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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Posts Tagged ‘Devon Fly Fishing’

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……

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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!

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Dare to be different?….

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

It has been a busy few days having just got back from the Tackle and Guns show. We were busy bunnies and had the pleasure of Jeff from Abel over to help on our stand. He was a most welcome addition and fitted in very well with our sense of humour and handled himself very well despite me spending most of the weekend trying to push him in the casting pool. It is so nice to have a company like this behind you and even better that their philosophy to life and fly fishing is the same as ours. It was nice for him to meet a lot of our accounts and a few new ones too. The nice thing is that the industry is getting what we are about in offering a quality product at a fair price.

We have done our best to price our products made in the U.S. as close to the U.S. retail price as possible so that the public are able to buy here and, most importantly, support their local dealers throughout the country. The nice thing is that we know the companies that we use in the U.S. are actually using the products themselves as a very large percentage of them are fishermen themselves. It is nice to know there is some heritage involved and they are not just trading on a faded old name of yesteryear. We were amazed by the support we had for St Croix and it is a brand anglers throughout the UK will be able to get their hands on from a large variety of fishing shops in the very near future.

Jeff leaves today and has seen some of London as he, Bob and Graham called in to one of our dealers but thankfully he got a look at fly fishing in Devon when he visited Wimbleball with Mark last week and is on a small trout stream with Graham in Hertfordshire as I type, just before he leaves for Heathrow. A man after my own heart!

I popped in to see Howard yesterday as we are supporting him at the BFFI the weekend after next and I also was in Crediton and was dying for a tea and hob nob!!. BFFI is also Marks birthday weekend and I am sure we will all be out to mark (quite literally!) the occassion. A lot of the lads from the association will be there too.

I am off for a couple of days as my brother is getting married. Mark is at the helm and taking Helen out for some casting and fishing and then off guiding for some toothy critters on Mon. Bob is doing some spey stuff with Steve and then I have a busy grayling diary coming up; look for some pics and movies too. I promise I’ll be behind the camera!

Many, many congrats to Mat and Georgie at Fly Odyessy on the birth of Thomas. At 9lb 2oz you’re talking a fair sized bonefish!

Just about at the end….

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

It feels like I have been trying to mark the end of the brown trout season for about 3 weeks now. I managed to get out just before the close of the river season down here with a wonderful day up on the Moors followed by a trip onto my beloved Taw. On Sunday the brown trout lakes shut and so Mark and I popped up to Fernworthy to have a go for some trout there and to take some photos for the new website. I rigged up with my typical brown trout lake set up of intermediate line and black tadpole. I was a little shamed by Mark as he carefully tied on a dry. We decided to walk a bit and take in a beautiful day. We worked the bank that was out of the sunlight and came across a few rising fish. Being a gentleman (more like I had the wrong set up!) I offered Mark a shot at them and he efficiently picked out 3 fish. It was tricky fishing as there was limited back cast room. We walked and fished a fair bit but it was really nice to be out there on such a nice day. We also bumped into a few other anglers which was nice.

Yesterday I headed up for some chalkstream fishing. The river season for browns on chalkstreams closes today and I wanted to meet up with Ray to see in the close and to plan our trip to NZ. I say plan, we had a quick sandwich and decided to head for Christchurch where Ray has made contact with a well known guide there and fish around there for 5 days and then head south and fish for that area for 5 days. It is only a 10 day trip so we plan to maximise fishing and come back exhausted…I can’t wait!

The fishing was amazing yesterday. I got into the river and made a few casts with a dry (the usual scruffy klink) and picked up a nice brown. I moved up a bit and fished a “pool” just below a footbridge where I could sight cast to fish. It was nice to see the reaction of the fish to the fly and I watched with interest several refusals. There was a nice hatch of smallish olives in progress and I decided to scale things down a bit and tied a similar, smaller fly with a lighter hackle and watched similar results. This time I popped on a black klinkhammer with silver ribbing in size 20. This time no refusals and they were liking what they saw. Ray had left a message, the fishing had been too good to answer the phone, and when he turned up just over an hour later I had moved just 20 feet. When we broke for lunch I think we had moved about 60 feet or so. Ray had to leave about 2 ish so we headed downstream and worked our way back up. When he left I still had plenty of water to fish so I decided to see if the fish still wanted smaller still and tied on a size 24 klinkhammer I had tied earlier in the year. I was really pleased to see that it did work pretty well despite the lack of hatch at this time. I headed upstream further and I hooked a nice brown of 12 inches. I released it, snipped off my fly and said to myself that it was perfect point to end my river season for browns. Its nice when things like that happen, I didn’t feel the need to carry on for the sake of numbers; it just felt right to stop there. I guess it is now time to think about some grayling now….

We are busy getting ready for the Tackle and Guns show this week. It is a show for the trade to see what will be on offer for the 2009 season. It is always nice to meet up with people in the industry and show each other our latest offerings. We will be taking new rods from Scott including the new A3 and additions to the S4 range including a new 10ft 7wt. We have Jeff from Abel over who will be on our booth with some new goodies. We are also very excited that we have been asked to be the UK distributor of St Croix fly rods. We felt these rods fitted in perfectly with Scott from a pricing view as they don’t really overlap but they also fit in with our view of sourcing products that are built by fishermen for fishermen at a fair price. The rods, as with Scott, are built in the US and come from a company that has a heritage of rod building. I have been using and teaching with one of their rods of late and am really impressed. Jeff is with us for a few days so I am hoping to take him in search of some grayling!

It was sad to hear of the passing of Mel Krieger. I doubt there isn’t an instructor out there who doesn’t own a copy of The Essence of Fly Casting. It is a great book that explains the mechanics of casting in a clear and concise manner. He will be greatly missed.

More of the same….

Friday, May 30th, 2008

I was supposed to be on the Taw today but alas the rain has meant that I have a day off. Mike popped in yesterday as he was interested in one of our rods (it turned out 2!) and it turned out during the phone conversation that we had met before and had done some fly casting together previously. He is really keen and asked me what time I get to work. When I said to him 7.30am he said he see me then! Thats the sort of talk I like and we were down on the lake chucking a few lines before even our trout in the lake had woken up!

Coming from Cornwall he is into throwing flies for salty stuff and as a result is very interested in distance casting. We messed around with different line and rod combos and had a really good time. Below is a shot of Mike throwing a long one!

Bob was teaching on the Dart yesterday on a piece of water he hadn’t seen before. He was rather taken by it!

He had a nice message from Sean who was one of the people on his course last Saturday and a really nice call from Ian who was also there..

Hi Bob

just to say thanks again for a great day on Saturday-learnt some new things and plenty of ideas to work on. Managed 3 sea trout after you left- biggest just over 2lb. Will definitely be down again!

Regards

Sean

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Video links

Pete and Mark on the Dart

James fishing

Hope you enjoy!

Work, rest and play…

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Saturday was great weather and I was lucky enough to be on the water in Wiltshire doing a demo and some fly casting tuition for members of a club I belong to. We covered lots and I hope that it went down well. The guys were all good anglers and just wanted a few tricks to make the day on the water a little easier. We covered presentation casts to ensure a good long drag free drift and also how to deal with the wind in different situations along with a few other casts.

Ray came and gave me a hand and it was really cool working with him, he did an awesome job!

So it gets to 5pm and its a long drive home, what do you do? Yup, go fishing! It is much nicer having the A303 to yourself so a later leaving time is much better. Ray has found a superb Chinese take away so we sat on the tail gate of my truck and munched a most excellent MSG free noodles and chicken and then hit the river.

We thought it would be nice to fish dries and we’d seen fish gulping LDO’s throughout the day and with the wind dropping we thought we were in with a chance. We did OK too and had some fish. When Ray and I fish together it is a case (if the fishing is good) of having one and the other person has a go. There was a short spell where Ray was re tying on a fly and I had moved upstream just enough that he could make a few casts and pick up a couple of fish I had left for him!!

The highlight was a fish that we couldn’t really work out. We had been fishing through a caddis hatch but this boy was on something different and despite throwing a few flies at him he didn’t want to take. I had foolishly left my phone on and Mark had called to see how we had got on. I was telling him about this fish and hadn’t noticed Ray sneak on a size 22 unweighted pheasant tail nymph. It did the job but as I said to Mark it must have been a hollow victory as he had broken our dry only rule for the night. Mark thought it was a bit like foul hooking a fish!!. I laughed but big respect to Ray for being flexible and sussing things out.

Apparently my pics of Natasha and Wendy didn’t show up so lets try again…

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Rain, rain, rain…

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

So it looks like the grand plan for a day on the river with dry flies and rising fish has been blown right out of the window! The rivers are up and in the fields and the colour of chocolate and it has been pouring this morning. The great thing about fly fishing in Devon is that we have so many other opportunities if the rivers are blown. I have been giving it some thought and reckon we will head for Colliford. Colliford is one of the 13 lakes that comes under South West Lakes Trusts management. It is also the biggest at 911 acres and a really cool place for travelling light with just a box of flies and a sandwich. It is a brown trout fishery and the tactic is to keep mobile and don’t worry about huge long casts. I usually fish there with a 5 or 6 wt rod. There is also a few very large carp that you might also encounter and with the water being clear a well presented bloodworm or buzzer might just give you a bit of a surprise!

Bob and Jax were out doing some stuff with the website yesterday leaving myself and Mark at HQ. Luckily there were a few burgers left over from Saturday so we thought it was only right we had a barbie. We did get a few funny comments from passing people as we were busily trying to keep the barbie upright in such high winds but they still tasted pretty good!

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The Fishing Mobile

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Rays VW is the orginal fly fishing mobile. I have fished with him a long time, the rods might have changed but the one constant is the fishing mobile.

What makes a good fly fishing mobile? Smell is important, it has to have odour of wet waders and perhaps a hint of fishing net too. Maps are a must that have to be shoved into the side pockets. The floor of the fishing mobile needs sweet wrappers from petrol station munchies and there needs to be a least 3 flies either stuck in the dashboard or in the cup holder if it doesn’t have already have an old coffee/water bottle there already.

My truck is getting there. I have had it 2 ½ years now and it has been on numerous fishing adventures. I have added a few little touches of my own. Firstly the back seats are a sort of all season wardrobe. I have 3 fleeces of varying thicknesses and 2 rain jackets. There are also 3 baseball caps and a beanie and my sunglasses are kept on the dashboard so I never forget them. I have the maps for both roads and OS for the moors and from Scott some furry dice that they say are for holding flies.

As all, I am very aware of the price of diesel and carbon footprints and keep thinking that I need a smaller car that is cheaper to run and won’t harm the environment but every time I come to do it I can’t pull the trigger. It starts every time, zooms up the A30 with no problems everyday and is just starting to get that fishing mobile smell.

What did you do at work today?

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

The last few days of good weather has been a special treat and it has meant all of us at Scott Fly Fishing School HQ have been able to get outside for a quick dose of vitamin D. It might be a case of someone completing a job and wandering over to the rod rack, grabbing a rod, reel and line and going out front and having a cast. Yesterday there was Bob, Mark, Jaqui and myself at work. It was actually a pretty busy day but Bob grabbed a rod and headed outside to throw a couple of loops. Jaqui and I were doing something in the office and Mark was sorting out a wader delivery. As Bob grabbed the rod I counted down the seconds before someone joined him and I am pleased to report it only took Mark 9 seconds to step out with him. Needless to say it wasn’t long before we were all out there having a throw.

We often just play around with some casts and sometimes pop a plate or dog bowl down to aim at but it usually ends up that we try and curve a cast around the target rather than trying to hit it which is a bit more fun. We do have a new game though which involves us trying to cast as much fly line onto the roof of our building as possible which although childish ( I hold my hands up!) is hugely amusing. We have managed to get a whole line up there but the trajectory means that the back cast is thrown down onto the ground and then launched up at an equally acute angle. We have called this the “concrete haul” where I have a theory that the slightly rippled effect of the car park act as an anchor point for the back cast….well thats my excuse!

Anyway, the purpose for this is to let you know that looking after your fly fishing tackle is really important and one of the often neglected pieces of equipment is the fly line. We often cast in the car park here and I am sure you can imagine the amount of muck that the line picks up and also the effect this has on the rod rings. By buying a line cleaning outfit and regular cleaning,  your fly line will give you a much longer service and will remain nice and slick which will give you a few more feet on your cast than if you just leave it sitting in the bag.

 Tim popped in this morning and had a good day on the Tamar yesterday. The water is high but clear and he managed a few on bugs. I have tomorrow off as I am on a chalkstream chasing grayling. Mark and Jaqui are off doing a magazine article and Bob is putting the finishing touches to the catalogue. There are lots of exciting pieces of news to tell you which I will hopefully be able to do next week.

Pete

What sort of stick?

Monday, February 11th, 2008

My rod collection seems to be growing at an ever alarming rate and as I write this. I am sitting looking at the pile thinking if it had to be one which one would it be?

Well, if it had to be one to cover everything it would probably have to be a 9ft 5wt but if you limited me to one type of fishing for the rest of my life it would, without hesitation, be river fishing. So if this were the case all the 9ft and above rods would be dumped. I use an 8ft 8” 4wt on the bigger rivers and chalk streams but I love the little stuff and this rod would be a tad too big for some of the places I like to go. I have 1wts, 2wts and 3wts as well. The one weight is surprisingly usable in most situations even with a downstream wind and even with a nymph but no good if I were to fish a bigger stream so that goes into the reject pile. Do I do the same with the 2 wt? On the face of it yes but what about if I pop a 3wt line on it? The extra weight will bend the rod at short distances and will do just as well at longer range too but I can add a 2wt line if needs be. There isn’t a rule about how many lines you can use is there?

I always think it’s cool to fish light lines and have always enjoyed it. Don’t forget our fish are small so we don’t usually suffer the titanic battles that stillwater anglers sometimes face. As an aside though I have landed plenty of good sized carp of 4 and 5 wt rods in quick time and with no stress to the fish.

The length of my 2wt rod is 7ft 7 which is perfect for just about everywhere here and would cope on most rivers without too much of a problem. The only difficulty might be on some of the wider stretches of the chalk streams where you aren’t allowed to wade but that is part of the fun isn’t it?

Poking out from all the graphite is some bamboo. I love bamboo. I fish it regularly and enjoy it. Does that mean we have a new contender? It might just be. The pick of my pile is the South Creek 8ft 5wt built for me as a 40th birthday present from Emma, my wife by Mike Clark in Lyons, Colorado. This is a wonderful rod and is called the Bray Special after the wonderful river Bray where I fish and guide.

This is going to be a tough decision and I’m torn but it has to be the Bray Special. The 5 wt might be a little heavy in some of the places I like to go but I can just lengthen my leader. I have fished this rod here and in the U.S. and will cast a size 20 midge to a size 8 wooly bugger with equal ease. Come to think of it I could use it on a lake as well.

If you are heading down to Devon to fly fish I reckon an 8ft 4wt will see you right for just about anything the West Country rivers have to throw at you. All you need is a tapered leader 2 and 3 ½ lb tippet and just a few flies…now don’t get me going on flies!!