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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing Tuition’

New Zealand fly fishing and beyond…

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I got back from a couple of weeks serious fly fishing in New Zealand yesterday afternoon. I went with my good buddy Ray who was celebrating a special birthday and the trip was part of the present. I was asked if I would like to accompany him and it didn’t take too long to say yes followed by much excited leaping around the room. I asked him if he would write a report so there will be one along with some photos but needless to say it was a fly fishing trip of a lifetime and something I don’t think I will ever forget. We fished the South Island and despite fishing solidly from 8.30 in the morning until 9.30 at night we felt we had only scratched the surface of the fly fishing opportunities that were there.

We had one amazing day where the planets aligned or the fly fishing gods smiled on us and we just hit fish after fish. We had a guide for this day and although Ray and I never really count numbers the fly fishing guide reckons we hooked 50 for the day. As I mentioned I just think we lucked out but it was a great experience. We took a  fly fishing guide for one other day who took us up to a spring creek where we caught some nice rainbows from a spot where Lord of The Rings was filmed. The weather wasn’t at its best but Al worked hard and did a great job.

We left feeling that we had almost earnt our wings and had caught fish pretty consistently from all of the rivers we had fished. We even visited a couple of big salmon rivers that are not known for trout and had a few there too which was a really nice feeling. I caught 95% of my fish on dries and 90% of them came to my scruffy klink. It seems to come up with the business whereever I go and our guide Barry took a few for himself which I took as a compliment.

Looking back we really covered some water and I have shed a few pounds (some might say weight I can ill afford to lose!) and we fished like men possesed. We managed a 10 mile hike one day but still had the energy to find a another river and fish til dark. This is one of the great things about New Zealand that all water is public access so if you like the look of somewhere you just hit an access point or knock on a farmer’s door.

For me though, being able to stalk fish was the highlight. Nearly all of the fish we caught came this way and I would love to say that we stalked the fish, made the cast to them, played them and got them in but this isn’t always the case. A lot of the fish hold in pools often with cover of some kind and will head for it the moment they realise something is up. I would have days where I hooked 4 or 5 fish and they all came off but I will never forget the takes where the fish slowly rises up and the great big head peeks out of the water and engulfs your fly. It takes nerves of steel not to strike too soon but you better hold on when all has gone to plan.

We managed to fish so many rivers but my favourites were the Mataura, Aparima, Egglington,Rangitata and lastly the Ashburton.

I’ll pop some photos up in a couple of days but I am sure you won’t want to see me grinning like a cheshire cat holding great big trout….do you?

We decided on the name change for the fly fishing school as we felt it encapsulates where we are and what we do and as we were planning on revamping the Scott site we thought it was the right time to do it. The blog name will change as well but keep an eye out for new stuff as it appears.

Thank you so much for all the comments and feed back we recieved for the new site. We are really pleased with it and there will be lots, lots more coming to make it an interesting read. We see it as an ongoing project that we really intend growing on a regular basis so watch out for lots more updates soon.

We are also thrilled with our new base at the Fox and Hounds. Having 5 miles of river to show you along with our other beats means there is plenty to choose from and we have our own private lake in the hotel grounds which allows us to teach newcomers to fly fishing and is also a great location for fly fishing lessons. I will be stocking in the next week or so and there will be a few surprises in there!

There is no need to be a guest of the hotel to join us but if you are travelling down the rooms, food and hospitality are excellent and Nick and Tara are great hosts. It is possible to walk from the hotel to the river and we even have our own little spot in the bar called the “snug” where we will be meeting guests in the morning and having a sit down at the end of the day to swap fishing stories. I don’t think I have ever been so excited about a coming season…….

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!

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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Devron Diary Pt 1

Monday, September 15th, 2008

I got up to Aberdeen on Sunday lunchtime and Michael and I met up with my good pal Stuart for a bit of stillwater trout fishing . Stuart had sniffed out Dalgety trout fishery and we had a great time catching some really nice rainbows on dries and I was lucky enough to seem him christen his new rod!

Monday saw us on the river chasing salmon. There wasn’t a great deal going on as we started but as ever I take my barometer watch on this annual trip and it is really nice when you see it tick up while you are sitting watching one of the others fishing and shout out it has popped up a bit and lo and behold Gilbert hooked something. I was taking a breather so popped down to offer Gilbert a helping hand should he need it and just shout a bit of encouragement. He doesn’t really need it as he has caught more salmon on this fishery than most of us have had hot dinners but it is always nice to see the first fish of the trip come in. It fought hard and deep and it was a case of sitting out to a degree which is what he did and it swam off strongly when we popped it back. Michael also had a 6lber so things are starting to happen. As for me, I had a pull and a fish roll at a fly but that was it. I felt like I had covered the water and had mixed my flies so feel I couldn’t have done much more so I am pretty happy. I have a shortish beat to myself tomorrow so will give it a good go….we’ll see. Gilberts fish below…

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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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Big Lip…

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

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I was talking to Alison this morning and said that I had been in the office yesterday and today instead of guiding Brian on Tues and Dave today. She said that I must be sitting there with a big sullen bottom lip. She’s about right.

It seems we have really been hit hard the last few days even compared to just a bit up the line. I was hoping both days to be on the lower Tamar doing some river guiding for trout and grayling but it is still flushing through and being a bigger river will be just a bit too lively. I spoke to Dave last night and he knew it was coming and we are going to try something next week (weather permitting!) he wasn’t keen on lake fishing. I have guided him a few months back and know he is a hard core river fly fisher.

Mark takes up the tuition with Ollie on Thurs, a group on Fri and Richard and Kate on Saturday while Bob and I are away in Amsterdam at a show. It should be real fun and it is a big moment for our little company and if it comes off will be really exciting!

I had a fish with Toby on the Taw Monday night and it wasn’t as good as the weekend but he managed an 11inch brown which gave him a really good pull. We shared a rod and took it in turns while we chewed the fat and talked about everything and nothing. Thats what it is all about!

We had a nice message from David and Caroline who spent a day with Bob and I.

Dear Bob,

 we both wanted to let you and Pete know how much we enjoyed our time on the Tamar with you. Thankyou both very much for your time and patience with two novice salmon fishermen. We really loved it. We are both very keen to come back again and would like to try and book a day with you again this season if possible and to also do some river trout fishing with Pete.

With all very best wishes to you and Pete

 David and Caroline