Celebrating 10 years at Exe Valley Fishery with breakfast, fishing & friends

Ten years ago today, on 27th May 2006, the shop opened its doors.  As this post explains that didn’t really go to plan but the date still has some significance as Exe Valley Fishery became the Nick Hart Fly Fishing HQ.

To celebrate I had thought about a big open day and perhaps a party but in the end it felt right to forget all that, take the day off and go fishing instead.  A plan was formed with a couple of guys a few nights ago in the local pub and the deal was done, especially as one of them offered a slap up breakfast to get the day started.

Celebrating 10 years at Exe Valley Fishery by going fishing

It was a top breakfast to and so filling our waders with the windy remnants of black pudding and local sausage we set off for the moors and shared a rod, taking it in turns to have a pop with a dry fly at some delicious looking pools.

The fish were not big, but that did not matter.  We watched a herd of deer on the horizon.  Spotted a huge Raven and listened to the Cuckoo providing a background soundtrack throughout.  Meanwhile Buzzards mewed above; song birds provided a chorus for the cuckoo while the soothing sound of water added percussion.

We yomped over the moors, talked fishing and every now and again took our turns to meet a few of the rivers inhabitants.  The guys had to set off at lunch time, but those few hours were just perfect.  These moments feel like being a kid again, out in the open with not a care in the world. This is what fly fishing is all about.  No scratch that; it is what life should be all about.

Celebrating with friends on the Barle

Returning back to HQ I sat out in the sun with lunch and looked across the lakes framed by the luscious  green  of spring.  Yes the last 10 years hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses I thought but that’s a pretty damn fine office!

And just as I was about to go fishing again my mobile sprang into life and a good friend who I have not seen in years appeared at lakes.  Cue tea and a two hour catch up on all the fishing we used to do and the inevitable conversations about how things have changed.

Fish & chips next, most likely a little more wader wind and I will be heading off to another river somewhere but this time with just my thoughts and hopefully a few more finned friends for company.  The 27th May 2016 will be a day I remember for a long time to come.

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It’s the people I meet

I have dived on here today to add a post because I could not leave what has just happened without saying something.  Many, many times I have said that one of the best parts about helping people learn all about fly fishing is meeting them in the first place.  They literally come from all walks of life.

A few weeks back I met Joe & Lesley Denham, visiting Exmoor for a 2 day fly fishing course.  It was Lesley who was keen to learn and so Joe had booked them in for the weekend.  Right away we hit it off over the obligatory cup of tea, discussing the days ahead of us and more besides.  I am always interested in what my guests do for a living, especially business owners and it turned out that Joe & Lesley are involved in another huge passion of mine; food.

A lady angler trying fly fishing at Exe Valley Fishery

Lesley realises her dream of trying fly fishing

Not restauranters, deli owners or farmers these guys sell a product that means it is possible to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.  The VegTrug.  I was fascinated by their story and what is a simple, yet very effective product, especially as I had been looking into ways that I could use our fishery venue to combine the process of catching a fish with the important aspects of preparing, cooking & consuming it afterwards.  With home grown salad & veggies!

During the conversation I also mentioned my daughter, her love of the outdoors and that something like this would be just up her street.  After a successful course and a sad good bye I cannot say anything more than how gobsmacked my wife Sue and I were when the following week 3 VegTrugs turned up on our doorstep!

Joe & Lesley Denham of VegTrug with Rainbow Trout

Husband and wife team Joe & Lesley with some Trout to go with their VegTrug

It’s been a busy few weeks guiding and so finding time to spend with the family has been tough, but yesterday we took the day to celebrate Sues 40th birthday, spend some time with the children and set up the VegTrug.  A slap up roast lunch inside us we nosed around a local garden nursery for all manner of tasty things to grow and headed home to set to work.  Here is the result of our first attempt at growing our own food!

Ready to set up a VegTrug

Scarlett looking very pleased with her new VegTrug

Construting a VegTrug

I am not practical shall we say, but fortunately my son was on hand to help!

Half way through building a VegTrug

It was my wife that spotted we were putting it together wrong and Chester soon had it sorted. The VegTrug is actually super easy to build and there are videos to help. I should have used them!


Filling a VegTrug with compost

And now the fun bit – filling with compost!

Planting out a VegTrug

Building & filling- Chester was done! But Scarlett got stuck into planting while even Rio our Black Lab looked interested. Sorry no bones in their old boy!

A VegTrug filled with fruit, veg & herbs

A couple of hours and one completed VegTrug!

Starting from the far right corner we have planted Strawberries, Tomatoes, Chilli, Broccoli, Lettuce (2 varieties), Basil and Black Peppermint.  This is just our first try, so we have not gone mad but hopefully we can get some of that perfect Trout herb, Dill, growing soon and Radishes, Beetroot, Carrots and definitely Garlic are all high on the list!

I realise that this is a little different to my usual posts, but we had a fantastic day with the children and Scarlett’s face was just a picture, so I just had to write about it.  It maybe a tenuous link but all of this was once again because of meeting more incredible people through fly fishing.  Thank you so much Joe & Lesley, you have made the Hart family very, very happy indeed.  We promise to report on our first crops soon!

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