This year the NZ team has four new caps Tim, Mark, Gareth and Brendon. For Cory this will be his third world champs. Neil will captain the team again, with Sam providing support as reserve. Check out the team profiles below: 



Tim grew up in the township of Waihi.  As a teenager he spent many hours spin fishing for trout in the famous Ohinemuri river. He was given his father’s old split cane rod and that’s where the seeds for fly-fishing were planted.

Throughout his adult years fly-fishing took a back seat as Tim participated in many other sports, most notably road cycling, where he honed his skills of competing and training hard to achieve his goals.

Around 2010 Tim got back into recreational fly-fishing and for several years spent many weekends fishing the Taupo regions rivers.

In 2013 Tim helped out as a controller at one of the SFFNZ Regional Fly Fishing Championships on the Upper Waihou River. After seeing some great fly fisherman such as Rob Vaz and experienced anglers like Paul Dewar in action, this inspired him to give competition fly-fishing a go. The following year he entered his first river competition, ironically on the Ohinemuri river, finishing 5th and winning the 3rd session.

By 2015, Tim was a regular on the regional championship circuit, with his best result placing 3rd at the National Lake Championship. He joined the NZ Team as Team Manager at the World Championships in Colorado USA. Tim has since gone onto represent NZ at the 2017 Oceania completion, finishing 5th individual, and winning a Team gold medal.

Consistent results over the past 18 months have seen him gain slection in this years NZ Team, heading to Slovakia. He is super excited at the prospect of fishing in such a beautiful country and being a member and angler for the NZ Team.

Tim is well supported by his lovely wife Libby, and four children Cloe, Adelle, Danae, and Jared. 

Mark Clasper


Mark’s first exposure to Competition flyfishing was a NZ team clinic fund raiser demonstrating river fishing techniques. These open Marks eyes to a very different approach to fly fishing to those that he had used. This experience and meeting the NZ team eventually stimulated him to have a go at competing.  Mark says “Until then I rarely fly fished in the summer –instead chasing game fish from small boats on both coasts around the top of the North Island…For many years all I did trout fishing wise was go for big NZ trophy fish… I never thought in a million years I’d get a buzz out of regularly drive 4 hours in a day to go practice competition angling across a raft of water types and fisheries”.

Mark got the bug bad and has been a long time regular on the competition circuit in NZ. He enjoys the constant exposure to new ideas and new challenges that competition fishing gives, but also the pleasure of fishing on some of our fantastic rivers and lakes.

During his long tenure in the sport Mark has clocked up some notable accomplishments namely, Oceania individual champion (2013), and Oceania team gold (2017), NZ National Lake Champion and third individual (2016). He also holds an (unofficial) record for the biggest trout (70cm rainbow) fish caught in a FIPS sanctioned comp in New Zealand.

Mark was the owner of a Veterinary practise in Auckland, but since selling his business he is now an employee there, having more time to do more fishing. He is supported by 3 daughters Melinda, Tayla and Britney and his wife Debbie. Although he notes his fascination with the sport remains a complete mystery to them!

Gareth Godfrey


Gareth was born in the South Island of NZ in the city of Christchurch. After moving to Australia then back again, his Flyfishing began when when he was just 13 years old in and around New Plymouth in NZ's north island. During these formative years the majority of his Fly fishing was in the Taranaki region for spooky brown trout in small clear streams. Gareth's fly fishing took a back seat in his younger adult life, but the passion for the sport restarted again when he moved to Hamilton in the Waikato Region. At 26 years old Gareth competed in his first SFFNZ regional championship, on the Oraka stream and upper Waihou River. At the champs he met one of his early mentors Yoshi Nakagawa a former NZ National Chamoion. Through Yoshi's teachings Gareth's fishing and skill set improved along with his regional results. Within the following couple of years he was placing at regional championships, with his best results being a 3rd at the Hamilton Regional Champs (upper Waihou Stream) and 2nd at the Waikato Lake Champs (Lake Maraetai) for two years. 

Gareth is supported by his wife Rose and baby sone Cruz, as well as family and friend in his passion for fly fishing. The world fly fishing championships 2017 will be his first international competition.

BrendAn Lyon


Brendan was first introduced to fly fishing at the age of 13 on the Waiteti Stream at Lake Rotorua on a family holiday. The local fishing lodge owner (a passionate fly fisherman himself) took the time to show a young Brendan the sport. Following the many hours on that spawning stream Brendan was hooked and his fishing career began!

After several years playing Cricket to a national and international level (outdoor, representing Auckland in New Zealand's first class competition and indoor ultimately representing New Zealand) Brendan was searching for a different sporting experience. He made the connection: fly fishing and  NZ (the best country in the world for this). Brendan returned to fly fishing in his late twenties with his younger brother Nick, both of whom really immersed themselves in the sport. Driven by the inevitable sibling rivalry they both fell into the competition scene as a natural development to progress and become better anglers. Even more importantly in order to improve their skills to ensure that they better each other on the rivers and lakes around New Zealand's North Island. Brendan, and Nick, competed in regional, national, Oceania and Commonwealth competitions in the years that followed.

Brendan's most notable performances was 2nd in the 2013/2014 Nationals, 4th in the 2015/2016 Nationals, 3rd in the 2016/2017 Nationals and being part of winning Oceania team's at home in New Zealand in 2009 and 2017.  Brendan's most memorable achievement was winning the 2009/2010 National Pairs competition with his brother Nick as his boat partner.

Brendan's favourite fishing locations are the lakes in the Turangi / National Park area (Rotoaira, Otamangakau and Kuratau), he also enjoys fishing the many rivers in the Hawkes Bay with Nick who has recently relocated there with his family.



Cory Scott is from Gisborne, his passion for the fly began when he was four years old under the guidance of his grandfather. Trout fishing was put on hold through his teenage years while Cory's life was consumed by being an International Gymnast, winning three National Titles and representing his country multiple times, the pinnacle of Cory's gymnastic career was winning the Hong Kong Open on the rings. After a career ending injury his love of fly fishing was once again rekindled, becoming an addictive force. Cory is most at home in the back country fishing to large, timid wild fish and always wondering what is around that next corner.

Cory is the staff photographer/editor for New Zealand Surfing Magazine and was previously a competitive surfer. His photography takes him to all four corners of the globe and the most isolated parts of NZ. He has won multiple photography awards including two Qantas Media Awards.

Cory decided to enter his first comp in 2012. Immediately he picked up a 4th place and backed that up with a 2nd in the Hawkes Bay and with enough accumulated points had secured his place in the National Champs, he finished on the podium with a third place, qualifying for the National team the first angler to ever do so in his first year of competing. Cory is the current NZ National Champion following his win in the 2016/17 National Championships. 

Cory credits the life that he has to his wife Sarah who is 100% supportive as Cory chases his dreams. They have three boys who have grown up on the river with their dad.

SAM BOURNE (Reserve)

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Sam Bourne originates from Whitianga on the east coast and now resides in Auckland. In 2008 Sam actively took to fly-fishing as a sport and hasn’t looked back.

Since 2010, Sam has been competing in SFFNZ regional and national championship events. He has been a member of the NZ Team since 2012, Sam pays tribute to the support received from the competition angling fraternity.

“It’s an honor to represent NZ at a world championship level. Most Kiwi anglers don't appreciate how talented the teams are which participate in the worlds. Competition-wise it is truly the best of the best.”

Sam has fished throughout New Zealand’s North and South Islands, as well as in the Czech Republic, and Colorado USA. Currently the majority of Sam’s fly-fishing is within the Auckland/Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty Regions of NZ.

Sam has risen quickly to become one of New Zealand’s top ranked anglers. His achievements include: Team Gold & 1st Place individual at the 2017 Oceania Championships, 1st Place NZ National River Championship 2015/16, 2nd Place NZ National Championship 2015/16, 2nd Place NZ Lake National Championships 2014/15, 2nd Place NZ National Championships 2012/2013 season, and Team Gold 2013 Oceania Championships. 

Sam works as a Principal Advisor at the NZ Transport Agency, and is a NZILA Registered Landscape Architect. He is based in Auckland and is supported greatly by his wife Kathryn, and two children Benjamin 5yr old, and Alexandra 2yrs old.

Neil Hirtzel (Captain)


Neil first started flyfishing in 1970 when he returned to NZ after travelling around the world for eight and a half years. He had always been interested in fishing but never had the opportunity to really take it up as sport.

Neil has been competing in regional and national championships for many years, he first entered competitions in the late 1990s. “My first attempt was a complete disaster finishing last!” says Neil. But he kept at it and practised at every opportunity and continued to enter more competitions. Neil made the NZ team in 2005 and has been a regular member of the Silver Flies team since then, competing in World Championships, also Commonwealth and Oceania competitions where he has won team gold, and bronze medals, and a silver individual medal in Wales. Neil has captained the NZ Team on three of these occasions.

“I’m looking forward to leading the NZ team as captain for the World Championships in Slovakia. We hope to do well against the other competing nations”.

Neil is now retired from the building trade and is enjoying his semi-retirement keeping busy doing fly rod custom-design work, and repairs. Neil is also flyfishing guide under the name Troutscout.

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