We are often asked for advice on buying fly fishing equipment. The best piece of advice we can offer beginners is to see – and use - our equipment before making your purchase. Time after time we see well-meaning parents, or keen beginners, come to a lesson with totally unsuitable - and often very expensive - tackle.
As fly fishing instructors we probably subject tackle to more use in a month than the average angler does in a year. We have experience of good and bad tackle: accessories that simply fall apart; poorly constructed reels that can trap expensive fly lines between cage and spool; waders and jackets with design problems that will send you home shivering and wet, and rods that qualify for the description "carpet beaters" as well as others that merit the accolade "world beaters".
We would be happy to recommend complete outfits as well as single pieces of equipment that in our experience are robust, backed up by good after-sales service, and offer genuine value for money.
Equipment for Westcountry rivers
When you purchase a set of suitable equipment please ask the dealer to bear the following suggestions in mind:
Some thoughts on buying a fly rod
If you are a beginner:
This paragraph - from the American rod maker Tom Morgan - sums up what we look for in a fly fishing rod:"What makes a great trout rod? Most importantly, it has to become what I call a "thought rod." When you are fishing with it, you almost forget that you have a rod in your hand. It becomes an extension of your physical body, and, almost always, you think where you want the fly to go, and, as if by magic, the fly appears there. This fluid action comes because the rod is wonderfully smooth, bends sufficiently to communicate with the angler how it's working, and has an inherent delicacy. And, it does this at the normal distances that you fish for trout." Tom Morgan (2002)
We are often asked for advice on what flies to use on local rivers. This is a perfectly understandable request. Even as guides we suffer agonies of uncertainty about what flies to take when we go on holiday to unfamiliar rivers.
Westcountry trout are generally not fussy eaters but sometimes the design of fly does matter.
Being able to recognize insects that live on stones on the bed of the rivers and stages in their life-cycle will give you confidence that you are using the right type of fly.
If you tie your own flies, you may find it useful to get hold of a copy of Peter Gathercole's book "The Fly Tying Bible".
Here is a list of flies from Gathercole's book that we find useful on our local rivers
Another useful book is Max Fielding's "The Complete Fisherman's Fly".
Here is a list of flies from Fielding's book that we use on local rivers:
We are qualified fly fishing instructors and Snowbee registered instructors and fishing guides
Paul lives in Ivybridge on the southern edge of Dartmoor about 6 miles from the Upper Yealm Fishery. Paul devotes more time than is reasonable to his lifelong love of all things associated with fish, fishing and Dartmoor rivers.
Geoff lives in Chagford half a mile from the river Teign and within easy distance of the Dartmoor lakes and streams. Geoff's favourite fishing is for brown trout in the wilds of Dartmoor.
Tim Rolston is an experienced South African fly fishing guide.He had this to say about a day fishing on Dartmoor with Geoff:
" I was well looked after by Geoff Stephens of “Fly Fishing Devon". He recommended where I might stay, where I could get a permit and hiked me up hill and down dale in search of good water and better fishing. This is remote country and having Geoff there to guide me for the first outing was a huge plus, I can heartily recommend his services if you wish to explore these waters.
As a fishing guide myself I am well aware of the advantages of getting some local knowledge to kick start things and I wasn’t in the least disappointed to have Geoff with me on my first forays. In fact without his assistance I doubt that I would have found the best parts of the river or been confident enough that I was using the right tactics. If you have yet to sample these streams, and I strongly suggest that you do, then you can contact Geoff or his partner Paul Kenyon. Fishing guides do it because we love to help other anglers get the most of their time on the water. Geoff definitely fits into that category."
A Fly Fishing Devon Gift Voucher makes a great Christmas, birthday, surprise present or way to say "thank you" at any time of the year.
The Gift Voucher can be designed to cover the needs of beginners as well as more experienced anglers.
We provide all the equipment: rod, reel, line etc. for the recipient.
Please ask the recipient to 'phone or email Fly Fishing Devon to arrange a suitable date and location and tailor a session to meet the needs of the person receiving the Gift Voucher.
We would be delighted to plan a teaching session or guided trip to meet your needs.
We offer half and full day sessions to cover the needs of beginners and improvers, as well as sessions that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of more experienced anglers.Our sessions are held at venues which offer you the opportunity to use your newly acquired skills to catch a trout.
INSTRUCTION on stillwaters: