Cast of the Month – June 2014

With each month that passes the time seems to be going even faster, so much so here I am writing up Cast of the Month for June. I have had a bunch of things pop into my head this month which I would like to post up here when I have chance, but having just spent 16 days out on the water (which should have been 18 had the rain not stopped play) there isn’t a lot of time remaining to sit behind the keyboard. Perhaps I need to find an alternative approach to updating?

Exe Valley Fishery - June 2014

Zoe Sparrowhawk lands her first ever Trout as a storm builds in the hills

Meanwhile we have had the busiest June in the shop that we can remember for a while and the fishery has been hectic to say the least. And if I may say so myself, it is looking utterly stunning down there, especially against the back drop of the moody skies seen recently during the storms. Ken & Zoe Sparrowhawk rocked up at the beginning of June for a 2 day course, just as things started to heat up and were treated not only to our hard fighting Exe Valley Trout but scenes like this. And I believe the fish became part of my cold Trout & Yorkshire pudding recipe. Ken dropped me a line after his trip to say “The photos are great and a really good memory. I have a feeling we will have one framed. Many thanks for the great tuition, we both enjoyed the weekend”.

A lady angler with an Exe Valley Trout

A happy Zoe with a proud Dad Ken and an Exe Valley Rainbow

This month I also welcomed perhaps my most far flung of visitors, all the way from Australia. Grandfather Greg along with grandsons Jarrod aged 13 & Brad aged 11 stopped by for half a day on the lakes and it was awesome to see the boys enjoying their first taste of fly fishing. Jarrod in particular is a fishing nut, living just 200 metres from the sea in Oz. He regularly catches species such as Bluefish & Australian Salmon on spinning gear so I urged him to give it a go with the fly when he arrives home and sent him off with a bunch of baitfish patterns to try. Hopefully the pictures will start arriving soon!

A grandfather with his grandsons from Australia fishing at Exe Valley

All the way from Australia!

Sometimes I am asked to blind guide a venue and I never need asking twice! Effectively this involves me taking a client fishing on a stretch of water that I have never seen before and offering as much of my experience as possible. So I left especially early when Richard Webber asked me to look after him and his lifelong friend Duncan for an evening on the upper River Mole. Now I know that I am always banging on about how great the Mole is and posting pictures here of the fish we catch, but this was quite a different stretch of river compared to the beat which I know and love. Small, intimate and well canopied, it was super stealthy fishing over a multitude of pools and runs. The time just passed too quickly and with every new section I couldn’t conceal my ooohhs and aaahhs!

Richard Webber with a River Mole Trout

Richard Webber with his best ever Mole Trout until ……

Even better the fish were looking up and both guys bagged some nice fish, with Richard taking his personal best while I was guiding and then beating it once again as I was heading home and darkness fell! Duncan acted as guide, netting the fish and sending through this report and a picture.

A large River Mole Trout caught at dusk

…. he got this even bigger one as dusk fell! Thanks to Duncan for the picture.

“You will be pleased to hear that Richard caught another decent fish after you left (as attached) which we think was at or just over 1 lb, certainly the biggest wild brownie he has caught on the Mole. It fought like hell pulling him down stream and was not easy to land without a net!”  Thanks to Duncan for the report and it was also great to hear that his 40th birthday present, a Hardy rod, is going to be fixed by the company after it was accidentally broken during the excitement of the evening.

It was not so much a blind guiding session that followed a few days later, but a visit to the River Tamar for a day showing Ian Taylor the ways of the Spey rod. I won’t give a blow by blow account of what happened because the venue (which I have never fished upon before) rendered me nearly speechless! All I can say is that it is a heaven like place, no cars, no people, just Salmon pool after mouth watering Salmon pool. Add a Sage One Switch to the day and the only thing that could possibly happen to make it perfect was for a Salmon to grab our Cascade. After a few hours of casting tuition would you believe it happened!  With just 3 previous sessions of fly fishing under his belt I guess we were riding our luck to expect the Salmon to hang on. A momentary low followed that sickening limp line but was soon replaced by the healing powers of breathtaking scenery and a classic English summers day. Not to mention some beautiful loops!

Spey casting on the River Tamar

Ian gets to grips with Spey casting on the Tamar (Nice loop sir!)

That session will live in my memory for a good long while as will a trip to the Mole last week with Jim Pool and his mates Keith & JJ. I have guided these guys on many occasions and they are always great fun, so when I showed them that their matching Fishpond packs had a secret “hands free” feature, a photograph had to follow.

Demonstrating the hands free feature on Fishpond pack

Hands Free Fishing!

And then it was down to the serious business of trying to bag a nice Trout, with the Mole seemingly never failing in that department. Unfortunately Jims specimen chucked the hook during a particular spectacular leap, but JJs didn’t. His fish cleared the water by 4 feet, twice … and spent the next couple of minutes trying to snarl him up in a tangle of fallen branches before giving in for the customary photo. This fish fell to a heavy Mary, fished New Zealand style but a few minutes later Keith nailed a similar sized Brownie using that deadly CDC Elk Sedge which has become a go to pattern over the last couple of years.

JJ with a wild Trout from the River Mole

A plump River Mole Brown for JJ on a heavy Mary

Keith Brooks releases a River Mole Brown Trout

Followed by one for Keith – this time caught dry on a CDC Sedge

There are plenty more stories for the month but I can’t end without a quick shot of Jim Parrotts fish from the Lyn. After last year’s sad interruption in the season as the runs of Salmon succumbed to a terrible fungus, it was wonderful to return to a river which appears to be in tip top condition. This little chap was certainly keen to show us what he could do and after snaffling “that” fly again he proceeded to extract 10 yards of line to the backdrop of a singing reel. Its not often that a wild West Country Trout takes line with such zeal, especially as it would have struggled to make even the magical pound. So just imagine what the 2 & 3 pound Lyn Browns could do with a 9’ #4 ….. I need a plan!!!

Jim Pool with a hard fighting wild Brown Trout from the River Lyn

Everything is spectacular when it comes to the Lyn, the scenery, the fish and even the fight!

I hope June gave you plenty of wonderful fishing memories and that July will give you even more. This month I will finally get a chance to break out the Bass gear after a season so far guiding the rivers & lakes. It sounds like there are a good few Sea Trout around to, a particular favourite of mine and if I get my skates on today I could well be found annoying a few in the evenings to come.

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One Response to Cast of the Month – June 2014

  1. Outstanding stuff, great read, love the pix, a serious amount of guiding and huge fun going on me feels. Well done.

    Henry Gilbey | July 3, 2014 at 7:29 am | Reply

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