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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing in Devon’

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Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

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Bashing the Balsam

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The mays are hatching, we have been flat out guiding and the Himalayan Balsam season has started. We try out best to keep it under control but it seems to creep up on you.

At the start of the week I made a note that it might need some attention and then a few days later it was like the day of the triffids.


Emma and I popped down and went to work on one of the beats that suffers the most and having read Theo Pike’s excellent new book I went armed with a scythe like some sort of angling grim reaper and a lot more knowledge.

Emma at work

Emma at work

We usually just pull the stalks and Emma went for that option but Theo says it is OK to cut it as long as it is below the first node of the stalk so thats what I did. The only time I have been aware of the word node is when talking bamboo rods so it felt as though there was some sort of angling symmetry.

The grim reaper!

The grim reaper!

The Grim Reaper

The Grim Reaper

We worked hard and long and had a quick lunch at the Fox and Hounds, did some more and although the river level has dropped back there was a bit of colour so I opted for dropping a salmon fly in a few holes. I really enjoy this method of fishing rather than fishing just one pool all season. It tests my skill and knowledge as an angler and is fun too.

There has been a slight delay with Eat, Sleep, Fish as I haven’t had a chance to finish things off but it will be out soon. As a guide, and as it is the busiest time of the year, I’m not spending much time behind a computer keyboard and I doubt any other full time guides are sitting behind keyboards right now, they are out spreading the fly fishing word and the ones I have spoken to are doing just that. I’m pleased.


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Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

We’re almost two months into the trout season now. I would call it OK rather than outstanding on the Taw. It has been slow to grind into action and has had good days and some average days so OK seemed a fair description. The highlight though has to be the 16 1/2 incher that Lewis guided Matt into the first Bank Holiday of the month. He has fished in Devon a bit and said he hadn’t seen anything as big in these parts which was really nice.

I have fished the Taw a fair bit. I like to because I love the river so much but also because I think it is my job to know exactly what is going on. Sure, each day is different but having a handle on hatches, their times and if the fish are rising or not takes the guess work out of my day and lets the people we are guiding know that we are on top of what is happening.


That having been said I have already racked up a good number of other rivers I’ve fished this year too. If I haven’t been guiding I’ve been fishing which has been really good fun. Some of it has been alone but most days it has been in the company of good friends. I love nymph fishing but this year it has been fishing small, overgrown streams with a small rod and a dry fly. To me, at the moment, it has been pleasing to cast a fly line and dry fly and have a fish give me the ultimate compliment and eat the fly. It has also been a good testing ground for a variety of patterns I concocted during the closed season.

The fish haven’t been huge on these streams. To be honest, I don’t really care. I’m not a trophy hunter or a numbers man, I just love being out on the water and every day I am fishing a river is a bonus but a big one every now and again is good fun and lets you know you are doing something right if you fool that big old brown tucked away in a deep undercut hole.

The rain we’ve had should start to bring the migratory fish up our way on the Taw. I managed to catch a small sea trout on another river a week or so ago when nymphing with my pal Jimmy. But for me I am interested, really interested to see how the mayfly hatch plays out this year. Last year it was Okish, the same the year before but the years before that have been awesome and I hope we might get something similar. I’ll be hopping round with excitement if I wake up to an overcast, drizzly day the sort that is perfect for Danicas.

If it does play out this way I plan to put sea trouting on the back burner and will fish the spinner fall long and hard even after a long days guiding.

I have my rod collection pretty much where I want it and have been using my pack for most of the fishing I have been doing. I was guiding using a hip pack and transferring fly boxes from the pack to the hip pack which, if you have a memory like mine is a pretty high risk strategy. So I’ll use the pack for work and general river fishing and go back to the lanyard with a small selection of flies for the small stream stuff.

It is coming in to the cream of the fly fishing season and I for one can’t wait!


Devon School of Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing Guides, Fly Fishing Lessons and Fly Fishing Tuition


Road Trip

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I have fished it a few times now and have to say I am smitten with the Ure, a river in North Yorkshire. Emma and I hit the road and travelled the 350 odd miles to our friends to have a day’s fishing on what is a great stream. I don’t know about day tickets etc. and am not sure that they are available so I am lucky our friends are members of a club that allows a guest ticket or two.

First of the day

We thought the weather was against us but it turned out to be pretty good and it was fun catching fish on dries and fishing the fast runs with nymphs.

Alan fishes a dry

As much as I love our streams in the Westcountry it is nice to fish some other streams from time to time.

So it was a day’s fishing and we travelled 700 miles for it but I think it was worth every second!

Hope you are enjoying the latest instalment of Eat, Sleep, Fish


Out there

Friday, March 8th, 2013

It has been nice to get out and wet a line. The weather imposed embargo on fishing has lifted for a bit and I’ve been lucky enough to catch a few grayling and cast in a few salmon pools too.

The river bank is the perfect place to witness nature yawn a little, have a stretch and slowly get things in motion.  Wild garlic, daffodils and snowdrops are about and I have seen the odd large dark olive and witnessed today a really big hatch of midges. There are lots of other things too but for some reason at this time of the year I always keep a note of these little events. I guess it coincides with the start of the trout season.

On Wednesday I was armed with nymphs and caught a majority of grayling that way but later on I came across a little pool with a few rising fish. I was fishing my nymph leader and despite the fact I tied on a dry, an F fly, (with a shuck) and caught a couple. That was enough for me and again another milestone in waving goodbye to winter.

Issue 15 of Eat, Sleep, Fish is now out. I hope you enjoy it.

Devon School of Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing in Devon

Fly Fishing in Devon

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

1st March marks the start of the salmon season on the river Taw down here in Devon. Because where I work and fish is a fair way up the system the chances of connecting with a fish is, at best, a long shot. That having been said I am a firm believer in the fact the fish don’t read the books or anything else. They just do what they do and if they can make their way up river they will.

Rob makes the first cast of the season

I met up with Rob to mark the occassion and he was great company and an excellent fisherman. We fished long and hard and without success but it was just good being there after what has felt like a really long winter.

The Taw

The anchors on my speys looked OK and I really felt like I had covered the water, mixed my angles and approaches and think I couldn’t have done any more.

Wild Garlic

I like to fish what appears a long, slow pool in an unconventional manner. We gave it a go and I have to admit that I almost screamed with excitement when I saw the flash of what I first thought was a salmon attacking the fly I was stripping through the pool. It turned out to be a really nice trout that I am pleased to say didn’t connect. The takes in this pool are very visual and we have seen both salmon and some large sea trout come out after a fly. It might make the purists shudder a little but it seems to work pretty well and I always try and fish with “there are no rules” when it comes to fishing.

It doesn’t matter if it is written in a book. If you have a hunch and it is a little different, Go for it! Sometimes these things pay off and you have learnt something new that helps you enjoy the sport we love so much even more.

Issue 15 of Eat, Sleep, Fish will be out next week

Devon School of Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing in Devon

Fly Fishing, pure and simple

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

I have needed to get outside for a variety of reasons of late to shake off some cobwebs, clear the head and just to get out there.

Nice hat Graham!

The river was almost where I hoped it would be. Just the wrong side of OK but I wasn’t going to complain. I had almost bullied my friend Graham into coming along as I wanted some company. He dropped his plans after my call and we were soon chatting in the car on our way to the river.

The plan was to share a rod, fish, talk and to see what happened and thatt was exactly what we did. The river was still a little out of sorts and the grayling weren’t as obliging as they can often be.

Fish on!

It didn’t really matter. It was just good to go fishing.

The Devon School of Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing in Devon

Eat, Sleep, Fish A not-for-profit fly fishing ezine sharing our love of fly fishing

Still, Eating, Sleeping and Fishing

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

I am proud to say that we have just released issue 14 of our fly fishing ezine.

I am really chuffed that we are still chugging along with something that people find interesting and just a little bit different.

So here is Issue 14 and I hope you enjoy it!

Eat, Sleep, Fish

Devon Fly Fishing

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

One of the main reasons (there are others!) I live in Devon is because of the huge variety of fly fishing on offer. Rivers are mainly my thing and when we were house hunting I busily looked at maps and settled on Mid Devon so that we sat between Dartmoor and Exmoor. It meant there were plenty of rivers on my doorstep, so where we live isn’t just a lucky coincidence.

The Taw is where I work and love to fish and I don’t think I would have it any other way. The river is interesting, not easy and so it makes fishing a challenge, that once you crack, will have you hooked forever.

There are also lots of little undiscovered, and perhaps unfished, streams. I have been lucky enough to fish a few too. There is one that is probably just about a 7 minute walk away from my doorstep that despite a few tentative, offers I haven’t got to fish in the  10 years I’ve been here. I’ve fished it about a mile upstream but not this bit.

We had some sun this morning and Emma and I went for a stroll that took us on a higher route along this stretch and although I couldn’t get a really good shot of the river from there it is one that I will do my best to tick off the list this year.


If you don’t see a blog about it remind me and I’ll do my best to wet a line!

Issue 13 of Eat, Sleep, Fish is now out and if you haven’t read it yet I hope you enjoy it.

Devon Fly Fishing with the Devon School of Fly Fishing – Lessons, Tuition and Guiding

Tis the season to be jolly

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

It has been a a while since I wet a line. My timing hasn’t been that great and the tiny windows of opportunity that have appeared have clashed with other things.

It means that I have had a bit of a sabbatical from fly fishing and sometimes that can be good. Not always, but a little break can help you realise how much you love it all and can’t wait to get back in the waders again.

In the run up to Christmas I have been doing some casting tuition and looks like I’ll be doing some more in Jan for those heading off in search of bones. I really enjoy this sort of thing and it heralds the start of preparation for 2013 and for some the start of an exciting new pastime.

In the short term though I’ll just keep checking those river levels for my chance.

Fly Fishing Devon with The Devon School of Fly Fishing – Fly fishing tuition, guiding and lessons