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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing Instructor Devon’

Fly Fishing Lessons

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

I’ve actually been away from giving fly fishing lessons for a couple of days as I was in Athens with the family for some cultural stuff. Thankfully my daughter Charlie takes after her mother and is pretty smart and is into studying Classics. This meant a trip to Greece was a good idea to see stuff up close and personal. We did various tours and the thing that struck me the most was how civilised the ancient Greeks were. Several hundred years BC and they invented democracy and understood what grown up behaviour is all about. I think many, including our politicians could learn a bit about this. Even their plays didn’t involve murder or violence. They might have alluded to it but nothing violent was ever shown. Perhaps another lesson could be learnt?  The other thing that stuck in my mind was that the Greeks were fighting the Ottoman Empire who were holed up high at the Acropolis. Apparently the Turks were getting low on ammo and were taking whatever metals they could from the ancient site to make bullets. The Greeks got wind of this and rather than have their treasured site ransacked they waved a white flag, met with the opposition and agreed to give the Turks ammunition on the basis that they took nothing more from the site! I think that was probably a step too far but I guess you can see what I am getting at?


Anyway, back to fishing, it looks like we have had some rain in the 3 days I have been away. It sort of started Sunday when I took out David and Jan for a casting tune up. This went really well and previously Jan had been lacking confidence when it came to the casts and approaches for various fishing situations she had previously faced. By the end of it she was grabbing the rod wanting to try the next thing I had shown her! David is a good fisherman but hopefully picked up a few tips to help him catch a few extra fish. I am due to meet them tonight for some sea trouting but I have left 100 degree heat in Athens for rain and thunder back here. We’ll see how it goes!

Good luck to Jo and Lyn who are hoping to make their first solo trip on the river having spent time with us. We’re waiting to hear all of the details!

I have added some new bits to the Latest News page.

Previous Fly Fishing Lessons blogs.



A few messages from happy guests of our fly fishing school

Hi Pete

thanks again for a truly wonderful day’s fishing. You taught me so much that I had to write it all down as soon as I got home so that I would not forget it !  I hope that we will be fishing together soon.
Best wishes

 Thanks so much Pete.
Thoroughly enjoyed my 3 days on the Taw even if the fish are not quite so big as those in New Zealand!  Still lots of fun.
Take care.

Hi Pete had a fantastic day and learned a great deal and will keep you informed of my progress.
                  Kind regards Treeve.

Pete, thank you for helping us through and replacing flies when needed.  Your expertise was much appreciated and it was good to learn from a master of his trade.

 Best wishes and thank you again.





A day’s fly fishing in Devon

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a bit but for some reason I haven’t got around to it yet.  I guess that the old memory isn’t as good as it used to be!

It was the end of June and I had a realised that despite being on the river every day I hadn’t actually been fishing myself for trout for over a month. I though I’d better do something about it and had a 1/2 day of fly fishing tuition but I was free in the afternoon.

I’d decided to head to a bit of the Taw I hadn’t fished for a bit and rigged up. The water was low and clear and it is always nice to quietly step into the river and see a fish rise. As ever I had the two fly set up of a dry and bead head nymph hung just below. I picked up a few fish and continued to head upstream.


I headed to a spot that I figured might hold some fish as it was a nice run carrying oxygenated water to any fish that might be holding there. I hooked into a small one pretty quickly and then saw what I initially thought was a rock move and have a pop at the little fella as I brought him in. I thought this might have caused the “rock” to shoot off but as I released my fish I watched him resume his position. I was a little surpised to see him hold where he was as it was in 8 inches of water, in an open lie and bright sunshine!

I watched him for a bit and he was just happily sitting there. It didn’t look like he was feeding so I was going to have to get my fly right in front of him and make it worth his while. The first cast was too far to the right and he didn’t even give it the time of day. Next cast was right on the money and I watched the nymph go right over him and the dry slowly slid down. As I lifted I felt my little 2 weight bend over and he was on. The fish headed upstream but I managed to horse him down towards me. We both got a good, close look at each other and seeing him let me know I was attached to a trout and not a sea trout. Seeing me was enough for him to surge downstream and he tried to head for the safety of an undercut bank. Applying as much side pressure as I dared I kept him out and thought he was heading my way when out of the blue the hook hold came loose and he was gone.

I stood silently for a few moments, I would have loved a closer look at him and the chance of a photo but it was not to be. I remembered something I said to a guest the other day that there was no point mourning a lost fish too much as it ends up eating away at you. I know we all have one lost fish story and this might just be my one as it was up there with the biggest fish I have caught from the river Taw but I just reeled in, smiled and headed off home.

Read about a fly fishing away from Devon

Mia’s first fly fishing lesson!

Friday, July 10th, 2009

My good friend Ray, AKA the Dude, took his daughter Mia for her first fly fishing lesson and it looks like she is taking after her Dad.

Ray has written about it all below..

 My six year old daughter Mia had a day off school this week.  As her mother was working, I asked her if she wanted to spend the day fishing with her father.  She eagerly said yes, much to my delight, and we set off to Manningford Fishery.

Now I’m a wild trout, catch and release, upstream dry fly type of angler, and like most fishing fathers I fantasize about watching my daughter growing up fishing alongside me.  Today was that all important first day to expose her to fly fishing.  Most of all Iwanted Mia to have a fun day, but I knew that the only thing that would matter to her would be to catch a fish.  I was quietly desparate for everything to go well.

As I got the rod set up, she carefully searched through my fly box for the right pattern.  We had discussed a great many fishing related things during the half hour drive to the fishery, including what fish eat.  After much thought, she chose a size 16 bead head ptn.  So far so good.

We agreed that I would cast and she would retrieve.  The nine foot, six weight outfit was ridiculously big for her, but she gamely rested the butt of the rod on her tummy and stripped line with her left hand while holding the rod with her right hand.  She declined my offer of help to support the rod.  Good girl,I thought.

After only a few casts, the fishing gods smiled upon us and she hooked a fish.  After a brief struggle, the fish came off, but she was excited and anxious to “try and catch him again”.  She hooked another, netted it, gave it a few spirited blows with the priest, and played with it in the water before we headed to the pub for lunch. 

The fishing wasn’t as good after lunch, but just before we headed home she hooked another.  It broke her off, and I figured it was a good time to call it quits.  It left her with the feeling of wanting to come back and “try and catch him again”.  We ate the fish that Mia caught for dinner that night, a fitting end to that all important first day.

Thanks Dude and really well done Mia!




Fly Fishing in Devon

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I have just had a great bunch of lads down for a spot of fly fishing in Devon. They have all fly fished a fair bit and were looking to learn a few new things that might help up the catch rate a little and make their time on the water  all the more enjoyable. We covered all sorts of casting tips and as usually happens, and indeed it did this time, I get a case of verbal overflow!

As an instructor I feed off of the enthusiasm and keeness to learn and I was amazed by how interested the guys were in learning new casts but also how the mechanics work. It was really great and we spent the morning covering just about everything you could think of. The afternoon was split between trout fishing and having a look for salmon too. One of the guys, Dave, had a good pull from a fish and saw a sea trout take to the air and Les saw a good sized sea trout roll.

It was a great day and as they were staying in the hotel I got to keep in touch with their fishing exploits for the other days they were staying. So here’s to you, Dominic, Paul, Les, Dave, Christian and Peter!

The lads!

The lads!

My good pal Dave gave me a hand with the lads and a ladies day we held on Sunday and it was a great pleasure to work with you fella!

The catch board at the Hotel is going great guns with over 470 trout now caught and we have now added four sea trout so we are certainly getting into a few fish.

I have had a day off and it was great to chat with my pal Jim Williams who is a full time guide and instructor in Wiltshire. I really like speaking to him as he is so enthusiastic and a great person to bounce ideas off . I’ll also tell you that he is a great fly fishing instructor, I guess this sounds like an advert but if you are heading to Wiltshire and want some top quality fishing or instruction then he is your man!

For more details or information on fly fishing in Devon please feel free to call 01363 82786

Other fly fishing in Devon blogs here and here

Fishing Towns

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

There is nothing like wandering into a fishing town. The one I remember the most is Basalt that sits right on the Frying Pan river in Colorado. The Dude and I pulled in for some breakfast and coffee and saw a row of drift boats lined up ready for a day in the water. We popped into the two fly stores there and there were guides busily stocking up on flies and talking their guests through what they were going to be doing on the day. I also remember walking into a restaurant in waders and sitting down at a table without anyone batting an eyelid.

I have just come back from a week of guiding Alan and Pam in Hampshire where we have been fishing a few juicy bits of water. They were based in Stockbridge and I would pick them up each morning. I think Stockbridge qualifies as a fishing town. Well, almost. The two fishing shops open early and there are even a few guides knocking around (me included). The reason is that I am not sure how much of a fishing town it is or not as I am not so sure it is the same once the mayfly have gone. I have been there plenty of times but it does usually coincide with mayfly and there are plenty of anglers around but I am not so sure if this is the case all year round. I will be back later in the year and will let you know.

The fishing itself was really good. The mornings were best with gin clear waters where we stalked and cast our dries to rising fish. The mayfly was OK but not stunning. We fished several different stretches of water and did well on all of them. There is nothing like seeing a fish move towards the fly and take it!

Pam and Alan were new to fly fishing the chalkstreams and are used to casting a fly on spate rivers. You know what? They took to it like they had always done it.

Fly fishing in Devon

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Well, we’ve had some serious rain at last and I am pleased to say that I have seen a number of salmon moving into our beats. I was on the water with a guest and although the water was against us we counted 7 salmon showing in one pool. I guess the sea trout will be doing the same so watch this space!

It was good to meet up with friends old and new at the Devon County Show today and I have another couple of days to go. I really enjoy it and sounds like we have some good weather for the final couple of days.

Richard the trout slayer came back for another day yesterday and despite feeling a little under the weather he fished his whatsits off again and had a number of fish. We had to head high to find some fishable water so I decided on showing him Dartmoor. We covered some ground and fished short with small dries. The fish liked a black version of a scruffy klink in a size 20 and we had to throw the winning fly away as it had been chewed beyond repair.

It was really nice showing him a new spot and he also has developed a love affair with fishing “pocket water” I think we’d both like to have seen the size of the fish that broke him but sometimes its things like that which keep you coming back for more!


The life of a Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Friday, May 15th, 2009

I was hoping to go sea trouting Thursday night and got a call from pal Toby to say he had heard of a few coming off of a local river and was planning to do the same. We swapped notes and I got my stuff ready. I was hoping to get to the water at 8.45 or so sit back and take it all in and then start fishing. I still felt I had a spot of unfinished business with a pool I had fished on Sunday so I was heading back to the same beat. No doubt as you are probably aware the heavens opened at 8 and it stopped me from heading out.

My real worry though was that I was guiding Friday and I didn’t want to get get washed off of the water entirely. The rain stopped about 9.30 or so but I was awoken at 5am by a heavy downpour. This first of all woke me up but also got me thinking what the plan of action would be. I headed to work and pulled over by the bridge at Eggesford and peered over. Thankfully the sight that met me wasn’t as bad as I had feared. The river was up but wasn’t carrying as much colour as I thought it might be. I pulled up at work and saw two guys having breakfast in what looked like fishing shirts. It’s funny that I can seem to sniff a fisherman at over 100 paces as it did turn out to be Mike and his brother David.

I joined them for a quick coffee and I suggested we hit a few beats for salmon and see what the river was going to do. One thing was for sure it wasn’t going to get better so we hit the river to try or luck. Mike and David were good casters and had their flies running down likely looking spots. It’s funny that you sometimes get a feel something might just happen but it didn’t on this occassion and I suggested we head up river a couple of miles to try our luck. Despite only a short trip in the truck we were met by a more angry river carrying more volume and more colour. The guys threw a few casts into a really good pool but we didn’t hang around too long. It was getting close to lunchtime but I had a hunch that heading to another river that runs off of Exmoor rather than Dartmoor might be worth a try and as trout was our intended quarry that we’d give it a go.

When we peered over the river to have a look it was just starting to colour up. We were in with a shout! There was little going on but I was determined to find a fish or two for the guys and, as ever, the scruffy klink in a slightly larger size brought up a couple of 8 inchers for Mike and a really pretty 12 incher for David. It was the perfect finish for a day that I had feared might not ever really get going but ended well and it was great to see a couple of accomplished anglers try salmon fishing for the first time and really take to it and also get so excited at the prospect of sea trout fishing….


A Fly Fishing Guide’s Nightmare!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Do you ever have one of those dreams where you have turned up for work and forgotten to put on any clothes? I had the equivalent yesterday but for real when I turned up to guide Chris. Chris was a little early and so we chatted for a few minutes and I then went to put my waders and fishing vest on. My fishing vest sits on the back of my driving seat in the truck so that it is always ready for action. I grabbed it off of the seat and immediately noticed that the fly box that is pinned to the front of the vest was missing. It only looks a small box but I have just checked and it carries 175 flies. This had all of my Scruffy Klinks and a few other of my favourite patterns. I’ve also been tying a lot of quill bodied flies in both dry and nymph form and have been having a bit of luck with them too. Anyway, the box was heaving. I know this as I had tied some Copper Johns the other day and struggled fitting them in. So it was full and was no longer in the vicinity. I got this sort of light headed feeling as I was about to hit the river with a guest and my favourite flies were no where to be seen. I ripped out the back seats of my truck but it wasn’t there. Thankfully I had another very small reserve box and as luck would have it I had one scruffy klink sitting in the corner. We were starting to fish where there were a lot of trees and bushes so I kept him in reserve and as luck would have it when I made the change a little later the best fish of the day took it (12 inches)

I wasn’t so upset at losing them but it was all the hours of tying I had put in that was a shame. The other weird thing was that I had something similar happen before with exactly the same model of box although it was attached to a lanyard at the time and in a different way. The even weirder thing was that I lost that one just 30 yards from where I lost the first one. I have to admit that I had never planned to use one again but my wife Emma and daughter Charlie had bought me this box for my birthday so I was determined to use it. I had securely fastened it but clearly not well enough! Emma came with me down to the river this morning to have a look and as she has found a rod tip Id lost before so I had high hopes that she would be the person to find it. Sadly it wasn’t to be but I was still left without flies and I have, as ever, a busy guiding schedule.

Thankfully I made a call to Simon at Turralls who happen to be just up the road. They don’t sell direct but a fly fishing guide on his hands and knees was enough to allow me to pop in and pick some up. My only worry now is that the fish are going to have to get used to such high quality flies after seeing my stuff!

About 15 dozen flies!

About 15 dozen flies!

Many thanks Simon, I owe you a large one!

Fly Fishing Lessons in Devon

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I love my job. I like that when you meet someone for the first time you have just a small idea of what they are looking to get from their time with our little fishing school and in some small way we are able to help them make that time on the water just a little easier and much more enjoyable. It might be a newcomer holding a fly rod for the first time or a long time fly angler who was struggling with something but with just a little help you, and more importantly they, see what a big difference it makes. My job as a fly fishing instructor is to spot what might be the tiniest of faults but be able to remedy it with a simple and clear explanation. I think it is so important an instructor can see these things and know what is causing it, the effect on the cast and how to put it right. I can’t remember if I have written this before but I read somewhere about someone asking what tools they used for teaching. For me, the most important one I own is my mouth. As long as I can tell the client what is wrong and  break things down simply so that they can see what I am getting at , then we are most of the way there. A simple demonstration might help show the point and hopefully we have helped put it right. The world we live in seems to be riddled with over complication and I worry sometimes that fly casting might get a case of this. I hope it doesn’t. There is little need for it all it ends up doing is baffling the client!

I popped out for a quick sea trout session last night and got spanked. I had one hard smack from a fish which I think surprised the both of us and that was it. It sounds like there is some rain on the way which the rivers badly need to freshen them up and to help the migratory fish continue their journey. Last week I saw a few more mayfly on the water. The last couple of years I have noticed the trout have paid a bit more attention to them than the previous couple of years so lets see what happens.


Devon trout fishing

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

I’ve just had a couple of days with Richard. I think he should be called the trout slayer. He is relatively new to river fly fishing but you wouldn’t have known it. He was soon throwing micro loops under branches and into tight, unwelcoming snags and having lightening reactions meant that he wasn’t going to miss a fish!


All of his skills aside he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge and was firing questions left, right and centre which I had great pleasure in answering. What was really cool was how he was putting everything into practice and the impact it was having on his success rate. We hit a real purple patch where he just could do no wrong and the fish kept coming. Modesty prevents me for saying how many he had but it was a lot and I know the fish of Devon and Hampshire where he lives have something to fear.


I think this is why I love my job so much. It might be a newcomer who suddenly realises the fundamentals of casting and watches their line fly out to the other side of the lake or guiding on a river and my client makes a tricky cast into a back eddy, throws in a bit of slack and the big trout takes the fly. It is moments like these that are both memorable for me but more importantly for my client so that they have walked away having had a good day on the water but also have learnt something that will make the next time they are out on their own just a little bit more easier and enjoyable!

Here’s to you Richard, well done fella!

It has been great to introduce some ladies to fly fishing recently. They are always graceful, elegant casters. I recieved a couple of messages recently:

Hi Pete,

Thanks again, I feel confident that I shall not be a fishing disaster in Scotland in May next bankholiday. I will email you if I catch something!


Hi Pete. 
You have been such a great teacher and I will try to live up to your expectations. Thanks for being so patient on the river today it was a great experience.
Best wishes,