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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Archive for July, 2008

Hot, hot, hot

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

The CLA was awesome. Good weather, good friends and good fun. It was great to see so many people drop in and see us and see friends both old and new. We were blown away by the support for what we are trying to do in fly fishing and people really liked that we are trying to be different rather than following the crowd with brands X,Y and Z. We were paid a really nice compliment by a guy who works for Microsoft and said that what we are doing reminded him of the early days of the company. I guess instead of being computer nerds we are fishing geeks!

We also had some of our new Pro Staff drop by and it was great to have a cast with them and to hang out for some drinks and food at the end of the day. We were so rushed off of our feet on Saturday that Jim and Bob even gave us a hand. It’s sort of like that here, we all muck in. Thanks fellas!

The evenings were real fun as we broke out the rods and talked fishing and had a cast. It was cool that all of the AAPGAI guys met up and had a cast. No one hid away and as all became quiet at the show we all drifted down to the casting area to throw some loops. I am so proud to be part of this organisation and the people in it are such top guys. Mark as ever was out throwing until the early hours but was still up and ready to go after a couple of hours sleep.

It was the first time we camped at the show and it worked really well. Bob’s wife Mel looked after us way beyond the call of duty and the barbie was nearly always lit but she even managed a spag bol for dinner on Sat night. We had a tent parked out back that had a couple of bedrooms. Bob and Mel had one room and Illtyd had the other with me in the cooking area. In our main tent we had Mark, Jax, Karl and Lee with Jim and Tony pitched next to our tent.

The thing that made be laugh the most was that Illtyd would disappear to the Fishing Wales tent to have a few drinks and to converse in his native tongue and then come back in the early hours a little the worse for wear. He managed to do all of this without making a sound or tripping up. I put this down to the fact that he is probably one of the finest sea trouters around and as a result spends most of this time of year in the dark and so has no problems seeing in the dark. Seriously though we are all light weight sea trouters when it comes down to Illtyd! He is coming down for our sea trout course and I am helping and can’t wait to learn from the maestro to see how a professional like him does it!

Mark has thrown up a new blog about some fishing at Chew and some interesting and as ever amusing insights into fly fishing for pike.

I have popped a pic below of some of the lads (Jim,Mark,Jim,Paul,Bob,Brett,Clive) at the end of the day ahead of some serious casting. For me it just sums it all up…a great bunch of blokes!

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We got there in the end…

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Richard has tried to sort out some river fly fishing from the time I got a call from him on the opening day of the river trout season. Sadly the weather has always been against us but he popped into our place yesterday asking if I was able to take him out today. It was all I needed to get me out having almost shaken my nasty case of man flu. It also meant I got to sneak out of the preparation for the CLA Game Fair.

Richard has done some still water trout fishing but never fished a river before. We headed for a small stream just a couple of minutes away from us and got going. I talked him through the differences between still and moving water and how to approach each cast according to room and as he picked this up really quickly we tied on a fly and got going. It is always a really special moment when someone passes a new milestone and was nice when Richard hooked and landed his first wild trout. He normally uses a 10ft 7 weight rod but slipped into using an 8ft 4 weight with ease which meant I could throw a few fast balls at him and get him casting into some of the more tricky holes. He did a great job and rose to the challenge. I think he’ll get the taste for river fishing and will be chasing more of our wild fish down here. Well done Richard!

I have to post a special mention to my mate Tim Smith who lives by the river I was on and is a fellow instructor who works nearby. He popped down to say hi as he is out guiding for sea trout trout tonight and had the afternoon off. As it was so hot he brought a couple of glasses of water down for us which was most welcome. Thanks fella, see you at the CLA for a cold one!

Sneaking off guiding when I should have been helping Bob, Mark, Jax and Jim get everything ready for the CLA was a bit cheeky but looks like they have got everything ready and it is just a case of loading up before setting off. We have a big bunch meeting us up there and if you are at the show please feel free to pop in and say hello.

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Man flu….

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

I’m ill. I’m convinced it is the flu but it is probably a cold or a virus of some sort. I have been sitting feeling sorry for myself and haven’t been out fishing or casting. I am hoping it clears before the weekend as we have the CLA Game Fair looming large. We are all really excited about it and and have a large team going and have arranged some big nights with lots of friends who will also be sharing the team W & S tent with us. Mark said to me today that we are a bunch who seem to attract the fly fishing waifs and strays and I kind of like that. It is the sort of company I like and it is the sort of company I keep. We’re mainly there supporting our dealers and so our stand will be a relaxed, casual sort of affair where you will be most welcome to pop in and see us and have a drink or two, talk about fishing and perhaps a cast as well.

Before my horrific illness I mentioned a bit about Saturday and will rewind a bit more to Friday. I was lucky enough to be on the river with Bob as we took David and Caroline out for their first salmon fishing trip with double handed rods. They have both done plenty of trout stuff and picked up the double handed rods with ease aided with Bobs excellent tuition. The beat we fished is stunning and we were able to drive along it, fish the pools and then jump in the truck off to the next pool. With 2 miles of water to choose from we were able to cover some water.

We saw a few salmon moving but sadly didn’t connect. Caroline had a really good pull late on and David had a sea trout come off and landed a rather nice 3 lber. It was a great day and thoroughly enjoyable.

 I am on the river with Richard tomorrow. He is a stillwater angler looking to become a river fly fisherman.

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Top man!

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Just in from spending some time with Greg. He is a newcomer to fly fishing but is a real class act. As an instructor you get the feel pretty quickly when someone makes their first cast and see how comfortable they are with a fly rod. The guy looked like he was born with a rod!  He comes from a coarse background and enjoys stalking. I have a feeling he will enjoy the rivers just a little bit.

We met up at Kennick which is a stunning smaller reservoir and ideal for someone looking to make the first steps up from small still water trout ponds. When I have a day off I tend to head for the rivers but I do go to Kennick when I have the chance. There is a great bunch of guys up there and I have joined their busy and friendly club. I often bump into local fly fishing instructors there and is always nice to meet up and have a quick chat. I saw my good friend Dave who was teaching and Lee who had a day off just out fishing.

So I got Greg going on the basics and he zoomed through. We were soon covering double hauling and he picked that up in 10 minutes!

We did a bit of fishing and had one come unstuck but Greg asked if we could do more casting as he was getting so into it. It turns out he comes originally from the same neck of the woods as Mark so I dread to think what will happen when these two meet up, casting geeks from Staffordshire!

The other thing I really liked was that Greg had read I like Hobnobs and when we first met in the car park he got a packet out. How cool is that?! We only thought it right we had a trophy shot which you’ll see below. As ever we do things a little bit different….

Greg, great work fella!

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It’s all go….

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

I can’t believe where this week has gone, it seems to have gone in a flash much like this year!

Sunday I was fishing with my good friend and fellow instructor at SFFS Gary Champion. He was up doing some stuff on a very exclusive beat of the Test and we had arranged a days fishing on the chalkstream I fish the day before. We hit the river like excited school boys and were soon into some fish. It was a really nice way to fish as we pretty much shared a rod and took it in turns to have a go at the trout and also a few grayling. There were still quite a few mayfly about but not enough to interest the fish. It amazes me that they get so locked on to a food item but then lose interest as the hatches lessen despite the food source still being available in plentiful numbers. I have been there in the past and seen the odd mayfly around in November!

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We really covered some water and did a pretty good job. We managed lunch at 2.30 and then fished until 7.30 where Champo got out his stove, put it on the tailgate of my truck and cooked some venison steak rolls. This set us up really well for the evening and what an evening it was! About 8 we saw the start of what turned out to be the mother of all Blue Winged Olive hatches. Champo said he had never seen anything like it and compared it to a swarm of midges. It didn’t take long for the fish to zero in on the flies and the river came alive. I wish I had a photo but the fishing was just too good! The interesting thing was that Champo is an amazing fly tyer and had what looked like a perfect copy of a BWO. We saw a few refusals to it but nothing hit. As we were taking it in turns Champo offered me a chance to have a throw. I had a fly on that I have used a fair bit this year. It is basically a really roughed up klinkhammer and the name we gave it I can’t print but the name fits the way it looks! I cast my fly and it was hit straight off. I quickly had another and gave Champo one. We didn’t look back and lasted until 10.30 where we pretty much had to feel our way back to my truck. It was awesome!

Next day I was out with Graham and again the fishing was good but not quite as spectacular. He managed some really nice fish and although we had an alfresco Chinese on the riverbank the evening didn’t really come to anything. I think the evening before the sun had just broken through and kept the evening just that little bit warmer.

Wednesday I was doing some casting with Mary from Bristol. She pops over to Ireland for some fishing and is really into her Speycasting. She is the queen of the snap T! In the evening I met up with Alison and we went onto the Taw. I have to be honest and say the fishing sucked but the company more than made up for it. We had a real laugh and she is a real star. When we got there, there were a few sedge on the water but it never really got going. The breeze cooled things off just a bit too much. It did stop us finishing at 10 though…I don’t ever want to hear anyone say women aren’t as hard core as men when it comes to fly fishing!

Today I have been doing some casting with Paul. He is making his first bone fishing trip this year and wanted to throw some 8 and 9 wt rods. He had bought a 9wt from Howard and we strung it up. The thing just flew and we were trying various combinations of rods and lines. It was the best I have ever seen Paul cast and the bones better watch out! He was hitting some nice distance but in a controlled and smooth fashion. I really liked the way he was using drift to cushion the tip on his back cast and to lengthen his stroke. This was with him nursing a nasty cold and a bad back I hate to think how well he’ll do when he is feeling 100%.

On Friday Bob and I are guiding for salmon. Given the conditions and a bit of luck you never know! I love it when I get to work with Bob. I learn so much from him. He has been guiding and teaching here for 18 years and knows just about every spot and habit of the river and the fish in there. Its worth it just to watch him casting! 

I am out on Saturday with Greg to fishing who sounds like he is keen to learn as much as possible about stillwater fly fishing so I am really looking forward to it. I am going to head for somewhere he will learn lots and enjoy the scenery. I’ll get some pics and put them up on Monday.

We have had some nice comments from happy customers…

Bob, you gave me a top lesson a few weeks ago. The phrase “old dog, new tricks” was never far from my mind. However, having just returned from the Spey I’m delighted to tell you that I managed to get the line to sing out rather nicely. The score was 2 sea trout and 1 salmon (8 1/2 lbs) so I must have been doing something right- testament to your excellent tuition.

M Cooper

Pete, I’d just like to say what a magnificent day I had in the company of Mark. He obviously has the patience of a saint. I certainly gained so much in confidence that I am out every other night practicing the various casts on the lawn.

A fabulous day, good weather, good company and good fishing.

D Coeshall

The snap T queen in action!

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Sort of work…

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

As I think I mentioned the other day we have a busy week with fly fishing tuition and Mark and I were just putting some finishing touches to our lake yesterday. We cut a little of the banks and took some weed out. Its funny though as we were chatting away like a pair of old women about fishing. I happened to mention that I had my rod in the back of the truck and I hadn’t tried the new line I had for it. That was like red rag to a bull to Mark. We had worked hard for a couple of hours and he was itching for a cast. We quickly finished up and got the rod out of my truck. Just as we were setting up Bob pulled up. It must have been one of the priceless moments as it must have looked as if we had been there “playing” for ages instead of toiling!

Bob hopped out of his truck and walked over “is that the new line?” he asks “yup” “lets have a cast then” and off we went. It was supposed to be a quick throw before we went home but we ended up casting and catching a few fish too. I was amazed to see how well some of the browns are doing. There is a real healthy larder for them and it looks like they are taking advantage of it.

 Its still a bit over cast and we had some heavy showers last night but the weather isn’t as omminous as it has looked of late so fingers crossed. The Tamar is still nasty height wise but is starting to lose some of its colour. We could be game on next week for some migratory fishing. I spoke to Karl last night and he is itching to come down and catch a few.

I have tomorrow off and I am heading up to fish some chalk with Champo. The river we are fishing does tend to rise and get some colour but appears to be in good shape so we have decided to start with a dry fly only and see how it goes. I’m told there are some odd mays around so I have tied some up to see if I can drag a few up to have a look. I’m really looking forward to it and will post some photos if we are lucky. We plan to fish hard and late and we’ll have the ever popular tailgate chinese afterwards.

Fishing Dog

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

The rain continues and the rivers are still high. I’m writing this having just looked at the webcam of the Exe and it is lower than earlier today but still unfishable and not very safe. I think it would have been a little foolish to have taken Guy out today and it looks like there will be more early tomorrow. As ever we look for the upside and it gave Mark and I a chance to do some maintainance on our lake with some strimming and light weed cutting passing a pleasant few hours. We’ll do a little bit more as we have a busy week on there next week.

 Enzo is my best pal. He is my dog and has been a constant companion for the last 15 years. There was a time when he would come on nearly all of my fishing trips but being 15 the old batteries do tend to run out a little bit quicker than they used to. As the old saying goes “the mind is willing but the body isn’t able” He has been on the Teign with me recently and on the occassions I am in the office he comes along and helps me a little bit when I am teaching. He seems to know when I am about to go fishing and as soon as he sees me with a rod he’ll jumps up as if to say “where we going?” He’ll keep me company if I am casting in the garden and waits by the door for me to come home when I have been on the river as if he wants to know the fishing report! He is a good fishing dog as he never jumped in the water and didn’t try and land my fish for me just sat there chilling out and enjoying it all. Funnily enough he fits in with the relaxed lifestyle at the Scott Fly Fishing School where the vibe as ever is chilled!

People often ask if he is named after the famous Italian but it is infact after a Spanish guy I did some surfing with a long time ago. He always had his dog with him and said he was his best friend and funnily enough his name was Enzo. I kind of liked that and I am pleased it has turned out the same for me!

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I’ve popped a link on here of some fishing I did on the Taw at the very end of May when the rivers were up (not as bad as now!) There were some Mays around and I had to use a big fly to bring them up and it proved to be a bit of a mouthful for some of the fish but it did OK. And before you say it I know I’m not Micheal Parkinson when it comes to the camera but who cares its about the fishing!!

 CLICK HERE

Just a little damp….

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

I have just cancelled the 2 days guided fly fishing with Guy T which is a shame as we had some pretty cool stuff planned. He is down for a week with his family and it sounds like they will be leaving a little earlier than planned!

I am hoping to do some fishing a little further up country on Sunday so I will be watching the weather closely.

In the meantime though I have uploaded a new video of my buddy Ray catching a really nice grayling from a few weeks back. The water was carrying some colour but we came across a nice grayling rising and being the gentleman I am I offered it to Ray. The truth is that I owe him some big fish as he let me cast to and catch a 3lb rainbow on the Colorado a few years back and so although I got the short term glory he has plenty of big fish credits for the future. As well as being a great fisherman he is one of the smartest people I know, what is it they say about it being a long term game?!

So the fish was there for the taking and Ray tied on a size 22 unweighted pheasant tail and greased it up so that it sat just subsurface. Ray is a big fan of fishing just below and I remembered when he had first picked up some emerger patterns from a fly shop in Basalt we visited one time in the states. We happened to be on the Frying Pan fishing pretty much side by side and the fishing was electric to say the least. Rays emerger was doing the business and I would hear “emerger” shouted to me as he hooked into another and I was fishing a parachute tups (you can take the boy out of Devon) and would shout “dry” back as I hooked into one. To be honest I think you could have tied on a fag butt and still caught it was that good but to anyone walking along the bank they would have been amused to see us.

So hopefully this will remind you we do get some good conditions and I look forward to seeing them. I must apologise for the “good fish” comments as those of you I have guided will know I get just as excited as the person holding the rod!

CLICK HERE for Rays grayling

Away from it all

Monday, July 7th, 2008

I’m back from a couple of weeks in Tanzania. Now, I love my fishing holidays (I have a few booked for later in the year to offset the lack of fishing on this one!) but this was truely amazing.

Being just 6 feet away from a pride of lions is something I will never forget or seeing a pack of hyenas leaving for an evenings hunt was a magical sight. The tents we stayed in were not fenced off so it was not unusual to be awoken by a munching sound just outside . We would creep out of bed and see a huge eye of an elephant, hipo or giraffe just a few feet away from where we stood. The highlight for me was the walking drive where we saw plenty of animals but also the tracks  of animals and signs of a hunt. This was the only time our guide carried a gun and I assumed it was incase of an angry lion, leopard or hipo but it was in fact for water buffalo. Apparently they are the most unpredictable of anything you are likely to encounter. I have some photos and will pop them up shortly but some of the things we saw I will never forget.

So what does this have to do with fly fishing in Devon? I guess not a lot but I have to say how impressed I was with the guides and how they worked as a team. Although there were not many lodges near us when someone had spotted something they would pass on the information and I thought this was pretty neat. They also had a few tricks up their sleeves that made the day even more special and I have to admit I nicked a couple!

There was some beach holiday too and luckily I packed an 8wt and some clousers and spent some fun time catching jacks and small cuda. It was fun figuring out the fish and where they were and I was a little surprised to see that they didn’t want a frantic retrieve but a nice steady pull. Like everyone in Tanzania they seem to be pretty relaxed!