Thursday, 30 August 2007

The Freshwater Grand Slam!

The Grand what!? A grand slam is basically getting a set number of species in a day. For example when fishing the tropics catch a Bonefish, Tarpon & Permit all in one day and its referred to as a Grand Slam. Well today Kate (Aubrey's daughter) managed the West country freshwater equivalent, taking first a Rainbow Trout ...



.... then this fine Grayling, a cracking River Exe specimen that we stalked and fooled with a Klinkhammer. Kate also caught one a little while earlier but it slipped back before we got a photo!




The icing on the cake came in the form of this tubby little Wild Brown Trout, a perfect specimen that sipped down Kate's well presented dry fly.




Meanwhile, father Aubrey fished up through a number of lovely sections taking several fish, but none as big as his Grayling on day one. Kate also managed to win their wager, the prize being a bottle of Champagne! It was great to guide Kate and Aubrey once again, we love to see our guests progressing their fishing and enjoying the adrenalin rush when a good cast meets with success.

There are a few clouds about and the air temperature has been pretty good so I hope that the Fernworthy Browns are in a similar mood tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Fly Casting to Success

Another beautiful day at Exe Valley Fishery. Here are a couple of guests learning the overhead cast under the watchful eye of Mark Bailey, an AAPGAI instructor and all round casting guru! We aim to provide fun courses with the chance to catch fish but there is no doubt that a decent cast ultimately results in far more fishing success in the future. After all it is no good knowing what fly and what line if the artificial can't be placed accurately within the fish holding zone. Check out the blog soon for some casting tips!



I am looking forward to tomorrow, guiding frequent guests Aubrey and Kate Prout. They have been fishing a North Devon river today. Back with me on the Exe and we are hoping to pick up from Aubreys success on Tuesday ... a stunning River Exe Grayling. See previous post.

Then on Friday I meet up with Henry Gilbey to shoot a Trout Fisherman feature on Fernworthy. There are just so many West Country venues to try and even though I have fished many of them I reckon I have only scratched the surface, Fernworthy will be a first! Chatting with South West Lakes fishery boss Chris Hall it sounds awesome, Wild Brown Trout that love Dries! Lets hope for a warm day with some cloud cover and that I manage to get some sleep the night before. Fishing does that to you, it is like Christmas eve as a kid the night before every session!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Autumn Grayling

One thing I really love about my job is catching up with guests who have been fishing with us before. These people become far more like friends than clients and watching their skills develop over the seasons is really satisfying. Aubrey Prout is visiting again with his daughter Kate for 3 days of river fishing. After a morning working on casting and following an excellent lunch at our fantastic local bistro, Woods, it was down to the river to get stuck in. Kate picked up a couple of small Parr to open proceedings and is looking forward to bigger and better things to come. Meanwhile Aubrey and I stalked this superb River Exe Grayling using a leader down to 2 1/2lbs and a size 16 Adams. After initially refusing the fly, Aubrey made a perfect cast giving the fish plenty of time to spot and size up the offering. One gentle sip and the fight was on! These fish are stunning and as you can see Aubrey was more than a little pleased. His first ever Grayling taken on upstream dry fly. There is something very special about river fishing, you should try it sometime!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Bank Holiday at Exe Valley

At last we have been blessed with some summer sunshine. This is the view from our tackle shop and office this afternoon .... not bad is it!!! Best of all though this image proves that fishing really is a family affair, half of the anglers here today are children. The UK angling scene (and the tackle trade) must wake up to the fact that kids need to be encouraged to try fishing and also to lose the "uncool" status it seems lumbered with. The U.S.A, New Zealand and Australia are just a few countries off the top of my head who actively encourage their young population to go fishing. If they can manage it surely we can too? Take you sons, daughters and grandchildren fishing. Get them involved. Make sure they catch some fish. Educate them in the ways of conservation, the underwater world and countryside around them. Can you think of a better way to spend the bank holiday?

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Hot Day, Hot Fish!

It is always great to see youngsters taking to the sport. Alex Bush is a bit of a computer whiz at the age of 13, creating websites from his home studio. Dad, Ivan, organised a trip for Alex to try Fly Fishing for the first time and get him away from the mouse mat! Ivan is already an experienced angler and in fact we have taught him before (click here) Alex took to the water with the promise of £50.00 if he caught a fish! Not a bad incentive so Alex concentrated carefully, piecing together his cast until soon he was in a position to tie on a fly. Several missed takes later suddenly everything clicked and Alex was into a hard fighting Exe Valley Trout. Caught on a small Buzzer hung under an indicator this 2lb specimen may have earned Alex £50.00 but most importantly fired his enthusiasm to the point that he is already asking his Dad if they can head to Clatworthy for a session!



Sat sweating quietly here in my office with the blazing sun outside it appears that we maybe about to witness an Indian Summer. There are still Sea Trout about and a few Salmon, plus the lakes are full and well oxygenated. While the conditions over the past few months have been far from ideal it could just be that we are about to experience a bumper autumn season.

Friday, 24 August 2007

hartflyshop.com re-launch


It has taken many, many long months but finally hartflyshop.com the new site, has arrived.
Featuring product reviews, easily navigated menus and pictures by Henry Gilbey I hope that you like what you see. Any comments are welcome! On that note be sure to check out Henry's blog, he has some really interesting advice on taking angling photos and a no nonsense approach to his fishing. At last the sun is here, but will it last for a bank holiday, get away from it all fishing session?! Here's to hoping you will be enjoying a lake or river somewhere soon and not a 40 mile tail back!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

River Exe Report & Thoughts

We are just about to enter the last month of the season and at present the Exe seems to be holding a good stock of Salmon. A friend spent yesterday morning and evening pulling his hair out in vain as Salmon after Salmon jumped over his line but refused every fly line or pattern slung at them! For great up to date information on the Exe see the Fish the Exe link. Many people feel that fly fishing on rivers is a closed shop to the masses, a sport dedicated only to the rich with many clubs offering dead man shoes placements. NOT SO! There are a number of brilliant schemes available nationwide. Locally we have the Angling 2000 scheme, but look out also for the Wye and Usk Foundation.

Many of these beats are inhabited by good stocks of Wild Brown Trout and Grayling plus some even boast Salmon and Sea Trout. I am not guiding until Saturday now but look out on my main fly fishing school site for a few changes plus finally we are ready to unveil a brand new look to ........

Er .. notice I have said little about the football. Same old England, but the steak was good!!!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

A Day on the River

Finally the rain has ceased for a couple of days and despite the river being unfishable on Monday, today was very different. Guiding Jim Pool of London we found that by wading deep and fishing tight into the edges that some good sport was to be had with these awesome little wild Browns. We landed a good 1/2 dozen, but missed and lost twice as many. Killing flies were the good old Klinkhammer and Adams Parachute fished on tapered leaders down to 3lb. Simple, but effective!


Jim has only just got into fly fishing over the last season but has found his passion lies in the rivers. There is something very special about running water, a box of dry flies and a long day ahead. Look at this typically stout little Exe Brown Trout - perfection. After a "hard days" guiding it is time to head home for the England match, steak and a few beers! Look out on the Blog for a variety of news regarding the tackleshop and upcoming events.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

First Fish, BIG Fish!

During a talk I presented earlier this year Mike Sherwin was inspired to try fly fishing for the first time. So after going though the diary we finally found him a date in August.

The day unfolded nicely as Mike got to grips with tackle, casting and general fly fishing technique. By lunchtime he was flying, quite literally, with a nice section of running line heading for the horizon! Fortunately this period of good casting continued after a quick pub lunch and so before long a fly was tied to the leader and sent out over the water in anticipation.

A few casts later and Mike was startled when his fly disappeared, the line snapped tight and his reel began whirring at an alarming rate. But he kept his cool and played his first ever fish on fly like a pro. At 6lbs 1oz this fine fish is a classic Exe Valley Rainbow and left Mike speechless.


Happily the rains have ceased once again and the Salmon are appearing on the Exe. If only I could find the time between teaching, guiding and writing to go and catch one! Yes, yes, I know it's a hard job but someone has to do it !!! Look out for more Norway stuff soon and I will also be adding some useful fishy links ... guiding on the river tomorrow for the first time in a long time as it has been so high. Then of course be home in time for England/Germany and probably a few Beers. No Rooney or Gerard and a less than fit Beckham ... ummmm!

Monday, 20 August 2007

Trout Fisherman - September 07

The new issue of Trout Fisherman magazine is out - The UKs best selling Trout monthly. It should be in newsagents now and is available from 16th of every month. Check it out for a host of useful articles including features by well known anglers such as Iain Barr.

This month I continue my casting series in the magazine, taking a look at a few tips and tricks to gain extra distance. Working as a team with Henry Gilbey, we produce features for TF on a monthly basis. Check out the links below to see his daily blog and click here to see Henry's website.

Crazy Coalfishing on Fly

Head for most wrecks off the coast of the United Kingdom and the standard gear will consist of 20lb class + boat rods with a dirty great big multiplier attached. Imagine the looks you may get if you pottered down to the waters edge with nothing more than a Flyrod and a box full of fluff! Well that's exactly what happened just a short while ago during a visit to Rost located around 100km off the North Western coast of Norway. Travelling with good mates Henry Gilbey and James Warbrick-Smith Our equipment consisted of 12 weight rods, reels loaded with 300 yards of backing and some seriously heavy 1000 grain plus heads kindly supplied by Rio. The results, well they were nothing short of staggering! Drift after drift our target species, Coalfish, smashed into our flies, bent the rod double and pulled line from our heavily adjusted drags with consummate ease. More soon on this blog and look out in late autumn for a full 2 part report coming soon in Trout fisherman magazine but until then here is something to wet your appetite ...