Discussing fly fishing tactics on the bank before the start of the days guiding.
Deer Park Fishery Open Day
Deer Park Hotel, Weston, Honiton EX14 3PG
Sunday 29th April 2018 10.00am – 4.00pm
To celebrate the new season on the water, the Deer Park fishery on the river Otter is holding a FREE bankside open day which is open to all, whether you are a fly fisher or someone who is looking to get into the sport.
Our fishing school instructor Neil Keep will be on hand to talk all things fly fishing and show you around. Get a free casting tune up with Neil who will be happy to pass on any tips and techniques for fishing the river. There will also be some on the water demonstrations in modern nymph fishing techniques and river fly casting.
Along with all this there will be the latest range of Marryat river rods for you to try out and maybe even some bankside fly tying if the elements permit.
A short walk from the river bank will see you at the splendid Deer Park Hotel which will be open for lunch and refreshments throughout the day and if the weather permits there will be an afternoon barbeque on the bank.
On arrival please park in the hotel car park and walk down to the river where you will find us set up on the river bank, if you are unsure please pop into the hotel reception and they will point you in the right direction.
If you would like any more information about the day please get in touch with Neil Keep –
Telephone: 01225 313729
Mobile: 07821 647055
A great couple of days on the latest Deer Park Fishery residential fly fishing course.
Great company, plenty of laughs mixed in with some nice fish and of course the usual great hospitality and amazing food at the Deer Park Hotel.
After breakfast on day one we made our way down to the river to be met with blazing sunshine so we got stuck in with tuning up the guests casting on the bank followed by looking at setting up for some different techniques. By lunch time the heavens opened and the fish disappeared to the river bed so we cracked on with some deep nymph fishing with various jig patterns and by the end of the day everyone had banked some fish up to a couple of pounds. There was a brief window in the weather and I managed to get one of the guests onto a sipper who eagerly snaffled a BWO pattern…twice….and the fish was missed both times!
We retired to the hotel for the evening for for a few beverages and an amazing meal. If you don’t fish, just visit the hotel for the food alone, it’s worth the trip!
Day two was the complete opposite, a big sun and soaring temperatures. We tried some lightly fished water, managed one fish but it was tough. After lunch we went in search of some shaded runs with some decent flow and managed a few more. Pleased to say that the guys all managed fish on both days in far from ideal conditions. The river is very low now so I’m off to do a rain dance but in reality I think we need a good weeks worth of the wet stuff to make much difference now. On a positive note we did spot a bright silver bar of about 5lb leap clear of the water on the second day which must of made it’s way up on a brief spate a couple of days earlier.
The light weight UV protected fishing shirts have now made their way to the back of the wardrobe and been replaced with the thermals in readiness for getting out in freezing temperatures for some winter fly fishing. Although shirts with UV protection built in seemed a bit optimistic with the weather we had last summer.
For many, the end of the river trout season spells the time to retire the kit to its winter storage home as the warm fire beckons and the thought of standing in ice cold water for a few hours quite literally sends shivers down the spine.
For me, the fly fishing itch is just too strong to not scratch until the following spring so I like to keep throwing the fluff all year round and winter grayling fishing certainly hits the spot for me. Like so many others, contemplating standing in waist deep in freezing water whilst sitting in front of that warm fire seems like a no contest but with a bit of careful thought of what is the right kit for the conditions and the day out it’s now something that doesn’t faze me at all.
Starting with your waders, you have a couple of options here. You either use your summer lightweight breathable set and layer up underneath or invest in some thicker material waders like a thick Neoprene pair and then not go with the extra under layers.
For most, winter trips tend to be less frequent and the thought of forking out for another set of waders just for these occasional forays just doesn’t cut it, so if this is you invest in some decent base layers instead. Go for breathable base layers as these will allow the moisture to pass through them from sweating (yes you will sweat even in freezing conditions!) If you wear basic base layers that trap moisture, then this moisture in turn becomes cold and lowers the body’s temperature by being trapped next to the skin. In really cold conditions it’s best to opt for a base layer then a mid-layer over the top. Like most kit, you really get what you pay for, so the more you spend on an item the more likely you are to get a more technically advanced material that’s going to keep you warmer.
My next must have winter accessory is a pair of decent gloves. Even if you’re not wearing them to fish it’s still nice to give your hands a break from the cold when you’re having a break or walking to and from the beat. I like the Sealskinz brand, again these are breathable, they’re also pretty thin and lightweight, if you want to fish wearing them the fingers are removable to make things a bit easier. They are the best I’ve used on the market and I never leave home without mine in the winter. Hand warmers are a useful addition to carry as well, especially when you need to bring your fingers to life when it comes to tying that that all important knot.
As most people know, a lot of heat is lost through the head (especially if you have a head of hair like mine!) with this in mind invest in a decent thermal hat, something that covers the ears is useful. When it comes to your hat purchase, think function not fashion!
A couple other items you might want to take on your winter outing is a flask of hot drink, not alcohol as this has an adverse effect on your body’s temperature contrary to popular belief. A tub of Loon Stanley’s Ice Off can come in useful for those days when you have ice forming on your rod rings, although conditions may be too extreme for some if this is happening. Most importantly, a spare set of dry, warm clothes in case you take a dunking, and we all think it will never happen to us but believe me you don’t want to prove yourself wrong when you’re stood on an icy bank miles from home. If you start to feel the cold when wading climb out of the water and have a brisk walk along the bank, use this warm up time to check out the next pools you might fish and to check for any redds in the shallower runs that you should avoid disturbing.
So there you have it, with a bit of fore planning and the right kit, winter fly fishing may not be as daunting as you’re thinking whilst you’re sat in front of that warming fire, so give it a go and no matter how cold it is you will soon forget the low temperatures when that monster grayling slides towards the net.