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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Learn to Fly Fish in Devon’

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!

Other blogs about Fly Fishing Lessons

Fly hatches #3

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Next up is the Grannom. I have a special place for the grannom as it was one of the first testing grounds for the scruffy klink that I use almost exclusively these days. Paul is a good client of the fly fishing school and he  wanted some help tackling the Culm. It was early in the season as we hit the river early as Paul is keen as me and we made the long walk to the bottom of the beat. There wasn’t a lot going on at first but I tied on the scruffy klink and if memory serves correctly Paul was in to a fish first or second cast. shammerWe worked round a left bend into a slow moving deepish pool where the grannom were hatching and the fish were rising all over the pool. It was one of those magical moments where we were in the perfect position as everything started to happen. Paul and I were beside ourselves with excitement and he picked off fish as they liked the look of what he cast at them. This was one of the first times I thought we might have been on to something with this fly. I had last used it the last day of the previous season and it had worked perfectly through a caddis/sedge hatch. A week or so later I was on the water with Jo and my only prototype was lost on what looked like a really nice fish. Jo was a little upset that he had lost it but I thought it was a fitting way for the fly to go.

So a couple of facts about grannom. It is a member of the sedge or caddis family (Trichoptera). The easiest way to spot or think of this family is that they have roof shaped wings. I find an easy way to spot them from a distance is that appear and look more like moths flying around rather than how the upwings would fly. It is then a case of working out size and colouration to get you in with a shout. There are about 200 species in the UK but rather than having a multitude of patterns I find tan, green and black cover most conditions. As for patterns I am a fan of Al Troths Elk Hair Caddis and the G & H sedge. I have some G & H sedges in some big sizes that The Dude and I used one time we were fishing the Suir in Ireland at 11 o’clock at night in darkness. All we could hear were the rises so we would throw our flies in what we thought was the right direction!  As a whole though there is no need for a huge variety of sizes and for fly fishing in Devon I find sizes 14 and 16 work really well. Another pattern worth considering is the excellent balloon caddis. The adult fly has greyish wings and green/brown body.

Hatches tend to occur in April from around lunchtime although the one I hit with Paul must have been around 10 to 10.30am. The larvae build a case which is pretty easy to spot if you lift up a few stones. Always remember to put the stones gently back though.

In todays  impress your friends section the name is slightly more difficult to remember than the other flies I have covered as it is Brachycentrus subnubilus.

I have been a great fan of the work Al Troth has done since reading about him in Wisdom of  the Guides (he’s on the cover) and whilst writing  I found THIS on You Tube.

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What would you save?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I have various photos of grip and grin shots and of fishing buddies I have met and have fished with over the years. I like to look at them and remind myself of what was a good day or sometimes wasn’t such a good one but turned out well for some  reason other than fishing. I think it was John Gierach who said when asked how the fishing had been “the fishing was good but the catching poor” This sums it all up really nicely on so many levels and shows why we all love it so much. It isn’t about numbers it’s about the whole big picture.

Talking of which I, as ever, seem to have gone off topic a bit and in a bid to get back again I was thinking about all of my fishing photos both on the computer and the actual hard copies I have. Computers are great in that you can have files and files of pics to look through and it is nice to quickly scoot through them but there is something nice about having pile of photos in your hand that you can flick through.

I’m never going to give any serious photographer a run for his money sadly; I don’t have the “eye”, but there are some really good ones about and the internet is a great medium for us to be transported to far away places that we might only ever get to dream about. Sometimes a photo can say more than a guy on TV or DVD can possibly do and it lets us form our own idea of what the place might be like and if we aren’t ever going to be there then that’s a nice thought to have. I remember a website that had a picture of a trout about to take an anglers fly. It really was a cool picture and I found myself imagining it was a spring creek somewhere in Montana despite having no idea where it actually was.

Looking at the old “hard copy” pics the little mistakes that we have made are there for ever and we’ll not be able to change them, not that I’d want to as it all adds to the character-well thats my excuse.

Looks like I have wandered off topic again and what I keep meaning to ask is do you have a fishing picture that means a lot to you? If there were a fire and you could save one fishing pic what would it be?

The pic below is one that means a lot to me for a lot of reasons. Firstly as it was taken in Colorado in 2006 at Mike Clark’s place in Lyons. I had just been there to pick up a bamboo rod he had built for me for my 40th birthday. Emma had saved up for the rod for 3 years, ordered it and only told me when it came to how the rod was going to be finished. This was quite a shock!


From the left: AK Best, The Dude, some scruffy urchin and Mike Clark

The other reason this picture means a lot is that Emma told me about the rod then said as my Christmas present I should go out there and pick it up with The Dude coming along too. This was a memorable trip for so many reasons but the trip to Lyons was pretty special. It was so cool meeting up with AK and looking at his flies and to just to talk fishing with him. I think we covered everything from downstream dry fly presentations to bonefishing and just about everything inbetween!

Mike then shut the shop early and we fished the St Vrain just at the top of the High Street. I will never forget this as Mike was guiding me and Kathy who works with Mike was following me. I fished the holes like we would at home and I covered the water quickly whereas Kathy worked a hole methodically and kept catching fish. I soon cottoned on to the fact and got into the groove…well it was our first day!

One of the other reasons this picture makes me smile is that we had arrived the night before and The Dude had driven us from Denver Airport. I remember asking him (he is American by birth) how easy it was to slip back into driving on the other side of the road to the UK. “It seems to be pretty easy” was his reply. It was about this time he realised we were driving down Lyons High Street on the wrong side of the road. I’ll tell you about our other “off road” adventure we had on this trip another time.

I did try and load a photo of all four of us smiling. As you can see Mike isn’t really showing his teeth but he doesn’t really like his photo being taken and I have about 10 different shots and the expression is the same…I’ll try another time.

Needless to say the rod is everything I hoped for and more, and the attention to detail and skill gone into it is amazing.  There is now a 5 year wait for one of his rods. It fishes pretty well too! I often use it on the first day of the trout season where I usually like to fish the Bray. After all the rod is called the Bray Special so it seems only right.

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