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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing Tuition in Devon’

Flying in for some fly fishing….

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

I had a call from Barry who was keen to take his team of Nina and Tony out to try fly fishing for the first time. I was only to happy to help and asked where he was coming from. It turned out they were from Chichester. He had a plane and had checked out that we were only a few minutes away from Eggesford Airfield so they could pop down do some fly fishing and also have a team lunch at the hotel.

They all picked fly casting and fly fishing up quickly and really got into it. It is unusual and great to see 3 people all pick it up so quickly. As they were a team we also had a bit of fun with who could cast the furthest and accuracy competitions. I seem to remember Nina won the distance but think it might have been Barry who was most accurate. It didn’t really matter as it was just for a bit of fun.

Tony, Nina and Barry

The weather on Friday was a little murky and Barry had been keeping an eye out on the low cloud (apparently not good news for flying but good for fishing!) but as we ended the gloom lifted a little and I gave them a lift back to the airfield as it was on the way home.

The plane...how cool?!

As we walked to where the planes were parked ( I hope that is the right phrase) I saw what looked like a vintage plane and I was even more excited when Barry told me it was his plane. Being a child of the 70’s I had grown up building Airfix models and can still remember a lot of the planes I had built and seeing a real one up close was pretty cool. It turned out it was a German training plane built by Focke-Wulf. This thing looked great and sounded even better as it took off taking the guys back to Sussex.

Heading for home!

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Fly fishing, warm weather and getting ready

Monday, February 1st, 2010

I don’t know if you are the same but, for me, getting ready for a fishing trip works in 2 stages. I like to know I have everything that I am going to need and then I get excited in the last few days before I go and then pack everything at the last minute and spend the trip to the airport worrying I haven’t got everything I need or perhaps, if I do, is it enough?

I am pretty sure I have everything and am generally pretty well prepared. I have decided I don’t need too many clothes which means I have more room for gear…just in case!

The really funny thing is flies. This is especially the case with bonefish. I have hundreds that I will be taking but all I actually use is 6 or so that sit in my shirt pocket along with some nippers and spare tippet but its a good feeling to have the others with you just in case , right?

bag

I was told that a particular pattern is working really well on permit right now but you can’t buy it in the UK at all. I’ve looked and it isn’t available but you can bet I’d have had a dozen of them just to be on the safe side. I wonder if the fish know?

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Fly fishing with friends

Monday, November 16th, 2009

I quite like surprises, the nice kind that is. We had one about a month or so ago when my fishing buddy Ray (The Dude) and his long time girlfriend Christina came to stay. Ray and I tried bassing but we both knew in our heart of hearts that the howling wind we had at home was going to be amplified when we got to the coast. It was indeed the case and we made a few casts, pulled a few flies but decided 60mph winds were just a bit much.

I had told Ray about the excellent steak sandwiches that The Hotel had made me during the season were something he should try along with a cup of their coffee. Steak sandwiches weren’t strictly on the menu it was a peri peri version (also excellent) that you would find but poking my head in the kitchen and asking head chef Al nicely has often worked. It did and we both enjoyed them. The chips were pretty good too and it is nice to see that they are not the oven variety.

So we enjoyed those and headed back where the guys told us that they were getting married in a couple of weeks time and wondered if we would be the witnesses. We were so pleased and also touched and there were a couple of thoughts that immediately leapt into my mind. Firstly it would mean that I would need to dress up and I don’t really do smart these days and those last remnants of my smart wardrobe would be more fitting for a Dynasty/ Miami Vice themed party but secondly and more importantly we needed to celebrate this momentous occassion with some fishing. We quickly arranged a date and before we knew we were meeting to wet a line.

As ever I was early and was already fishing when Ray pulled up. “Fish biting?”  The answer was a resounding yes. We were fishing on a chalkstream and the lack of water meant the fish were bunched. A buddy and I had hit one pod and thought it best that we left them after taking what felt just about the right side of being greedy.

The fishing continued on a similar vein throughout the day and a light hatch at lunch gave me a chance to throw on some 24’s that I had tied up that even caught a few fish. We had decided to fish for as long as possible so it meant that we had barbecued burgers for lunch and a tailgate chinese for dinner. I called the Chinese through and picked it up. I have passed any sort of worry of people seeing me wander down a high street in waders ( a favourite pastime of Ray and I) and this was no exception as I couldn’t get parked anywhere near the Take Away. I was really impressed though when I walked into a supermarket and asked for some paper plates and the girl serving pointed me to where they might be without even blinking. We don’t usually go for plates but I though as there were 3 of us and it were a special occassion that we should at least try and do things properly. I think part of this is that I am still shamed by Champo who pulled out a stove and cooked vension steaks at exactly the same spot when we fished a year ago. I’ll always remember that for the food but also as we fished the biggest BWO hatch either of us had ever seen.

We had the chinese lined up on the tailgate of my pickup and it was a vaguely civilised free for all. We talked about the day and fishing in general. The light was going and any warmth had gone. The guys thought about quitting but it was 2 days before Ray got married and I thought it might be cool for him to catch one last fish as a single man. It was a nice landmark. I even bought some new clothes for the wedding.

last-fish

I was up in Bristol a week or so ago for my fix of sushi. We popped into the Asda ( it might even be called WalMart). It is worth a visit for the price of the petrol but also that you have to go through a drive through to pay. We don’t have one of these in Devon and I still haven’t figured out if it is good idea or not, or what the thinking behind it is but it is amusing to use anyway and I wonder if it is a little touch of America.

The reason I mention this is that when we were in the store I looked at the magazine section there which was pretty extensive and had just about base covered.This included fishing but there wasn’t any fly fishing mags there. Now I know we don’t have many but I thought there might be a chance of one but sadly not. Fly fishing is the centre of my world and a lot of my friends but I guess it just doesn’t register in the minds of Asda. I have been keeping an eye out recently to see if this is the case in other shops too and thankfully there are the odd one poking out but not the “full house” of all 4. I’m hoping that a lot of them are ordered on subsciption and that is the reason. I haven’t paid much attention to this sort of thing in the past and guess it has always been the way but it did strike a chord with me. I wonder what circulation numbers are like these days?…My hope is that they are on the up….

Hopefully fishing with pals on Tues…I’ve been tying like a madman!

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Fly Fishing around Devon and a bit of Cornwall too!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

They say variety is the spice of life and we have had a good mixture of fly fishing for our guests so far this week!

David and Glyn have been great supporters of what we are doing here and popped in for some casting on Saturday and then we headed off to catch some bass on Sunday. They were throwing their flies a good long distance and Glyn was soon rewarded with a thumping take, she was into her first ever bass.

glyn

David wasn’t far behind and was soon playing a fish too. I must admit we walked a fair bit and I think we broke into a run when we saw gulls hitting bait fish. It was worth it though as the bass were taking advantage of the bait ball too and the guys hooked into fish.

david

It was a great session and as ever they were great company . I headed off for a breather and something to eat before taking Mike and Lee out in search of sea trout. Mike has also been a regular visitor and despite us trying really, really hard we didn’t get lucky. We headed off to the river on Monday in search of trout and the guys did a great job. Mike took the honours and landed some good fish including a stunning 12 incher. His first of the day is below. I am also out with Mike on Thursday and we are going to see if we can tempt a day time sea trout along with a trout or two.  He is an excellent fisherman and great company!

my1

I’ve just come in from a great day on Colliford with Rob. He recieved a gift voucher for Christmas and has often pulled over at Colliford when driving down from the Midalnds and has looked longingly at the water so I was happy to help. When we met the weather wasn’t the friendliest but we pulled off a few shrewd moves and got into some fish and even had them on dries when the books might be suggesting otherwise. It  was great fun!

rob

Dry waders?….perhaps not!

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I thought this week was going to be a slightly quieter one than of late. I sort of put it down to family holidays that meant aspiring trout bums have had to pop the rods away for a week or two and do some non fishing related stuff. Well, this is what I thought but it has turned out not to be the case and we have been hitting some great caddis hatches and getting guests into a fish or two.

Lyndsey had popped down with her Dad who is an excellent fisherman for a few days fishing and asked if I were able to help with some casting and fishing tips. Lyndsey was an excellent learner and I gave her a few secret tips that had her giving her dad a run for his money on the catching stakes. He has taken some photos which I hope to pop up shortly.

Lewis had only had a brief session of casting two years ago and wanted to try again so we spent some time on the casting lake where we covered the essential casts needed for fishing the river and then went down to the river and discussed watercraft and how to read a river. We put all of this into action and it all happened pretty quickly and effectively. There is nothing nicer than seeing someone catch their first fish and even better when it is one of our wild brown trout from the River Taw!

lewis1

Bob was celebrating a major birthday and despite fishing the reservoirs of the Midlands he was keen to catch a bass. We were happy to oblige and I still smile when Bob and I spotted bass busting and ran like a couple of children so that he could cover them with a clouser. Pic below shows he did a great job and I quickly snapped the fish before he carefully released his first bass. I’m pleased to say it was the first of many!

b-bass1

I’ve just changed my wading boots as the last pair managed to last just over a season which I am pretty pleased with. I do abuse my gear a bit but at the end of each day I throw my stuff into the back of the truck so that I know I have it ready for the next day. This does mean it doesn’t get much of a chance to dry out. The new boots come with studs built in where as the old ones I had to screw in. Towards the end of their life the old boots wouldn’t hold studs which meant I was doing some pretty impressive down hill sking on the wet banks of the river. I am still proud to announce I haven’t fallen in yet but now that I’ve said this I have a bad feeling coming!

Fly Fishing Lessons

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

I’ve actually been away from giving fly fishing lessons for a couple of days as I was in Athens with the family for some cultural stuff. Thankfully my daughter Charlie takes after her mother and is pretty smart and is into studying Classics. This meant a trip to Greece was a good idea to see stuff up close and personal. We did various tours and the thing that struck me the most was how civilised the ancient Greeks were. Several hundred years BC and they invented democracy and understood what grown up behaviour is all about. I think many, including our politicians could learn a bit about this. Even their plays didn’t involve murder or violence. They might have alluded to it but nothing violent was ever shown. Perhaps another lesson could be learnt?  The other thing that stuck in my mind was that the Greeks were fighting the Ottoman Empire who were holed up high at the Acropolis. Apparently the Turks were getting low on ammo and were taking whatever metals they could from the ancient site to make bullets. The Greeks got wind of this and rather than have their treasured site ransacked they waved a white flag, met with the opposition and agreed to give the Turks ammunition on the basis that they took nothing more from the site! I think that was probably a step too far but I guess you can see what I am getting at?

angler

Anyway, back to fishing, it looks like we have had some rain in the 3 days I have been away. It sort of started Sunday when I took out David and Jan for a casting tune up. This went really well and previously Jan had been lacking confidence when it came to the casts and approaches for various fishing situations she had previously faced. By the end of it she was grabbing the rod wanting to try the next thing I had shown her! David is a good fisherman but hopefully picked up a few tips to help him catch a few extra fish. I am due to meet them tonight for some sea trouting but I have left 100 degree heat in Athens for rain and thunder back here. We’ll see how it goes!

Good luck to Jo and Lyn who are hoping to make their first solo trip on the river having spent time with us. We’re waiting to hear all of the details!

I have added some new bits to the Latest News page.

Previous Fly Fishing Lessons blogs.

rain

 

A few messages from happy guests of our fly fishing school

Hi Pete

thanks again for a truly wonderful day’s fishing. You taught me so much that I had to write it all down as soon as I got home so that I would not forget it !  I hope that we will be fishing together soon.
 
Best wishes
 
Neil

 Thanks so much Pete.
Thoroughly enjoyed my 3 days on the Taw even if the fish are not quite so big as those in New Zealand!  Still lots of fun.
.
Take care.
regards,
Nick

Hi Pete had a fantastic day and learned a great deal and will keep you informed of my progress.
       
                  Kind regards Treeve.

Pete, thank you for helping us through and replacing flies when needed.  Your expertise was much appreciated and it was good to learn from a master of his trade.

 Best wishes and thank you again.

 John

 

 

 

Mia’s first fly fishing lesson!

Friday, July 10th, 2009

My good friend Ray, AKA the Dude, took his daughter Mia for her first fly fishing lesson and it looks like she is taking after her Dad.

Ray has written about it all below..

 My six year old daughter Mia had a day off school this week.  As her mother was working, I asked her if she wanted to spend the day fishing with her father.  She eagerly said yes, much to my delight, and we set off to Manningford Fishery.

Now I’m a wild trout, catch and release, upstream dry fly type of angler, and like most fishing fathers I fantasize about watching my daughter growing up fishing alongside me.  Today was that all important first day to expose her to fly fishing.  Most of all Iwanted Mia to have a fun day, but I knew that the only thing that would matter to her would be to catch a fish.  I was quietly desparate for everything to go well.

As I got the rod set up, she carefully searched through my fly box for the right pattern.  We had discussed a great many fishing related things during the half hour drive to the fishery, including what fish eat.  After much thought, she chose a size 16 bead head ptn.  So far so good.

We agreed that I would cast and she would retrieve.  The nine foot, six weight outfit was ridiculously big for her, but she gamely rested the butt of the rod on her tummy and stripped line with her left hand while holding the rod with her right hand.  She declined my offer of help to support the rod.  Good girl,I thought.

After only a few casts, the fishing gods smiled upon us and she hooked a fish.  After a brief struggle, the fish came off, but she was excited and anxious to “try and catch him again”.  She hooked another, netted it, gave it a few spirited blows with the priest, and played with it in the water before we headed to the pub for lunch. 

The fishing wasn’t as good after lunch, but just before we headed home she hooked another.  It broke her off, and I figured it was a good time to call it quits.  It left her with the feeling of wanting to come back and “try and catch him again”.  We ate the fish that Mia caught for dinner that night, a fitting end to that all important first day.

Thanks Dude and really well done Mia!

usa0808-97-mia-rockcreeklake

 

 

Fishing Towns

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

There is nothing like wandering into a fishing town. The one I remember the most is Basalt that sits right on the Frying Pan river in Colorado. The Dude and I pulled in for some breakfast and coffee and saw a row of drift boats lined up ready for a day in the water. We popped into the two fly stores there and there were guides busily stocking up on flies and talking their guests through what they were going to be doing on the day. I also remember walking into a restaurant in waders and sitting down at a table without anyone batting an eyelid.

I have just come back from a week of guiding Alan and Pam in Hampshire where we have been fishing a few juicy bits of water. They were based in Stockbridge and I would pick them up each morning. I think Stockbridge qualifies as a fishing town. Well, almost. The two fishing shops open early and there are even a few guides knocking around (me included). The reason is that I am not sure how much of a fishing town it is or not as I am not so sure it is the same once the mayfly have gone. I have been there plenty of times but it does usually coincide with mayfly and there are plenty of anglers around but I am not so sure if this is the case all year round. I will be back later in the year and will let you know.

The fishing itself was really good. The mornings were best with gin clear waters where we stalked and cast our dries to rising fish. The mayfly was OK but not stunning. We fished several different stretches of water and did well on all of them. There is nothing like seeing a fish move towards the fly and take it!

Pam and Alan were new to fly fishing the chalkstreams and are used to casting a fly on spate rivers. You know what? They took to it like they had always done it.

Fly Fishing in Devon

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

I’m just in from the river and what a week it has been. I don’t think I have ever seen better mayfly hatches down here in Devon in all the time I have fished and guided here. I have had the pleasure of guiding John for three days and we have watched the fish get really turned on as the hatches have intensified. I usually fish a size 14 during the mayfly here but they wanted big flies. We have been throwing size 10’s and fish of all sizes have been hitting them hard. I have to say that I don’t think I have ever been so excited as we watched a fish hit a natural and then watch John make a cast and the fish hungrily engulfing our offering.

 

 

jo2

I was just talking sea trouting with a guest and told him about Sunday night. I planned to nick a quick couple of hours just in case and had watched the pool I was going to fish. I saw a really nice fish take to the air. There is nothing like this to make the hear race a little. I walked down to where I was going to fish.  The spot where I get in is a sort of slide down into belly deep water. I did this with what I thought was a pretty good effort and was ready to go. I heard some bleating and turned round and saw that a sheep and lamb were caught on a ledge above the river. With me getting in the sheep had become a little agitated and started running along the ledge. Of course the lamb followed but wasn’t as sure footed and slid down into the water. There was no way it was going to get up so I popped my rod down and managed to grab hold of the lamb. This was no easy task in itself but I managed to point it in the right direction but there was no way it was going to get up the bank unaided. Now, I’m not the strongest of fellas but with some huffing and puffing I got it up and to safety but all the splashing around had put any chance of a fish into the “not happening” catagory. At least I’d felt I’d done a good deed for the day!

Fly Fishing in Devon 2009….

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

The season started in earnest on the Taw yesterday. 1st March is the start of the salmon season with fly fishing for trout on the 15th. I wanted to mark the occassion and fished a couple of pools on the Taw and although it felt like I might have been going through the motions it was really nice to be on the river I love so much. I seem to still have the lurgy thing I picked up on my return from NZ and I could only fish for a couple of hours without feeling a litle tired out. I am sure there is a lesson there which is probably along the lines of fishing hard for 2 weeks without either eating or sleeping properly isn’t good for your health. I tell you what though it was worth it!

I didn’t have any interest from a salmon but there is plenty of time, with the weather turning it might bring some water and a few fish with it. I’ll be waiting……

Our team member Graham who is up country was fishing the Avon for a last grayling session with his fishing buddy Robin. I have met Robin a few times now and had the pleasure of having a fish with him in Mexico. The thing I’ll always remember about him is that, like I, on any fishing trip he wants to squeeze the most out of every day that is possible and so it would often be the case that when the flats boats would come in at the end of the day he and I would pop our heads in to see how everyone had done and then grab a rod and shoot off and fish from the beach. the one memorable thing I remember is him snagging a lure (he was plugging for barracuda) on a mooring post but instead of breaking off he stripped down to his pants and swan out and retirieved it. It was a pretty brave feat considering the sand flies and mossies that were around!

Anyway Graham sent me a report that I have popped below…

My last jaunt out grayling fishing had been a dismal affair as it was during the cold snap just before the UK was “snowed in”. Anyhow, the fish were not in the mood, the water was high and coloured and my rod rings kept icing up. So to make up for it I thought I could squeeze one more day before preparing myself for the opening of the trout season.
So it was with high hopes Robin and I drove down to a middle beat on the Wiltshire Avon in conditions that can only be described as virtually the complete opposite of my previous visit. The river was high but falling and the air temperature was a sweltering 12C. I tackled up with a 8ft 8in #4 and put on two gold bead nymphs to start with. Activity was slow but I was getting the odd knock and picking up the occasional small grayling. Somehow I felt a change was needed and so converted to a New Zealand dropper with a knlinkhammer as the dry and a micro tungsten bead ptn on the tail. Immediately catches improved and the size with some of the better fish nudging 1.5lbs. In addition I caught a lovely out of season wild brown that spent more time in the air than under water. There were a few dark olives on the surface but very little were interested. I managed to rise 3 fish and missed every one of them; with style if I may say!

robin1

 The wildlife down here is
superb and today I watched 4 buzzards circling above me, saw 2 kingfishers zip along the river and the coup de grace was was watch an egret slow fly upriver. Robin saw a water vole which can only be viewed as encouraging for the future as these little fellows have had a torrid few years.
I noticed a few pike during the day and mentioned this to Robin as he always has a rod in the car for these critters and within one hour he had two on the bank, best 9lbs, and several swirls and rushes to his fly. The recent high water must have flushed these fish into the beat and the keeper was only too pleased to see a couple on the bank .
All in all a good end to the grayling season. Now let’s hope 2009 is a corker for all us trout bums!

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