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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing instructor’

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!


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….

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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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.


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!


Fishing Dog

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

The rain continues and the rivers are still high. I’m writing this having just looked at the webcam of the Exe and it is lower than earlier today but still unfishable and not very safe. I think it would have been a little foolish to have taken Guy out today and it looks like there will be more early tomorrow. As ever we look for the upside and it gave Mark and I a chance to do some maintainance on our lake with some strimming and light weed cutting passing a pleasant few hours. We’ll do a little bit more as we have a busy week on there next week.

 Enzo is my best pal. He is my dog and has been a constant companion for the last 15 years. There was a time when he would come on nearly all of my fishing trips but being 15 the old batteries do tend to run out a little bit quicker than they used to. As the old saying goes “the mind is willing but the body isn’t able” He has been on the Teign with me recently and on the occassions I am in the office he comes along and helps me a little bit when I am teaching. He seems to know when I am about to go fishing and as soon as he sees me with a rod he’ll jumps up as if to say “where we going?” He’ll keep me company if I am casting in the garden and waits by the door for me to come home when I have been on the river as if he wants to know the fishing report! He is a good fishing dog as he never jumped in the water and didn’t try and land my fish for me just sat there chilling out and enjoying it all. Funnily enough he fits in with the relaxed lifestyle at the Scott Fly Fishing School where the vibe as ever is chilled!

People often ask if he is named after the famous Italian but it is infact after a Spanish guy I did some surfing with a long time ago. He always had his dog with him and said he was his best friend and funnily enough his name was Enzo. I kind of liked that and I am pleased it has turned out the same for me!


I’ve popped a link on here of some fishing I did on the Taw at the very end of May when the rivers were up (not as bad as now!) There were some Mays around and I had to use a big fly to bring them up and it proved to be a bit of a mouthful for some of the fish but it did OK. And before you say it I know I’m not Micheal Parkinson when it comes to the camera but who cares its about the fishing!!