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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing school’

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….

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.

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!

If your fly isn’t in the water….

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

So open day comes and we have rain, mist and a rather sharp wind. What do you do when it is like this? It’s easy to knock it all on the head but its opening day and we have to mark it in some way. Mark and I decide on Colliford. If you haven’t fished Colliford it is well worth a look. Just off of the A30 it is a 911 acre brown trout fishery on Bodmin Moor. There are no boats so you need to pack light and be prepared to travel. No need for heavy gear, a 9ft 6wt will be fine and for most of the season a floating line is perfect.

We turn up and can’t make out the lake from the car park which isn’t a good sign. We sit in the truck, talk and finish off the road trip munchies we had bought and plan our strategy. So did it work? Well, have a read of Marks blog that will tell all. No mater what though, its always worth a try even when most sane people are probably inside thinking about fishing rather than doing it!


Welcome to the Scott Fly Fishing School Blog

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Testing, one two, one two…the paint is still drying but we are excited to be broadcasting to the world, having opened the shutters of the Scott Fly Fishing School blog. My biggest fear is that readers will discover my legendary poor punctuation more than anything else but we hope to keep you up to dpete.jpgate with what we are up to, fishing reports and a few tips thrown in for free!

We’ll have some input from Bob, Mark and Gary but also a few special guests too who have promised to impart a few words of wisdom. If you have visited us at the School expect to see yourself up here just to prove you did catch something in case no one believed you!

It looks as though 2008 is going to be a busy year out on the water; we are looking forward to bringing newcomers to the world of fly fishing. It is also good to see some old friends dropping by too.

We plan on stocking our new private trout lake at the end of Feb and so I have to apologise to those that have popped down already that there was a reason the fish weren’t biting…only kidding!  Those who have been down already have been fine tuning ready for the season and just brushing down a few cobwebs.

I am dying to try our new stretch of the Tamar. It is a private beat and the owner told me that he hooked a 3lb grayling whilst sea trouting. Now, I’m a guide and would never be prone to exaggeration, so 3lb could be 2lb in the real world but that is still a special fish. I managed to get down there at the back of the season to have a cast for salmon with Bob and it is an awesome place. I know where the big fella lives so if you ask me nicely…

It is pretty miserable right now so I have popped a photo of the Tamar beat to cheer you up and don’t forget to give me a shout if you are interested in some chalkstream grayling fishing or feel free to pop in for a coffee. It seems like Scott Fly School HQ has become a hang out for fishermen so we thought it only right to pop a couple of sofas in so that we can all sit down and talk fishing!

So, that’s the official opening “may God bless this blog and all who sail in her”.