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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Posts Tagged ‘Devon Fly Fishing Lessons’

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.


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……


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!


Saturday, October 4th, 2008

I headed up to guide on the chalk yesterday. I had been watching the weather and use a website that is supposed to give an accurate reading and having watched it throughout the summer I have learnt to do the opposite to what the forecast says. Again this was the case and although the wind was blowing a bit the sky was clear and we even had some fish on dries which was a nice surpise.

Mark and I were going to go to do some fishing tomorrow but it looks like the wind and rain will be against us. That’s me looking out of the window rather than using the website I was telling you about. You never know, if it looks OK tomorrow we might give it a go, we’ll see.

Speaking to Chris today made me think of better weather. He has booked a fly casting lesson with us as he has a friend in the U.S who he meets up with and they go chasing False Albacore. I have been lucky enough to catch some of these members of the tuna family and although I was on a bone fish trip it stole the show for me. Seeing a bait ball explode as they are being savaged by these fish really gets the heart pumping and requires you to keep everything together as you send your fly into the action. If you manage to hook up you better hold on but if you spend too long false casting they have gone! This is the brief Chris gave me that he wants to learn to deliver his fly as quickly and effectively as he can. Sounds like a fun day in prospect and will remind me of warmer climes…I just have to hang in there til December….

We have had some nice messages of late a few of which are below:


just wanted to let you know what a great day I had yesterday. Everything from Mark to the teaching and venue was really awesome.


Hello Pete

please will you say a big thank you to Mark, Graham, Jaqui, Emma and Charlie for making our day so enjoyable. They couldn’t have made it more fun and everyone had a wonderful time.

Thanks again

Annie and Richard

Hi Pete,

once again thanks for a cracking day. I have not enjoyed myself on a days fishing trip in many a year!



Poor turnout?

Monday, September 1st, 2008

I’ve been away at the weekend. My daughter Charlie and I went and saw R.E.M at Twickenham. When we got there I wanted to show her that the old man has still got it so we headed right down the front and managed to get four rows from the front in what I believe is called the mosh pit. We had a great view of the support bands and as I looked around it appeared that there wasn’t a whole lot of people around. Twickenham is a huge venue and it looked like the headliners wouldn’t be playing to a full house. Needless to say this wasn’t the case and when R.E.M took to the stage the atmosphere was unbelieveable! They really know how to put on a show and we had a great time!

I know this doesn’t have much to do with fishing but bear with me. We took the train from Wimbledon to Twickenham and we passed over the river Wandle. I’m sure many of you know about the Wandle but in case you don’t it runs for 9 miles from the Croydon area to Wandsworth where it joins the Thames. Until the end of the 19th century it was considered one of the finest chalkstreams but with London ever expanding the river was used more and more as a dumping ground. The last recorded trout was caught in 1936 and the river was considered a sewer in the 1960′s.

In 2000 the Jet Set club was formed and the cleanup operation began with monthly cleanups which has continued and has gradually started to bring the river back to life. The work they have done is amazing and fish are starting to come back and have been caught. They have also gone into local schools and shown pupils what they are doing and what is living in their local river. As I mentioned we passed over the river and it looked it really nice and fishy. Just one day I might get up and have a good close look….

 Mark was busy looking after Joergen, Nick and Robin who were new to fly fishing. They learnt how to cast on Saturday and did some fishing on the lake and then headed off to the river on Sunday. A special mention to Graham a ,member of our team, who came down to help Mark all the way from Hertfordshire. You might think this was a selfless act of kindness, I did, until I found he was off fishing on Monday!

We’ve a busy one this week so should have lots of photos of smiling anglers!

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!


If your fly isn’t in the water part 2

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I was due to do some guiding on a chalkstream with Paul. Paul is a regular client of ours and is one of the keenest fly fishermen I know! I thought it would be really cool for him to experience a chalkstream mayfly hatch. Although we get them here in Devon they aren’t of the sort of magnitude that they get a bit further up country. Paul is also a keen fly tyer too and was wanting to know what sort of patterns he should tie up. I talked him through a few and said tie them on size 10 and 8′s as they have them big up there!

So I packed the truck the night before having seen the weather forecast and it looked like the bad rain (the day was set for Tuesday) was going the skirt round the edge of where we were fishing. Next morning I set off and all was dry when I left. On the A303 I got a call from Toby who had got up really early to fly fish for some bass in Dorset. He’d had some but also had some persistent rain. Two minutes after putting the phone down I hit the rain. It wasn’t looking good. As ever I was a little early so grabbed a coffee and waited for Paul where we had arranged to meet. I walked down and had a look at the river, it had come up a bit and was carrying a little colour but was fishable. Paul wasn’t far behind and we set off starting on one of the carriers where he had an out of season grayling and we quickly moved on. I went for shallower stretches so that we were in with a chance. Paul picked up the odd fish but the rain did relent. We decided on a pub lunch to dry off and plan our next move.

The mayfly on this particular beat are still towards the top so we headed there and walked down to the bottom and got in. The rain had just about stopped but it was still overcast and temps upped a notch. Perfect! Perfect is one of the words I could use but what unfolded was truly magical. It was as if the planets had aligned and everything fell into place. We witnessed an epic hatch of mays that had fish slamming into the danicas as they tried to leave the water. Paul had a fantastic time and landed plenty of fish including a nice 15incher! (no stocked fish here, only wild!) and I was jumping up and down next to him with excitement. It ended up one of those perfect days and when we left the water it was after 8 o’clock!

I didn’t have the video for the hatch as it was deeper water and there was still plenty of rain about but I did take it later and there are a few fish that you can see caught by clicking here. As you’ll see the light wasn’t so good as it got later but hopefully will give you an idea!

Boxing clever…

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Sometimes, I think part of the attraction of fly fishing is the equipment that you can buy; especially the gadgets. I list fly boxes in here and although not strictly a gadget I can spend many happy hours sorting through a fly box.

I sort my fly boxes between stillwater and river and within the stillwater box I keep them divided between barbed and debarbed and then subsections such as buzzers, lures etc. You can happily spend an hour or two sorting and arranging and priming them ready for service.

It is funny though as there must be some sort of comfort factor in knowing all the little slots are filled just in case you are caught short when fishing but when sorting out I do thin out a few patterns that I have either tied and don’t like the look of or just have never used them. This will leave me room to tie up a few extra flies and allow me to fill any gaps in the slots!

The flies I “relegate” live on a pile on my fly tying table perhaps waiting for the chance to be selected again. This does happen from time to time but they only last a season to be replaced again by the next cast offs.

Once the job is done it is satisfying to see the arranged flies in groups all lined up and ready for action. If I am teaching the next time out it doesn’t usually take long before the usual state of chaos is restored. Come to think of it most of the flies I use are stuck on my fly patch for most of the season so do I really need to sort the boxes?!


 No fly fishing lessons tomorrow for Mark and I so we are off and we are going fishing. I was going to go and fish with Ray but he has to shoot off a little early and part of the fun is staying as late as possible and enjoy the last few moments of the day before the long drive home so it is going to be down here somewhere. We’ll decide where to go tomorrow morning and let the day unfold as it happens.

Sounds like the mayflies are a little later than normal this year on the chalkstreams but Toby called last night and said there were a few about on a river down here before he went sea trouting. I haven’t heard from him today so not sure how he got on but he promised me a call if he connected with something.

Double handers, friends and life in Devon

Saturday, March 29th, 2008


Well that has been a busy week but not busy enough that Mark and I managed to sneak off for a quick afternoons fishing on Tuesday. There is a great atmosphere down here at the moment helped even more by the fly fishing waifs and strays (meant endearingly guys!) who have popped in for a cuppa and a hob nob this week. Although it has been a manically busy we love that it is becoming a hang out for fishermen where we can have a breather and swap fishing stories with friends.  Paul popped in yesterday and I love our chats. He is so enthusiastic about fishing all the oppurtunities it can bring. He is now a river convert and is also relishing the challenges of the bigger waters and putting them into practice with great effect. It is great seeing anglers make a new step on the angling ladder and I suspect Paul has a few more that he wants reach!

Double handers are the new black if this week is anything to go by. I have been taking rather a lot of bookings for double handed tuition and so Bob has a busy spell coming up! This has left me holding the fort and Mark taking a chunk of the single handed stuff and thankfully despite the wind our lake is in a sheltered position so that casting is always possible.

We were really excited to see that Devon Life published an article about a day they spent with us. The really cool thing was that they got what we were all about and really enjoyed our approach to life and fishing. It is the current April edition and hopefully you will find it interesting reading. I have scanned a copy and will try to post up but due to my lack of computer skills it might take some time but if you can’t wait mail me and I’ll send a copy!

Above is a pic of Mark from earlier in the week with George…note Marks fancy footwork!!

Be prepared…

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I don’t know if you are the same but when the weather has been iffy you sort of sit there and think shall I or shan’t I go, decide not to and then pace around for a bit and think sod it I’ll give it a go. There is no worse a feeling than getting to the river and seeing it worse than you thought but  also no better feeling when you peer over the bridge and it looks much better than you expected. It is often days like that when I fish out of my skin and have one of those real special days.

I am lucky that I have a brook a few minutes away from me that is us that is a really good indicator of the state of the main river and my beloved river Taw is just 5 minutes drive away. I find this the fastest clearing of the nearby rivers so I always head here if the weather has been unsettled. If I am guiding and the weather has been poor I often will drive down for a look the day before just to give me an idea of how things will look.I know everyone doesn’t have a nearby river so if you are heading down here for some fishing and you’re a little unsure of how the rivers are then take a look at this link as it will give you a little clue. It is a webcam on the Exe that gives you clarity and height shots.Enjoy!