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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing Instructor Devon’

Devon Fly Fishing

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Toby and I fished together Friday. When we meet up we often decide how we are going to fish for the day and (usually!) stick to it. I can’t always say it’s easy, especially if the fish aren’t playing ball, then guide in me wants to change things up a little but we do stick to it.

Yesterday Toby said “right, dries only” We were higher up a river and thought it was a pretty fair shout despite the day before with D and JB the dry fly fishing sucked. Having said that the sun was shining and I had some dries I had tied up that I wanted Toby to have a go with.


The water was clear and we could see fish. None were rising but I told Toby the flies I’d tied would bring the fish up. It was a big claim and one I secretly hoped would work.

He cast across to a fish that took a look and while it decided if it was going to eat it a tiny fish came from nowhere and made its decision quicker than the larger one.

Toby carried on and had another. It was my go, I cast into a slight dip against a bank and the fly was taken almost immediately. It wasn’t the snaps I’d seen from early season trout on some other rivers just a good honest, yup, I’ll eat that type of rise.

Early in the season I often miss a few takes and sometimes this early on I am convinced the fish do too. I’m not sure if that is right or not but it makes me feel better about any I do miss.

The fishing was good, the fish in this stream are not big, a 10 incher is a good fish. I love nymph fishing but there is nothing that beats casting a light line rod with just a dry fly and seeing a small, wild brown trout decide the fly you tied over winter did the job you hoped it would.


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Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

I spoke to my pal Jim today. We are a month apart in age and after talking through our various aches and pains conversation naturally came on to fishing.

Jim has been a fishing guide for long, long time now but has also taken on gainful employment as brand manager for Vision Fly Fishing. He has worked incredibly hard since taking on the role and the only downside is that it has cut into his fishing time a little. That having been said, as a result of his job he has had offers to fish in some seriously cool places, so there are some big upsides too.

He also said Warren, who he fishes with a lot, has changed his job a fair bit and neither of them are able to hit the river at such short notice as they used to.

We talked a little about how it is fun to fish with a friend, share a rod, some laughs and walk up the river together catching a few fish. Jim had said how he prefers to fish in company. I think part of this is part of how much time we, as guides, spend with someone at our sides and so it sort of becomes second nature and a little weird when we fish on our own.

A quick session of trout fishing before guiding work yesterday

A quick session of trout fishing before guiding work yesterday

I know I like to fish this way with my friends. For me it is just as much as spending time with a good friend as the fish we catch, although the concentration kicks in when we see a big fish rising.

One of the things I have found  over the years, is to switch off from a professional angler/guide to a pleasure angler when I have a day off. A long while back it wasn’t so easy but now I find it very easy and just go with the flow. I like it.

The other thing I have noticed is how much I am enjoying my fishing. It is probably more than I have ever done before. I find I look for any small window to go cast a fly and even yesterday before work I was on the river catching a few trout just to satisfy what seems to becoming an insatiable appetite for this thing we call fly fishing.

It means these quickly snatched hour or two are often alone but I am getting used to it and really enjoying it. The thing I have noticed is that I talk to myself a little when I make a nice cast, stuff a fish or decide on a change of fly. I guess I must be enjoying my own company!

Anyway, off fishing now hoping to catch the grannom hatch.


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Eat, Sleep, Fish Issue 28


Devon Fly Fishing

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

I had the chance to fish a sweet beat on the Taw for salmon on Sunday. The water was pretty low but I figured there may be some resident fish I might be able to stir up. I managed to irritate one in the morning after ripping something nasty through a pool. I gave it a few more casts, rested the pool for a few moments while I tied on something more subtle to see if I’d annoyed the fish enough to make it bite. I hadn’t.

The highlight for me though was that Emma, my wife, had come down for the morning as she wanted to brush up on her Spey Casting. She’s already is a fine Spey caster and prefers to fish a double hander for salmon rather than a single hander for trout. That having been said I have measured her double hauling a single hander to 70 feet which is really impressive. There were was no signs of rustiness and after a couple of warm ups the line was flying out across the pool.

Issue 18 of Eat, Sleep, Fish is now underway and I have really enjoyed loaded and reading the reader submissions we have this month.

Devon Fly Fishing Guides and Fly Fishing Instructors

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 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

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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!

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It’s only May….

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

We’re through the Grannom and most of the Large Dark Olives for the time being but other hatches are starting to occur now but these are just getting going and are more of a trickle right now. From day one of the season there have been plenty of midges on the water but I have not seen signs of fish showing interest in them right now. Last year the fish only seemed to care for them once mayfly were out of the way. It will be interesting to see if this is the case again this season.

Talking of mayfly I was on the river on Sunday and thought I saw a lone one come off. I mentioned this to Dave who was guiding further upstream and he’d seen one too. Looks like these boys are bit early and given that everything seems to be a couple of weeks behind schedule they were jumping the gun by a long way.

We ran our first course of the season over the weekend which, I think, went really well. Having two days meant that we were able to cover everything in depth, from the set ups, casting and approaches to moving water. It was great fun with everyone catching fish in what were  tricky conditions. Hopefully it showed the topics we covered in the course worked in some small way!

The team!

Ira was new to fly fishing and her friends thought she wasn’t going to catch anything. A day and a half with us proved them wrong on both our lake and on the river too!!

First fish for Ira!

I had the pleasure of teaching David and Rachel for the day. They had never held a fly rod before but I was amazed and during the day we covered all aspects of fishing and casting. They were even double hauling at the end of the day which is highly unusual for two novices on a day course. Well done guys!!

Superstars in the making- Rachel and David

If you would like guided fly fishing on private beats or fly fishing tuition on a private trout lake feel free to contact us, we’d be happy to help! Fly Fishing in Devon Fly Fishing Guiding and tuition

Fly Fishing Tuition

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Well, I’ve covered a fair few miles over the last few days but there will be more of that in slightly later blogs. One of the trips I made was to Wales to our fly fishing instructor’s get together. I was lucky enough to meet up with a few people making their first steps into becoming fly fishing instructors and I was amazed by the high quality of people I met as casters, fishermen and as nice guys too. I guess our Association’s (AAPGAI) standards are high and having this sort of benchmark that makes it such a challenge to pass and such a reward when you have passed it. I was only there a short time as I had to shoot off  and whilst writing this blog have just had a call from Jim saying that sorry we didn’t get much chance to catch up…I hope we can get to fish soon fella!

I was back Monday meeting up with Chris and Joan for some fly fishing tuition who were over from the Isle of Man to learn how to fly fish. Chris had tried it once before but Joan was a newcomer. They are lucky enough to have both lakes and streams on the island so I gave them a good idea of how to approach both so that they can tackle anything the fish over there want  and we did a bit of fishing too.

It is great when people are learning together as you can show them what to spot so that if they are out and something doesn’t go to plan they can help each other out.


It was great to see Joan land her first fish! At the end of the day it started to get cool so we headed back in for a cup of coffee and in Joan’s case a hot chocolate and rum and reflect on a job well done!

It is typical we now get some rain and I guess I’ll be watching the salmon making their way further upstream.

Fly Fishing School

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Although the river season is over on the River Taw our fly fishing school  still has it’s doors widely open. I met up with Keith yesterday who has never really held a fly rod before, bar a short stint on a river in Germany over 20 years ago, so he was pretty much coming at it as a newcomer.

He was keen to learn to fly cast and how to approach river, lake, pike and bass fishing. This was a really interesting proposition for me as with these forms of fishing listed there is a need to be able to cast at short and long ranges and to be able to land your fly accurately,overcome drag and to be able to turn over heavy flies. I was also keen that Keith went home with not only a good understanding of how the casts worked but also how to put them right if they didn’t go to plan.

I love this sort of stuff and was really looking forward to meeting up with Keith and to get him going. As ever, I was early knowing that Keith had booked himself in for one of the Fox and Hound’s “Full Devon” breakfasts. I met him as he tucked in and I sipped a coffee!

We headed off with a chat about safety and how the tackle works and I got him roll casting. Within a few casts I could see he was a natural. He immeadiately understood the use of a controlled wrist and letting the rod do the work. This was going to be fun!

One of the things that I notice as a fly fishing instructor is that people try and hang on to everything that you are explaining and can quite often suffer from information overload so I make sure that I explain everything as simply as possible and break things down into digestable chunks. It is easy to “get all technical” but I really believe that keeping it simple is best and as long as my guest has a good understanding then they will hopefully enjoy many hours on the water!

With Keith I wanted to make sure that as we were going to cover so much  I didn’t give him too much to analyse as he was a natural caster. As a result when he picked up the concept and mechanics of the overhead cast I tilted the casting plane over to the side to let him see what was going on with the line and rod. This often allows the guest to visualise how everything is working making the overhead cast a whole lot easier and also gets the caster “false casting” really quickly and naturally without me having to explain until after they have learnt it. It also helps with timing, rhythm and casting planes although I try and introduce this during the roll cast as it shows there is nowhere you can’t get your fly to.


Needless to say Keith was a star and we covered just about everything including how to cast a tailing loop, slack line casts, drift, creep and he was double hauling with no problems at all. The fish better watch out!!


I checked my computer this morning and recieved a message from Keith

Hi Pete
What a great day.  I reallly enjoyed it and I came home confident that your tuition has given me the confidence to perform on the water.
Your relaxed style of teaching was great.  You answered my questions and explained the mechanics of casting so well that I understood it and you also gave me lots of prompts to remind me of how and what is going wrong and also what it feels and looks like when I get it right and how to analise if things get out of synch.  Great.  I will certainly be keeping in contact and would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone who wanted to learn to cast and enjoy it.
I wanted to wish every single fisherman on the Devon rivers that has an extension good luck. Sadly we don’t have it on the Taw but I took my video down to the river after the rain we had on Tuesday. There wasn’t quite enough water but it didn’t stop the fish from wanting to move on. 
Click HERE to see a few Taw salmon.

River Taw Trout

Friday, September 4th, 2009

I often say to newcomers to fly fishing rivers that if you can catch one of our brownies you’ll be able to catch them pretty much anywhere. Our fish are all wild, cunning and have been to the school of hard knocks and, when hooked, know how to play dirty.

This makes my job both challenging and interesting and has been tough but hugely rewarding of late as the river has been pretty low . It is this sort of thing that makes me keep coming back for more every time and being on the water most days lets me see the constant changes and moods of the river as conditions continually alter.

I was with Richard on Monday and he continued his excellent tally of fish and is now a light line convert. I think he left exhausted but happy and he had an extra 1/2 day tacked onto the 2 days we had spent together and as I was teaching a 1/2 day of that afternoon with Steve and Noleen we arranged to meet him for a bit of lunch. It turned out that we had a bit of a fisherman’s corner over lunchtime as Faure had come back to fly solo on the river and Peter who I was guiding Wednesday and Thursday had just arrived so we all sat down and talked fishing along with Steve and Noleen who had also just arrived. I know Faure was here with his girlfriend this time for a couple of days but sadly I don’t think Vicky got to see him much as he was out on the river just about every second he could!

Steve and Noleen were keen to learn to cast and have a try on the river. We had a great time and even had a few fish which was a great testament to how quickly they picked things up.


Wednesday I was out with Peter. Peter has fly fished lakes and wanted to try his hand at river fishing. He also wanted me to take a look at his casting but that didn’t take long. He had been taught by his father and was a really nice caster. As the weather was about to turn we hit the water and he was soon into fish. His adjustment from still to moving water was remarkable and we were soon into fish. After lunch the rain got heavier and then rained some more. The river was starting to colour and rise so at 4.30 he thought that would be it for the day. No way! I headed to a beat that is a little shallower and actually needed a bit of water to make it more comfortable for the trout. We decided to pop a larger dry on as I find this can make it stand out and encourage trout to hit it. I also find that trout seem to be aware that the river is rising and colouring which will mean that feeding opportunities might be  lesser than normal conditions so they are more keen to take  advantage. There was also a small break in the rain that meant air pressure had risen a small amount and brought on a modest hatch of Blue Winged Olives.


I got up yesterday morning fearing the worst and drove to a few spots looking to see if there was some fishable water before heading to the Hotel. It wasn’t to be, but Peter and I had talked about the possibility of bass instead so I had gear ready and when I met up with him we decided to have a look. I think we both knew that the wind was going to be a factor but we were determined to see just in case. As we saw the Taw estuary though our worst fears were confirmed and the white horses told us everything we thought might happen. We turned round and headed back. It was a real shame but I am sure there will be other times!

Good to see President Obama is a fly fisherman and I am really pleased he decided not to go for the Putin look when fishing (topless and airbrushed!) It would be interesting to see if our leader would opt for a go but I suspect he has just a little too much on his plate right now and I wonder with his current popularity that it might put some sort of jinx on fly fishing!

Fly Fishing School

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

You might have thought our fly fishing school might have been quiet given all the weather we have had of late but luckily I was able to get guests out on the water and even better, into a fish or two. I met up with Chris last Friday who had some fishing lessons a number of years ago and was after a refresher on casting and watercraft. Despite not holding a rod in anger for such a long time it was great to see that muscle memory was still intact and his body remembered how to cast a fly. He even had his own gear that he had bought a few years back that had been unused. It was great to see it getting a good work out!

Gavin was down for the weekend and is a really keen river angler. Despite the weather and unfishable water at the Hotel we headed higher up the Taw and found somewhere to cast a fly and caught a few. We did the same on Sunday and managed to fish the Hotel waters in the afternoon.


Above you’ll see Gavin with the last fish of the day on Saturday. This is one he had spotted rising, made a cast to and caught. It’s nice when it all happens like that!  You might notice the background and how wet it had been. I stupidly believed the weathermen and on Sunday after lunch I headed down to the beat out back of the Hotel with just a shirt. Big mistake, it poured down on me!

On Monday the water was clearing down on the Hotel water but still pushing a bit. Having done a bit of casting with Ray there was little doubt he needed much help and having shown him some casts for the river (his background is lake fishing) we hit the river. Ray was like a sponge taking in every little word or tip and put it all into practice. The picture below shows Ray into his first fish a nice 10 incher!


When Gavin came down he brought his girlfriend Andrea too. There was lots for her to do. She popped into Exeter for a look round but on Sunday we found her relaxing with papers and a pot of coffee when we met up for lunch. That is one of the nice things about where we are located that there is plenty for the non fly fisher to do or they can just kick back and relax! The Hotel now boasts an in house beauty therapist, Georgeana, who offers a wide range of holisitic treatments.

If the weather people are to be believed then we have some good stuff coming so fingers crossed. I have Geoff tomorrow and he is in to light lines and small streams…..perfect!