Looking Back At 2016 – My Fly Fishing Review

Every year seems to be busier than previous years with new projects and days on the water either guiding or introducing newcomers to the addictive sport of fly fishing and looking back at 2016 it was no exception.

fly fishing review

Many days were spent on the water with fishing friends old and new in search of all manner of fish from trout and grayling through to some bass, carp and pike. Not unlike recent seasons the West Country migratory fish proved problematic with poor summer river levels seeming to make the fishes progress up the river systems later than ever. Even with the local river season extensions the rains didn’t really materialize, so this asks the question, are our river seasons outdated with climate change and should season dates be moved to accommodate? I know on one of my favourite rivers the salmon season starts on February the 14th (a popular date with wives and girlfriends!) and apart from the odd kelt, I would never expect to see a fresh run fish in the system until April.

fly fishing review

Corporate bookings seem to make a bit of comeback in 2016, so the coming year will be interesting with all of the political changes happening around us to see if this resurgence gains any more momentum. Family days were also popular this year which is always great to see, on more than one occasion I had three generations of the same family on the bank with a fly rod in hand.

Working partnerships remained strong throughout the year with some amazing days spent on the bank with the brilliant Vale House Kitchen and Deer Park Fishery, both of which seem grow from strength to strength. Check out their websites for what is sure to be an even more exciting year to come with lots of events and courses on offer.

fly fishing review


The year also saw me doing a bit of promo film work with Vale House Kitchen which was a real eye opener, hours of work went into the film but the results were amazing, you can check it out here. I spent a day on the river Otter with Dominic Garnett, fellow guide and author, for a magazine shoot, again great fun and even made the front cover of the magazine in one of Dom’s shots! You can check out some of Dominic’s work here. I look forward to doing a bit more with Dom in the coming year so keep an eye out for this.

Throughout the year I continued to work alongside Marryat Rods, Partridge of Redditch and Varivas, this gave my guests the chance to try out some of the best tackle on the market before buying. The new rods from Marryat went down a storm this year and I’m sure it’s a name you will being seeing and hearing more and more in 2017. Come and join me in the coming year and try these for yourself, you will be truly amazed!

fly fishing review

So with the New Year looming and the diary filling fast I’m really looking forward to what’s in store and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, fun and fished filled New Year.

Beginners Fly Fishing Day.

Beginners 1 day Stillwater Fly Fishing Course

Sunday 19th April 2015 from 9.30a.m. To 4.30p.m.

At Burton Springs Fishery, Burton, Bridgwater, Somerset.TA5 1QB.

This fun filled beginners fly fishing day is aimed at beginners wanting to give fly fishing a try for the first time or improvers who want to brush up on some core skills.

The course will cover:Beginners fly fishing day

Fly fishing tackle and setting it up.

The roll cast and overhead fly cast with safety awareness.

Basic entomology and fly selection.

Some basic knots used in fly fishing.Beginners fly fishing day

Fly fishing techniques.

Playing and landing fish.

Fish welfare when catch and release fishing.

Included for the day will be:beginners fly fishing day

All tuition with qualified instructors.

Use of all equipment for the day if required.

Fishing permit for the day.

Tea or Coffee throughout the day.

All you need to provide for the day is an Environment Agency rod license which can be purchased online or purchased from a post office and any food you require, although the fishery does offer a selection of sandwiches etc. but these would need to be ordered on your arrival.

Also please bring clothing to suit any weather eventuality, a hat and some form of eye wear, Polaroid’s or similar if you have any.

Cost for the day is £75.00 per person payable in advance to secure a place.

If you would like any further information or to book a place, please do not hesitate to contact Neil on 01761 472656 (evenings are best) or by email at enquiries@neilkeepflyfishing.co.uk

beginners fly fishing dayBeginners fly fishing dayBeginners fly fishing day

Fly Fishing For Carp

When the temperatures rise in the height of summer and the trout fishing becomes difficult, fly fishing for carp can provide some welcome rod bending action.

The fish in the video was taken at Burton Springs Fishery in Somerset who actively encourage fly fishers to target carp when the trout aren’t playing ball.

Although the fish isn’t massive in carp terms, it was really good fun on a fly rod and I would recommend giving it a go if you ever get a chance.

Carp can be taken on all manner of techniques and flies. They will readily take natural offerings like nymphs and dry flies or can even be taken on lures such as blobs and boobies. One of the more popular methods is to get the carp feeding on the surface with dog biscuits then use a deer hair imitation biscuit to tempt the fish. The key to this particular method is to feed the biscuits little and often and really get the fish feeding confidently, almost competing for your offerings, before you cast your fly onto the water.

One thing to remember when you fly fish for carp is to take an unhooking mat to protect the fish when you have it on the bank. Also carry a decent size landing net as a lot of these fish just aren’t going to fit in your traditional trout scoop net!