all things of the riverbank float your boat take a wander up the intriguing Kirkgate Arcade where, amongst the array of fishing rods, opossum pelts and pheasant feathers at number 11 you might find owner Steve Bielby contentedly at work.
Once employed in the contract hire and leasing of trucks Steve left the rat race behind only to find he now works twice as hard, but now around his lifetime's passion of fly fishing and fly tying.
Having opened Wharfedale Angling Classics in 2000, supplying the finest quality fly-tying materials and accessories by mail order, it soon became apparent that a local retail specialist to serve the fly-tying community was greatly needed. In January 2006 Steve proudly opened his first emporium at the top of the famous Kirkgate Arcade, quickly followed only months later by the expansion into a second unit allowing the business to stock fly fishing equipment. A hop across the Arcade into larger premises still took place in November 2009 and saw Steve's ambition of his own angling empire now complete.
Whilst dealing with customers from as far apart as Dubai and Rochdale (folk music hero and comedian Mike Harding is a long time angling trip soulmate) and showing at trade fairs in such as Galway, Ireland, Steve is never happier than on his favourite stretch of the River Wharfe, maybe giving a tutored angling lesson or dreaming of his dream trip to New Zealand, his allotment garden or his personal record catch, a 3lb wild brown trout.