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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

The Man in the Hat

I met up with Nick on Sunday who was heading off on a fishing trip and wanted a few pointers with his casting and then wanted to hit the river and pick up some hints for rivercraft too. The really nice thing though was that he was keen just to have fun. I think we managed that and he caught a few too. This was despite the river still being a little on the murky side after all the rain but it was starting to clear down and we just about hit it right. Being Sunday meant that we were able to sneak a few beef sandwiches as the Hotel has a carvery.



Monday I was meeting up with Lindsay. He had contacted us and wanted to get to grips with fly fishing the rivers of Devon and to go in search of some salty stuff too. We covered some casting on some stillwater and then hit the river. We fished a nice section of the Hotel’s water and he got to grips with the Taw really quickly.


More fish followed and we moved to another beat in the afternoon where we came across some rising fish under some nasty low branches. No worries for Lindsay. He cast the Helios into the right spot and the fish liked our fly selection. It was a great day and we could see the water was coming into really good shape but with settled weather coming we opted for bass on Wednesday.

Tuesday I wasn’t with Lindsay as I had a booked casting session with Hannah for a little help with how to approach the beat she was going to be fishing. Hannah fishes the Frome and was new to spate rivers but when I saw her in the evening the big smile said she had done well! Funnily enough she is fishing The Test next week and I am up guiding up there next week so will no doubt be bumping into her in the Orvis store in Stockbridge! Tuesday afternoon was with Mike, Jenny, Alan, Alec and Roger who were on their second visit down to the Taw and wanted some casting tips and approaches to the water. It was really good fun and they have a great sense of humour and there was plenty of ribbing going on. The casting session was pretty much an open floor with them shouting a cast and me demonstrating it and then breaking it down to show them how it works. I’d then get one of them to come and try it.  I could see they were itching to fish so we did just that!

Wednesday I was back with Lindsay and we did some casting in the morning where we played with distance and really got his double haul going nicely and discussed drift and its impact on the cast. We grabbed a quick lunch and hit the salt. It was great fun and we hit the water early and found fish skulking around. I won’t forget seeing Lindsays face when a really, really nice bass slapped his clouser and headed off to the horizon. I’m not sure who was the most surprised but it was a real treat. Needless to say it was a nice one!

Thursday was a salmon day and we were hopeful as both Hannah and the group I had Tues afternoon had all seen salmon. We covered spey casting with a single hander first and it was really interesting as Lindsay comes from an engineering background and was really interested in the mechanics of the cast and was asking some great questions and we enjoyed talking anchor points!

We had beat 6 and as the water was coming down pretty quickly I though it might be a good spot as we had Bridge Pool by the salmon ladder. Mike, one of the group of 5 I’d had earlier on in the week, had a pull there on Tuesday and Lindsay thought he might have connected but that was the closest we got. By lunch we had bright sunshine and a rapidly falling river. It looked like a trout session in the afternoon and so after a steak sandwich we hit the bootm of Beat 6 and worked our way up.


Today we hit Beat 2 in the morning and did some small stream stuff in the afternoon with lighter lines. The morning was slower as it had been a cold, clear night but Lindsay winkled out a few fish and it was a testament to his skill with a fly rod as it wasn’t easy. The afternoon was a different story and with good numbers of caddis coming off the fish loved our dry. We got hit by something very tasty as the leader just popped when Lindsay struck and whatever was attached shot off. It was a great day!

I’ve named the blog after Lindsay, the man in the hat! Apparently he has Welsh ancestry and it sort of showed as we left for the day!!


So here is to the Man in the Hat!

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