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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Archive for September, 2010

Salmon fishing….

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I was off this week for my yearly fish on the Deveron. I have been going there for 5 years or so now and I really like it.

Running at about 60 miles in length it isn’t one of the big name rivers like the Spey, Tweed etc but it is only just below and has a very healthy run of salmon, sea trout and also some really nice brown trout too.

We fish at the very bottom of the river which means it is great fishing if the water is low as we get the fresh fish that will hold until the water levels rise again. If there is some rain the fish tend to head onwards and are usually picked up on the higher reaches of the beats we fish. When we arrived on the Sunday there had been plenty of rain and when we scanned the catch book everything was confirmed that the upper beats of the fishing were the place to be.

We were lucky to be on the higher beats and it was great to see plenty of fish showing. It didn’t take long for a good fishing buddy to see his line tighten and he lifted in to a fish. I did the netting duties and then had three really gentle takes in almost as many casts and then something a little bit more committed and I was attached to a Deveron salmon.  I offered the spot to my buddy and he had another good take.

Next day we were on the lower beats but I fished with Paul who has been a great supporter of our fly fishing school and was on his first ever salmon trip. He was casting beautifully and I stayed with him as I felt there was a chance that he would connect. He didn’t on his first trip down the pool but on the second all hell broke loose as his rod bucked as he was attached to a very angry salmon. He did everything by the book and after a spirited fight the fish was in the net. It was a great moment and even nicer for me as I have been with Paul when he has caught his first rainbow trout, wild brown trout, grayling, sea trout, bonefish and now salmon.

Paul and his first salmon

Next day, (Weds) the water had continued to drop and it felt like there was more chance of fish having to hold and make a bit more of an effort to navigate the pools. That meant that there was a chance of them stopping to have a breather and give us a shot at a few more. It worked really well for my buddy who landed two really nice fish and had some real fun stripping a really big fly across the tail of the pool. It was a sort of mutant Collie Dog fly but the salmon didn’t care and threw themselves at it.

The interesting thing was that I have worn a barometer watch for the last 5 years and it has been spot on when barometric pressure has been steady or rising and the corelation between this and taking fish. This time though we did catch them on a falling barometer which is a first.

Sadly the weather was against us and we got up on Thursday to torrential rain and a river that wasn’t going to fish. It was coming up at around six inches every twenty minutes and apparently ended up 13 feet above normal levels so we decided to head home. It is easy to cuss things and moan but that is just the way things go when you are fishing late in the season. Life is too short to get stressed about it and there will be other times and other trips…..

For the second year I fished a switch rod. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Orvis Helios 11ft switch rod this time and paired up with a Skagit line it did everything I wanted it to and the 14 footer didn’t even get wet.

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Road trip

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

I love road trips of any kind and I took a few days off of work and Emma, Charlie and myself decided to head up country on a bit of a tour. There was no plan as such and we didn’t have hotels booked we just thought we’d drive and see where we ended up. All I knew was that I was guiding Gordon in 3 days time and needed to be back to meet him.

As the trip took on a life of its own we managed to head up to Stratford Upon Avon and did some culuture stuff. We even saw a Shakespeare play which was excellent. It was a first for me and I was amazed at the humour and how apt much of it is for today. It is funny that as people things don’t change as much as perhaps we think.

Jo on a guided day

We found a place on the M6 and stayed overnight and hit the Lake District. It was a real whistlestop tour but we managed to see plenty of the lakes and at about 5ish decided we’d crack on up to Edinburgh.  We did it in good time and I couldn’t believe we managed to get a room at 7.30pm on a saturday night that was right in the middle of town. We had dinner, went to the room and then hit the town early the next day to see the sights. We walked a fair bit and left at 4ish having looked at the map we thought it might be fun having driven up the west side of the country to head down the east side via the A1 and aim for Yorkshire somewhere. We got to Whitby at 6.30 to witness a superb sunset hitting the remains of the abbey. Being a Bram Stoker fan it was great to see what looked to inspire a lot of his great story.

Nick hits the river for the first time

Next stop was Scarborough where we managed to find a hotel and have something to eat. After an excellent full fry up we were ready to hit York which is a great town with lots of interesting stuff. The last bit was the only planned part of the journey where I had a flight back to Exeter but the girls were staying on a day. We also managed to have a quick look at Harrogate on the way to the airport.

Simon lands one!

It really was a superb trip and although I know this isn’t fishing related it dawned on me what a small country this is and how easy it is to get around (when the roads are behaving) and how easy it is to hop in the car and fish a new venue. In the U.S they think nothing of driving 2 or 3 hours for some fishing. Just think where that would take you here? We found cheap but excellent places to stay and there are some places in the Lake District that I would love to throw a few flies in to!

It was great to have my good friend Brett O’Connor down to stay. He is a great instructor, excellent fisherman and fine company. I was already working but we met up for dinner at the hotel and stayed up late chewing the fat about life and fly fishing. He went off to fish a small stream I know and met myself and my guest for the day, Charles, for lunch. It worked out well as some other guests had seen some salmon move on one of the hotel’s beats.

Charles had taken to fly fishing like a duck to water and so we thought we would hit the river and go over the casting while we watched the maestro Brett in action. We saw a fish move but despite Brett covering it with everything it didn’t take. It was great for Charles to see Brett in action and just watching a great fisherman is inspiring but also good to learn from.

The maestro Brett in action!

If you are based in London and want one of the best instructors and guides around you won’t get better than Brett!

Emma has been a constant companion when I have slotted some salmon fishing in and I said she was going to be lucky. I know she didn’t feel it was the case but it was good to see the line swing and go tight as I got into a small grilse on Thursday. Thanks Em!!

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Back end of fly fishing in Devon…

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

We’re now into the last month of the season and I have to say it is a time I really love. The weather might not always be with us but if we do get rain then there is a chance of a salmon taking a look at our fly. On that matter we had some rain at last but the Taw seemed to take it in its stride and came up a little and coloured a bit and by last Friday afternoon was back to normal. This meant the window for salmon was a small one but it sounds like the Exe had a lot more rain to bring both the levels and the fish up to anglers which is great news.

Chris working down a pool

I managed to get out for a quick fish and managed to have a salmon pluck at the nasty big fly I had cast at it and then took to the air to show me just what might have been. I went back and Charlie joined me in the afternoon and the river was a different place and a lot lower. I cast through the pool hoping the fish was still obliging and felt the line go tight and lifted into a fish. It wasn’t the salmon but a sea trout was just as welcome!

I lost a couple of trout days due to the weather but did some casting with Carolynne and Patrick who are off to Montana today and yesterday I was guiding Chris. He was keen to learn everything he possibly could about fishing streams and everything that goes with it. We even had a go at a likely looking salmon pool and despite hooking a nice trout we didn’t get lucky….this time!

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