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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Gone but forgotten?

I know I am not supposed to moan, I’m not a moaner by nature and don’t subscribe to the “poor me” way of thinking but when is the weather going to let up? I thought there might be a break this morning and a chance to pop out and throw a few loops but once again it is throwing it down!

This time of year is a quieter one for guiding for me as many of the rivers of Devon are shut and The Taw doesn’t have any grayling. It means I have to travel further to both work and also to fish. I use this time to catch up with all the friends I have promised I would fish with when the fishing season is in full swing. The travelling doesn’t bother me , you’ve got to do what you can to get to the fish and I enjoy the drive and enjoy listening to music on the way.

I was talking to a pal about driving tunes yesterday and one of my favourites to get the trip going is The Foo Fighters “Times like these”  along with anything by The Specials. I’m fishing Monday (weather willing) and they will be blaring out of the truck at stupid o’clock in the morning.

I was planning to write something about what defines good fishing and being the time of year that it is I sort of expanded that and got thinking about what defines a good season. I suppose it is lots of things. A memorable fish, a big one that you had to get to which was rising in a back eddy, one that you had tied a specific fly for on nothing more than a hunch and, for some perhaps, it is all about numbers. The really funny thing about this is how we always seem to remember the one we had on briefly and lost. I can remember loads of those occassions not just from this season but from a long way back too.

One I’ll never forget is a trip The Dude (Ray) and I made to Wales. The wind was blowing a bit and Ray was sat sheltering on a bank and I tied on a March Brown and was going through the motions a bit. I turned to him and probably said something along the lines of we really needed to get some food. As we have matured the days of fishing, fishing and fishing have eased just a very small notch and we now stop for some food every once in a while. Anyway, I turned to Ray and my rod just bucked over, seriously bucked over. I struck, felt a pull and it was gone. I have no idea about what it was but I know it was a big one and it would have been good to see. Funnily enough a similar thing happened to Ray on the same trip and as I have said before he is Mister Chilled but that one got to him.

I went through a spell in NZ where fish were just busting me no matter what I tried. I hooked plenty but went a couple of days without landing one. On one of those days we were on a river. It had split into two 10ft wide forks so Ray and I took a branch each. I came across  a really good fish rising in 4ft of water and knew if I landed my fly in the right spot he was mine. I even went as far as playing the fight out in my mind before I made the cast. He was tight in one the banks (aren’t they all?!) and there was a lot of roots he could wrap me on. It had been a case of fishing slightly heavier tippet and hanging on when they took and trying to keep them out but this fish was bigger and probably smarter. I thought that I would give him hard side strain into his bank so that he would swim away from there. Well that was the plan. I made the cast, he took, I held my breath and then struck. He was on and my plan sort of worked. Applying big side strain to his bank did stop him from heading where I feared and he shot out headed upstream a short way and bust me off in a similar spot to where he had been holding.  One of those things I guess. The funny thing is that the next day I hooked and landed a fish that I had a long chase down stream through all sorts of obstacles and landed that turned out to be one of the biggest of the trip. This was one I was amazed that stayed on!

 I am hoping to fish on Monday and will tie a few extra flies just in case we do get out…..

The beard has settled down a bit now but I am not sure I am in it for the long term with facial hair.

Below is a pic of the stream in NZ where the magic nearly happened, unremarkable looking with remarkable fish.

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