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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing Guide Devon’

Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

We’re almost two months into the trout season now. I would call it OK rather than outstanding on the Taw. It has been slow to grind into action and has had good days and some average days so OK seemed a fair description. The highlight though has to be the 16 1/2 incher that Lewis guided Matt into the first Bank Holiday of the month. He has fished in Devon a bit and said he hadn’t seen anything as big in these parts which was really nice.

I have fished the Taw a fair bit. I like to because I love the river so much but also because I think it is my job to know exactly what is going on. Sure, each day is different but having a handle on hatches, their times and if the fish are rising or not takes the guess work out of my day and lets the people we are guiding know that we are on top of what is happening.

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That having been said I have already racked up a good number of other rivers I’ve fished this year too. If I haven’t been guiding I’ve been fishing which has been really good fun. Some of it has been alone but most days it has been in the company of good friends. I love nymph fishing but this year it has been fishing small, overgrown streams with a small rod and a dry fly. To me, at the moment, it has been pleasing to cast a fly line and dry fly and have a fish give me the ultimate compliment and eat the fly. It has also been a good testing ground for a variety of patterns I concocted during the closed season.

The fish haven’t been huge on these streams. To be honest, I don’t really care. I’m not a trophy hunter or a numbers man, I just love being out on the water and every day I am fishing a river is a bonus but a big one every now and again is good fun and lets you know you are doing something right if you fool that big old brown tucked away in a deep undercut hole.

The rain we’ve had should start to bring the migratory fish up our way on the Taw. I managed to catch a small sea trout on another river a week or so ago when nymphing with my pal Jimmy. But for me I am interested, really interested to see how the mayfly hatch plays out this year. Last year it was Okish, the same the year before but the years before that have been awesome and I hope we might get something similar. I’ll be hopping round with excitement if I wake up to an overcast, drizzly day the sort that is perfect for Danicas.

If it does play out this way I plan to put sea trouting on the back burner and will fish the spinner fall long and hard even after a long days guiding.

I have my rod collection pretty much where I want it and have been using my pack for most of the fishing I have been doing. I was guiding using a hip pack and transferring fly boxes from the pack to the hip pack which, if you have a memory like mine is a pretty high risk strategy. So I’ll use the pack for work and general river fishing and go back to the lanyard with a small selection of flies for the small stream stuff.

It is coming in to the cream of the fly fishing season and I for one can’t wait!

Pete

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Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

I spoke to my pal Jim today. We are a month apart in age and after talking through our various aches and pains conversation naturally came on to fishing.

Jim has been a fishing guide for long, long time now but has also taken on gainful employment as brand manager for Vision Fly Fishing. He has worked incredibly hard since taking on the role and the only downside is that it has cut into his fishing time a little. That having been said, as a result of his job he has had offers to fish in some seriously cool places, so there are some big upsides too.

He also said Warren, who he fishes with a lot, has changed his job a fair bit and neither of them are able to hit the river at such short notice as they used to.

We talked a little about how it is fun to fish with a friend, share a rod, some laughs and walk up the river together catching a few fish. Jim had said how he prefers to fish in company. I think part of this is part of how much time we, as guides, spend with someone at our sides and so it sort of becomes second nature and a little weird when we fish on our own.

A quick session of trout fishing before guiding work yesterday

A quick session of trout fishing before guiding work yesterday

I know I like to fish this way with my friends. For me it is just as much as spending time with a good friend as the fish we catch, although the concentration kicks in when we see a big fish rising.

One of the things I have found  over the years, is to switch off from a professional angler/guide to a pleasure angler when I have a day off. A long while back it wasn’t so easy but now I find it very easy and just go with the flow. I like it.

The other thing I have noticed is how much I am enjoying my fishing. It is probably more than I have ever done before. I find I look for any small window to go cast a fly and even yesterday before work I was on the river catching a few trout just to satisfy what seems to becoming an insatiable appetite for this thing we call fly fishing.

It means these quickly snatched hour or two are often alone but I am getting used to it and really enjoying it. The thing I have noticed is that I talk to myself a little when I make a nice cast, stuff a fish or decide on a change of fly. I guess I must be enjoying my own company!

Anyway, off fishing now hoping to catch the grannom hatch.

Pete

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Eat, Sleep, Fish Issue 28

 

Anytime soon?

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The daffodils are starting to emerge, the snowdrops are stunning and I saw three large dark olives last week.

I got up this morning and the sky was a little clearer and things feel good.

The countdown to the trout fishing season is just about underway and the rivers are starting to drop. I am probably speaking too soon but it feels like I might even get a go at some grayling this week if things stay as they are.

It is probably a big ask for this to happen but right here, right now I am feeling just the right side of optimistic.

I haven’t cast a fly for grayling since before Christmas and am starting to forget what one looks like. Hopefully this will change soon.

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Emma and I were in Stockbridge at the weekend. The Test still had a big push to it and there were were still sandbags in the doorways of the houses. I’m told by Ed in the Orvis store that it didn’t make it in to the shops or houses but it was close.

We walked along the high street of the town. Although I have visited there many times we weren’t in any sort of rush. When I am usually there I am working or fishing so I am usually buying some last minute flies or meeting someone. This time I wasn’t and although the associations with Stockbridge and fishing are closely interwoven I got the chance to see just how closely from the fish shaped door knockers and weather vanes to the guy walking down the High Street talking rather loudly to a friend about the fishing at Chew and Blagdon. It certainly does pack heavy credentials when it comes to talking about it as a fishing town.

So, it feels almost spring like, I am sorting the grayling bugs and I might even get a chance to use them.

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Pete Tyjas

Devon Fly Fishing

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

I had the chance to fish a sweet beat on the Taw for salmon on Sunday. The water was pretty low but I figured there may be some resident fish I might be able to stir up. I managed to irritate one in the morning after ripping something nasty through a pool. I gave it a few more casts, rested the pool for a few moments while I tied on something more subtle to see if I’d annoyed the fish enough to make it bite. I hadn’t.

The highlight for me though was that Emma, my wife, had come down for the morning as she wanted to brush up on her Spey Casting. She’s already is a fine Spey caster and prefers to fish a double hander for salmon rather than a single hander for trout. That having been said I have measured her double hauling a single hander to 70 feet which is really impressive. There were was no signs of rustiness and after a couple of warm ups the line was flying out across the pool.

Issue 18 of Eat, Sleep, Fish is now underway and I have really enjoyed loaded and reading the reader submissions we have this month.

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Things turning?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

I had an amazing weekend in Denmark with my good friend Ray (the Dude), fishing for sea trout. We also fished with Alexander and his son, both stalwarts of Danish sea trouting.

The weather wasn’t the friendliest and having just looked over the pictures Ray and I look more like reanimated corpses that weren’t that happy at being reanimated. That having been said, the worse the weather got the better the fishing got and so we just butched it out and fished on.

It was a real test of our friendship that we were wading in some pretty cold water and the waders Ray had leant me (I thought it might keep me under my baggage limit to borrow some) leaked. There was no way we were going to pack it in though and it was a memorable trip for many reasons.

You’ll be able to read about it in the next issue of Eat, Sleep, Fish in early May.

I got back Monday and was back on the river for the day with Baden who is new to river fishing. It was the first time in a while that I didn’t rig up for nymphs outright and we even saw a fish rise towards the end of the day.

Perhaps things are turning for the better?

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Tis the season to be jolly

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

It has been a a while since I wet a line. My timing hasn’t been that great and the tiny windows of opportunity that have appeared have clashed with other things.

It means that I have had a bit of a sabbatical from fly fishing and sometimes that can be good. Not always, but a little break can help you realise how much you love it all and can’t wait to get back in the waders again.

In the run up to Christmas I have been doing some casting tuition and looks like I’ll be doing some more in Jan for those heading off in search of bones. I really enjoy this sort of thing and it heralds the start of preparation for 2013 and for some the start of an exciting new pastime.

In the short term though I’ll just keep checking those river levels for my chance.

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The End

Monday, October 1st, 2012

I make the same promise every year. It isn’t too hard and it is a nice one to try and stick to but up until now I haven’t stuck too. It’s simple – to fish some more. looing back as the river season is now over I think I have managed it.

This is despite the weather and mainly due to Eat, Sleep, Fish. I’ve been so lucky to fish new and differing water, meet some great people and to catch a few fish. I have been amazed by the genorosity of fellow anglers in showing me their Home Waters.

Like I said at the beginning weather has been a big factor and it affected my guiding work more so than in all the time I have been doing this but what it did do was give us good water for salmon. I can’t think of a time I have had a salmon rod in the truck and felt this might be a good time to swing a fly. It worked a couple of times for me and I really enjoyed my two salmon.

The last day of guiding was due to be bass but the high winds kept us off of the water. I opted to have a last go for salmon and watched a few run through. I really worked the water partly, I guess, because the clock was ticking down but I had a salmon on briefly that seemed like a good time to end the season.

Not being able to work the last day sucked a little but meant my last day of guiding on the 29th ended on a high. I was guiding first time salmon angler Josh for salmon.

When we met over coffee he told me he’d been awaiting the day for 6 months having booked it March and was awake at 3am with excitement. As a guide I’ll never say we’ll have some fish but on the way to the beat I told him I really did feel we were in with a chance as conditions were really good.

We fished a few pools but all was quiet. Heading to one of my favourite pools Josh was soon latched on to a salmon that we returned and headed for lunch. We were both over the moon!

I took Josh to another beat in the afternoon and showed him a way I like to fish the water. He did everything perfectly and salmon number two was on. This time a slightly smaller hen fish. After some photos Josh popped the fish back. It seemed the perfect way to end a season.

Fly Fishing Devon

Fly Fishing in Devon

Friday, June 29th, 2012

I’ve tried to keep the blog more related to my fishing adventures and the weather has played a part on my ability to work but also to grab some fishing too. I got out on the 18th June with my good friend Toby. We headed a little further than normal and found the river in good shape with a few rising fish to spice things up a bit. We did the old share the rod routine and I really enjoy this way of fishing and as the fish were coming at pretty regular intervals it worked out well. We both had our first grayling of the season too which was cool.

Today I had the day off and the river was still pushing with some colour too it. I decided to go nymphing for trout and see if I could find some sea trout too. I really like to go for sea trout during the day as it is a little different and good fun. I don’t believe that a rising, colouring river is the only time to catch day time sea trout. I have taken people out during the day specifically to catch them even in the brightest of conditions. Spending a lot of time on the river makes the process a lot easier as I know where the fish hold and if they are in or not. If you know the answer or can work it out then you are in with a shout.

I did have a couple of sea trout. the first was 2lb and the second just a touch smaller. I also lost a smaller one too but I had a great time and would recommend day time sea trout!

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Back on the Deveron

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

I think this is my 6th year of travelling up to fish the Deveron in Scotland. It is a wonderful river that is often overshadowed by the “big name” salmon rivers but I like it that way. It is the sort of place that is great if you know about it and you shout a bit about it Not too much that it draws too much attention.

This trip was different for a couple of reasons. Firstly that we decided not to fly. I am a little tired of the stealth costs of flying, especially when you are lugging a lot of gear with you. For this reason it made sense that we took the new fishing truck out to stretch its legs and I have always wanted to drive from the bottom of the country to pretty much the top.

The second reason is a pretty significant, and special one. It was to be Emma’s first fishing trip. I can’t really write how exciting this was to me and all the way up my fingers were crossed that we would have a good one.

We decided to split the upward leg of the journey by leaving on Saturday, staying in Kendal in the Lake District and then heading up to Banff on Sunday. Bar the usual traffic problems on the M6 we checked in to the hotel on Saturday night had a good dinner and excellent breakfast the next morning and headed north. That was, of course, before we made the obligatory stop at John Norris in Penrith. They very smartly open on a Sunday and the place was jammed full of fishermen making the trip up to Scotland who were eager to stock up on a few last minute essentials and even a few I saw who were getting completely kitted out for their fishing trips. It really is a nice store with friendly, helpful staff. It sort of reminded me of a store in Colorado The Dude and I visited a few years back that was the sort of place you wanted to visit before hitting the river.

As we made it just over the border into Scotland we passed over the Clyde as it snaked under the motorway. I think it was the third time we passed over it and looked to the left and it looked just like a stream from Mid West America. I really, really liked it!

When we got to the river on Monday it was just dropping, having come up a little. In my experience what usually happens is that after it has coloured it then goes a really dark peaty colour before clearing completely. As we are pretty much at the bottom of the river it means that the fish will run through pretty quick and so the top of the beats is the place to fish. That is where we started. We did see plenty of fresh fish along with a few coloured ones but no joys.

Circle Spey

On Tuesday we were towards the bottom and again we saw some fish but we didn’t really feel like we were in the game. I did have a trout followed next cast by a small sea trout.

Wednesday we were back at the top and in the afternoon Emma and I had the very top beat and the water was starting to just about clear a little. I was fishing a pool lower to Emma but heard her let out a yell and saw the rod briefly buck before a fish came off. I ran up quickly to help but the moment had passed. That was only before I had got back in and again Emma was briefly attached to a fish. The really nice thing was that she just laughed it off and made another beautiful cast.

Covering the water.....

It looked like the fish were on and not long after my line went tight and I lifted into a fish. I was guiding Paul just before we made the trip and he described the salmon he had caught as being plugged in to the electricity. That sounds just about right. Emma netted the fish, abeautiful hen, perfectly which we admired briefly before letting her continue her journey upstream.

One for me....dig the hat!

Thursday and we were back on the very lowest beats. Again Emma cast and fished beautifully and again was briefly attached to a fish that just didn’t stick. I had another small sea trout but despite covering the water well that was it for us.

Friday and the water looked really good but it felt a good deal cooler. Morning was quiet but after lunch it warmed a little and Emma chose her fly and decided the pool she wanted to fish. You know what? She was dead right as the line went tight and she lifted into a fish. I was standing by the truck putting an intermediate tip on my line as I had done with hers as we had fished fast sinkers all week.

The fish was hooked on the lip at the very tail of a pool and Emma expertly played the fish, keeping it under control. I headed out with a net and after a while the fish was netted. We thought we would keep the fish as it was a cock fish and Emma’s first salmon and so after dispatching, we hugged each other and I don’t mind admitting that I had a tear in my eye. It was the perfect moment and after all of the hard work Emma had put in she had been rewarded.

The reward for all of the hard work!

We had planned to fish the morning of the Saturday but thought that we would make the drive home in one go and so didn’t hit the water.

There were so many highlights of the trip but the main one is looking upstream and seeing Emma smile as she watched her line swing through the pool or being upstream of her and hearing her sing as she sent out another beautiful cast.

I don’t think it could have been a better trip. I think that the spinner outfished the fly that week but we wanted to fish the fly. It isn’t a snobbish, or certainly not an elitist thing – we just enjoyed making a nice cast feeling we were covering the water.

The other thing was that you don’t need a whole load of tackle or gear. As long as you can cover the water efficiently you are in with a chance. All we did was use a variety of differing sink tips and had doubles and various tubes. Emma used a Skagit set up which made life easy when you coupled it with a Circle or Double Spey.

Sometimes we get all hot under the collar with technicalities but there just isn’t always the need. We could easily say the Skagit line can land a little heavy on the water but when Emma had her first two takes it was in shallow, relatively clear water and the fish didn’t seem to mind too much. They are the ones who decide if we have done things correctly or not and they certainly don’t care how nice the loop was on the cast or if you have the latest “must have” fly on!

All in all though the fishing wasn’t the easiest but it was the most enjoyable. The truck was excellent (fishingmobile V.3), the food and accommodation outstanding and Emma, thank you so much for making this such a wonderful trip, I don’t think it could have been more perfect.

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Oh so nearly….

Friday, September 16th, 2011

“Call me Ishmael” is the opening line of Herman Melville’s epic story about one man’s search for a fish. I write this for two reasons. Firstly, if you don’t already know this line it will come in handy, especially if you are a quiz fan. I have seen it on a number of occassions and it is worth remembering especially if you are sitting opposite Chris Tarrant and you have only one last question to answer and they ask you what is the first line of Moby Dick. all I ask is that if it is the question don’t forget your friends!

The second is that there is a pool I know well which I work on that gives me a good idea if there are salmon up our neck of the woods. The upper Taw has been hard work for the salmon angler this year, with a majority of the rain seeming to fall on Exmoor and feeding the Taw’s major tributary, the Mole, with plenty of water. Further upstream of the junction we have had to kick our heels a bit and wait things out. I don’t mind and I hear there have been some good catches further down which I am really pleased to hear. It has felt that most of the rain that has fallen has been more localised and we get a small rise of coloured water and then it drops straight back down to low levels within a day.

So I sort of scout this pool  when I am working in a Captain Ahab sort of way and look for a sign of a salmon. The recent rain looks as though it has given Dartmoor a good soaking and the river has held its level pretty well. It has also really helped the trout fishing in the shallower spots. The beat out back of the hotel has some areas that needed some water and it has really got the fish biting.

Dave learns there is nowhere you can't put your fly!

Anyway, I had a day off and rather than writing from a computer that salmon might be about, I like to keep and eye out when I am working or go try it out myself when I get a chance. I got one of these when I had taken Friday off after a long spell of guiding. Emma has been my constant companion on these trips and I have loved having her along. She has bought a migratory license and has even been making a few nifty spey casts in the pools too.

Friday was about as good as it gets, higher water, cloudy and humid and we felt lucky. I went to my favourite pool. Perhaps we should call it Ahab’s as while we sat down we saw a salmon leap. It looked like it was a running fish and it looked like things might be going our way. I like to fish my switch rod in this pool as it is a good size and it is fun to fish.

Steve on a learn to fly fish day

With salmon angling I sort of think of it like having a baby. You get lots of advice. Some of it is worth hanging on to and some isn’t always. The great thing is that there are no rules. In my humble opinion as long as you A) Don’t spook the fish B) Cover the water C) The salmon are in a taking mood you are in with a chance. I know there are other parameters but if the basics are right you never know.

Anyway, I was fishing this pool and had walked down it  a bit when a good fish rolled about 10ft behind me. Emma had seen it too from where she was sitting on the bank. I don’t advise you do this if you are fishing with someone else but I quietly walked back, covered the spot and the salmon took. This sort of knocked rule A of my humble opinion out of the window but reinforced rule C.

Andrea learns to fly fish

The salmon took off and shot around the pool and leapt several times. We both got a good look and although a coloured fish we reckoned it was about 12lbs. I kept it out of snags that I knew about in the pool and thought I might just have it. The fish had other ideas and in the recent rain it seems a large branch was down in the first deep section of the head of the pool where it wrapped me.

I thought I had done everything but it just wasn’t enough. I don’t think I spoke for a bit. Emma did her best to console me and it just about worked.

If you are out with me and I get that far away look in my eye and mutter something or other you’ll know what I’ll be thinking!

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