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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

River Taw Trout

I often say to newcomers to fly fishing rivers that if you can catch one of our brownies you’ll be able to catch them pretty much anywhere. Our fish are all wild, cunning and have been to the school of hard knocks and, when hooked, know how to play dirty.

This makes my job both challenging and interesting and has been tough but hugely rewarding of late as the river has been pretty low . It is this sort of thing that makes me keep coming back for more every time and being on the water most days lets me see the constant changes and moods of the river as conditions continually alter.

I was with Richard on Monday and he continued his excellent tally of fish and is now a light line convert. I think he left exhausted but happy and he had an extra 1/2 day tacked onto the 2 days we had spent together and as I was teaching a 1/2 day of that afternoon with Steve and Noleen we arranged to meet him for a bit of lunch. It turned out that we had a bit of a fisherman’s corner over lunchtime as Faure had come back to fly solo on the river and Peter who I was guiding Wednesday and Thursday had just arrived so we all sat down and talked fishing along with Steve and Noleen who had also just arrived. I know Faure was here with his girlfriend this time for a couple of days but sadly I don’t think Vicky got to see him much as he was out on the river just about every second he could!

Steve and Noleen were keen to learn to cast and have a try on the river. We had a great time and even had a few fish which was a great testament to how quickly they picked things up.


Wednesday I was out with Peter. Peter has fly fished lakes and wanted to try his hand at river fishing. He also wanted me to take a look at his casting but that didn’t take long. He had been taught by his father and was a really nice caster. As the weather was about to turn we hit the water and he was soon into fish. His adjustment from still to moving water was remarkable and we were soon into fish. After lunch the rain got heavier and then rained some more. The river was starting to colour and rise so at 4.30 he thought that would be it for the day. No way! I headed to a beat that is a little shallower and actually needed a bit of water to make it more comfortable for the trout. We decided to pop a larger dry on as I find this can make it stand out and encourage trout to hit it. I also find that trout seem to be aware that the river is rising and colouring which will mean that feeding opportunities might be  lesser than normal conditions so they are more keen to take  advantage. There was also a small break in the rain that meant air pressure had risen a small amount and brought on a modest hatch of Blue Winged Olives.


I got up yesterday morning fearing the worst and drove to a few spots looking to see if there was some fishable water before heading to the Hotel. It wasn’t to be, but Peter and I had talked about the possibility of bass instead so I had gear ready and when I met up with him we decided to have a look. I think we both knew that the wind was going to be a factor but we were determined to see just in case. As we saw the Taw estuary though our worst fears were confirmed and the white horses told us everything we thought might happen. We turned round and headed back. It was a real shame but I am sure there will be other times!

Good to see President Obama is a fly fisherman and I am really pleased he decided not to go for the Putin look when fishing (topless and airbrushed!) It would be interesting to see if our leader would opt for a go but I suspect he has just a little too much on his plate right now and I wonder with his current popularity that it might put some sort of jinx on fly fishing!

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