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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Archive for August, 2008

Shunts, mays and a first…

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I was due to have another day with Max today on the Teign. I passed and the river looked just peachy. I quickly bought a dat ticket and waited to meet Max. Having swapped emails I knew how keen he was to wet a line again and when he was 15 minutes late I gave him a shout. It sadly turned out that he had a minor accident in Moretonhampstead and was frantically trying to sort things out so he could still go fishing. Sadly it wasn’t the case and we have arranged to meet up in the future.

This left me at a loose end and without a rod I decided to head home, grab a rod and pop into a stretch of the Crediton Club  waters that I hadn’t really fished before but had seen the past winter when helping do some club bank work. I say help, I managed to “break” the chainsaw three times!

There wasn’t much going on but I popped on a dry and threw it in to some likely looking holes and had a few fish. Things warmed up a bit and there was a mix of stuff hatching including a couple of late mayflies.

It turned out that the river fished well and I had a phone conversation with my  pal Alison who is getting the river fly fishing bug. I had a quick sandwich and arranged to meet her on another stretch of the club’s water to see if we could catch a few. As I mentioned she is new to the river and was looking to get her name on the score board. We had been out the other evening and despite her rising a few, none stuck; including something that hit really hard and was a really, really nice fish!

The great thing about the rivers down here is the variation…well, usually it is. I had left a river that was on fire and we had started on one that was the opposite! There was little by way of hatch and very little surface activity. This didn’t dampen our spirits and as ever we had a really good laugh. Having fished small stillwaters I was so impressed with the way she has got to grips with the different challenges moving water gives us including all the nasty holes I try and get her to get the fly in!

The 3pm caddis hatch I hoped for was more of a whimper than a roar and it didn’t really get the fish going. Despite everything Alison came up with the goods….excellent work and here’s to lots, lots more!

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Good ideas…..

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I have just got in from spending a day with Paul. It was a two parter as he wanted to work on some casting in preparation for his meet up with some bonefish a little later in the year and then we were to head off for some river fly fishing. He is doing himself proud and don’t tell him but I have a feeling he is going to slay them!

I noticed that when we were getting all of his rods and reels out that he also got out 3 white plastic place mats. It was only 9.30 and wasn’t time for lunch! It turned out that he uses them as “practice bonefish” so that when he is out doing the real thing on the flat he’ll have everything ready to launch his fly to the fish.

I know we cast to catch fish and a lot of the time casting is only used when we actually go fishing but a little amount of time spent practicing casting makes the fishing trip all that more easier and as a result even more enjoyable. Golfers go to the driving range to work on their swing perhaps we should open a casting range at HQ!

As the saying goes “practice makes perfect” and it was proven when Paul landed his yarn on his “bonefish” that had been carefully placed 75 feet away with alarming regularity!

We hit the river at 11.30 and straight away the fish were hitting the dry. Paul asked if we were going to stick with just a dry but with some good water still pushing through there was the chance of something a little special having a look at the hares ear I had tied to the bend of the dry. We picked up a few and moved up to the next pool. There was a nice slack area and Paul threw his flies into it. The dry dipped and Paul struck into a sea trout of about 1 1/2 pound that gave him quite a tussle. It was his first and a really nice moment. Soon after we watched a really fresh salmon of 6lb swim by our feet.

2.30 saw a really nice caddis hatch. We watched fish taking the emergers and seeing the size of them I asked Paul if he had ever caught fish on a size 20. “Nope” was the reply but it didn’t take long to put this right. Paul picked off fish after fish in what was a brief but heavy hatch that probably only lasted 20 minutes. Pick of the fish was an 11 incher but the fish were taking confidently and hard.

We carried on and although not as frantic the results were consistent. It was a great day and nice seeing Paul fish so well!

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A hog from the Moors…

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I met up with Max on Friday, he was looking for a few casting tips and some guided fly fishing too. As he was staying on the south side of Devon we though we would head up to Kennick for some casting and then up onto the Moors for some fishing.

We turned up at Kennick just as they were about to stock. It is great to see the quality of fish they are putting in there and I thought I recognised the landrover from Milemead Fishery. It is the guys we use for our little lake and no wonder Kennick is heaving at the moment with so many great conditioned fish being pulled out that are really giving anglers a pull.

There was a pretty strong wind and I was a little worried about what it would be like once we got up top. Having seen Max cast though I knew it was not going to be a worry as he had the line out going nicely and we talked through a few things and then headed off.

We got to Cherry Brook at 12 ish and decided on having a quick sandwich. We walked upstream a fair way and I found a nice place to start. Max had mentioned that he had fished the Moorland streams 4 or 5 times before but with limited success. He had been employing similar tactics as he had for when he fishes the Kennet and had been casting a longer line. On such a tiny stream this can be a little difficult to control accuracy and the longer line can spook fish too.

With a heavy downstream wind we had gone up a line weight on his new rod to load it at the short range we were going to fish and we also altered the cast a little with a very high stop and low delivery to cut through the wind. We ony had a few feet of line out at the most plus a 9 ft leader. With the breeze on the water it also gave us some extra cover.

Again we worked the tails of pools and slack areas in between rocks and you have probably guessed we used a scruffy klink! I usually opt for a size 20 but with a bit of chop on the water I went for a size 14. It didn’t take Max long to master this different approach and he was soon into fish. They were really hitting the fly hard and we had some pretty frantic sport. He had some nice fish in the 8 inch range that really fought their socks off. He was reading the pools really well and as we approached a nice looking spot I sat on a rock and watched. It didn’t start so well as Max missed a couple (he hardly missed a thing all day) we had a bit of a joke about him losing his touch then he sent a nice cast up into a sheltered area towards the head of the pool. The fly was swallowed and Max struck. I could see by the bend in his rod that he was in to a good fish and then I won’t repeat what we both shouted when the fish took to the air!

I safely netted the fish after it had tried every dirty trick in the book and 12 inches of Cherry Brook brown was sitting in my net. This was a stunner in every way, dark like most of the fish here but in the fittest of health and in his prime. A 12 inch fish is good on any of our streams but one from such a small little stream was a real trophy. Its moments like that which are really special and to see someone do so well in what was not the easiest of conditions is really pleasing. I am out with Max again next Thurs and hope that we can do half as well!

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Worth the wait…

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Dave has been trying to get on to do some river fly fishing with us again for a while but the rain just kept scuppering any plans. Thankfully he had put himself on standby at work (he has a boss that fishes) and a call from me Weds had him racing down to us for a fish on Thursday. Knowing how keen Dave is I headed off to meet him 15 minutes early as I thought there would be a fair chance of him being there rearing to go! Dave let me down badly…he was only 10 minutes early!

The river still had a push to it but was down and pretty clear. The tails of pools and slacker water were the areas where we concentrated landing the fly and despite Dave not having fished since we last me up he was throwing his flies into the target areas with ease. I’d love to say the fishing was hot from the moment we started but steady was a better description and the takes we had were a little  half-hearted. The night had been cool and it was just a case of things warming up a bit to really get the ball rolling. As the morning progressed this was the case and we started steadily picking up fish. I had been setting my watch by the caddis hatch we have been having at 2.30 but looks like the cooler start put this back by 1/2 hour and this really got things going. Again using the scruffy klink at the early stages of the hatch it really did the business.

Dave covered the areas really, really well and picked up some nice fish. As the hatch eased we moved off to another spot and things were a little quieter. We talked about using smaller flies and I tied on a size 20 (scruffy klink again I’m afraid)  and we picked up some more fish.

It’s times like this when the fishing is pretty good that you forget to look at your watch and it is a lot later than you think. As ever I urged him on for just one more as it is always nice to end on a fish which he duly obliged and we headed off.

We both didn’t count but Dave caught more than his fair share and did a great. Hope it was worth the wait fella!

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A glimpse of some sun…

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

I’m sitting writing this as there seems to be this bright yellow thing up in the sky. I sort of remember what is called and it is nice to see it, it’s been too long.

 We had a bit of it (between showers) today when I met up with Jonathan and Sophie for a casting session. They have done some fishing before on lakes and also for some salmon and wanted to get to grips with the casting a little more deeply.  It was a great session and we covered lots and talked about loop formation and how to control it and how to cast tailing loops on command. It might sound strange that a casting instructor is showing how to deliberately cast them but to me it makes a lot of sense. If you can control the power application of the stroke then the whole process becomes a whole lot easier. Being able to tell the difference between even and uneven power helps to ultimately deliver a nice smooth casting stroke.

The guys did a great job and we did have a break when a rising fish kept putting us all off. The only thing to do was to pop a fly on and Sophie obliged (you are a gent Jonathan!) and caught a very spirited rainbow which we popped back who has hopefully learnt not to intrude into lessons!

We are meeting up again to tackle some river fly fishing something I think they will do with ease!

P.S All the flies requested have been tied and posted!

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Pretending to be something you’re not…

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

We are just back from Amsterdam and I have a confession. We sold out, well, for the first day anyway. Doing a show we are strictly jeans and T shirt guys and if the weather is good enough it will be shorts. On this occassion we had the president of Abel coming over and we thought it best to smarten up a little bit for him. It was one of those classic moments where we met up and Don had assumed we’d be in our normal attire and so dressed in jeans and T shirt himself and came over to say “hi” Thankfully we reverted pretty quickly and the normal balance was restored!

Amsterdam is an interesting city and I think Mark would have passed out with excitement at all the canals and the pike that must live in them. We had a good time there and met up with some instructors from Europe and had a cast with a few even some from Russia. We met up with some really good contacts and generally had a blast.

We at least have some sun today which is encouraging and I hope we have more as my daughter Charlie is off to the V festival this weekend. Apparently the look is dresses and wellies if you are interested! I think Muse are headlining but it is clearly way too cool for me. Apparently anyone over 30 is too old for this sort of thing….there still life in this old dog though!

Rough and ready

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

There are some fantastic fly tyers around and I have been lucky enough to meet a few and there are also legions of unsung heroes turning out wonderful flies that just them and the fish will see. There will always be that kick from catching a fish on a fly you have tied yourself  and long may it continue.

I have often thought what is better, the generic fly or the exact representation? Our fish down here come from the school of hard knocks and have to take every opportunity that is offered to them foodwise and it is sometimes possible to get them to take a fly that is different from the food source they might be locked onto. I fished a black klinkhammer with wire rib pretty much exclusively last year and it did fine for me, it also seemed to work pretty well one day last season when I fished it through a mayfly spinner fall. It seems at times though, that wild chalkstream fish can be a little bit more picky and it may take a few more fly patterns to get it just right for them. I remember when I was fishing with Howard one time and the fish would take his size 18 parachute adams but had no interest in my size 16.

For me, I like generic patterns, something that covers as many bases as possible just in case. I have been playing with a fly the back end of last year and most of this year that seems to do this pretty well. I haven’t reinvented the wheel or anything but just by tying a really, really rough klinkhammer it seems to do the job. I have used it through caddis hatches and seen the fish take it as an emerger and then head and tail it as the hatch got on. I think I may have mentioned it before but Champo and I hit the motherload of BWO hatches on a chalkstream and his beautifully tied fly just kept getting refused. I threw my old piece of rubbish and the fish couldn’t get enough of it, even to the degree he dipped into my fly box for one. A compliment indeed! Early in the season it worked wonderfully during the grannom on the Culm too.

The idea was that it was supposed to look like a caddis as it was about to emerge where the antennae and legs are pushed back but I think the straggley look just gives the fish a bit more of a trigger point. I don’t believe it is anything more complicated than that.

I have a few tied up and would love it if you would be interested in trying one. Just drop me a mail and I will send them off. I just want to see if it brings as much luck to you.

So does it have a name? It doesn’t really need one as it is only really a slight variation on the original but we thought that the scruffy appearance (like the tyer) needed a name and being a gentleman all I can say is that it sounds like brithammer!

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Big Lip…

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

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I was talking to Alison this morning and said that I had been in the office yesterday and today instead of guiding Brian on Tues and Dave today. She said that I must be sitting there with a big sullen bottom lip. She’s about right.

It seems we have really been hit hard the last few days even compared to just a bit up the line. I was hoping both days to be on the lower Tamar doing some river guiding for trout and grayling but it is still flushing through and being a bigger river will be just a bit too lively. I spoke to Dave last night and he knew it was coming and we are going to try something next week (weather permitting!) he wasn’t keen on lake fishing. I have guided him a few months back and know he is a hard core river fly fisher.

Mark takes up the tuition with Ollie on Thurs, a group on Fri and Richard and Kate on Saturday while Bob and I are away in Amsterdam at a show. It should be real fun and it is a big moment for our little company and if it comes off will be really exciting!

I had a fish with Toby on the Taw Monday night and it wasn’t as good as the weekend but he managed an 11inch brown which gave him a really good pull. We shared a rod and took it in turns while we chewed the fat and talked about everything and nothing. Thats what it is all about!

We had a nice message from David and Caroline who spent a day with Bob and I.

Dear Bob,

 we both wanted to let you and Pete know how much we enjoyed our time on the Tamar with you. Thankyou both very much for your time and patience with two novice salmon fishermen. We really loved it. We are both very keen to come back again and would like to try and book a day with you again this season if possible and to also do some river trout fishing with Pete.

With all very best wishes to you and Pete

 David and Caroline