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Bespoke fly designer and fishing fly specialist

The Man Behind the Madness

Here and now

Stu celebrated 20 years of running 'NZ Fly Fishing School’ in 2022. He lives onsite in Athol and fills his time sending out orders and helping people to choose the right fly for their day. He is close to his customers and loves sharing his knowledge across the globe.

He’s always busy planning the next adventure and writing more books. He has self-published three with a fourth launching in early 2024. The first is called Jungle Blues and was hailed as the "Best Fly Fishing Book in Years" by Angling Trade Magazine. He’s also discovered YouTube in recent years, so if you want to really know Stu that’s the place to go! Be warned, he’s not your average sort of bloke...

Fishing School

In 2017, the bricks-n-mortar shop closed and Stu’s Superior Flies went online only. He bought land in Athol to realise his dream of building a fit-for-purpose Fly Fishing School. Trigger was a pup and together they became renowned for driving around town in their Trout Truck.Stu was still hungry for adventure and started finding more time for international trips to far-flung places. He had a dream to write books about his experiences based around fishing, but just as much a travel story about people and places. He hoped to encourage people to have the confidence to travel far and travel deep…

Reputation spreading

Not to do things by half, he opened ‘Stu’s Fly Shop’ which became both a tourist attraction and a place for serious fly fishers to come. Stu also developed a teaching programme and guided a growing number of international visitors who wanted a learn from him. In 2007 he released his cutting edge fly tying film 'A Foam Odyssey’ and became the first FFF Certified Master Fly Casting Instructor in Australasia.

He continued to appear in various magazines and featured in many newspapers and books throughout the coming decades. Leading the fly typing industry with his innovation and huge range of fit-for-purpose designs. Many of those were imitated or copied over the years which is a testament to him being at the cutting edge. It can be said that Stu Tripney had secured his place as a leader in the history….

Landing in NZ

Stu discovered Athol in the South Island of New Zealand in 2001. This small town was a Mecca for fly fishing due to the clear waters and large wary Brown Trout. This quickly became home and 'Stu’s Superior Flies’ was founded. He continued to develop, perfect and expand his designs with fly fishers around the world verifying the performance of them time and time again. 

He became a Royalty Fly Tier for the Umpqua Feather Merchants Fly Tying Pro-team. Then again for the Rainy USA Fly Tying Program. He also started to accept commissions to design and tie flies for others. In 2006, he won a gold medal for his 'Bionic Bug’ and archived qualification as an IFFF Fly Casting Instructor. Locally he became known as the cheeky Scotsman with the infectious sense of humour…..

Spreading wings

In 1988, he started his global adventures and worked as a safari driver in Africa, taking spin and fly fishing tours. He also started his firstcompany called 'Uganda Sportfishing Safari’s’. He found that he loved sharing his enthusiasm with others and guiding was something he was very good at. He naturally took to educating people, delivering an experience that was far beyond the normal realms.

At the same time, he was working on his fly designs and proudly featured in the first of many books - 'Fly Patterns: Tie Thousands Of Flies'. His reputation was building and he was eager to design more flies and perfect the ones he was working on. He was also on the lookout for his own version of utopia to call home…

As a Nipper

Stu Tripney was born in Scotland and tributes his early love of fly fishing to his Grandad. At age 9 he won his first competition, the Schoolboys Championship, which he continued to win year-on-year. His life-long passion for outsmarting fish had been ignited!By the age of fifteen he became the Junior Fishing Champion in Queenzieburn, North Lanarkshire. Then at sixteen he caught the biggest ever Scottish Wild Brown Trout. This got him in a magazine and gave him recognition (and the little bit of a big head some might say!). Scotland was no longer big enough to contain a boy with ambition like Stu’s, so the travelling began…

Discover the passion behind the flies

The Craft

Latest book Chasing Tigers

What happy customers say

Your flies were fantastic for my trip, very impressed by the quality
and designs.

Paul - Labrador, Australia

The flies arrived and they are perfect. My husband is going
to love them. I'm going to love it more if he actually
catches a fish!

Fiona - Victoria, Australia

Really appreciate your tying and techniques,
they are quite revolutionary!

Scott - Australia