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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Archive for March, 2012

Dries and some more…

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The season is in full swing now and I have decided the blog this year is going to be more about my fishing adventures rather than work pics but I can assure you that anything special caught will be mentioned. The other reason for this is that it will mean that I will make sure that I stick to my promise (same one for the last few years) to do some more fishing. Tilting the blog that way means I shall hopefully adhere to it.

The fishing has been really interesting. I’ve been mixing the methods I have been fishing and have enjoyed them . There is nothing more fun than working a piece of water with a nymph and the hunch pays off or pitching a dry fly into the right spot. The dry has been working pretty well from the off; this and the warm, settled weather has helped this cause. It might be easy to tie on the good old faithful duo or NZ rig which is great but it is nice to try and be a little more thoughtful about approaches.

Taw trout

I was on the Usk last week doing an article for the ezine and we were discussing changing tactics according to the pool we were going to fish and how this can affect the chances of success. As a guide this is something I think about a lot when working and rather than stringing up what worked the other day I like to constantly tinker with things to make sure they get the most from the pool I am fishing.

Like I said the dry has done pretty well. I have seen Large Darks, March Browns and loads of midges. The fish are starting to be in the sort of places we expect them to be, having spooked some from some really unusual spots last week and I have had just dry fly sessions using attractor dries when things are quiet. It’s been fun.

River Taw

I thoroughly enjoyed the casting day on Sunday for the Crediton Club. I think this is the 7th year I’ve done it and I try and make sure things keep evolving to make it interesting. This year I concentrated more on tackle and fishing techniques along with some casting too.

Plump Taw trout on a dry

Tomorrow will be an interesting one. I am teaching Spey Casting in the morning and in the afternoon we have 20 new fly anglers. The thing that has alarmed me the most about this is that I have plenty enough tackle for them I think I might have a tackle hoarder problem!

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Devon Fly Fishing 2012

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

There is nothing like a bunch of friends getting together to see in the new season and 15 of us met up at the Fox and Hounds to mark the ocassion. This is a really neat little event that has continued to grow over the last few years and isn’t about the numbers of fish caught, just a few people meeting up to have a good time and to catch up with friends old and new.

After tea and coffee I sorted out beats so that everyone had plenty of water and off we went. It was a murky morning and it felt as though nymphs would rule so I rigged up my 10ft rod and french leader. First cast and I lifted in to what felt like a jackpot fish but turned out to be a submerged log. A couple of casts later though while working the seam of a riffle I saw the braid just nip back against where I had been leading the flies and I was into my first fish of the season.

I headed up to see Luke and Chris, Luke had got lucky and Chris had a couple of takes. I have to admit the morning shot by and we were soon meeting the other anglers who were drifiting in and hearing tales of fish. Nobody was knocking the cover off of the ball but fish were being caught by everyone which was great news.

After lunch I mixed beats up a little and we were off again. Chris, Mark, Luke and I headed to one of my favourite spots and I managed a couple on the same combo as the morning. I was heading up the river when I saw what looked like a dead sheep hanging head first from a high bank. Getting closer it had gotten stuck in some brambles and even better was still alive. Seeing Luke upstream I gave him a call and after what seemed a long while we managed to get it free and it wandered off quite happily. I can only guess it hadn’t been there too long.

Luke had managed a couple on dries during a brief Large Dark Olive hatch and after messing around for a bit we decided to head back, have a drink and see how the other anglers had got on.

We got back and saw some of the guys taking down their gear too and being the enterprising journo ( I use that term very loosely!) I took a new line out of the back of the truck and got them to help me review it for Eat ,Sleep, Fish. Keep en eye out for it in the next issue on April 1st.

Back in the bar it was abuzz with fishing talk and of one fish in particular. Mike had been fishing one of the higher beats and hit a golden spell where he had an 11″, 13″ and an incredible measured 19″ trout!

Everyone was thrilled for Mike and his achievement. A 19″ wild trout down here is huge and the last two years the biggest of the season have been 16 1/2 and 17 inches putting into context how well he had done.

Well done Mike!

The Taw never ceases to amaze me and I think this is why I love it so much!

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A new start….

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

I’m just back from my last chalkstream trip for a bit and we are now under starter’s orders for things to get going down here in Devon. It will be great to see in the new season on Thursday and it is even nicer to share it with a bunch of friends. It has been a little bit of a tradition the last few years at The Fox and Hounds to mark the start of trout fishing here and it has sort of snowballed from there. It looks like there will be a good number of us hitting the Taw and seeing if the trout are biting.

2011 gathering

If you are fishing opening day then the very best of luck and if you have to wait then I hope the weather holds for you and the flies are hatching.

Eat, Sleep, Fish seems to be doing really well and we have again been amazed at the sheer numbers of fly anglers who have read the latest issue and have enjoyed it. The feedback has been really inspiring. We have been working hard on the next issue and Emma and I headed up to Yorkshire last weekend to do a Home Waters which was great fun, despite temps dropping 10 degrees and just a dusting of snow. Thankfully the grayling were still biting!

We are often ask by would-be contributors to ESF how they submit something and as of today Jim has pulled off a real master stroke and made it even easier. It’s back to the last few finishing touches for issue four. Please keep the feedback coming!

How to contribute an article to ESF

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The clock is ticking

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I could write all sorts of stuff about counting down to the start of the trout season here in Devon but if you are reading this you know that already and we have all been peering out of the window each morning thinking to ourselves “nearly there”, right?

I’ve said before that I’ve been tying a few flies and but don’t want to bore you with those pics of flies in vices etc. I’d much rather go out and road test what I’ve been tying so that when I tie one on for a client I know I’ve got it just about right.

I was fishing solo on Tuesday and went looking for some grayling. When I got to the river I rigged up and a lone Large Dark Olive landed on my finger. Now, I take these things as a sign. You can look at it two ways. Firstly, that this is as good as it is going to get today and things could go downhill from here, or secondly that you are hitting the river at just the right time and you might have had a bit of good luck. I prefer the latter and despite the good omen fished the first pool with a nymph as I hadn’t seen anything move. At the tail of the next I hooked into a nice grayling and took a picture of it in the net before releasing it.

Next pool and I saw a rise. I held fire for a bit and the tell tale bubble in the rise told me a grayling was coming on. I tied on a grey klink that I had on my patch from the day before and cast. It was a nice, positive rise and the fish was mine. A smaller one but it was a great start. I added a nymph to the dry and decided I would snip it off if I saw another rise.

Just round the corner I saw one, took the nymph off and covered the fish. Nothing, but I also saw there were a lot of midges about and I tied on a #24 black klink I’d tied recently and the fish thought it was OK and took it.

One more rise and this time the grayling didn’t want the small fly. Perhaps the good number of midges was masking the odd, further, Large Dark. I laughed at myself talking about “masked hatches” several months before I usually do.

The pattern continued and I kept mixing things up and catching some nice fish. I did have a few mishaps. The screw that holds my net handle decided to come loose when I was putting a fish back and at least it was at a time when I knew what had happened. I have had this a few times when you reach for the net and there is nothing there. I’d hate to lose this one as I really like it and it cost way more than any sane person should spend on a net.

I had been thinking about having something to eat and was going to fish one more pool when I noticed that the sole had come off of my wading boot. The fishing was too good to worry about it and as I did a sort of limp into the next pool I was making sure I didn’t loose the whole sole as I wanted to keep the tungsten studs that were in it.

I cast up against a bank and the dry dipped, I hit it and knew it was a good fish. Thump, thump it went and headed upstream. I hadn’t seen it but managed to get it under control and netted. It was a great fish and one I was really pleased with. I took a pic and slipped it back. Time for something to eat.

I limped up the bank and realised that not only the sole had come away from the upper but the whole section had come away meaning that just about everything could get into my boot making it a bit tricky to keep on fishing. It seemed right to stop there anyway and I headed home. So if a LDO lands on your finger first day of the season I hope it brings you some luck but keep an eye on your waders too!

Eat, Sleep, Fish is ready and I will be publishing it on Friday (I think) There is another good mix of fishing and if you like it please let me know.


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