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.
Join us on the hotels 3 miles of the river Otter to see what the fishery has to offer, walk the bank or bring your kit and have a complimentary fish.
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 –
Czech nymphing is a method of fly fishing where a team of flies are fished at close range with a short line tight to the riverbed.
The term “Czech nymphing” derives from the 1980’s when the Czech national fly fishing team adopted the method from local fly fishers whilst competing at an international match in Poland. It was found to be a very efficient way of catching fish hugging the riverbed and so the team went on to use it with great success.
The idea with this method is to get the flies down to the bottom as quickly as possible so these weighted nymphs have a slim profile to aid this. Normally a team of three flies are fished on the leader with the heaviest fly positioned in the middle which pulls the trio of flies down to the riverbed where the other two flies fish just above the bottom. If you fish the heaviest fly on the point the top dropper fly will fish too high in the water and over the top of the fish.
With this method there is no real fly cast involved, in fact if you try and use a conventional fly cast you will end up with the mother of all tangles! All that is required is a few feet of fly line outside the rod tip then just a gentle lob upstream. Allow the flies to sink, then raise the rod tip and follow the flies back under the rod tip, being careful to keep the fly line just above the surface of the water. Watch the fly line and leader then strike at any abnormal movement you see in these such as a slight dip of the line, a stop of the line or a sideways movement. To aid bite detection you can colour the tip of the fly line or attach some form of indicator to the top of the leader. The key is to follow your flies with the rod tip and keep in contact with them at all times. Once the flies have passed you and are downstream all that’s needed is to give a short sharp strike to raise the flies towards the surface then a gentle flick upstream to set them fishing again.
Because this method is fished at close range it works best in broken water which makes the angler less visible to the fish but remember to still wade slowly and carefully as not to spook the fish. Water with a bit of colour is again favourable, again offering the angler some cover. Make sure you cover all the water with your flies from bank to bank, especially the creases just off of the main flow where a lot of fish tend to sit and don’t be shocked to be catching fish you’re almost standing on!
Sea Trout fishing has always held a special place in my heart since I caught my first one some 35 years ago now, it’s infectious and once its in your system you can never get enough of that feeling of pitting your wits against this cunning fish in the pitch black of night. Night fishing isn’t for everyone but if you haven’t tried it before give it a go, its amazing how your other senses take over when you can’t see a thing in the black of the night and for night time Sea trout……the darker the better!!
For this years expedition I booked a riverside lodge for a week week on the river Fowey at the Wainsford Fishery. In past years I have spent a lot of time Sea Trouting in Devon rivers and also had a few trips to Wales but I had heard good reports about the Fowey so thought it was about time to tackle some Cornish Sea Trout.
As with any fishing for migratory species, good water levels are important for the fish to run up the river systems, and to my dismay on arrival, although not totally unexpected, the river level was very very low. Apart from the obvious problem of no fish running this proved to be a real problem when it came to scouting the river in daylight, a very important part of night time fishing on a water you are not familiar with, as the water was so low and clear and I would have spooked every fish in the pools and so ruined the night time fishing. Trying to avoid this I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees on the bank peaking around and through bushes, for anyone watching this must have all looked a bit odd!!
As we had not had any significant rain for a while any fish that were in the river would have been in there a while and with Wainsford being a fishing estate and fished fairly heavily, these fish would have seen all manner of offerings under their nose and would have become hard to catch but I was up for the challenge and just happy to be on the water.
Day times were spent visiting the local sites mixed in with messing around on the river Warleggan, a tributary to the Fowey on which our lodge was located on the banks, catching some very pretty wild Brownies.
At night I would go out about 10.45 p.m. armed with two rods, one set up with a Rio Gold floating line and the other with a Rio midge Tip, in my opinion two of the very best lines on the market today. Because these lines are so good i fish with more confidence which means I fish better ultimately leading to more fish……its a mind thing but true! Casting single and double speys in the dark takes some practice but if you have a good line it makes things just a bit easier.
Wainsford fishery is split into four beats, fished on rotation throughout the week and each beat is different so keeping things interesting. There are plenty of holding pools so given the right water I could see this being a first class fishery.
The first three nights i spent without a fish although i did hear a few fish in the dark of the night and tried everything in the box from deep lures right through to surface wake lures, although fishless i was happy that I had tried everything to try and tempt any fish in front of me. Nothing worse than getting back and thinking ” what if I had tried?” I only spent one to two hours on the water each night as with just stale fish resident i did not think it would be worth flogging a pool for too long.
The fourth night arrived, i set up as usual, waded into the first pool on my beat and after twenty minutes had an arm wrenching pull on the line then all hell let loose as a powerful fish charged up and down in front of me and at one point behind me!! These fish really fight hard when hooked, you only have to look at the tail on a Sea Trout to see where the power comes from. After a 5 minute battle the fish was safely on the bank. I flicked on the head torch and was astounded to see in front of me a fish of around 3lb…..but fresh run!! The next day may have shed a little light on this.
The next morning while eating a good fry up and drinking coffee i flicked on the t.v. and watched the local news. A report came on saying that 36 hours previous there had been a tidal surge across a lot of the coast line from Plymouth down into Cornwall caused by movement in the sea bed, then followed some footage of a tidal bore making its way up one of the estuaries. Reported as a “mini tsunami”, is this what had pushed a few fresh fish up the river? I don’t know for sure but I could not think of any other reason and two more fresh fish were caught the following night so there’s every possibility this was the cause of fresh fish entering the river system.
The last couple of nights I had no more fish, I had a few pulls and a fish on for a few seconds on the last night but all in all I really enjoyed the trip and I will be back for more and hopefully some decent water in the river.
Saturday saw the arrival of the Burton Springs Beginners day near Bridgwater which I had set up some two months previously thinking that a June date would give us some good weather. It was an early start loading the car with all the equipment ready for the off and when I opened the front door I was met with some really heavy rain……..not what I had wanted to see.
We arrived at the fishery around 8.15 am and proceeded to set up for the days events but still in the pouring rain. Everyone started arriving around 9.30am and was greeted with tea and coffee and the day got started at 9.45 am.
I had hoped to run some of the course outside in the morning but this was just not possible due to the now monsoon type rain we getting!! Luckily Burton Springs has a lodge so we all packed into this for sessions on fly tying, entomology and knots and leaders.
The weather broke just before lunch and I took everyone out onto the lake for a talk and demonstration on basic casting mechanics, 5 minutes into the demonstration the heavens opened again and we all made a dash back to the lodge for cover, it was short lived and we were all soon on the bank again to finish this session.
After lunch we were lucky as the weather seemed to get better and we were all able to get out and get into some casting before finishing up with some fishing with a few fish landed on the bank to end a great day.
The day was made all the better with the great people that had turned up, all of us had a good laugh and a chuckle throughout the day which helped considering the conditions we had to endure. Everyone went home with a smile on their face so I guess it was mission accomplished!!
For everything they done to make the day a success, I would like to say a big thank you to fellow instructors Sally and Tony Pizii, Gilly for laying on all the great food for the day, taking the photos and not forgetting the home made cakes which went down well!! And finally to Adam and Dave down at Burton Springs Fishery for hosting the day and helping us make the day run smoothly.
For those of you that attended the day, I would be grateful for any feedback that you can give me by filling out the message box at the bottom of this page and please feel free to copy any of the photos I have posted here.
Keep an eye out here for similar future events and come and join us on the bank.
Here are some photos of the day, please click on a thumbnail to enlarge the photo.