Gift vouchers are now available for Tuition & Guiding

Testimonial Picture 1
Testimonial Picture 2
Testimonial Picture 3

Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing Guide Devon’

Just Sometimes Part 2

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

I remember reading one of John Gierach’s books where he writes about “expertising”. He and his buddy AK were invited to show a guy how to fish a lake he had on his land for trout. Predictably, they tried everything and couldn’t buy a fish no matter how hard they tried. The guy then rigged his own rod up (it might have been a spinning rod but I can’t remember) and proceeded to pull out fish after fish.

I had a half day booking that Emma had taken from Michael and Andy (Father and Son in Law) to help them with their casting and to show them how to get the best from the mile of river ( I won’t tell you the name!) that was at the bottom of their land.

We hopped into my truck and drove down the steep hill to the bottom. This was fun in itself as I had to engage four wheel drive!

I parked up and saw a really nice little fishing hut and after talking through tackle and rod selections we went on to some grass to talk casting. I managed to get a quick glance at a short section and already liked what I saw.

They cast well and we headed off to have a look at the river. I rigged up a trout rod and salmon outfit to display what would be needed and planned on showing them where they should be thinking about fishing for trout, sea trout and salmon.

The water had some really nice pools for salmon and some nice spots for sea trout to hole up in. I pointed them out and showed them how they should think about fishing them and then came across a really nice pool. Now, one thing is for sure – I never, ever fish when I am working. People pay me to guide them, not to go fishing but I do sometimes demonstrate a cast if it is needed. In this instance I was showing them how to vary the angle they could fish their salmon fly at before Michael had a go. I was explaining about managing the line when it went tight. I did what any angler would do and lifted into what was a salmon. It was on and so I handed the rod to Michael who in all the excitement locked down on the fish a little bit too much and it came off but it was great for him to feel a fish on.

It was amazing water and one I would love to fish one day in a non working capacity!

I had the real pleasure of guiding Daran for a few days this week. He is a very accomplished angler and knows his stuff. The brief was to show him the Taw and then to head up into Dartmoor on the second day. Sounded perfect to me!

I took him to our new beat on Monday and mentioned about potential for sea trout along with the trout. We started with a dry and then tied on a nymph, duo style, when we hit my favorite sea trout holes. The first one didn’t bring a sea trout on but on the last cast, when he was inducing the nymph, he hooked into what we first thought was a salmon. He was fishing a 4 wt and kept the fish skillfully out of the snags and safe from danger. We got a better look and I couldn’t believe it when I saw spots on the tail. It was a rainbow of over 5lb and was way too big for my net. We got to a position where we planned to beach it. I knew it was going to be a toughie and said in true saltwater fashion “if I touch the leader it counts” ! I managed that and as it was coming up the bank I tried to ease it into position when the hook hold came loose and the fish swam off. I think it had been in the river a fair time and the nearest fish farm closed about a year ago so I wondered if it had come from there. I know it shouldn’t be in there but the river is not plagued with them and I work on the basis that everyone should get a break now and again and that goes for the fish too.

So we get to the next pool all excited and Daran’s dry dips. The fish heads upstream and we know it is a strong fish. Fish safely netted and it is Daran’s first sea trout. We spent the afternoon catching more trout and we reckoned we’d hooked another small sea trout. What a great day!

Tuesday and we head to the Moors. Daran excelled again and soon had beaten his best ever tally for trout. I am the worst person to count fish but was nice to count down to the magic number. We stopped counting after that as it only seemed right and I’d have never remembered how many he caught. I took him to a few of my favourite places and then one last spot. We were fishing ( I think) a small dry when we saw a good fish move. We covered it but nothing happened and I mentioned that it looked like it had taken a caddis and tied on a balloon caddis. He cast it out and the fish whacked the fly.  It was a good fish and Daran was christening my new 2wt and kept the fish out of a couple of spots where it tried to wrap him. The fish was landed and we thought that was a good time to end the day with a 14 1/2 inch fish.

Just sometimes it all goes to plan!

Had a great couple of days with my good friend Jim Williams, report to follow.

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing tuition, fly fishing lessons and guiding in Devon

Breaking all the Barriers

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

The great thing about fly fishing is that there are no communication barriers needed to understand what a fellow fly angler is trying to say, even if they don’t speak the same language. A few nods and a look at the fly boxes is often enough to show the other person exactly what they need to know.

I was recently guiding Raphael who was over from Spain for 3 days of fishing with me. Despite what I have written above, Raphael spoke excellent English and made me slightly embarrassed that my few words of Spanish didn’t really do me proud.

We had a great time on the river and it was a real pleasure to be able to show him a nice variety of water. He was an excellent angler who covered the water perfectly and caught plenty of Devon trout.

He liked to use his flies, some of which were a little different to those I normally use, but they worked really well. So well in fact that I took a good mental note and have tied up a few as I think they will make great additions to my box. The flies are quite similar but there subtle little differences that sometimes can make the difference.

I am sure Charles Darwin would see them as a sort of natural selection of the patterns that have been slightly changed to suit their natural surroundings, or in this case trout, but it is nice to see these little alterations work here too. I know when I am tying flies that I tie a few and wonder if a slight change might work. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t but I love trying things out!

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing Lessons, Tuition and Fly Fishing Lessons in Devon

Just sometimes….

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Just sometimes everything slots into place and gives you that nice feeling that you are doing your job as a fly fishing guide as good as you hope and, more importantly, what your guest hopes too!

I was guiding Stephen who I have guided a couple of times before; the first time I guided him several years ago he managed a memorable 16 inch trout on a dry. As I am writing this I seem to remember that this was one of those hunches that worked out but that story will keep.

This time, we had picked up a few trout as a blue winged olive hatch had started to get going and we came to a spot that I have had some success with in the past. It is a place I know sea trout like to hold in. I didn’t land any from there last year, although Gavin was broken by a really big fish that snapped at a mayfly with a pretty chunky leader on. The year previously though, the best spell I had was 7 fish hooked in 3 days. Sadly not all came in but it was nice as we got them to take in bright sunshine.

So, we came to this spot and I told Stephen that it CAN be a good spot but to be honest it hadn’t produced this year but the water level had come up a tiny bit and it was worth a try. Stephen’s first cast was a little short but a small trout hit it anyway although it came off. Next cast was one the money. Right under the low branch and into the pool. “Whack!” Sea trout don’t go whack but I thought it would add to the dramatic effect!

Stephen struck and he was in to his first sea trout. It wasn’t a huge one but that didn’t matter. Land mark fish can be whatever size as they are special ones. He was over the moon and we moved up and saw a couple of larger fish move but they didn’t play ball. Stephen, there will be next time and thanks very much for your note:

“Hello Pete

Just a note to say thank you for the excellent morning and for your patience in helping me to make real progress in getting back into river fishing.

I don’t know whether or not the photos you took were any good but I should be interested to see the one of the sea trout.

Again, many thanks and I look forward to seeing you again before long.

Stephen”

I really enjoy guiding the “long shot” fish. I know we can catch sea trout at night and during a spate, but it is kind of neat when you can do it in bright sun and low water.

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing Tuition, Guiding and Fly Fishing Lessons in Devon

Lessons from Fly Fishing Part 2

Friday, July 8th, 2011

I am just back from 4 days of guiding Pam and Alan on a Dorset chalkstream. I sort of know the water from a trip in the distant past when I fished it with my good friend Ray (The Dude) a few years back.

I really like these trips on waters I am not so familiar with as it test me as a guide and fishing chalkstreams also allows me to work on the fish spotting skills which I thoroughly enjoy. It is good for a guide to do this every now and again as it gets you thinking a little more and lets you work on honing your skills on a water you might not know so well.

"nice cast Alan, this could be the one"

It can sometiimes be easy to tie on the old faithfuls that work at home but they might not do the business on a different water. I am a firm believer that a guide doesn’t have supernatural skills as to when fish are biting but they simply read and analyse the conditions and fish the water and make fly selections accordingly. Guiding is about showing your guests why you are changing your flies or why you are changing the setup a bit, not gazing into the distance and muttering something about a special feeling or saying that your big toe is throbbing and the fish are coming on the feed…well, thats my view!

Pam does the business

I want my guests to be able to see why conditions have changed and then if they are fishing alone they have a really good idea of some things that might work to tip the scales in their balance.

Another fish for Alan

Anyway, the trip was a great one and Pam and Alan, as always,  fished beautifully and caught plenty of fish.  We had a mixture of bright sunshine followed by rain on the last day but it was great fun!

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing Tuition, Guiding and Fly Fishing Lessons in Devon

Fly Fishing in Devon – Loving it!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

It feels like I have looked up and we are coming to the end of June. It has been a great season so far and it feels like there is lots more to do and fish of all sorts to be caught. One of the things I did promise was to fish a bit more this year but I just haven’t really had the chance yet but I have promised myself I’ll put that right from now on.

Glyn takes a breather...love the jacket!

I have been loving the great caddis hatches we have been having  and, as has been the case for most of the season, we are tying on a dry and it is doing the job. I have to admit that I was a little nervous of what the fishing would be like after mayfly but they still appear to be happy to feed, despite a few looking as though they wouldn’t be out of place on the oche of a darts tournament!

David works a nice pool

The rain has been welcome and I did lose a day to a heavy coloured river but it didn’t rise enough to really make the next days unfishable.

It was great to meet up with Glyn and David again and we managed some nice fish on the day. While I was with Glyn, David excitedly told me about the fish that had taken his fly and headed deep and broke him off. It might just have been another sea trout. He did console his lost fish with a really nice 11 incher though. Glyn fished the best I have seen her and her day was made by an otter swimming right past her on the river. She smartly reeled and wandered off to the next pool!

DFP christens my new net

The legend from Portland was back in town and had some unfinished business with the Taw that he put right landing a number of nice fish and giving my brand new net a good working out. Dave from Portland you were on fire!

Murky weather but the fish were still biting for Gavin

Gavin was also back for some trouting. We fished in just about every weather you could imagine but the river stayed just right and the fish were biting. He had a number of really nice fish and a new personal best of 13 inches. We almost got a photo of it but the slippery customer saw a chance and rightly went for it.

A 13incher that was a little camera shy!

My good friend Toby has a new site that has his excellent photos and words that might be of interest. Take a look Here

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing Tuition, Lessons and Guiding in Devon

Devon Fly Fishing

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

It feels like the mayfly went in a blur of slashy takes and big fish!  I have been amazed by the good numbers of sizeable fish that have come out of the river as the more wary fish, that we don’t get to see a lot, shake off their normal shyness and hit the big mays as they drift down stream.

We have had plenty of fish in the 10 to 12 inch range and more than a few that have hit 13 inches only to be beaten again by a great 16 and a halfer that was caught last Friday. The sea trout have been starting to show and when guiding Richard from Hampshire for a couple of days it was great to see a pool switch on for a few moments and to watch a sea trout rise to the dry and then, just a few casts later, watch Richard’s rod get almost yanked out of his hand by a fish that we thought must have been a good sea trout. It just goes to show you don’t always have to fish at night, or when the river is coloured to catch them.

RFH works his magic

Richard is turning into quite the river angler now, putting exqusite casts into the hard-to-reach places and getting rewarded with some nice fish. I was also out with Russell and his friends – James, Charlie and Kelvin who were making the shift from stillwaters to rivers on a 2 day fishing course.

It was great fun and the guys all did really, really well. All of them caught some nice fish and a special mention has to go to Charlie for catching the season’s best fish of sixteen and a half inches!

The end of the day....

It’s always great when we have Dave from Portland join us, which he did on Friday, weaving his usual magic and troubling somereally nice fish, followed by Mike on Saturday who wanted to learn how to fish a river. I suspect the fish on the Tone will have something to fear now.

The deep concentration of Mike the river angler!

It was great to meet up with Clare, Fiona and Bev who wanted to learn to fish and, as ever, the ladies showed us guys how to make fly casting look easy!

Fiona, Clare and Bev hit the river

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing Tuition, Guiding and Fly Fishing Lessons

Mayfly fishing in Devon

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Wow, the mays keep coming along with the fish. Big patterns rule right now and we have been working the slower stretches of water with size 8 may patterns. The hatch starts at 11am and I have still seen duns coming off of the water as late as 7pm.

Nearly a photo of a biggie for Don!

I have only been using one pattern for the last week that has been working really well for us in a good mouthful size 8. I think we are lucky that we don’t get as big a hatch as they see up in the chalkstreams but this works really well as our fly is not lost in the cast of thousands that can sometimes hatch on some of the famous rivers up country. We have been covering fish that have been on the mays or making speculative casts into where we think the fish might be holding and sometimes it works but you just don’t know where the take is going to come from. Cast to the likely spot and hold your breath…

Alexander plays a big one we think was a sea trout that wrapped us!

We are lucky having miles of private water to guide on so you know if the fish are biting you are not going to have someone step in front of you. We are over the moon that our newest beat is on fire right now and has a really good mix of deeper water and there is miles of it!

My good friend Luke works a pool

It probably sounds like guide speak but I really can’t remember a more exciting time to be on the river. I have a long stretch of guiding without a break coming but just can’t wait, man, I love the Taw!

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing tuition, guiding and fly fishing lessons in Devon

Fly Fishing Devon

Monday, May 16th, 2011

It has been another great week of helping reach new milestones in their angling careers from beginners up to the experienced. There is nothing more exciting than seeing everything slot into place!

Caroline has always wanted to try fly fishing and had 2 days with us bought for her by her husband Terry. Despite never holding a fly rod before she was throwing some really nice loops in no time and had a rainbow in the freezer at the hotel to take home with her. Next day she was on the river and made the step with ease, catching a few nice Taw brown trout. Caroline re-strings violin and cello bows for a living and was intrigued to see if the skills she employs on a day to day basis would be of use in fly tying. They would be and after showing her how to tie a couple of flies we tried them out on the river and the fish thought they were pretty good too. Really well done Caroline!

Caroline plays a Taw brown on.

I had Paul down for a Spey Casting session and showing him a few casts that he can put into good effect on the Wye in the next few weeks should have the salmon a bit worried. I think he did fall in love with my switch rod though and I had to prise it out of his hands at the end of the day!

Nick had tried some still water fishing and wanted, with his Dad Rod, to learn how to tackle moving water. We covered the casts and tactics and took them down to where they put what they learnt to practice.

Nick ready to strike!

Geraldine had tackled river fishing a bit before but wanted to get all of the bases fully covered so that she can set out on even more fly fishing adventures.

Looks like a big fish Geraldine

We spent the weekend covering everything needed to maximise success and enjoyment and how well it all slottted into place. Her timing was perfect as the trout are really starting to lock on to the mayfly and were really taking them confidently. She caught some really nice fish and also had our first sea trout of the season on a French Partridge.

It was a big one!

We did the same last year and had sea trout on dry flies. I have tomorrow off  (Tuesday) and haven’t cast at fish for almost 3 weeks so am itching to get going…sea trout on dries will certainly be on the agenda!

Lastly a special mention has to go to Mark. I guided him a few weekends ago and know how much he loves the Taw. I was amazed to see him in the Hotel car park as Paul and I stopped for lunch. Apparently he had got the 9am train from Paddington and then took a train to Eggesford where he had booked in to fish for 4 hours and was then getting the train home again….Dude, you are a hard core fly fisher and worthy of the Trout Bum label!

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing Lessons, Guiding and Tuition in Devon

Lessons from fly fishing

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

The low water we currently have has made the fishing a little more testing than usual, but it also makes my job even more enjoyable, as it means we get to fish more outside the box than normal.

Gary on days guided fishing

There have been times this week when I have been switching fly size from an 8 to a 24. There is a pool on one of the beats at the hotel that has just about everything for an angler. A nice lively tail, a slower belly with a nice bank where the fish can hide and a really nice riffle at the head. The belly has really been the interesting bit and the place where most of my fly changes have happened this week. The flow is slow and the fish have all the time in the world to make the choice if they want to take the artificial fly or not. It runs right up against a few root systems from trees and it breaks the flow a little where micro drag can be an issue. Just about every time I have been there a few fish have been rising and it has been great fun getting them to take.

Paul on one of our learn to fly fish days

I have also been checking water levels on the Taw before I go to work each day and since the trout season the most the river has risen is 1/4inch. I think the rain on Friday and Saturday night has brought the river up a similar amount but the fish have seemed to bite harder when there has been just a drop of rain. I have also started watching water temps a little more and the water has been sitting between 11 and 12 deg c. Sometimes though I think we might just think about things too deeply and we can get bogged or influenced a bit  by things we see and hear.

Rennie puts his switch rod through its paces

At the end of the day all the fish needs is food, oxygen and shelter and as long as the requirments are fulfilled they’ll be happy. Our job is to get the fly to them without them becoming alarmed and if we do, we’re in the game. It reminded me of last weekend when I was guiding Gavin and we fished a dry fly on a 5ft 13lb level leader. You know what? He cast the fly to them and they were happy to rise to it!

Tim lets one fly on a learn to fly fish day

Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing lessons, tuition and guiding

Fly Fishing Lessons

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It feels as though we have entered a really busy period over the last few weeks with plenty of anglers out on the water with our team having a good time and catching a few fish.

Dan into one of our rainbows

The grannom hatch has been really good and we have taken advantage of it but now it feels and looks like that is over and medium and lighter olives are on the trout’s menu.

Elizabeth lets one fly!

Lottie covers a likely run

Mark releases a fiesty Taw brown

There are some big sea trout on the hotel waters and I’ll get down and have a go at them soon. I also took out my good friend and fellow instructor and guide Brett and his friend Simon. They were down for Simon’s brithday celebrations and wanted to see if they could connect with a bass or two. It felt like it might be a little early but they were game and although they didn’t catch big numbers Brett managed 3 fish which was a great start to my saltwater guiding this year!

Brett and a bass!

Fly Fishing Devon Fly Fishing Lessons, Tuition and Guiding in Devon