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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing School Devon’

New Season is here!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Fly Fishing in Devon commenced on 1st of March for salmon but trout fishing started yesterday. I met with some friends where we chatted,fished and had some fun.

Water temps were low and there wasn’t much hatching apart from the odd Large Dark Olive but it was just great to be back on the water and in the company of friends.

"so what are you tying on?"

Toby had the first nice fish of 10 inches but Mo topped it with a 14 incher which I missed but Mike was on hand to measure it and help pop it back.

Mo fishing a likely spot


Howard throws a heavy nymph into the depths

Mike works up a pool  Fly Fishing in Devon-Fly Fishing Guide and Fly Fishing Lessons and Tuition

Fly Fishing Tuition

Monday, March 8th, 2010

We’re on the final stages of the count down to the start of the trout season in Devon. One more week and I’ll be hitting the water and trying my luck. The salmon season started March 1st and it was good to hear of a fresh fish being caught down the bottom of the Taw.

The more settled weather has meant fly fishers are getting ready for the season and are looking for some casting tips to get their flies just a little further or to get them to land a little more gently and with no drag.

I met with Chris on Friday who wanted to add some distance and learn to spey cast. We had a 1/2 day to do this and we started with the basic overhead cast and then worked up to the double haul from there. If the basics are right (which they were!) then it is simply a case of adding elements to this. As it was a full on casting session I made sure there were plenty of breaks and a chance for us to peak an eye at the river. It is looking really, really sweet. I am off today to try and trim a few more branches to make it look even better still!


Once Chris had mastered the rhythm of the double haul it all slotted into place and after a quick break we headed to the casting pond for some single handed spey work. We looked at the basic roll cast and from there introduced the Forward Spey and worked on a consistant anchor placement. Chris picked this up really quickly and from there went naturally into the Single Spey. We also worked on the Circle Spey too which is a really useful addition.

He is back in a few weeks time and I reckon he will have mastered what we covered and we’ll add the Snake Roll and Double Spey too.  – Fly Fishing in Devon- Fly Fishing Lessons,Tuition and guiding

Devon Fly Fishing 2010

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

The salmon season kicked off yesterday with pretty good water and high hopes of some good fishing. News is already filtering through of a fresh fish being taken at the very bottom of the river and with a big tide I can’t wait to hear how things will play out.

I still have some light bank maintainance to sort out and loaded the truck with various loppers and a bow saw and headed off to the river. There is a section that is really pretty and popular with anglers and I was keen to make sure that there was going to be nothing stopping a fly getting to a good lie.

taw 10

I popped on my waders, unloaded the truck and headed down to the river. It looked really, really good and I am afraid that I made an executive decision. I had a rod in the truck and thought it would be right that I had a cast and a quick go at the pool before commencing the pruning.


I got into the flow a bit too much and decided to have a crack at another 3  pools just for good measure. Having felt I did a good job I popped the rod down and got back to work. Wouldn’t you?!   Fly Fishing in Devon-Fly Fishing Tuition Lessons andGuiding

Fly Fishing websites, mags and bamboo

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Apparently the server for the site got hacked into. Sounds exciting, perhaps agents are trying to get the details of how to tie the scruffy klink…

I suspect it is more a case of someone trying to load spam selling products to enhance prowess in the sporting, or more likely, some other arena.  All the excitement! I probably shouldn’t say that as I know the web guys have not enjoyed the ride too much, reminded me of a great film that was out a few years ago called Sneakers that deals with hacking and espionage. It looks like I am going off on a wierd direction again but even this has a link with fly fishing as it stars Robert Redford and we all know his link with fly fishing. Sneakers was actually the next film he made after that fishing one.

I met up with my pal Luke the other day. He builds excellent bamboo rods and has come up with the taper of all tapers for his latest creation. It is a fast one that sort of feels familiar to a graphite rod but still has that bamboo feel to it. You could say it is the best of both worlds and I think that is just about right.  I have either the first or second of these rods and it has the ability to pick up and laydown the shortest of lines but will also throw a long one with needle pointed loops if that is your thing too. It fishes fantastically and works perfectly as a rod for someone who has grown up with graphite but would like to try bamboo. 

A lot of people think you have to buy an old rod to try bamboo but it is great to hear that there is an army of builders making brand new rods on well tested and trusted tapers of yesteryear. Luke also does this and I have one of those too but I do have to admit I am a avid fan of all things bamboo!


I was trying his latest prototype and was honoured to be asked.  To see Lukes wares take a look here.

The fly fishing magazine hunt goes on and I find myself popping into newsagents just to see how many fly fishing magazines they have on offer. Carrying on from the last blog I went to Exeter Station and there were none but I was really pleased to see a healthy selection in WH Smiths in Exeter the other day. They even had an American one which I ended up buying. It is always nice to get a different perspective.

Dry waders?….perhaps not!

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I thought this week was going to be a slightly quieter one than of late. I sort of put it down to family holidays that meant aspiring trout bums have had to pop the rods away for a week or two and do some non fishing related stuff. Well, this is what I thought but it has turned out not to be the case and we have been hitting some great caddis hatches and getting guests into a fish or two.

Lyndsey had popped down with her Dad who is an excellent fisherman for a few days fishing and asked if I were able to help with some casting and fishing tips. Lyndsey was an excellent learner and I gave her a few secret tips that had her giving her dad a run for his money on the catching stakes. He has taken some photos which I hope to pop up shortly.

Lewis had only had a brief session of casting two years ago and wanted to try again so we spent some time on the casting lake where we covered the essential casts needed for fishing the river and then went down to the river and discussed watercraft and how to read a river. We put all of this into action and it all happened pretty quickly and effectively. There is nothing nicer than seeing someone catch their first fish and even better when it is one of our wild brown trout from the River Taw!


Bob was celebrating a major birthday and despite fishing the reservoirs of the Midlands he was keen to catch a bass. We were happy to oblige and I still smile when Bob and I spotted bass busting and ran like a couple of children so that he could cover them with a clouser. Pic below shows he did a great job and I quickly snapped the fish before he carefully released his first bass. I’m pleased to say it was the first of many!


I’ve just changed my wading boots as the last pair managed to last just over a season which I am pretty pleased with. I do abuse my gear a bit but at the end of each day I throw my stuff into the back of the truck so that I know I have it ready for the next day. This does mean it doesn’t get much of a chance to dry out. The new boots come with studs built in where as the old ones I had to screw in. Towards the end of their life the old boots wouldn’t hold studs which meant I was doing some pretty impressive down hill sking on the wet banks of the river. I am still proud to announce I haven’t fallen in yet but now that I’ve said this I have a bad feeling coming!

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.





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!




A bit outside the box

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

I was guiding Richard yesterday. Richard is an excellent caster and fisherman and had just come back from a very succesful trip to the U.S. He was after some guiding so to try and match up I decided on a two centre trip. We hit the Bray in the moring and the Taw in the afternoon. We had a few in the morning and headed back to the hotel for lunch. Lunch involved the usual ribbing from the guys who work there about what I was having for lunch as most days I have the prawn cocktail sandwich. I thought I’d shock them and ordered a ham sandwich. This clearly threw the kitchen into disarray but the ham matched the prawn for quality. The thing I do like is that when the chefs know it is me they don’t bother with coleslaw or salad it is nicely piled high with crisps. Perfect food for a hungry fisherman!

So there we have one example of going outside the box, the next was after lunch and the weather had closed in and cooled off a fair bit. Richard had picked up a few fish on the nymph but things looked to be slowing.  I wanted to make it worthwhile for the fish to have a look at our dry so I went big and brassy and tied on a size 10 stimulator. Richard looked at me and laughed as we had been fishing size 16’s and 20’s earlier but was amazed to see it worked pretty well and fish were hitting it greedily. We even saw a fish that made the 12 incher he caught earlier look small as we watched it follow the fly down stream and have a go. This was despite the river carrying some colour so I guess it must have been a good one.

As is always the case, the fish don’t read the books and if you make it worthwhile sometimes that long shot does pay off!

Richard with a Taw brownie

Richard with a Taw brownie

Neils first river fish!

Neil's first river fish!

Trevors first river brownie!

Trevor's first river brownie!

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,