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Rock Hopping On The River Lyn, Devon

Rock Hopping On The River Lyn, Devon

Adam Sinclair leaves his chalk stream roots and heads for the rough and tumble of the River Lyn…

Fishing in Devon for me has been a complete eye opener with regards to the different methods of fishing, approaches to take and the mind set you need to have. Being based in Hampshire offers only chalk stream fishing, which of course is great in its self but can leave you stuck in your ways with no real need to change how you fish.

The pools and pots of the River Lyn.
The pools and pots of the River Lyn.

A Training Ground For Nymph Fishing

A trip to Devon to fish the River Lyn is something I try to do throughout the season. Fishing for these beautiful wild trout, which you really must work for, makes this part of the country a great training ground for improving your nymph fishing.

I fished with Tom Hunt from Hunt’s Original for the day and after arriving in Lynmouth we went about setting up. Tom’s rod of choice was his trusted Sage ESN 10ft 3-wt, a rod which I rarely see him without these days. The Lyn gave me the opportunity to try out the hugely anticipated Vision Nymphmaniac rod 10ft 3-wt. A lot of work has gone in to the design of this rod. The guides are closer together, reducing line sag and there is a snake guide that has been added to prevent the line wrapping itself at the tip. The rod is very light and finished in a matt black, reducing glare. The reel seat is in a great position and the cork handle feels good to hold and is comfortable. There is great power in the butt section and a level of sensitivity in the tip I have not felt in another 3-wt rod. In my humble opinion, a fantastic rod and a great price that will deliver what you need it to.

The 10ft 3-wt Vision Nymphmaniac coped with the fast water and small parr and browns on the Lyn.
The 10ft 3-wt Vision Nymphmaniac coped with the fast water and small parr and browns on the Lyn.

Clear Water- Single Nymph

The water was gin clear and the sun was out. Fortunately, we would be sheltered from the sun as we made our way up the river. We both fished a single nymph. I went with a heavy 4mm tungsten beaded nymph, whilst Tom switched between 3 and 3.5mm beaded nymphs. Although you are targeting fish in small pockets the water pushes through the valley very quickly. The need to get your fly down quickly is key to catching these fish. Guiding your nymphs through the many pools requires some concentration as the fish can be found in the places you will least expect them to be. Try not to fish the areas of a pool you would usually consider to produce fish. These opportunistic feeders are more often than not tucked under a rock away from the current, so expect to encounter a few snags along the way!

Although you are targeting fish in small pockets the water pushes through the valley very quickly. The need to get your fly down quickly is key to catching these fish.

Adam’s Pheasant Tail variant for the Lyn
Adam’s Pheasant Tail variant for the Lyn

Rock Hopping

Much of your time on the River Lyn is spent hopping from rock to rock. This can be treacherous and taking your time to navigate the boulders is vital. If you venture out to this river a pair of knee pads is a must! Check you wading boots are in good order, particularly the studs. The rocks are very slippery and one foot placed in the wrong area can see you slipping and being pushed down the river, at speed and with some huge drop offs. The approach I take is to fish the pool through then look ahead to see how I will get to the next spot. Climb on the rocks with weed or moss as this offers better grip than the smooth boulders of the Lyn. This is a venue that I would not fish on my own!

From where we started to the Watersmeet Café is a one-and-a-half-mile walk, using the footpath that follows the river. Four hours in and myself and Tom had only covered a mile. We were catching fish and shouting to each other over the roar of the river but it was very hard going. The occasional stop perched on a rock was a welcome break. Prepare yourself in advance for a trip to the Lyn, carry plenty of water and pack a snack.

Fishing one of the pots on the tumbling River Lyn, five or six ‘casts’ in one spot is enough.
Fishing one of the pots on the tumbling River Lyn, five or six ‘casts’ in one spot is enough.

The River Lyn is a beautiful river. The fish are some of the prettiest you will catch. Salmon parr and brown trout are in abundance. Don’t let yourself be static for too long in one spot. If you haven’t caught a fish within five or six casts, move on to the next pool. The fish, although small hit very hard so staying in touch with your fly is key to success. For those prepared to put in the effort, you will certainly be rewarded and if nothing else you will certainly sleep well after a day on the Lyn!

For less than £5 a day you really can’t go wrong with fishing the River Lyn. Expect to get hot, tired and often frustrated but with patience you will be rewarded with the most amazing fish and memories.

The small hard-hitting wild browns of the River Lyn. A beautiful river to fish, for just £5 per day.
The small hard-hitting wild browns of the River Lyn. A beautiful river to fish, for just £5 per day.

Fact File

Day tickets are available from the information centre in Lynmouth

 


Adam Sinclair

Hampshire based Adam Sinclair is a serving soldier in the British Army and has fly fished for nine years. Adam is a committee member of the famous Services Dry Fly Fishing Association that was once kept by Frank Sawyer. Much of Adam’s fishing is on the Chalk Streams of the South, however, he has fished across the United Kingdom, Canada and Slovenia. Adam is an ambassador for Hunts Original and has recently been appointed the Pro Team Co-Ordinator for Costa Del Mar and Seapower UK.

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