Friday, 3 April 2015

From Severn to Devon

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In the fishing world, you don't always get what you bargained for. It was my great pleasure to speak at the recent Fish the Magnificent Severn Conference, alongside Des Taylor, Dilip Sarkar, Tony Bostock and John Costello. But what I didn't expect was such a huge turnout of over two hundred! Merlin Unwin also joined me and it was an uplifting experience meeting so many passionate river anglers.
The talks were all so different. Des Taylor is always frank, robust and very funny- I don't think any fishing speaker has ever made me laugh so much. John and Dilip spoke passionately about River Severn specimen fishing, while Tony gave us an inspiring look at the work of the Severn Rivers Trust, an organisation that does a huge amount of good which I'd recommend all West Midlands anglers to join.

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As for me, I gave something of a whistlestop tour of UK canal fishing and fly fishing endeavours for coarse fish. It bought a lot of the journey back for me and just how much has happened in the last three or four years: of course, the Severn was a vital part of the journey made by the fresher faced, less hairy looking Dom Garnett who fished it for zander in the making of my first book. Three years on, numbers are growing and, I hope, realising that fly fishing is not only thrilling stuff but no more specialised or alien than lure fishing.

I've been so synonymous with the whole "Fly for Coarse" movement, it sometimes feels like trout are an "alternative" quarry for me. Silly, because I do also love them and part of the battle is the same: to convince anglers that fly fishing can be simple, cheap and hugely enjoyable. It's true there's some free, urban fishing in Devon, but at prices starting at a very meagre five quid, you can also fish some extremely pretty, wild rivers with the Westcountry Angling Passport scheme. I picked up some tokens from my pal Ian at Cullompton Carp and Coarse, who now sell tickets and are very easily reached (just off J28 of the M5, and near to some ace trout fishing on the River Culm).
On this occasion though, I headed for an afternoon on Beat 15, a cute tributary of the River Torridge:
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The river was a little up on this occasion. In spite of air temperatures never exceeding 9C and a bit of drizzle though, I did spot the odd hatching upwinged insect. In fact, the only fish I hooked on a nymph was an early salmon parr- both of my trout came to small emergers. Lovely sport on a short 4 weight rod and I missed a few more too:
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While it's not exactly vital, I also like to have a quick bug hunt when I'm on the stream and I had an enjoyable half hour turning stones and playing with the macro lens. Not so many caddis larvae showed up, but there were loads of dark coloured agile darters and also a healthy head of heptagenids or "stone clingers" like the little chap below. A little beauty- if you like that sort of thing:
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For any budding photographers or those who simply like angling pictures, do check out my current galleries on Pinterest and click follow!
It's all part of my current involvement with Turrall, who I will be working closely with in the coming weeks and months. Lots of cool things happening, including regular news, tips and free content- so do keep an eye on Twitter (@TurrallFlies) and give a peek and a like to the brand new Facebook page. There'll be a blog with some interesting angles on fly fishing too; the first instalment is already out and gives you some thoughts and tips on UV flies and fly tying materials. Read it HERE.
As a final bit of news, there are still also a few places left for my Easter Fishing Class at West Pitt Farm. This was a great event last time, and while Thursday is now fully booked, I still have some slots for Weds if you're quick:
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In the meantime, have a great extended weekend. Don't drink too much and make sure you go fishing!

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