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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing in devon’

Not long now…

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

So it isn’t long til we set off in search of bonefish in Mexico and the excitementmeter has just been turned up a few nothces to the “very” setting. The gear is ready and flies are packed. I have decided that I would like to try and fish with a lighter rod on this trip so I plan on doing a fair bit with my ever trusty Scott 6wt. I have used this for just about everything over here and thought it would be nice to add a few more species if I am lucky.

Its funny that I mention luck, I don’t think there is any involved here but my pal Paul is out at the same place this week and has managed a super slam. This is an awesome achievement but a testament to his skills as an angler. If you are wondering what a super slam is it is catching a tarpon, bonefish, snook and permit in one day! Apparently there were also 5 other permit hooked on the week and there are some good sized snook around too. It is really nice to hear these stories but has a small part of you worried that you have missed the perfect week!…It is easy to think that way but with the glass always half full I have taken a view that it is a hot destination and the fishing is amazing. All will soon be revealed! 

Graham is packing something called a spinning rod, he apparently wants to go after cuda with it. I’m sure I will too with a fly but there is a flat right out the front of where we are staying so I plan a few early morning forays too. When we were fishing in Scotland someone remarked “Pete likes to fish a lot doesn’t he?” Too right I do, I always take the view that if I am on a fishing holiday I like to squeeze every little minute out of each day. It doesn’t matter if the fishing sucks at the time there’s no point sulking about it you just have to get on with it and make as much out of it as you possibly can. Life is too short and there are too many fish out there to try and catch!

 See you when I get back!

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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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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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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