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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Fly Fishing Guide

There is nothing more rewarding that sitting down and dressing a few flies. Being a full time fly fishing guide the winter is a good time to do this. During the downtime I have been getting plenty ready for next season and I’ve been busy restocking the fly boxes with home tied flies.

The ever-present flies are there but I have tweeked a few things and am going to try some new patterns just to see if they work. It is nymphs that I have been tying most. I had been thinking that the usual and most consistent patterns have been bead head pheasant tailed nymphs and copper Johns. This is probably because I have great confidence in them and that they actually work really well. I am sure confidence is a large part of it but when I show my guests the underside of rocks these look like the stone clingers and the free swimmers too so we are also matching the bugs effectively.

I’ve also paid a lot more attention to caddis and have played with some hydropsyche and rhyacophila patterns that I have added to the flies I already use.  I try and tie them as generically (is that a word?) as possible so that they suggest not just a single food source but perhaps a little wider range and put the odds in my favour a little bit more. I try and knock out either a half dozen or dozen flies and my brief is simple. Tie them as close as you can to perfect but don’t lavish too much love on them. I would hate to slave over one fly for hours and then a stray cast lands the fly on the far bank of a juicy run without it ever getting wet. As an aside I always say to my guests that it is much better to lose a fly going for that far bank rather than throwing it in the tree behind you. One of the first lessons I try to instill in my guests is to have a quick look behind you before you make the cast. Sounds obvious but on our small streams in Devon it will pay dividends and save you a whole bunch of flies.


I have, along with a lot of help from Emma, tidied the wreckage that is my fly tying area and it is looking almost respectable. I have a radio up there and listen to Radio 5 so that I can keep up with news and sport. I find that working in fly fishing means that it is always on your mind but not everyone wants to always talk fishing ( I do).

It has felt like the weather has lifted a little here. It has been nowhere as bad as Cumbria but we have had wind and rain for what feels like 2 1/2 weeks solid and we have had our first frost of the year today. I will be out casting  and will try some of the new caddis patterns out on some grayling on Thursday. They might even work!

Winter Beard Watch- Day 6- Is this itching going to stop soon?

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