Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing Tuition Devon’
Before you think this is some sort of condition that us fishing guides get from standing in a river all day you needn’t worry. So please feel free to read on.
I can’t work this weekend for obvious weather related reasons. I’m not going to bitch about it, it is early season and these things happen and after the tragic events that have taken place in Looe, a missed day’s fishing seems hardly relevant.
So I have been doing one of my other favourite activities. Sorting out the wood pile. A wood pile is an area that only men really like to frequent, sort of like a lit barbecue.
I’d love to say that I strode out this morning in a flannel shirt, axed down a tree and then split the logs. I didn’t.
We had a delivery of logs from a local farmer and we carefully stacked them for what we thought would be a good season of drying but given how cold it is it looks more likely they might get thrown on the log burner a little sooner.
You’ll see I mentioned “we” when I said stacked. I did the last lot a short time ago and was pretty pleased with my efforts. Emma helped me today and I have to say I was a little nervous as I had already planned how and where I was going to place them but after a little bit of time at The Devon School of Log Stacking she had it sussed.
In case the weather continues in a similar vein as last season it might just be a nice little sideline to the guiding business!
The season is underway and it has been great to get on the water with people again. There has been rain and a fair bit of it at times but I’m not going to whine. It is March after all and things can be a little erratic. this time last year I was guiding in shirt sleeves. They say variety is good and I’m not going to argue.
I have been keeping a eye out for large dark olives and yesterday (Tuesday) I saw my first one. I am hoping this continues along with some good settled weather.
I got a nice email from Philip after some tuition this week.
Thank you for all the information Pete it will be very useful it was brilliant. Your enthusiasm must be infectious , I am looking forward even more to some great sport this year. Many thanks Phil
My fly boxes are full and my waders are only leaking a little. I am hoping that a new pair arrives soonish and I plan to rotate to see if I can get a little longer out of them.
It was great to see The Wild Trout Trust auction raise over £52,000. I put an auction lot in with the hotel every year and was pleased to learn the person who won it last year won it again this year. I’m looking forward to seeing him on the Taw in May.
In the meantime I am getting Issue 16 of Eat, Sleep, Fish ready and it looks like there will be some nice stuff in it that we hope you’ll enjoy.
It is great to head out on a fly fishing adventure but sometimes, when the conditions are far from ideal, planning a fishing trip around the weather and finding some fishable river can be great fun. I was planning in a day with Toby. We were on the phone every few hours planning where we might head to after yet more heavy rain. The plan was hatched to head as high as we possibly could to fish this particular river.
We met a few miles below where we were going to fish and the river was pushing (quite a lot) but there was visibility in the water and I saw a mayfly spinner that I took as a good omen.
We set up our gear and it seemed that nymphs were going to be the only real option but the river where we were fishing is really small and overgrown and my usual 9ft 2wt rod was going to be too long so I used my 8ft 4″ 2wt instead. Toby gallantly offered me first shot and we were both pleased when a trout took my fly first cast.
This pattern continued and by fishing just off of the main flow we were able to have a really good day, when at the start of it we were just pleased to be out on the water.
It has been an interesting time and I have had to fit work around when the river has been fishable. Although I have lost a bunch of days there have been a few opportunities and the fishing has been good when the windows appeared. The river might be fishable for a bit and then more rain on Dartmoor would see the it rise and colour. It is easy to get sucked into the old wives sort of stuff about things being delayed by a number of weeks but nature marches to its own beat and to those not on the river it might look like things might be late. On Friday I saw a few yellow mays and yesterday the mayfly (danicas) got going. I saw a few sail down the river and they were unmolested but it will only take a couple of the days for the fish to get zeroed in on them. At the very worst these are two days late.
I was guiding John. It was one of the windows I was talking about and the river was just about fishable but we had to venture further upstream. In the truck he asked me about hawthorn fly and I said they don’t really feautre that much as the river I guide on is heavily tree lines which stops a lot of the poor flying terrestrial fly from getting blown on to the water. It was a tough morning and although we’d had a few fish we’d worked really hard for them. I had though, noticed a couple of hawthorn float by. After lunch I took John to a pool I really like. There were a couple of fish rising and after they refused the usual suspects I found a couple of hawthorn patterns lurking in the back of the fly box. John went on to catch 6 fish from the pool and it made what was a good day into a really good one.
I was also guiding Brian and a similar thing happened. This time though they were splashy aggressive rises that left us little doubt they were on hawthorn. I’d tied a few more the night before but when Brian covered the fish there were no takes. The fish were hitting the flies upstream of us before I could see them but we changed a few patterns just in case I’d got suckered in to thinking it was hawthorn. We tried quite a few different flies but nothing. I noticed a mating pair of hawthorns that were on the water. Were the fish getting two flies for the price of one? I don’t know but the rises eased a little which made me think we were in with a chance. I tied the hawthorn back on and we were in business. Perhaps there weren’t as many coming down and the fish decided one fly is better than none.
I also have to admit that I had a slight stumble and shipped a little water. I haven’t done that for a few years and knew I was due one. It was the sort that you tell your guiding pals about as it wasn’t a head first, fully submerged fall but thought I should come clean.
So it looks like things are starting to really get going on the mayfly front and we are exactly on track, hopefully, some great fishing!
I’m not really one for believing in Acts of God rather than Acts of Nature. We were on the receiving end of one of those on Sunday when the unusual North Easterly wind lifted the roof off of one of next door’s outbuildings and sent it 100m to crash onto the roof of our house.
I can only describe the sound as though a grenade had been lobbed into the house, it went off and then a large chunk of our roof collapsed. The force of the impact forced open two locked doors in the next room.
My fly tying desk bore the brunt of the impact and certainly made it look more messy than it usually does.
A vice that means a lot to me was ruined and a load of material went with it too. Thankfully the flies I had been tying for the last few days (there were plenty) were in a plastic tub and are still usable and as the weather was going to be bad on Sunday I was due to be back up there tying again.
Thankfully I wasn’t when all of this happened and I don’t really believe in “what ifs” but I’m pleased I decided to cook a fisherman’s breakfast of sausages, egg and bacon instead of hitting the vice.
The structual engineer told us that it was about 1 1/2 tons of corrugated iron and timber frame that hit the house and writing this I am still looking at a great big pile of it. Hopefully it will be sorted soon.
What it did do is make me think about how seriously we can take fishing sometimes when all it is about is getting our fly to the fish without it spooking them. Sure, sometimes using 8X instead of 7X might make a difference but essentially we do this for fun and life is too short to worry if the hackle has been wound round the fly 3 times or 4 times I really don’t think it matters; let the trout decide.
The river has been fun, and at times challenging, but I like it that way. I have been amazed by the size of the LDO hatches we have had and am just home from guiding where Peter did a great job of fishing the river for the first time and some more LDOs had the fish rising.
At the weekend I was over at the excellent Blakewell Fishery at their open day. I did some tuition and explained a bit about casting and fishing and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is a really nice place and it was nice to help people enjoy their fishing a little bit more.
The highlight for me though was meeting a Dad and his two sons who are fishing mad. The lads were about 7 and 10 but had the fishing bug bad. I had a quiet spell where I was eating a burger and was going to walk over and offer to make a few casts for them to retrieve but there was no need for that at all. As I headed over I saw one of the lads strike and hook a rainbow. Dad stood well back as the youngest son picked up a net and waited to do netting duties. Everything was done perfectly and the fish was dispatched by the lads.
I spoke to Dad who proudly told me that that week they had done sea fishing, coarse fishing and today they were having a go for trout. What I loved most though was that once he has shown them what to do he then lets them do it for themselves. This is not just down to tying their own rigs, knots etc but everything including gutting their fish at the end of the day. The even nicer thing was that they loved every sec0nd of it and he was telling me that the only time they sit in front of a computer screen is to find out about tide times, a new knot or a fly that is working well. It was an honour to meet them and I am really sad I didn’t get their names as I reckon we’ll be hearing a lot about them in the near future!
With just under a month until the trout season kicks off here the countdown is now underway. I have been out walking the river beats checking out what needs snipping and trimming. I really enjoy this and love getting into the river for the first time in a while and know that when I am working I’ll be pleased that the low hanging branch that I snipped off will make my clients’ casts a little bit easier.
I’m not one of those who goes in with the chainsaw blazing as cutting things back a little keeps everything looking the right side of natural and also means there are some nice spots for the sea trout to hang out during the day. Keeping on top of things on a yearly basis ensures the start of each season is as I described, just a bit of trimming.
As I mentioned in the last blog I have been doing a little tying. I plan the tying around the order of the hatches so when the season ended I tied some grayling flies but also tied up flies for Large Dark Olives, both dry and nymph, and then Grannom. I have been playing with the emerger stage as this is the bit that interests the trout the most. Next up Mayflies. I have plenty of duns and spinners but again have been thinking about what will trigger the fish to hit the emerging dun. Caddis really starts to get going after the Mays so it has been balloon caddis and bullet heads. Then it is the midges. This is where I am up to and have been tying some tiny size 24s that I am really pleased with. I’ve a few terrestrials to do but having sorted the boxes this morn everything looks in good shape.
Emma and I made our second trip out to Denmark to see Ray (The Dude), his wife Christina and their daughter Mia for Thanksgiving. It has turned into a really nice tradition and this year was our 11th . It might appear a little strange that 2 Brits and a Dane are joining an American to celebrate a strictly American affair but it harks back to the days when The Dude lived in the U.K. and was a long way from home so we thought it would be fun to hook up and help celebrate.
Last year we got snowed out but this year it was mild and after some excellent turkey and pumpkin pie we headed out on Sunday to go to a Christmas fair at a nice place that was an old monestary with a mill which meant there had to be a river nearby.
The girls headed off to learn how to make a few Christmas decorations and Dude and I headed off to a hall area where they were serving coffee. We sat talking and noticed that the hall started to fill and they had wheeled out a piano. It turned out that there was going to be a few carols being sung. We thought it might be nice to hear but we both slightly panicked when they started handing out song sheets. This didn’t look good. There is no way I would inflict my singing voice on anyone. I remember when I was at school and the music teacher thought I was singing out of tune on purpose. Since then I do my best Cheryl Cole impression and move my lips to the music.
Just to make things worse though the words were in Danish. The lady at the front started to show everyone the warming up excersises before launching into the first song with great enthusiasm. The assembled crowd were loving it as Dude and I just looked at each other. I have never heard Dude sing but knowing he is now fluent in Danish made me think his vocal talents were similar to mine as I didn’t hear a note come from his lips either.
Now, I pride myself on my manners and I wouldn’t dream of walking out after one song as it would have been rude but how long are you supposed to wait? 40 minutes later I saw the leading lady walk behind the piano to grab something and thought that was our window to escape. We made our exit.
Checking on the girls, they were still doing their decorations so I suggested to Dude that we head outside to look at the stream. It was pretty small and clear but I saw a large splash. The light wasn’t great and I had no sunglasses to see what it was. As the sun was in our faces we headed to the other bank through a mass of trees so we might get a better look. We couldn’t see anything but walking upstream a bit Ray saw one big sea trout then another. I’d missed them but was dying to get my first glimpse of a Danish fish. To do this I did something I haven’t done in a while and that was climb a tree. Some of the magic was still there and I managed to get up high enough to give me a better view of the river and I saw a few fish. They were big.
We walked further upstream. By now my shoes and jeans were caked in mud but we saw a guy standing in the water by a small footbridge. We saw a few more people and some were holding nets. We then saw what was going on.
It turns out they had been electro fishing the river for sea trout and then milking them for eggs. They fertilise them and bring them on in their own little hatchery. It was a great little operation and we got to see some real big sea trout up close. The guys belong to a fishing club which, when we got back to Dude’s, we looked up. The great thing is that the club is based right by where Dude lives so I am hopeful he will have some guys to go fishing with.
Just back from some grayling fishing and yesterday was the first day it felt cold. There were just the slightest hint of a small hatch every time the wind dropped and Toby and I even had a few fish take a look at the dry.
We had some friends over for something to eat Monday night. Emma had done an amazing job with the food and I’d sort of acted as her sous chef but I often feel my bumbling is more of a hinderance than a help. The food was a huge hit and we made sure we kept the wine flowing. Come to think of it if the wine were a river it would have been more of a small spate.
I’m not really a drinker and can take it or leave it but I do like to sit down with Emma and have a glass of wine at the weekends which has become a neat little tradition.
I woke up on Tuesday with a slightly wooly head and as it was clear and bright a few hours fishing would be the perfect cure.
On the way to the river my truck started to misbehave and seemed to lose power. I got to the motorway and thought do I head to the garage or go fishing?
Not exactly a hard one and after pulling over and restarting the truck it was fine (ish) so I decided to hit the river.
I’m glad I did. The water was in good shape, despite the rain, and for the first time in a while I didn’t need my fishing jacket.
A simple dark hare’s ear tied on to shrimp hook and a pink tungsten bead was my first choice and the fish didn’t seem to mind it too much. The first couple of pools brought a couple of small fish.
Just up from this there is this really nice corner that screams fish. I know there are always loads we encounter but this one is just about perfect. I bumped a fish and then hit one soon after. It was nice grayling.
That is how the fishing went and I continued working up the river catching the odd fish. I even saw a fish rise just the once.
I decided to get out and walk back to my truck which, thankfully, was fine. That was until I got to the hill just by my house and it started to play up again. Apparently it is called limp home mode which is where the computer takes over and cuts power right back so that you have enough to get you home. It is fixed now and was just a blocked pipe of some sort.
We were fed some of the nicest pork I have ever eaten by Jan and Keith last night. Jan is the terror of Kennick and there are not many people who know it better. Keith doesn’t fish but can hold his own in any fishing conversation and is probably the perfect example of learning something by osmosis! Any pork left Jan?