Grant has two passions: fly fishing and wine. He manages to combine both at Poronui, but he started his working life in a completely different role - that most noble of professions – teaching.
Grant’s professional guiding began in the late 80s when he took a break from teaching science, social studies and geography at high school and flew to Montana to work as a fly fishing guide at a lodge. One thing led to another and Grant was offered a follow on job as a guide in Alaska over the US summer.
Alaska boasts amazing freshwater fishing for both trout and five different species of Pacific salmon, all which behave in different ways. Grant is a member of that unique group who have guided a fly fishing client to catch all five species in one week: the King, Silver, Dog, Red and Pink Salmon. He professes it was luck more than skill because it was his first of three seasons guiding in Alaska, and at the time he had no idea what a big deal it was!
Returning to New Zealand Grant decided to follow his second true love - wine. Since he first tasted a decent red while still at University (an Australian shiraz called Jacob’s Creek) and realised not all wines were of equal merit, Grant has been passionate about wine. He opened a very successful wine shop and spent his time whilst not guiding anglers meeting many of the region's top winemakers, viticulturalists and winery owners. He also facilitated the sale of prime Gimblett Gravels vineyards, and started consulting on New Zealand and international wine lists for some of the country's top resorts.
There was always that idea in the back of Grant’s mind that teaching was a worthwhile and noble profession, and in 1996 he gave it one last shot, applying for a study grant to do Honours in Maths. To the future benefit of a host of anglers, he was unsuccessful and went back to Alaska for a couple of seasons. The Alaskan summer provides an unusual 22 hours of daylight - which gives plenty of time on the river, but no one enjoys the reverse 22 hours of darkness in winter - including Grant, who said his farewells and returned to New Zealand (there’s a theme here!).
So, having sampled teaching, guiding and retail, Grant decided to settle down and combine his two passions into one full time career. He guides at Poronui and also consults on our wine list, and helps other lodges as well.
Throwing himself wholeheartedly into his career, Grant has been a member of the NZ Professional Fishing Guides Association for the last decade. He was Jim Teeny's guide when he produced his video "Fly Fishing for Salmon", and locally, has featured in the NZ program "Gone Fishing", appeared on "Magic Streams Down-under"... a 12 series video on fly fishing in NZ, and was one of the invited authors in the NZ publication " Masters on Flyfishing".
According to Grant, guiding at Poronui gives access to an incredible property, a wide range of fishing water and he genuinely loves spending time with his clients and colleagues – and long may it continue!