Casting The Harbor As A Fly Fishing Hotspot

Stephen England, right, helps WBUR's Bob Oakes select the right fly for fishing Boston Harbor. (Lisa Tobin/WBUR)

BOSTON — As the fishing manager at Orvis in Faneuil Hall, Stephen England has outfitted a lot of fly fishermen.

He says business is doing well, but not because Bostonians are gearing up for weekends in New Hampshire or Maine. Rather, England told WBUR’s Bob Oakes, the fly fishing is good right here in Boston Harbor.

“Everybody thought Boston Harbor was a dirty poop hole, if you want to call it that,” England said. “But it’s full of life. I mean, I’m seeing seals eat stripers over at Charlestown Bridge.”

In the three short years he has been fishing Boston Harbor, England says his casting competition by the water has grown.

“We’ll have tourists flying in to fish Boston Harbor,” England said. “I think it’s going to be a destination fishing area soon, just by what it is now, looking at it now.”

“Came up here with a girl. Ended up staying for striper, which is now my new lady.”
– Stephen England

England himself traveled to Boston for the fishing. Born in Jamaica, he followed fish first to Florida, and then to Boston. Though a somewhat counterintuitive path, England seems convinced he’s moved to his paradise.

“When I grew up in Jamaica I was one of two people on the island that fly fished,” he said. “Here, it’s my dream. Everybody out here that I’ve talked to at least knows there’s fly fishing in the harbor. I think it’s awesome. A lot more people are fly fishing now in salt water than ever before.”

England admits there was another reason for his original voyage, as well.

“Came up here with a girl,” England said with a smile. “Ended up staying for striper, which is now my new lady.”

According to England, there are many things to love about fly fishing. But most, he says, love it for one reason above all.

“I think it’s for the fight, the challenge and the fight,” England said. “You have the fish on — even if it’s a small fish on a big rod — the fight is unbelievable. You know, your heart races every time, no matter how long you’ve been fly fishing salt water. Every single time you get the fish on it’s the same feeling. And it keeps people coming back.”

Or, in the case of Boston Harbor, visiting for the first time.

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