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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Pete Tyjas’

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.

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Fly Fishing Devon

Friday, July 6th, 2012

We’ve had 2 days of dry weather which has meant the level of the Taw has dropped just a little bit and the colour has dropped a little. The river still being high means it has a push to it and means I have had to look at the river a little more differently than normal. I love to cast a dry fly to a rising trout. I am sure there aren’t many of us who don’t but it isn’t going to be a winning combo right now. The lack of rising fish have proved the point but sometimes in conditions like this casting a larger dry into a slow, sheltered spot can bring up a fish or two but a nymph or better still a couple of nymphs are going to pay bigger dividends so that’s how I’m fishing right now.

Casting off of the main flow and into areas where the trout don’t have to expend too much energy can catch you a few and casting tungsten bead head nymphs are better still. These areas especially under tree cover can also be the domain of a resting sea trout and sometimes you can get lucky if you combine these areas with quiet wading and a good first cast. It has worked pretty well for me recently and again today.

I’m pleased with Issue 7 of Eat, Sleep, Fish and hope if you haven’t seen it yet you’ll enjoy some reading over the weekend!

 

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Back end fly fishing

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

It’s a funny old game. The leaves are falling, the tempertaures have fallen and there’s some colour in the water and you know what? The fish are biting pretty good.

I am out on the water just about every day and there have been a few mornings when I have peered out and thought mmmmm, this might be a toughie. It’s not like I don’t like the tough days. In fact I really like them. They are the days when you really think about fly selection, where you are going to fish and what might do the job for the day. I’ll carefully think about the beat we’ll be fishing and what will be the best for the conditions. Those I have guided will know I will have them leaping into the truck to try another beat if the one we are on isn’t fishing.

I was guiding Gavin at the weekend and it turned out to be one of those days where everything slotted into place just as I always hope they will. I took him to one of his favourite beats and we had a bunch of fish including a sea trout that we saw shoot out of his hidey hole and nail the Copper John we were fishing. It did his best to weed Gavin but some well executed side strain did the job and we netted the fish. We headed back for lunch at the hotel where the chefs always like to come up with something interesting to eat. Rob said he had come up with the ultimate fisherman’s lunch which he calls the Manwich. Tell you what, it is ideal fishing fodder.

We hit another beat after lunch and fish were soon on the dry. As the day went on the fishing went in pulses of activity but we took advantage of them. Just as we called it a day, the skies opened and the rain fell. It couldn’t have been better timing.

Just back from guiding on the chalk with the legend that is MFD. Report to follow shortly!

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Just Sometimes Part 2

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

I remember reading one of John Gierach’s books where he writes about “expertising”. He and his buddy AK were invited to show a guy how to fish a lake he had on his land for trout. Predictably, they tried everything and couldn’t buy a fish no matter how hard they tried. The guy then rigged his own rod up (it might have been a spinning rod but I can’t remember) and proceeded to pull out fish after fish.

I had a half day booking that Emma had taken from Michael and Andy (Father and Son in Law) to help them with their casting and to show them how to get the best from the mile of river ( I won’t tell you the name!) that was at the bottom of their land.

We hopped into my truck and drove down the steep hill to the bottom. This was fun in itself as I had to engage four wheel drive!

I parked up and saw a really nice little fishing hut and after talking through tackle and rod selections we went on to some grass to talk casting. I managed to get a quick glance at a short section and already liked what I saw.

They cast well and we headed off to have a look at the river. I rigged up a trout rod and salmon outfit to display what would be needed and planned on showing them where they should be thinking about fishing for trout, sea trout and salmon.

The water had some really nice pools for salmon and some nice spots for sea trout to hole up in. I pointed them out and showed them how they should think about fishing them and then came across a really nice pool. Now, one thing is for sure – I never, ever fish when I am working. People pay me to guide them, not to go fishing but I do sometimes demonstrate a cast if it is needed. In this instance I was showing them how to vary the angle they could fish their salmon fly at before Michael had a go. I was explaining about managing the line when it went tight. I did what any angler would do and lifted into what was a salmon. It was on and so I handed the rod to Michael who in all the excitement locked down on the fish a little bit too much and it came off but it was great for him to feel a fish on.

It was amazing water and one I would love to fish one day in a non working capacity!

I had the real pleasure of guiding Daran for a few days this week. He is a very accomplished angler and knows his stuff. The brief was to show him the Taw and then to head up into Dartmoor on the second day. Sounded perfect to me!

I took him to our new beat on Monday and mentioned about potential for sea trout along with the trout. We started with a dry and then tied on a nymph, duo style, when we hit my favorite sea trout holes. The first one didn’t bring a sea trout on but on the last cast, when he was inducing the nymph, he hooked into what we first thought was a salmon. He was fishing a 4 wt and kept the fish skillfully out of the snags and safe from danger. We got a better look and I couldn’t believe it when I saw spots on the tail. It was a rainbow of over 5lb and was way too big for my net. We got to a position where we planned to beach it. I knew it was going to be a toughie and said in true saltwater fashion “if I touch the leader it counts” ! I managed that and as it was coming up the bank I tried to ease it into position when the hook hold came loose and the fish swam off. I think it had been in the river a fair time and the nearest fish farm closed about a year ago so I wondered if it had come from there. I know it shouldn’t be in there but the river is not plagued with them and I work on the basis that everyone should get a break now and again and that goes for the fish too.

So we get to the next pool all excited and Daran’s dry dips. The fish heads upstream and we know it is a strong fish. Fish safely netted and it is Daran’s first sea trout. We spent the afternoon catching more trout and we reckoned we’d hooked another small sea trout. What a great day!

Tuesday and we head to the Moors. Daran excelled again and soon had beaten his best ever tally for trout. I am the worst person to count fish but was nice to count down to the magic number. We stopped counting after that as it only seemed right and I’d have never remembered how many he caught. I took him to a few of my favourite places and then one last spot. We were fishing ( I think) a small dry when we saw a good fish move. We covered it but nothing happened and I mentioned that it looked like it had taken a caddis and tied on a balloon caddis. He cast it out and the fish whacked the fly.  It was a good fish and Daran was christening my new 2wt and kept the fish out of a couple of spots where it tried to wrap him. The fish was landed and we thought that was a good time to end the day with a 14 1/2 inch fish.

Just sometimes it all goes to plan!

Had a great couple of days with my good friend Jim Williams, report to follow.

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Just sometimes….

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Just sometimes everything slots into place and gives you that nice feeling that you are doing your job as a fly fishing guide as good as you hope and, more importantly, what your guest hopes too!

I was guiding Stephen who I have guided a couple of times before; the first time I guided him several years ago he managed a memorable 16 inch trout on a dry. As I am writing this I seem to remember that this was one of those hunches that worked out but that story will keep.

This time, we had picked up a few trout as a blue winged olive hatch had started to get going and we came to a spot that I have had some success with in the past. It is a place I know sea trout like to hold in. I didn’t land any from there last year, although Gavin was broken by a really big fish that snapped at a mayfly with a pretty chunky leader on. The year previously though, the best spell I had was 7 fish hooked in 3 days. Sadly not all came in but it was nice as we got them to take in bright sunshine.

So, we came to this spot and I told Stephen that it CAN be a good spot but to be honest it hadn’t produced this year but the water level had come up a tiny bit and it was worth a try. Stephen’s first cast was a little short but a small trout hit it anyway although it came off. Next cast was one the money. Right under the low branch and into the pool. “Whack!” Sea trout don’t go whack but I thought it would add to the dramatic effect!

Stephen struck and he was in to his first sea trout. It wasn’t a huge one but that didn’t matter. Land mark fish can be whatever size as they are special ones. He was over the moon and we moved up and saw a couple of larger fish move but they didn’t play ball. Stephen, there will be next time and thanks very much for your note:

“Hello Pete

Just a note to say thank you for the excellent morning and for your patience in helping me to make real progress in getting back into river fishing.

I don’t know whether or not the photos you took were any good but I should be interested to see the one of the sea trout.

Again, many thanks and I look forward to seeing you again before long.

Stephen”

I really enjoy guiding the “long shot” fish. I know we can catch sea trout at night and during a spate, but it is kind of neat when you can do it in bright sun and low water.

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Fly Fishing in Devon – Loving it!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

It feels like I have looked up and we are coming to the end of June. It has been a great season so far and it feels like there is lots more to do and fish of all sorts to be caught. One of the things I did promise was to fish a bit more this year but I just haven’t really had the chance yet but I have promised myself I’ll put that right from now on.

Glyn takes a breather...love the jacket!

I have been loving the great caddis hatches we have been having  and, as has been the case for most of the season, we are tying on a dry and it is doing the job. I have to admit that I was a little nervous of what the fishing would be like after mayfly but they still appear to be happy to feed, despite a few looking as though they wouldn’t be out of place on the oche of a darts tournament!

David works a nice pool

The rain has been welcome and I did lose a day to a heavy coloured river but it didn’t rise enough to really make the next days unfishable.

It was great to meet up with Glyn and David again and we managed some nice fish on the day. While I was with Glyn, David excitedly told me about the fish that had taken his fly and headed deep and broke him off. It might just have been another sea trout. He did console his lost fish with a really nice 11 incher though. Glyn fished the best I have seen her and her day was made by an otter swimming right past her on the river. She smartly reeled and wandered off to the next pool!

DFP christens my new net

The legend from Portland was back in town and had some unfinished business with the Taw that he put right landing a number of nice fish and giving my brand new net a good working out. Dave from Portland you were on fire!

Murky weather but the fish were still biting for Gavin

Gavin was also back for some trouting. We fished in just about every weather you could imagine but the river stayed just right and the fish were biting. He had a number of really nice fish and a new personal best of 13 inches. We almost got a photo of it but the slippery customer saw a chance and rightly went for it.

A 13incher that was a little camera shy!

My good friend Toby has a new site that has his excellent photos and words that might be of interest. Take a look Here

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Devon Fly Fishing

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

It feels like the mayfly went in a blur of slashy takes and big fish!  I have been amazed by the good numbers of sizeable fish that have come out of the river as the more wary fish, that we don’t get to see a lot, shake off their normal shyness and hit the big mays as they drift down stream.

We have had plenty of fish in the 10 to 12 inch range and more than a few that have hit 13 inches only to be beaten again by a great 16 and a halfer that was caught last Friday. The sea trout have been starting to show and when guiding Richard from Hampshire for a couple of days it was great to see a pool switch on for a few moments and to watch a sea trout rise to the dry and then, just a few casts later, watch Richard’s rod get almost yanked out of his hand by a fish that we thought must have been a good sea trout. It just goes to show you don’t always have to fish at night, or when the river is coloured to catch them.

RFH works his magic

Richard is turning into quite the river angler now, putting exqusite casts into the hard-to-reach places and getting rewarded with some nice fish. I was also out with Russell and his friends – James, Charlie and Kelvin who were making the shift from stillwaters to rivers on a 2 day fishing course.

It was great fun and the guys all did really, really well. All of them caught some nice fish and a special mention has to go to Charlie for catching the season’s best fish of sixteen and a half inches!

The end of the day....

It’s always great when we have Dave from Portland join us, which he did on Friday, weaving his usual magic and troubling somereally nice fish, followed by Mike on Saturday who wanted to learn how to fish a river. I suspect the fish on the Tone will have something to fear now.

The deep concentration of Mike the river angler!

It was great to meet up with Clare, Fiona and Bev who wanted to learn to fish and, as ever, the ladies showed us guys how to make fly casting look easy!

Fiona, Clare and Bev hit the river

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Fly Fishing Devon Rivers

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I have a day off today and as I sit here in the garden writing, we were really pleased to see that the swallows that nest in our garage arrived this morning. I had seen them while having lunch while working yesterday and Emma had seen a couple pass over yesterday so we knew they were on their way.

Ash with his first Taw trout

On the river the best of the grannom is now over but there are still a few about. I have spent more time fishing the emerger stage of the hatch with my guests and it has worked pretty well. While guiding yesterday I also spotted a yellow mayfly who had jumped the gun a little.

Jason works a run

The big worry is the lack of water. A friend was telling me Sunday that water levels are already comparable to 1976 which, for those that can remember, are low!

It doesn’t seem to have affected the trout fishing too much and we have seen and heard the first round of sea trout on the hotel waters, but a good flush of water wouldn’t go amiss. The most the river has come up since the trout season has started is 1 inch. It looks like the weather is settled for the next few days but it won’t be long before I start rehearsing the steps for a rain dance.

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Fly Fishing Devon

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Last weekend was my birthday. It is the sort of occassion that I get as excited about as I used to but I think this one was one of the best. Getting up early to a beautiful sunny morning I opened some great presents from Emma and Charlie and then sat down to a magnificent breakfast and some chill out time in the garden. We had some birthday cake for lunch and Emma suggested I hit the river to catch a few birthday trout. It sounded like a great idea and so I did just that.

The Taw

The river, although low, was looking good and I knew that grannom had been coming off just around lunchtime so I knew I was on the water at the right time.

Perfect timing!

I rigged up some bamboo and headed down stream to a favourite pool. It is really nice when you get there and the fish are just starting to rise.

A vintage Bannister rod

Judging by the rises they were at the early stage of the hatch and were taking the emerging pupa. I tied on one of my easy-tie balloon caddis and a really simple grannom pupa. I stuffed the first take but managed to get a few more out of the pool.

A Taw trout

I fished for a few hours and caught a few and had what was just about the perfect birthday!

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River Taw fly fishing

Friday, April 8th, 2011

It is always nice to get to fish or guide on a new water. I was down on the south side of the Moor to meet up with David who has over 1 1/2 miles of some really nice water and wanted to see how we would approach and fish it for migratory fish. It was a really nice piece of water with a mixture of deep, shaded, slow pools that looked the ideal spot for sea trout and some classic salmon pools too. David covered it and fished it really well. It was one of those bits of water that, despite the water being low, you are always in with a chance.

David fished his stretch of water!

Yesterday I hit a new piece of chalkstream. Small, overgrown, low, clear and intimate. The sort of water where you have to spot the fish and creep up on them. We fished light with a one weight and worked hard on the stealth stuff. You know what? It worked pretty well. Despite the fish up there not having fully woken up we looked for the shallower water where fish were lying and offered them a CDC emerger. The only downside of this simple, but hugely deadly fly is that once they have had a fish you need to nip them off and tie on another. I had at least three of them being rotated on my fly patch during the day.

The grannom have really been flooding off of the Taw and the fish have been on them. We have a new section of water for our fishing school which is about 1 1/2 miles long. It is lower down the Taw and has some nice salmon pools and spots for sea trout along with brown trout. I have walked it a few times now and reckon it is longer than that as the river twists and turns but there is a great amount of water for our guests to fish, be it migratory or non migratory fishing they are after. This is along with all the great water that the hotel has so I reckon we have nearly 8 miles of private water to show anglers now.

I was guiding further down the Taw with Richard the other day. He has a cottage right by the river and wanted to learn how to fish the water for salmon. I was happy to help and showed him the pools and how best to approach them and how to fish them under differing water levels. It was one of the first bright, sunny days but we had a good go and it was nice walking back to Richard’s cottage for a pizza and sit in the garden before hitting the river again. Things weren’t to be but I’d mentioned that on the bright days it is worth heading down early to the river. I had done this a bit last year and it is really nice being there as the sun comes up. Anyway, Richard did just this and I had a call early the next day saying that he had landed his first salmon. He thinks it was a really well mended kelt but it is a great start to the second day of his salmon fishing career. My advice to him when I left him was to listen to everything anyone tells him about salmon fishing but don’t be afraid to do something from the left field. That is what he did and it turned out well for him. Well done Richard!

Richard swings a cascade

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