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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Archive for April, 2013

Back to the Torridge

Monday, April 29th, 2013

I haven’t fished the Torridge for a while now but leapt at the chance when I was invited along to fish a piece of it on Sunday.

The Torridge always striked me as a sister the Taw. To me they are similar rivers in many of their characteristics and they even join very briefly at the estuary.

It was 8 deg C when we started and with little going on it was always going to be nymphs to start with. I fished a pool and had some good solid takes from some keen fish.

We kept working the belly and heads of pools that were the most productive areas. We were both keeping an eye out for any signs of flies or, better still, a rise.

Lunchtime and there was just the briefest trickle of grannom that had me tying on a couple of grannom emergers I’d tied a few months ago at the vice. There were no signs of  fish anywhere near the surface but I wanted to try the new patterns.

They didn’t work but hidden in the grannom were a few large darks that eventually started to come in greater numbers.

We walked upstream to a section of wide, flat water perhaps a couple of feet deep. I saw one fish rise and then another. The first fish rose again, something I’ve not seen much of in 2013 so far.

There was little doubt they were taking Large Dark Olive duns. I tied on a #14 cdc pheasant tail that works pretty well for a LDO hatch and cast it out to where I’d seen a rise. The fish rose and I missed it. Or did I ?

I did the thing I am sure we all do and did one of those rescasts into the same spot. The fish rose again and was on.

This continued. The fish weren’t huge maybe 6 to 10 inches but I can’t tell you how enjoyable it was. It lasted longer than I had hoped and I only really fished one pool but lost count of the number of fish I either caught or rose. When the hatch eased I hung a flashback pheasant tail off of the dry and caught some more.

The highlight for me though was getting the ultimate drag free drift. The river was wide and flat with a rocky bottom meaning there were many conflicting currents that would cause a dry to skate in just a matter of moments. I would often combine a variety of casts to ensure I could maximise the drift which was great fun.

I could have fished for another 40 mins or so but didn’t need to. It felt right to stop fishing and so I did just that.

Eat, Sleep, Fish #17 should be with you first week of May.

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Saturday, April 20th, 2013

I don’t think I am an obsessive person, not even mildly although I worry I show signs of it when fishing. I don’t know if you are the same but when I fish a pool and I either know there is a fish in there, or I can see one I need to work out how to catch and it and can’t leave until I have either got a response from the fish or better still caught it. This can sometimes take some time and friends I fish with often shake their heads and walk off as I pursue my quest.

The pool

It happened the other day when I was fishing a stream with a couple of friends Peter and Vince. They had invited me up to fish with them on a tiny, overgrown stream.

Fish 1

The clarity of the water was pretty good and when the sun shone you could see right into the pool. I saw two trout sitting there picking up passing nymph from time to time.

I cast out expecting to catch them. I got a half hearted look from one of the fish but that was it. I changed the way I presented the fly, the pattern, the colour of the bead and a few other things too.

Fish 2

Peter walked up and probably heard me curse a few times as I made what I thought was the perfect drift only for the fly to be ignored. He smiled and walked upstream as I carried on. I wasn’t machine gunning the pool with casts or anything and I made sure I gave the fish a good long rest between casts. They also stayed on station which told me they were perfectly happy.

I had been fishing a 3mm tungsten bead on my nymphs and I felt it had been OK depth wise as the fish had looked at them more than once. I decided as the water had a hint of push to it that I’d go all out for some heavy gear and tied on a caddis pattern that had two, 3mm tungsten beads on.

Vince brings one in

I winced slightly when the fly landed at the head of the pool but it didn’t bother the fish and as it passed the two fish I was targetting a small trout came out of nowhere and took the fly. I carefully got it out of the way, released it and cast out again. This time I lifted the heavy nymph as it came to the fish on the left. It took straight away as did the second fish using the same induced method.

I don’t know how long it took but I don’t really care. In hindsight it probably wasn’t obsessive; perhaps I have an inquisitive nature that makes me want to see what makes the trout tick!

Issue 17 of Eat, Sleep, Fish is underway and should be out early May

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Warming up

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

I had been dying to tie on a dry fly and cast it to a rising trout. I did so the other day when I fished the Usk during what was a pretty cool Large Dark Olive hatch.

Baden on a days guided fishing on Tues

One of the first things I asked my host Lee when I tied on my dry was how quickly the fish took. I am used to lightening fast fish on the Taw and have gone from that extreme to the other when fishing for NZ brown trout that seem to take an eternity before you have to strike.

Neil on a days guided fishing on Sat

I was pleased that I didn’t stuff any of them but when fishing with a fishing pal James the other day we came across a couple of rising fish. I hit one of them too slow (Usk speed strike?!) and the other too quick. Thankfully James had one of them and hit it like lightening. Good work fella!

You’ll be able to read about the Usk trip in the next issue of Eat, Sleep, Fish

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Things turning?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

I had an amazing weekend in Denmark with my good friend Ray (the Dude), fishing for sea trout. We also fished with Alexander and his son, both stalwarts of Danish sea trouting.

The weather wasn’t the friendliest and having just looked over the pictures Ray and I look more like reanimated corpses that weren’t that happy at being reanimated. That having been said, the worse the weather got the better the fishing got and so we just butched it out and fished on.

It was a real test of our friendship that we were wading in some pretty cold water and the waders Ray had leant me (I thought it might keep me under my baggage limit to borrow some) leaked. There was no way we were going to pack it in though and it was a memorable trip for many reasons.

You’ll be able to read about it in the next issue of Eat, Sleep, Fish in early May.

I got back Monday and was back on the river for the day with Baden who is new to river fishing. It was the first time in a while that I didn’t rig up for nymphs outright and we even saw a fish rise towards the end of the day.

Perhaps things are turning for the better?

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Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

I sometimes worry that I am getting a little fair-weather in my old age but given the choice between sitting in front of a computer or going out fishing and braving it, it isn’t a hard choice.

Taw trout for Mark

When it is really, seriously cold you have to make sure you have the right amount of layers on. Something I thought I had done but found out I was at least 4 layers too light.

Another one

Make sure you have the appropriate stupid hat. It may look stupid, but I have found the more stupid it looks the more it keeps you warm. I had partly done this  but the cap with a beenie stretched over it didn’t look stupid enough so I was therefore not warm enough.

Don’t forget a Hot Rox. It is a great piece of gear that you charge up over night and then you switch it on and it keeps you hands warm for up to 6 hours. Emma got me one for the start of last season. It has been a lifesaver. I left it in the car this time. I think this is something to do with my opening sentence about old age. So, as a result of this, tying on flies was rather more problematic than normal. In fact a lot more problematic as I could neither hold the flies/leader or  thread the leader through the fly.  Lesson learnt.

Hot Rox best kept in pocket not left in car

The really good news was that the feeling didn’t come back to my fingers for a while so I stayed off of the computer for even longer. I am sure there’s something deep hidden in that.

I haven’t gone all soft or anything it was just really cold. That is early season and how it goes sometimes. I hear the wind is swinging round Friday so we might just be fishing with a little less tungsten in the short term!

Issue 16 of Eat, Sleep, Fish out tomorrow 4th April

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