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The Wild Trout Trust auction is one way you can get onto first class fishing, and like today’s trip, it’s also how you can get yourself some prime time with an exceptionally knowledgeable guide! This particular Lot gave my buddy and I two day-rods on the River Yealm. This urgent, tumbling river drains off Dartmoor, and once formed into a proper river runs seven miles to the sea. A century ago it was a well-known Sea-trout and Salmon fishery, and although there still are silver visitors, most of the fishing is for truly wild Brown Trout, usually six to eight inches, with the odd bigger one turning up. I was guided by Geoff Stephens, while my buddy Brian was guided by Paul Kenyon, whose name may be familiar to you. Both of these inestimable gents have probably forgotten more about fishing wild rivers than I will ever learn, and both know the Yealm like the back of their own hands. They are also acquainted with many of the ‘top’ fly fishers, past and present, work with Snowbee from time to time, and are GAIA casting instructors.

 Brian and I both learned in one day, (which passed almost in a blur), the methods and techniques needed to fish the pools and glides of this torrent. When a sea-trout (or possibly a fresh run salmon) splashed in the little pool I was fishing I was immediately advised to try fishing ‘down and across’ with a beefed-up cast, and in no time became competent in fishing ‘the swing’, using upstream and downstream mends to control depth and speed, feeding line for greater reach, the skills of hanging ‘on the dangle’ before making a couple of pulls, then a pace or two down the pool and casting again. Wonderful stuff, magical fishery, nice guys.

 I even learned ‘Devon magic’, a technique for getting your flies back (most of the time) when those pesky, unseen trees have snuck up to grab them; I can’t give you the details here, else I’ll have to kill you! I also learned that the #3 weight rod I was using really needed a #4 line so it could load properly for this close-up work. Oh yes, I also found out that I ought to learn how to ‘roll’ cast properly.


We both caught some of these be-jewelled wild treasures, enjoyed the instruction and the banter, and had a marvellous time, all thanks to the Wild Trout Trust and their volunteers. The auctions raise money for an important cause, spending most of their income on fish and habitat improvement, unlike the squandering of our licence fees by the quango I won’t even bother to name. Support the next auction, for a chance to bag yourself something memorable. If you want to have a stab at the Yealm or another Devonian river and can’t wait until the next auction, you can contact Paul or Geoff thus: &


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