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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Archive for December, 2011

Festive Fishing

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The great thing about Christmas, apart from meeting up with family and friends is the amount of food you have placed in front of you. There is, of course, a way to dodge this for a few hours and this is to hit the river for some grayling. So on the 30th Vince, Toby and I thought we should give it a go.

Toby and a grayling

The night before was a shocker down in Devon with nasty winds and heavy rain and part of me thought that we might not be seeing the river at its best but that still didn’t stop me leaping out of the bed at stupid o’clock and jumping in the truck.

I picked up Toby and we decided a coffee and breakfast were the way ahead and as both of us were early (mainly my fault as I am always early and Toby knows it)  we had time for a pit stop.

Vince brings one in

Meeting Vince at the river we tackled up, walked downstream and got going. Toby and I fished together for a bit and had a few fish pretty quickly. He fished a 10ft rod with a duo of heavy nymphs under a yard indicator and I with a french nymph rig. Both worked and after a bit I jumped out and did my host bit to make sure Vince was OK.

No need to worry as he was playing a fish when I turned up and after getting in the river just below had a few myself and everytime I looked up Vince was playing a fish. With the water low it looked like he had got onto a good pod of fish that were bunched up.

Vince was fishing a duo of klink and nymph and he had a few come to the dry too.

I lit the barbie for lunch and after it taking a bit too long to get warm Vince got out his gas powered stove to finish the burgers off.

Tailgate burgers

After lunch the fishing just continued in the same vein and we caught plenty. Vince had them to 13 inches and a good few more on dries while Toby had a 15 incher.

We packed up as the weather closed in, having had our fill. We all fished different methods but they all worked. I am sure there is a lesson in there somewhere about flexibility…

Lunchtime chironomid hatch

I have been working on Issue 2 of Eat, Sleep, Fish and have just got off of the phone with Jim and I can’t wait to see his next article. It sounds like it is going to be perfect for us grayling fishers!

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Have a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

It seems a few days since I had the time to sit down and write the Blog. Eat, Sleep, Fish has been occupying a lot of my time and I am thoroughly enjoying getting Issue 2 ready for late Jan.

I have been overwhelmed by the messages I have received saying how much people have enjoyed our ezine. The amount of visitors we have had has exceeded what I  even dreamt of and we have had messages from as far as New Zealand via Australia, South Africa, U.S. and through Eastern Europe and of course the U.K.                                                       Eat, Sleep, Fish

As I have mentioned before, we are not looking to make a penny from this, just to spread our love of fly fishing so if you have enjoyed the first issue please pass on to your fly fishing friends and help us spread the word.

I can’t believe how mild it is and plan to hit the river between Christmas and new year and we might just try a few dries too.

In the meantime many thanks for the support we have had in 2011 and we look froward to seeing you on the river in 2012!


Something new….

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

I have to say I thoroughly enjoy writing this blog and have always made sure that I try and update it once a week. It is easy to commit to these sorts of things and then, after a few months, the interest wanes and the blog dies a slow death. I find I am using it more now as a means to talk about a few things I notice on the river along with a few fishing trips I go on.

Over the last year or so I have been working on expanding this a bit further into something a little bigger. As I see it the world wide web is such a great tool for connecting with people and for sharing news, views and gossip.

I was lucky enough to be fishing in Montana with Ray (The Dude) and it struck me, whilst sitting on a rock in a wonderful stream called Rock Creek, to come up with the idea for an ezine where people could share with others their love of fly fishing. The idea grew and a few months later I was talking to some good friends about the concept to see if it had legs or not. The feedback I got back was yes and so Eat, Sleep, Fish started to come to life.

I spoke to my most excellent web and design dudes who built the site and designed a logo and I managed to teach myself a little about how to put things together.

The main thing about ESF is that it will be a non profit venture and that anyone can contribute, if they want to. There are so many people out there who are great fishermen, whom we can learn from and let’s face it, we all love hearing about someone’s day on the water and so I hope that ESF will be a tool that will enable people to share their passion.

So here it is, Eat, Sleep, Fish. I hope you enjoy it and get what we are trying to do.  As ever feedback is welcomed!

Fly Fishing in Devon

Friday, December 9th, 2011

As a full time fly fishing guide I am often asked what I do in the winter. There are a few things but one of the main couple are to replenish my fly boxes and secondly I get to go fishing.

I have been out on a few trips recently that I’ve written about and I was getting some gear rigged up for my next days fishing. This time of year I really enjoy fishing nymphs and where I am fishing the water is low and clear and it lends itself really well to french nymphing. I was getting the leader on my reel and felt a tugging at the end. Despite fighting the urge to strike I saw that one of our cats was having some fun with the long leader as I got it rigged up. What I didn’t realise was how much fun she had and had bitten rather a lot of it and it was one of those sickening moments when you can see the marks on the leader and when you give it a gentle tug it parts. Sadly there were quite a few of these and I had to bin it. She has this butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth looks and so I couldn’t get angry plus she had been well trained with my chop stick and string casting routine which meant she had gotten pretty good at catching the line when I tried to curve it around her.

The Leader Muncher

The other thing I like to do is tie flies when it means I can’t go fishing. It is one of those things that I have to be in the mood for and I’ll sit and tie a bunch of flies or I have been thinking about the season just gone and have thought ” I wonder if I tie it like this it might work better ” Today has been one of those days and I have had a few “brainwaves” I have come up with a few ideas that I’ll try soon for a quicker sinking nymph (not just extra weight), a new sort of mayfly emerger and a fly that I think is a whole lot better for using as part of a duo or trio set up. It is easy to tie and I have just tweaked the early prototypes I used last week. I find it more fun to try and tie something to fit the purpose rather than hearalding the latest fly from a fly company as the latest and greatest. It is also good to show the people you are guiding why you are tying on the fly and why you have tied it rather than just tying on a parachute adams ( great fly though) and hoping for the best.

It is a nice feeling when sometimes the flies you have thought about during the winter layoff actually work in a real life situation. Not always the case though and I have had what I thought were perfect for the role flies hidden away in the crevices of my fly box!

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Thanksgiving sea trout

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Emma and I made our second trip out to Denmark to see Ray (The Dude), his wife Christina and their daughter Mia for Thanksgiving. It has turned into a really nice tradition and this year was our 11th . It might appear a little strange that 2 Brits and a Dane are joining an American to celebrate a strictly American affair but it harks back to the days when The Dude lived in the U.K. and was a long way from home so we thought it would be fun to hook up and help celebrate.

Last year we got snowed out but this year it was mild and after some excellent turkey and pumpkin pie we headed out on Sunday to go to a Christmas fair at a nice place that was an old monestary with a mill which meant there had to be a river nearby.

Dude and Al with a NZ fish

The girls headed off to learn how to make a few Christmas decorations and Dude and I headed off to a hall area where they were serving coffee. We sat talking and noticed that the hall started to fill and they had wheeled out a piano. It turned out that there was going to be a few carols being sung. We thought it might be nice to hear but we both slightly panicked when they started handing out song sheets. This didn’t look good. There is no way I would inflict my singing voice on anyone. I remember when I was at school and the music teacher thought I was singing out of tune on purpose. Since then I do my best Cheryl Cole impression and move my lips to the music.

Just to make things worse though the words were in Danish. The lady at the front started to show everyone the warming up excersises before launching into the first song with great enthusiasm. The assembled crowd were loving it as Dude and I just looked at each other. I have never heard Dude sing but knowing he is now fluent in Danish made me think his vocal talents were similar to mine as I didn’t hear a note come from his lips either.

Now, I pride myself on my manners and I wouldn’t dream of walking out after one song as it would have been rude but how long are you supposed to wait? 40 minutes later I saw the leading lady walk behind the piano to grab something and thought that was our window to escape. We made our exit.

Checking on the girls, they were still doing their decorations so I suggested to Dude that we head outside to look at the stream. It was pretty small and clear but I saw a large splash. The light wasn’t great and I had no sunglasses to see what it was. As the sun was in our faces we headed to the other bank through a mass of trees so we might get a better look. We couldn’t see anything but walking upstream a bit Ray saw one big sea trout then another. I’d missed them but was dying to get my first glimpse of a Danish fish. To do this I did something I haven’t done in a while and that was climb a tree. Some of the magic was still there and I managed to get up high enough to give me a better view of the river and I saw a few fish. They were big.

We walked further upstream. By now my shoes and jeans were caked in mud but we saw a guy standing in the water by a small footbridge. We saw a few more people and some were holding nets. We then saw what was going on.

It turns out they had been electro fishing the river for sea trout and then milking them for eggs. They fertilise them and bring them on in their own little hatchery. It was a great little operation and we got to see some real big sea trout up close. The guys belong to a fishing club which, when we got back to Dude’s, we looked up. The great thing is that the club is based right by where Dude lives so I am hopeful he will have some guys to go fishing with.

Just back from some grayling fishing and yesterday was the first day it felt cold. There were just the slightest hint of a small hatch every time the wind dropped and Toby and I even had a few fish take a look at the dry.

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