Since his third place at the WFFC in 2013, Julien Lorquet has become one of the few known fly fishermen in Belgium. Now, two years later, he just joined Planet Fly Fishing as a guide.
Nothing special if it wasn’t for the country he’ll be guiding in: little o’ Belgium. A bit of a dared choice if you ask us, because Belgium is not exactly a widely praised destination if it comes to fishing. So why take the odds?
We decided to pick up where we left and meet up with Julien. Only this time he decided to bring his girlfriend along.
And we are not making this up: she turns out to be a fly fisher herself… Some have all the luck, and then decide to fulfill a dream many of us share.
In a way it has always been a dream to become a guide in my own country, and just now the chance of actually realizing it, popped up. A while back I met Herlé Hamon from Planet Fly Fishing during a Belgium shoot for Seasons Broadcast.
I must say he was mind blown about the huge possibilities a fly fisherman has in Belgium; heaps of beautiful rivers so close by !
We didn’t need to talk about it much before he decided to put it in their catalogue among prestigious destinations such as Austria, the Bahamas, Argentina, Alaska, …
To find our country in such a list isn’t only an enormous recognition, it also means there’s a reason for it. And for me it means a once in a lifetime chance to become it’s first guide.
Apart from the guiding I also do a wide variety of fishing related workshops, such as technique improving stages, a guidance for competition fishing or a fly master class in correspondence to certain rivers and seasons.
For now I won’t be able to live from all this, but as many of us I hope one day my passion will become my profession.
Belgium isn’t a typical destination for what so ever.
We can well imagine people mocking with those who intend to come over especially for fly fishing.
So why Belgium instead of any other destination?
Well, we all know Belgium has a huge potential. I fished across a large part of Europe, for competitions or just for fun. And frankly, we should not be ashamed of our waters.
There’s a large number of wild fish in our rivers, it’s possible to catch trout up to 45-50cm regularly, even 60cm isn’t that seldom anymore. And some parts of some rivers are just filled with grayling larger than 40cm.
There’s big rivers, small streams, urban stretches or wild waters. You can easily target wild browns in a creek deep in a forest in the morning, and go all dry on grayling on wide slow walking water in the afternoon; it’s all there, nothing is far away, and it definitely ads to a high standard of sport fishing.
Belgium is easy to reach, center of Europe, close to just about everyone, making it a relatively cheap destination.
Also lodging and dining are still affordable over here. But most of all: our stock is mostly natural. No rivers filled with farmed fish where it’s too easy to catch one. Our fish is wild, and it does get big.
But then why should one book a guide for such a small country?
Because a guide knows the rights spots you should visit. On some rivers, the fish tends to be numerous in certain places, while other pools seem abandoned.
I’ve been fishing for about 20 years now, meaning I perfectly know my rivers in function of weather, season and water level. Things you should know to catch them fish just any day, thus keeping you from losing your precious time.
When I go abroad on a rodtrip, I always book a local guide for this particular reason. Fly fishing isn’t the cheapest passion there is, but I always want to get a maximum out of my stay somewhere, avoiding the use of the wrong technique, fly, or stretch.
In general I know where to go to catch fish, but don’t forget that fishing will always be fishing, there’s no guaranty to succeed.
But I can, for instance, do a guided search for big browns with a client, and I’m almost sure to give them a 50+cm fish. And that’s wild fish we’re talking about.”
Thanks for your time Julien, but now we just must go fishing.
To contact Julien
+32 494 05 75 40 / firstname.lastname@example.org