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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Archive for January, 2011

Fly Fish Devon

Monday, January 31st, 2011

If you read our little blog you’ll know that I have been tying like a mad man and am really starting to build up a nice stock of flies. I really want to be in a position that, come opening day, everything is set for the coming season and we have plenty of flies to show the fish.

I have also been reviewing how I carry all my flies and over the last couple of years have gone back to a fly fishing vest. It has been more necessity than any thing else as I tend to carry flies for river trout, sea trout and salmon just so that all the bases are covered and I know when I pick it up I won’t have forgotten anything. Previous to this though, for guiding on the river, I used a lanyard which carried everything I needed. I think sometimes guests were a little embarrassed as they turned up with more flies and gear than the guide, but when they see the Mothership fly box that resides in the back of my truck they feel a little more comfortable!

This year though, I am going back to the light approach and have bought an Orvis sling pack. Please don’t get this confused with sling backs which Emma tells me are a popular style of ladies shoe. No, this just fits over the shoulder and carries all you need for a day on the water. I have to say I am really pleased with it and can’t wait to try it out. The vest will be for the migratory fish so I think I am pretty well prepared.

It was good to meet up with Dave From Portland last week and see him catch his very first grayling. It is great to be there at moments like these, although he did have to work for them as it was freezing cold and the fish were glued to the bottom, but big, pink bugs did the business as ever!

DFP brings in a grayling

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Fly Fishing Devon

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I’ve been tying a few flies over the last few days. I’ve been getting ready for the hatches as they happen throughout the year. I have tied some darker parachute flies in a few sizes to cover Large Dark Olives and March Browns. I have also tied a few patterns  to cover the first of our caddis hatches, the Grannom. I don’t know if they will work or not but it will be fun seeing if they do. I tied a few last year and they seemed to work OK and I have gone for a few variations on this theme. To me, the fish seem more interested in the emergent Grannom rather than the adult sitting on the water so I have tied some that will sit in or just below the surface film.

The new flies mean I have had to do one of my favourite things – tidying the fly boxes. As a guide I don’t actually carry loads of flies when I am working. I have a box that carries all the dries and then one that carries subsurface patterns from spiders to bead nymphs and just about everything inbetween. I then keep a sort of Mothership fly box in my truck that I can replenish supplies with should I need them. I plan on travelling a little lighter this year and have made a few purchases that I’ll write about a bit later.

Pete and his first trout

It has been good seeing guests this early in the year for casting sessions, including some newcomers too. I have been watching the temperatures pretty closely as there have been times when the lake has been frozen, but other times when the fish have been going mad on the small windows where a hatch takes place. I bought a new rod last week and wanted to try it out but when we got there the lake was frozen. Nightmare…..perhaps tomorrow……

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A great time of year

Monday, January 17th, 2011

January can be a great time of year as lots of new things hit the tackle shops ready for the new season. There is nothing more exciting (well almost!) than heading down to the river or lake with a new purchase and put it to work on the fish. We were lucky enough to pop up to the Orvis HQ in November and caught a glimpse of what will be new for this season. I had to be restrained as there are a few new things I could be stocking up on!

Flies are a tough one though. Companies must constantly be trying to bring something new to the market which is a must-have pattern for the fly box; something that will work when nothing else ever has. Perhaps it isn’t as extreme as that and  is probably more that we are being offered an alternative and it is always fun trying the new flies.

This is the great thing about fly fishing. There are so many alternatives which we can explore when it comes to flies especially if we tie our own. Hands in the air if you always tie a perfect dozen which conform to the design of the first one? I can’t hold my hand up as I just have to tinker a bit. For me, winter time is  when I tie the ever faithful flies that serve me so well. It’s also a great time to tweak some, or think about fishing situations I faced and how to overcome some of them. Just getting the fly to sit or fish differently in the water might just make that subtle difference. I  love doing this and get a thrill when the new fly I was working on actually fools the fish!

January is also a time for resoloutions and Peter’s was to learn to fly fish. We were only too happy to help him on his way. Watching a newcomer make their first roll cast can tell you a lot about how they are thinking of using the rod and it became apparent that Peter had got it. As the weather had been miserable we had talked through safety and how the tackle works in the hotel over a few cups of tea. It is a great way to start the day.

Peter and his first trout!

Peter did just fine and caught a few fish taking one home for his tea. It was brilliant to see him get as much pleasure making a nice cast as he did from catching fish. Well done Peter!

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Life is just too short….

Friday, January 7th, 2011

2011 has got off to a good start despite a small hiccup. The hiccup I am writing about was quite an interesting one. Basically we had our website “copied”. I don’t say copied in the loosest sense but pretty much an out and out rip off. Emma was amazed at how relaxed I was about the whole thing when the site was shown to me.

I am sure this sort of thing goes on in business all the time and it can often be hard to tell if something has been either lifted, copied or down right ripped off. It might be a line here or there or just something really subtle. Sadly this wasn’t the case. Great chunks of text that I had written had just been copied and pasted in exactly the same font and where there needed to be changes because of the different river names they hadn’t even bothered to match the font but had simply written it in a different one. It didn’t look great.

The office....

I got some advice  about it but in the end the best thing was to speak to the guy. So I did just that.

It turned out that he had the site built for him by a third party and knew nothing about what had happened. He wasn’t to know and is probably like me in that I only really look at a couple of  my buddies’ sites as I like to see their fishing exploits. ( Jim, I wish I had managed to get out over Christmas like you dude!)

He took it down and no harm was done. It turns out he works on a bit of water I have always wanted to try so we talked about going to have a fish on it. I hope we do!

As I advance in years I have come to realise that life is just too short to hold grudges and it is much better to shake a hand or two along the way and leave as friends. It is even better when you leave with a fishing friend.

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The year that was….

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Happy New Year!

We hope you have had a good one and have over wintered well. We’re just in from walking the river and it was looking just about perfect. Our lake is still frozen but it should clear soonish. I hope so as I am teaching there next week!

It is the time of year when we think about resolutions. Mine are pretty simple: to keep enjoying fishing, guiding and teaching as much as I always do, get people enthused about fly fishing and if possible to do a bit more fishing myself.

2010 was a great year for fishing for many reasons. Despite hard conditions we smashed any previous records of trout caught. The really nice thing is that this was down to the anglers that visited the hotel, the number of which continue to rise. In what we all know is a tough environment, this is great news. I think I only managed to fish the hotel water a handful of times but was lucky enough to be out most days seeing every tiny little mood of the river. It is nice knowing that something like an olive hatch is going to happen and unfolds just as you had hoped and even better for your guest!

My beloved Taw...

I am hoping that the weather patterns that we have seen do not continue. I’d settle for a more Carribean climate where we have rain overnight just to keep water levels at a nice level. If it isn’t too much to ask for it would be really nice if we get the same sort of mayfly as we have had the last couple of years. It really has been something and although the numbers of flies aren’t up there with what you might expect to see on a chalkstream, there are enough that the fish get a really good chance to get into a good feeding pattern but not too many that your fly gets lost in the masses. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

On a personal note it was great to be able to connect with a Taw salmon and sea trout and further afield being able to fish in Montana for the first time. I can really recommend Fall fishing in the U.S.!

I also managed to pop my permit cherry at last and I feel so lucky to have been able to experience such great fishing in the company of so many good friends.

There is a trip I am looking forward to next year more than anything that I am sure I will report on later in the year but in the meantime have a good one, enjoy your fishing. Life is too short and if you get the chance, leap at it!

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