Gift vouchers are now available for Tuition & Guiding

Testimonial Picture 1
Testimonial Picture 2
Testimonial Picture 3

Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Archive for November, 2008

A quick sneak out….

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

I think I mentioned that I was supposed to be doing some real work and I sort of pencilled in Monday and a bit of Tuesday to do so. Well, that was the plan but Monday was a bit of a write off. I had just turned the computer on and checked the emails. I had one in from Ray about fly selections for our NZ trip. I didn’t really think too much about it and got to work with the job in hand but I don’t know if you are the same but when you start thinking about other things you just have to stop what you are doing for a bit. To be truthful I was thinking about the flies Ray had mentioned and I thought I better tie a few. I find I do my best tying when I am really in the mood and this was one of those cases. I sat down and tied a couple of dozen nymphs in varying sizes and was overall pretty pleased. I started with the original job and the phone went. It was Jim. I like talking to Jim as we always end up talking about loads and it is always usually about fishing…actually it is nearly always fishing related. He is a bit of a computer whizz too and he is a great person to get some help from. He also makes the best furled leaders around. I spent an enjoyable 25 minutes chatting and sat down again. I think I wrote a sentance and the phone went again. It was Brett, he had phoned to tell me about his tarpon fishing trip. Sounds like he had some monsters. The largest landed was 134lb and jumped one huge fish that the guide reckons pushed 200lbs. It sounds like the fish were brutal and three rods got broken!

I popped the phone down from him and couldn’t stop thinking about the tarpon and fishing holidays….best I tie a few more flies for NZ then. I made myself some late lunch and Mark called up. It was one of those “what are you doing tomorrow” calls. I was looking after Charlie and said I would be taking her in to school. I had one of those lightbulb moments “how about you meet me at home and we drop Charlie off and swing by Exeter canal for a couple of hours. The plan was set.

I didn’t really get a lot done but it was a productive day for other, nicer reasons instead. The fishing wasn’t outstanding yesterday but Mark had a fish, I didn’t. We had a nice lunch at a pub by the water and sat outside. All in all it was very civilised! We even bumped into Paul while we got our day tickets. His wife was at the dentist and he had offered to take her in but I think I know the real reason. He was stocking up on fly tying stuff.

mark-pike.JPG

Sometimes it’s an easy choice

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

I had some plans to get paperwork and words for the site sorted for wednesday but I got a call from Toby saying that despite conditions being far from perfect that he had a few pike biting up his way and was planning to go the next day. Did I fancy coming? I like calls like this. You are sitting thinking about the job at hand but something much more interesting comes along and it only means that things get shoved back for a day so it wasn’t a big deal. In the grand scheme I could run around saying “I’m too busy” but I’m never too busy to wet a line.

 It wouldn’t be a pike trip without Mark so he came to mine nice and early and once I had inspected his fare we headed off. By fare I mean what goodies had he brought for the journey. Chocolate covered brazils did the job perfectly and we tucked in. Emma always says she knows when we have been on a good trip by the amount of chocolate wrappers that are on the floor of my truck.

We met up with Toby and he took us to where things had happened for him the day before. The water, as he had said, was far from perfect but it didn’t matter, it was good to be out on what turned out to be a stunning day. Toby had an early pull and I had moved down to where I saw a few small fish moving. I too got an early pull but nothing more. We did a fair bit of walking and just fished likely looking holes. We noticed the wind had shifted a bit and decided to try another venue. This gave Mark and I the chance to have another quick snack. I would reccommend Ripples, they are easy to eat on the move and you don’t get out of the car with a chocolate blanket on your lap. Sadly this makes the close relative of Ripples, Flakes not practicle for these purposes but incidently they do make a good post fish treat.

Toby was a perfect host and really looked after us. The fishing wasn’t stunning but we had a few and it was fun.

On Friday Bob, Mark and myself heading off for our first aid course. Ours had lapsed recently so we went for a 6 hour course and learnt loads. We weren’t the only people there but kept the others amused and Mark had us all laughing with his questions. Bob had been fearing how the two of us would behave and as a whole we were really good boys! Bob has a thing about gadgets and I could see his eyes light up when they showed us how to operate a defibrillator!

Next week…more grayling

Toby relaxing……

toby-sitting.JPG

Trying so hard to be cool but not really pulling it off….

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Mark and I popped down to the Taw the other day to see if we could watch some salmon make their way upstream. We timed it right and saw a few. The interesting thing was that the flow of water moving under the bridge was too great and it was halting progress. The cool thing was that there was a leat that provided an alternative route and the fish had sussed it out pretty quickly and headed this way. It was still hard work and we saw a few make and a lot not do so. The funny thing was that I started shrieking with excitement every time we saw one. I guess it just got to me to see what dogged determination these fish had and that nothing was going to stop them in achieving what they had set out to do on their long journey. I am sure there is probably a metaphor for life in there somewhere and to some same degree this true for the fish. I popped down again yesterday with Charlie and the pair of us were equally excited but when as a 16 year old it is not really the done thing. If I ever lose this sort of excitedness about fish or fishing it is time to hang up the rod.

I met up with Richard on Thursday who is a newcomer to fly fishing and he took to it just fine. He is one of these guys that you say “stop the rod just a little higher” to and it is done perfectly, he had the line sailing out with no worries at all. The lesson was a gift from his son and I think he will be doing a bit more. He had two pals along watching who do a bit of fishing and they are already planning trips out. He had a few fish and took one home for dinner.  With Richard being a butcher I am hoping to do a bit of bartering with fresh fish against his sausages!

Today, I had a great fly casting lesson with Nigel. I am just a tiny bit jealous of him as he is off to the Seychelles in a couple of weeks, I say a tiny bit as I am off to Mexico the week after! Nigel wanted to add a bit of distance to his casting and to tidy things up a bit. He was soon hauling really sweetly and we added extra stroke length to his cast with drift and also covered a few extra things to make life a whole lot easier on the flats. He had an 8,9 and a brutal 12 weight rod to throw big flies at giant trevally. Hopefully he gets a few. Fingers crossed for you Nigel!

One of the interesting things was that we did the early stuff with yarn on the end of the line but when you are heading out for “real world” fishing that things can be different. I often like to snip the hook off a fly which we did with a clouser to see if the stuff we had covered would work in a real fishing situation. I know Devon is not the Seychelles but with a bit of imagination…. Anyway, I am pleased to say it was the case and Nigel hit the same distances with the fly attached and landed the fly gently on the water. It was really good fun pulling the fly in before recasting as the fish were all over the fly…I must remember a chartruese and white clouser for next weeks lessons!

I plan on spooling up my new reel for Mexico tomorrow. I am using a 6wt for as much as possible but will pack an 8 and 9 wt for heavier wind and permit. Flies are pretty much ready and the excited meter has just been turned up a notch too!

nigel-casting.JPG

Here come the girls…I mean the ladies

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

It is amazing that even after all this time I tend to wake up an excited little bunny at the prospect of a day on the water. I had set the alarm for 6.15 am but was awake from just before 6 so thought I’d get going a bit earlier. Those who know me know that I tend to be early and if it is fishing related this is always the case. There’s nothing wrong with being excited is there?! 

I headed off with a bit of a heavy sky and as I headed into chalk stream territory the sky got heavier still with, at times, more than a hint of drizzle. As I got nearer though the sky had lifted. I stopped and picked up a coffee and a snack and went off to wait for my mate Paul in a pub car park. He has fished here before with me so knew where to go. As I pulled up I looked and I was 1/2 hour early. I drank my coffee and started to get my waders on as the car park is right by the river and I thought it would be rude not have a quick fish while I was waiting. Silly me, Paul is as keen as me and I hadn’t even got my waders on when a car pulled up and a quick “hello bud”  came from the car window. I quickly finished getting my waders on and jumped in my truck and we headed to where we were going to start fishing.

 I thought it would be nice to start where we finished last time and Paul elected to go for a couple of nymphs to start with and a 10ft rod. I had my ever faithful 8ft 8″ 4wt fly rod with the scruffy klink and pheasant tail hung 3 ft below. I walked down with Paul as it is always nice to see a friend get off the mark. He did this very quickly and I headed just a little bit upstream to a bend where I thought I would fish slowly as he worked up and then I’d take him to another spot.

It was still early and as I stepped down towards the water I got a pleasant surprise as there were fish hitting duns. I had stumbled across a nice little rise and I planned to take advantage of it! I kept the nymph on but having had a few on the dry quickly snipped it off. There is nothing like catching fish early in the morning in November on dries! A gentleman walking his dog stopped and watched me land 5 fish. It turned out he is a salmon fisher and I asked him to mention to Paul that there were plenty of rising fish where I was fishing. He was doing just fine though and had emptied the pool behind. The hatch sort of went in 2 waves with a small gap in between and Paul caught up with me as the second wave started. I offered Paul a crack and after tying on a dry he had a few! I don’t think I had moved more than 5 feet and the fishing had been amazing.

Next we headed up to a bridge where there is a dip in the river and it can hold some huge fish. Sadly the river was carrying just a tiny bit of colour and spotting in deeper water was a bit of a no goer. I suggested we head up stream a little bit where the river was a little wider and we could fish together. This spot is a little shallower and being knee deep I thought there was a good chance of bringing fish up for the dry. As Paul is a left hander it worked perfectly as I took the right bank looking down stream and Paul the left. We sort of shared the middle of the river but kept accusing each other of poaching each others sides!

We continued to catch at a pretty consistent rate and I had some swans up stream of me that were feasting on weed but appeared to put fish my side down. I decided to go back to hanging a nymph off of the dry and popped a size 16 pheasant tailed nymph. My thinking that the fish may take a look at any nymphs dislodged by the swans ahead of me. It seemed to work pretty well and I felt like I was fishing the nymph more than the dry. It was interesting to see a few refusals to the dry and Paul had mentioned that he ties his dry on with a more conventional dropper set up as he fears the nylon from dry to nymph can put the fish off of taking the dry. I have to say this hasn’t been too much of a problem on our fast waters back home and I will usually start a days guiding in this manner but on a slower more even flow of a chalkstream the fish have more time to inspect our offering. It made perfect sense.

Sport was awesome although I kept getting ribbed about having the better side of the river but I’m  not so sure about this. Whenever Paul was moaning he seemed to be pulling in another fish!

We had no idea how many we caught, we didn’t really care, neither of us are fish counters but it was one of those days that was just perfect. Paul is one of the best fishermen I know and it is always a pleasure to wet a line with him…great day mate!

pp-gray.JPG

Down time?….nah!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The Fly Fair was a blast and it was nice to meet up with friends both old and new. There was a good contingent up from down here and a group from Kennick had hopped in a mini bus and headed up to grab a few bargains. That reminds me, we had a shocker getting up there. I left home at 9.50am and got to Stoke at 4.30. Howard had caught Birmingham later than us and didn’t start setting up until 6.30. We gave him a hand and then shot back to Karl’s where his wife Andrea had prepared dinner and then Toby and I shot back down to give Howard, Hels Bells and Kirsty a hand. They were bushed at 9 so they arranged to get there early next morning to finish. Toby and I hung back to finish our bit and then shot off. Next morning when we got there Howard had been working hard and I reckon this was about as close as it got when they finished just as the doors opened!

It was really great to meet up with Mat from Fly Odyssey he is a top guy who knows his stuff! He also had Mark helping who is salt water fishing mad. I don’t think there are many fishing destinations they haven’t been to between them. It was cool just talking fishing. It turns out they will be down in NZ same time as Ray and I which will be fun.

I got to talk fishing with my mate Richard today as I owed him lunch. I picked him up from home and we headed for Fingle Bridge and the pub down there that sits right on the Teign. As any sensible fisherman would do we first headed for the bridge to see if there was anything sitting there but sadly not. We watched a few caddis flutter up and agreed the river looked just about perfect. It is times like these that despite the closed season you can still appreciate how lucky we are to be able to fish in places like this. I wish I had my camera but I had got it ready for tomorrow. We headed off to the pub, had lunch and talked fishing. Richard is a veteran of Colorado and Montana and we swapped favourite rivers and fishing stories. If you are sitting right next to a trout stream and can’t fish it talking about fishing keeps you going….well almost. I dropped him off and as generous as ever he gave me some vension mince and then handed me some smoked salmon. This was from a salmon he’d had off of the Teign and I really look forward to trying it. Thanks mate!

While we were staying at Karl’s he had been leant a spey casting video from the very early 80′s. It was really interesting to see how much things have changed from a technical perspective. I guess it is always has, and will be a big learning curve. I guess thats why we love it so much!

I have to admit that I have a mild case of “man flu” but I’m off to the chalk tomorrow….