Fly fishing FAQ - If you have a question not covered below just ask me.

Am I guaranteed to catch a fish?

a fly rod bent

No I am afraid not. Whilst my ultimate aim is to get you catching trout on your first day there can never be any guarantee. Even highly experienced anglers like me have blank days although these are thankfully very rare! 

The time of year, weather conditions and other aspects all play an important part in the chance of catching. This is all part and parcel of fishing I am afraid. Like I said I want to maximise your chances of catching so if weather conditions were not favourable i.e very hot and sunny, or strong northerly wind etc I may advice you to cancel. That said 85 – 90% of my customers hook a trout with most landing it. If you are going to become a fly fisherman you will have to get use to "blanking" i.e not catching a fish once in a while.

If I book a fly fishing lesson with you how many other people will you be teaching on the day?

 Just you! I offer one on one tuition, however if you have a friend or relative that also wants to learn I teach up to a maximum of three people per day / lesson.


What Trout fishery do you prefer to use and why?

Hawkridge reservoir fishing lessons

 I tend to use Hawkridge Reservoir north of Taunton because its not too big, has plenty of good easy to access bank space and is well stocked. 

I do from time to time use other fisheries like Clatworthy, Wimbleball and Sutton Bingham. Hawkridge is my favourite though and highly recommended. 

As I fish the reservoir on a weekly basis I have a good idea where the fish will be and what flies should work, therefore maximising your chances of taking a Trout or two home with you.

There is a lodge on site with full toilet facilities, and for those travelling further plenty of great accommodation locally from camping, B&B's and hotels. 


Are you Insured? 

Yes I have £5 Million pounds Public Liability Insurance and £1 Million Pounds Professional Indemnity Insurance

fly fishing Instructor insurance


Do I have to bring my own fishing tackle, flies etc?

No, everything you need, rods, reel, line, flies, leaders etc is provided by me free of charge including a plastic bag to take home your catch if you want to. If you do have your own fly fishing tackle feel free to bring it along if you want, I am happy to appraise it for you and advise on any changes you should make.

a cracking 4lb rainbow

Do I need a rod licence?

Yes you do. You need a standard "Trout and coarse 2 rod license" You can buy this online and even get a day licence for £9. Buy here direct from the environment agency. In addition you must obey the rules of the fishery, this may include returning all Brown Trout alive, and also any fish over a certain weight for example 6lbs.

Can you teach yourself to fly fish? 

Yes you can as I did,but it will take considerably longer, you are far more likely to pick up bad habits, and the chances are you will get fed up of not catching fish and give up. You will also probably buy the wrong fly fishing tackle as the rod and line need to be matched to each other, and the correct set up for the type of fishing you want, i.e reservoir or small river.

How much do fly fishing lessons cost?

A full days tuition with me on a one to one basis is £169 plus the cost of the fishery day ticket which is £10 for beginners for two fish taken, or £25 for a full day ticket if you want although this allows you up to five fish to take home so is great value. I offer a 20% discount for two or more people booking, or if a single person books 2 days or more.

Is fly fishing hard to learn?

Fly fishing is an art and a skill, its not the easiest form of fishing but its the most rewarding, once you learn the basics its all about practice, practice practice. The more you put into it the better you will become at fly casting and catching game fish such as Trout.

What time of year is best for fly fishing?

It all depends on the fishery in question and the weather, as a general rule March to early June is excellent. July and August can be tough if its hot due to high water temperatures. September to November can also be excellent. The best month in my opinion is October as the trout are feeding heavily and putting on weight for the winter months.


Do you offer discounts if I book more than one day with you or there is two of us?

Yes of course, I offer a 20% discount for two guests or if a single person books two days fly fishing tuition.


Do you offer Gift Vouchers?

Fly fishing gift voucher

Yes I do, either for the full days fly fishing tuition / experience, to include or exclude the fishery day ticket. 

Or I can issue a gift voucher as part of the price, i.e a voucher for £25, £50, £75

My vouchers are ideal for Christmas or Birthday gifts, are valid for a whole 12 months, and are personalised for you.

See fly fishing gift vouchers for more information.

Do you teach children?

No, sorry even if accompanied by an adult. The minimum age I will teach is 18, due to Insurance limitations.


I want to buy my own fishing tackle / equipment what do I need?

fly fishing tackle


I offer free tackle loan for beginners lessons using very high quality rods, reels and lines, its advisable that you don’t buy your own tackle until you know this sport is for you. However if you do want to buy your own I can put a package together for you online at no cost. Don’t forget second hand tackle can save you a lot of money.

As a pointer you will need a 9ft -  10ft fly rod rated 7/8# line weight new price from about £70.

A fly reel suitable for the line, fly reels are really only used to store the line and not for playing a fish (unless the fish is large) so about £25.
A good quality fly line floating 7 or 8 weight, about £40

Backing about £8, (unless your buying a reel with a line already on it) braided loops about £5 some fluorocarbon 6lbs breaking strain £5 and a selection of flys (nymphs, dry flies like sedges, buzzers and lures size 10 to 12) a starter selection will cost you about £40 for about 100 flies. 

A landing net £30 a priest for killing the fish £5 and that’s about it. Oh and a bass bag to keep your fish fresh or just use a cloth bag if you have one.

Ideally you would need a second reel with a sinking line and maybe a second rod so you have both a floating and sinking set up ready to use as conditions dictate. Many tackle shops sell starter kits so the line and backing is already on the reel.


Talk me through catching a trout

four trout lying in a net

Ok, well you might be able to see the fish feeding near the surface, either a series of boils or even see their heads or backs breaking the surface, or they may be deeper in the water and not visible. Either way we cast our fly out and begin to retrieve it.

You have been casting for an hour or so, thinking about what you are going to have for dinner because at this rate its not going to be Trout, or how nice that pint will taste later. All of a sudden you feel that pull, the line goes heavy! a fish, your in!. You are in a blind panic, you forget everything I have taught you and you might even wet yourself a little bit. You raise the rod up sharply and the hook is set. Your heart is in your mouth, you will be shaking if its your first trout trust me.

Your rod is bent and you begin to play the fish. Holding the rod in your right hand and pulling the line in with your left hand, you must keep the tension on the line to keep the fish hooked but allow the fish to run if it wants or the leader may snap, this is done by allowing line to go out at a controlled rate.

The trout is swimming left to right, all of a sudden it makes a dash for it, you allow the line to slip through your fingers under control. Again enough to keep a bend in the rod but not enough to break you. All of a sudden the trout jumps clear of the water, shaking its head to try and shake the hook. A few more runs like this and the fish is tiring and getting closer to you. Your landing net is at your side, when the fish is ready for the net it will lie on its side and you are able to pull its head clear of the water (see photo) and guide it to the net. Onto the bank, you did it!

You will never tire of this, and even now after 38 years that pull on the line is the best feeling in the world and always gets the adrenaline flowing,they say "the tug is the drug". You can either carefully release the fish or kill it for the table

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