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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing lessons’

Fly Fishing Guide

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I got a text from Dave from Portland the other day asking what I was going to be doing now the river season was shut. Thankfully there is plenty to keep me occupied with fly fishing guiding after other species and tuition too but I also get a little bit more time for some fishing myself. I’d told him I was going grayling fishing with some pals and he said he wanted a photo. So Dave this is for you!


The 2 pals I fished with yesterday and I were talking  over lunch yesterday about what fly fishing meant to us and we sort of came to the conclusion that it was everything!

Now, there are probably quite a few other people who could say the same, which is great, but there are also some who enjoy it now and again. I try to fish as much as I can when I have the time and both Emma and my daughter Charlie have become really nice fly casters. When I get new rods I will often ask them to cast them as I get some really good, unbiased feedback. When it comes to the fishing itself I would love it if both of them fished and loved fishing like I do but I have to accept that you can’t just force a passion on someone. That having been said I do use Fathers Day as just a tiny bit of leverage to get Charlie on to the river with me and although she couldn’t make the day itself this year I didn’t forget and she agreed to join me on the river for an afternoon. Usually it sort of ends up as a nature ramble but I took Charlie where there was a chance of catching a few and she duly did the honours. I also wanted her to road test a Helios for me and she gave it a thumbs up!


Charlie is 18 next year and I suspect our time on the river will become even less but I think I can just about remember every fish she has caught and despite my worsening memory I don’t think I will forget either!

Off to Wales now!

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.

Fly Fishing Guide

Monday, August 24th, 2009

One of the challenges of being a full time fly fishing guide is making sure you can get your guests fishing even when conditions might make you think twice. It looked like it might be the case when I had spoken to Dave from Portland about chances of fishing. We knew there was rain coming but decided to have a flier. Dave is as keen as me and I was secretly pleased that we had gone for it.

I mentioned he was keen and I knew he’d be early so I headed to the Hotel a little earlier as I had a hunch he might be there. Spookily enough he was and after a cup of coffee we hit the river. We started by heading higher up the Taw and despite a quiet start we started finding a few fish. We had to head for some shelter as the rain gods did there stuff but it didn’t put Dave from Portland off!


The rain stopped and we headed upstream a bit and Dave spotted a fish, cast to it and caught it. It was simple as that but it was all perfect. After lunch we headed to one of the Hotel beats and again we came across a feeding fish which hit the fly hard. It was a nice fish getting close to 12 inches.


One thing about Dave is that he is cool as a cucumber but when we saw a sea trout take to the air just in front of him I reckon I saw just a hint of the coolness slip just a tiny bit!

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.





Fly Fishing Lessons

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I had some ladies pop down for some fly fishing lessons the other day. They wanted to learn how to cast and how to fish. It has got me thinking about all this stuff about ladies and fishing. I’m not one of those who believes in pheromones but just simply that ladies are more laid back and if a fish comes by and takes then that is good news but no worries if it doesn’t. I might be wrong and the scents a lady gives off might cause a fish to bite but would it cause both female and male fish to act the same?

When it comes to casting the more relaxed approach certainly works as the whole casting process gets screwed up if we have an iron like grip on the rod. The other good thing is that ladies don’t have the same strength as us fellas and so quickly realise that the rod is a pretty good tool for sending our fly out to the fish than sheer muscle!


It was great seeing everyone throwing a nice loop and also understanding what a nice loop was and what you needed to do to get one. We always maintain that if you know what is happening and why, then you can always understand what has happened when the cast hasn’t gone to plan. Most of all though it is about having some fun and I think the ladies had that!

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