Spey Casting And Salmon Fishing

Spey casting and salmon fishing on the medium sized rivers of the Westcountry is great fun on a single handed fly rod but planning a salmon trip in advance is always a bit of a lottery as you are always reliant on good water conditions for the fish to be around but even if there are no fish it’s always nice to get back into the spey casting rhythm again.

                               The below video is best viewed in HD.

Fingers are crossed for some decent rainfall over the next few weeks which should mean a good run of fish towards the back end of the season.

If you want to learn to spey cast or fancy trying your hand at some salmon fishing please get in touch.

Really Wild River Days.

Really Wild River Days

Guided fly fishing days on over 3 miles of a truly wild small stream near Bath with brown trout running to over 2lb and chub to 4lb.

A lovely mix of shallow runs and deep pools, this small stream holds loads of surprises but is very overgrown so don’t expect to be using the overhead cast much, it will all be about roll casts, side casts and the bow and arrow cast. Short rods and short casts are the order of the day.

You will need to be reasonably fit as the banks are steep in places and access into the water can be a little tricky but well worth the effort.

This fishing is all about stealth and stalking the quarry so if you fancy river fishing with a challenge then this day is for you.

Given the right conditions there is also a reasonable Mayfly hatch through May and June.

All tackle for the day will be supplied or bring your own if you prefer. All you will need is a valid environment agency rod license and chest waders if you have them, although I can arrange for the supply of waders if required.

A guided day on this river with instruction will cost £130.00 for one person or £180.00 for 2 people or ½ day for one person at £80 and £110 for 2 people.

Tsunami and Sea Trout

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!!

Our lodge on the banks of the river Warleggan

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.

The Fowey at Wainsford

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.

The Eden Project,a great day out…….if you can stop thinking about fishing!!
Had trouble matching the hatch here….it was about 20ft high!

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.

One of the rivers “pretty 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.

Result………a fresh run fish.

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.

Unlike my wading boots…….I never gave up!

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.

Getting a grip.

When it comes to fly casting, probably one of the least thought about aspects is how we actually hold the rod itself. In this post I look at how “getting a grip” of the fly rod is an important factor when it comes to fly casting.

Fly anglers can spend hours on the bank fishing and then practicing their casting without even thinking about how they are gripping the rod and how this is affecting the cast they make. We all strive for that “perfect loop” and a nice presentation as our line floats to the water’s surface, so next time you pick up a fly rod please consider the following points.

When casting, try not to grip the rod handle too tightly. This can restrict the free flowing movement of the rest of the arm by tensing the muscles which can lead to a very painful arm ache at the end of a day’s fishing or even cause injury, remember using tense muscles is bad news.  Adopt a lose grip but one that’s firm enough so you can still control the rod throughout the casting arc. It’s easy to spot someone who is gripping too hard when I am teaching as their knuckles usually turn white after about 10 minutes!

Hand too far back, rod becomes unbalanced in the hand.


Hand position is another important factor. There are three main grips you can use. Firstly the thumb on top grip, my preferred grip and one I teach most of the time. As it says grip the rod with your thumb on top of the handle. The thumb then becomes a great training aid as it is in your eye line, so you just watch what your thumb is doing and the rod tip will be doing exactly the same, so in essence the rod becomes an extension of your thumb, far easier to see what your thumb is doing rather than the tip of your rod. With a fly cast the line will only travel in the direction of the rod so therefore the line will only travel in the direction your thumb is moving. Try it out, push your thumb towards the target on the forward cast and the line should simply follow your thumb.

Thumb on top.


The next grip is with the index finger on top of the handle. Most people find this grip uncomfortable if using it for any length of time, although it can be useful for short range casting when accuracy may be the key to fooling a fish, use the finger as an “aiming sight” in the same way you used your thumb in the previous grip. I use this grip occasionally when I am teaching people who suffer with excessive wrist break in the cast as this restricts the wrist break because of the position of the hand.

Finger on top.


Lastly there is the “screwdriver” or “golf grip”. This is where you hold the rod with your index finger down one side of the handle and your thumb down the other. Although this grip may feel natural and comfortable I wouldn’t recommend it as the rod can move excessively in the hand thus making it hard to control the cast.

The “screwdriver” grip.