Fly fishing for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Great Torrington Army Cadets take on the trout

Fly fishing for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Captain Trevor Cook

ACF Instructor

Fly Fishing for D of E skills element ,,

20th February 2018 Saw the start of a new challenge for five young members of Great Torrington Army Cadet Force who decided to take on fly fishing for the skills element of their D of E Award scheme.

Prior to the course starting we arrange a Sunday morning visit to Monkokehampton Salmon Hatchery on the 4th February to learn about their work, kindly laid on by Charles Innis, who explained to the Cadets about the life cycle of the Salmon from egg to return, we looked at the setup and walked up river to see the weir, the Cadets found this visit very educational.

Over the past 5 months Cadets Sjt Daniel Lobb, L/Cpl Tyler Bolt, L/Cpl Jack Pledger L/Cpl Sam Newberry & Cdt Harvey Hodge have learnt and practiced all the skills needed to become proficient fly fishermen.

The course covered all elements such as types of rods, reels, lines leaders, knots, casting techniques and types of flies and how to fish them, which was then followed up by a day tying their own flies for them use on the two lake days.

The course also included two guest speakers, the first being Paul Carter, Environment Agency Water Bailiff who gave the Cadets an insight into his job role, Licensing and environment, the second was Allan Crawley Commons Conservators River Warden, Allan gave the Cadets an insight into his role and how they were working on better access for anglers along the commons riverbank. We also had a third speaker Keith Armishaw lined up from the fly fishing section of the Torrington Museum, unfortunately Keith was taken ill, the Cadets found Paul and Allan’s presentations really interesting. I’m sure Keith’s presentation would have been equally as good, we do hope Keith is on the road to recovery and wish him well for the future.

Months of hard work practising paid of on our two lake days, the first being at Simpson’s Valley Coarse & Trout Fishery nr Holsworthy on Saturday 26th May 2018

This was a good days fishing and despite it being hard work all five managed to catch a nice Rainbow Trout, the first fish of the day was caught by Col Ashley Fulford OBE, Chairman of the Army Cadet Force Association and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Advisory Panel who joined us for the day being a keen fly fisherman himself.

The heaviest fish of the day was caught by L/Cpl Tyler Bolt, a nice Rainbow weighing in at 3 ½ pounds. Everyone went home excited having caught their first ever Trout, thanks to Paul Cozens & Andrew Moores for making this possible for us, we really appreciate it.

Our second lake day was held at Bratton Water Trout Fishery, Loxhore Cross, nr Barnstaple, This proved to be another cracking days fishing where after a slow start all five caught their second ever trout. The first fish of the day was caught by L/Cpl Sam Newberry and the largest was caught by L/Cpl Pledger. Thanks to Mike Williams for all his help setting this up and accommodating us on the day , really appreciated.

This Course is the third one we have run but this year we have built a lot more into it and it has gone so well these five Cadets have started buying their own kit and asking for more lake days in the future.

Great Torrington Army Cadets would like to express their sincere thanks to the following people for their help and support this year it really has been appreciated, thank you.

Charles Innis : visit to Salmon Hatchery

Paul Carter : EA Bailiff

Allan Crawley : Commons Conservators River Warden.

Paul Cozens & Andrew Moores : Simpsons Valley Coarse & Trout Fishery

Mike Williams : Bratton Water Trout Fishery

Keith Armashaw : Great Torrington Museum

Again many Thanks

Capt Trevor Cook ACF Instructor.   Lt Matt Sanders OC Great Torrington Detachment

Great Torrington Army Cadets started fly fishing for D of E two years ago, buying six starter kits directly from Airflo at a special price thanks Glenda Evans (Airflo) and funded by a grant from Great Torrington Town Council.
We now have enquiries from Cadets about the next course.
From this years five Sjt Lobb has now used fly fishing for his Bronze, Silver & Gold Awards
L/Cpl Pledger for his Bronze & Silver
L/Cpl Bolt, L/Cpl Newberry & Cdt Hodge for Bronze.

The West Country Fly Fishing Seminar 2017

The West Country Fly Fishing Seminar 2017

Close to seventy fly fishers from novice to expert assembled at the Fox and Hounds, Eggesford for the annual West Country fly fishing seminar all keen to learn more about the art of fly fishing. Fortunately it was a warm spring day with new growth bursting forth on the trees and recently arrived swallows swooping around the old fishing and hunting hotel.

The event is hosted in a collaboration between the Devon School of Fly Fishing and Fly Fishing Tackle.co.uk who are based locally in Crediton. There were a team of expert guides from all over the country to assist in the delivery of talks, demonstrations with tuition on casting, watercraft, fly selection and a whole lot more relating to fly-fishing.

The morning commenced in the meadows beside the Upper Taw where Peter Tyjas (Above) opened proceedings with an informative talk on the event and aspects of fly-fishing including tackle and his undoubted passion for casting a fly in various waters; especially for the wild brown trout that swim in the Upper Taw.

The guides present included:-

Jim Williams
AAPGAI MASTER level fly fishing & fly casting instructor, Sales manager for Vision Flyfishing UK

Jim Fearn
AAPGAI qualified salmon casting instructor and Rio Pro-Guide. He is responsible for product development at Guide Flyfishing who distribute RIO Lines, McLean Nets, Redington, Fishpond, Loon

John Legg
Managing Director at Guide Fly Fishing and AAPGAI level instructor.

Pete Tyjas
AAPGAI qualified instructor and principal of the Devon School of Fly Fishing, together with his team of fully qualified guides.

During the morning session each of the instructors gave a talk on their area of expertise with casting demonstrations that included in depth advice on spey casting, double haul timing, casting the perfect loop and the need for practice.

After these extensive and fascinating displays and talks the anglers were encouraged to assemble into relevant groups where they could receive relevant tuition dependent upon their knowledge or avenue of interest. There was also the opportunity to handle and cast the latest fly rods with lines and reels.

Lunch time gave the opportunity to mix and mingle in the dining area of the hotel and to have a drink in the bar where hundreds of old photos of salmon catches of bygone days decorate the walls.

After lunch it was back to the meadow where at this point the guides got into the river to talk about watercraft and the wide range of techniques available to the fly-fisher. Dry fly fishing, New Zealand style presentation, czech nymphing and American style streamer fishing. Whatever style you choose observation of the waterside environment is vital with weather, water condition, temperature and light values likely to impact upon the food available to the fish we seek. In addition to this watercraft is valuable in providing an educated guess as to where the fish are likely to be. All the above factors will influence the tackle required. Though in reality it is impractical to carry all the rods and reels required for each technique and presentation compromise is therefore required for most of us.

The choice of fly or lure is of course important but the need for a vast range is generally not required as presentation and positioning are of more value. The importance of the leader is also an important but often overlooked component in the link to presenting the fly correctly. Tapered leaders aid good presentation with a stiff butt leading to a fine tippet via the middle transition section. One of the key factors in dry fly presentation is of course ensuring a drag free drift.

The guide giving my wife Pauline tuition told us that the key areas to consider when fishing for trout are: –

Presence – Not alerting the fish to your presence

Presentation – Presenting the fly in a natural manner

Pattern – Choosing the correct imitation on the day

By the end of the day we had been given a huge amount of information and thought provoking ideas. Success in angling is undoubtedly boosted by attention to detail and the best anglers fine tune their tactics to suit the fish they seek, I realized that despite being an angler for over fifty years I know very little about the sport I love. Being an all-rounder I must concede that I will never be an expert in any discipline of angling if such a thing exists. In angling it is the fish that write the rule-book and the only certainty within that book is that fish don’t always follow the rules.

Fortunately we have a vast range of waters in North Devon to practice on and I look forward to casting a line far and wide this coming year. Hopefully with her recent tuition Pauline will also connect with the wild fish that swim in river, stream, lake and sea.