South West Fly Fair 2019

South West Lakes Trust once again hosted the Annual South West Fly Fair at Roadford Lake. This popular fixture in the Fly Fishers Calendar is sponsored by Turrall and Cortland and attracted a good number of Fly Fishing Enthusiast’s despite gale force winds and an unfortunate clash with the Six nations Rugby.

Casting, cooking and Fly Tying demonstrations entertained the audience with numerous trade stands offering an array of flies, clothing, tackle and art. Conservation was high on the agenda with Westcountry Rivers Trust, Wild Trout Trust and South West lakes highlighting the issue of Invasive species. Fixtures like this are vital in bringing anglers together to share in enthusiasm for the coming months. A poster declared that; “Time is Precious Spend it Fishing”; wise advice in these turbulent times.

(Below) Charles Jardine always puts on a great demonstration of Fly Casting manipulating the fly Line effortlessly even when faced with gale force winds that would ensure certain tangles for the average angler.

( Below) In the warmth of the Fly Tying lounge a wide range of flies and lures were tied up to trick the wariest of fish.

In the Main Hall anglers mingled rekindling friendships and waxing lyrical about days at the waters edge both close to home and far away. Stands included Second Hand Tackle, Dry Fly Powder, Arundel Arms,  Homeleigh Angling Centre, Invasive Species, Turrall and Cortland, Snowbee UK, West Country Rivers Trust, Luke Bannister Split Cane Rods, Rawson Fly Rods, Robin Armstrong, Wild Trout Trust, Upper Teign Fishing Club, Crediton Fishing Club, SWLT, Virtual Nymph and Milemead Trout Farm were amongst those in attendance.

(below) Raising awareness of Invasive species.

(Below) Robin Armstrong with some of his works of art.

(Below) Ben Smeeth observes as Gary Champion gives a fascinating cooking demonstration explaining the method of marinating trout in lime with garlic and ginger – Ceviche is I believe the term. The resulting trout tasted delicious ; an ideal starter to try on friends.

(Below) West Country Based Snowbee UK

(Below) An array of flies from West Country Fly Firm Turrall

http://www.swlakesfishing.co.uk

Blakewell – Catch and Release Fishing

Times are changing in the world of Stillwater Trout Fishing with more emphasis being put on quality time at the waters edge. A few years ago, there was perhaps an obsession with catching big trout and whilst there are still fisheries that cater for the big trout angler these are now in the minority. It seems that most of today’s anglers want to catch good numbers of fish relishing the key ingredients of trout fishing.

This change in angler’s approach has resulted in an increase in catch and release or sporting tickets. Blakewell Fishery near Barnstaple has after careful consideration moved to meet this demand offering a sporting ticket that allows anglers to retain a brace of fish for the table and then continue fishing on a catch and release basis for the remainder of the day.

I joined with Snowbee Ambassador Jeff Pearce for a mornings fishing at Blakewell that fortuitously coincided with a break in the stormy weather. After a chat over coffee in the tea room we headed out on the lake to try our luck.

Walking out to the lake we took a look around and elected to fish the bay with Jeff fishing the point whilst I fished the inner bay. I elected to fish a gold head PTN on the point with a spider pattern on a dropper. I extended the line across the water and on the second cast after allowing the fly to sink I saw the point of the fly line twitch. I instinctively raised the rod whilst pulling on the line with my left hand. There came that pleasing feeling of life and resistance as a trout erupted in a flurry of spray at the end of a tight line. Whilst I was using a 5wt rod I had taken the precaution of using an 8lb tippet ensuring I could bring any fish I hooked to the net quickly ensuring the fish could be slipped back quickly. The use of light leaders when catch and release fishing should be discouraged as trout should not be played to exhaustion.

Over on the point Jeff was putting a new Snowbee Spectre Fly line through its paces with impressive results punching small imitative patterns into a stiff breeze with ease. It wasn’t long before Jeff was also into a hard fighting rainbow. The fish was held briefly above the water for a quick photo before being slipped back into the water.

The next couple of hours passed by all too quickly with several trout falling to our offerings in the clear water. In the past I have often fished for trout and been almost disappointed when I have caught my bag limit for the session. Catch and release removes that perception that some anglers have in that they must catch their bag limit.

Catch and release offers anglers the opportunity to savour time at the water’s edge at a reasonable cost. It is however imperative that care is taken to ensure that a high percentage of fish survive to perhaps grow bigger. Barbless hooks are essential, fish should be unhooked in the water whenever possible and only held briefly to capture the moment.

It is advisable to use as strong a leader as practical to ensure fish are brought to the net quickly. Fish should only be handled with wet hands and should be steadied in the water for a few moments if they show any sign of fatigue.

Those anglers who do not wish to practice catch and release can of course elect to purchase a standard five fish ticket for the same price enabling them to take home all they catch. The two options cater for the vast majority of anglers. Over the next couple of months Richard and John plan to stock Spartic trout and a number of big brown trout.

Spring is a marvellous time to be at the water’s edge as green growth signals the onset of spring. The first swallows and martins will soon be swooping low over the water feasting after their long migration from warmer climes. The trout will also be rising setting those delightful rings upon the water. A carefully placed fly will be sipped down in that delightful moment of deception to be relished by the fly fisher.

As the morning grew to a close it was time to enjoy the first BBQ of the spring. A hot sausage in a fresh bread roll was the perfect end to a great mornings fishing. Jeff took advantage of a new clearing to demonstrate the art of roll casting.

New Sporting Ticket Option at Blakewell

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Blakewell Trout Fishery have introduced a new sporting ticket that entitles the angler to retain two trout and then continue fishing on a catch and release basis for the remainder of the day. The cost of a day’s fishing is £30.00 for the catch and release option or the same for a five fish bag when fishing must cease when bag completed. This enlightened move brings the fishery in line with many other Stillwater fisheries that have adapted to a changing market. Catch and release fishing allows anglers to focus upon quality time spent at the water’s edge away from the stresses of modern society. Perhaps this reflects a move away from material gain towards the actual experience of a day in the great outdoors.

Full report on my latest visit to the water with Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce will follow later this week.

Jeff Pearce with a hard fighting Blakewell rainbow trout

Wistlandpound Fly Fishers visit Wimbleball on a stormy day!

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Clubs first outing of the season was to Wimbleball Reservoir high on Exmoor. With gale force winds, hail, sleet and icy rain punctuating long sunny spells it was a day to wrap up warm. We arrived shortly after 9.00am and a glance through the catch returns showed that sport had at times been frantic over the opening week of the season with plenty of limit bags and impressive catch and release sport. The size of trout was also promising with good numbers of fish over 4lb.

I decided to start directly below the permit hut close to where the boats are launched as this bank had a degree of shelter from the gale force wind that was sweeping across from the North West. A large bead headed black lure presented on an intermediate line seemed an obvious choice this early in the season and the trout seemed to agree as I was into a hard fighting rainbow of close to 3lb on just my second cast.

For the next half an hour I felt tugs at the fly on every other cast and briefly connected with another hard fighting rainbow before landing my second rainbow. At this point I was expecting to bag up within a couple of hours but the trout had other ideas!

I persevered with the same tactics for another hour but failed to get a pull. A move fifty yards along the bank brought an encounter with a stunning brown trout of close to 2lb that cartwheeled out of the water in flurry of spray. After a quick photo of the fish in the net it was returned and swam strongly away into the crystal clear water.

Talking to other passing anglers it was a similar story with sport drying up.  I decided upon a move along the bank to where some other club members where fishing. Andre Muxworthy had already bagged up and told me he had landed all his fish within the first hour or so. Whilst I received a couple more pulls at this location my score for the day was to remain at a brace of good rainbows totalling 5lb 8oz.

The afternoon passed quickly by with clouds racing across the sky, Canada geese cackling on the lake and leafless trees dancing in the cold wind. After a day stood in icy water it was not too difficult to drag myself from the waters edge and return to the permit hut to weigh in.

Winner Paul Grisley with a 4lb 2oz rainbow

1st – Paul Grisley – Five trout for 15lb 8oz  Best fish a rainbow of 4lb 2oz

2nd – Andre Muxworthy – Five trout for 14lb   Best fish a rainbow of 5lb

3rd – Wayne Thomas – Two trout for 5lb 8oz

4th – David Eldred – Two trout for 5lb 4oz

Andre Muxworthy with the best fish of the day a full tailed 5lb rainbow.

I hope to return to Wimbleball in a couple of weeks when with luck the weather will be a little kinder. The fishing has been spectacular at times so far this season and even on this day when I and a few others struggled to catch one angler enjoyed a catch and release day with over twenty fish returned. Early in the season with fish often tightly shoaled up location is often the key with black and green lures very often successful.

Exe Valley Report – From Sue Hart

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Since my last report which was written whilst there was snow on the ground, we have had Storm Eric followed by the most glorious February weather. It has been lovely to see so many anglers fishing Anchor Lake in the sun. The lake is beautifully clear with the fish cruising just below the surface. All areas around the lake have been fishing well with a wide range of flies being successful along with a slow retrieve.

Chris Comber from Norton Fitzwarren visited Exe Valley Fishery for the first time during Storm Eric and managed to entice out this hard fighting Rainbow Trout.

Richard Carr from Wiveslicombe was given his permit as a gift and visited Exe Valley over the half term. Richard caught 4 fish with the biggest weighing in at 4 ½ lbs.

Anchor Lake Tactics

Throughout February a large number of flies have been working well with Bloodworm & Blob patterns continuing to be successful along with Sedge, Diawl Bachs, Damsels and Hares Ears. The fish have been close to the surface earlier in the day and moving down a little deeper when the sun is very bright.

Lobbs Lake Re-opening

After the huge weeding effort on New Years Eve I am pleased to say that Lobbs Lake will open for family fishing from Monday 1st April 2019. Lobbs Lake will have a separate permit to Anchor Lake and it will be an any method lake. As well as fishing on Lobbs Lake there will be bags of fish food for sale in the shop for those who would like to come and feed the fish.

Special Offers & New Permit Option

Starting today I will be trialling a 1 fish permit option as requested by several of our anglers, also any transaction of £25.00 or over will receive a voucher to use in the shop.

Fishery Notices

· Quick reminder to anglers that have taken up our Winter Permit Offer – there is less than a month to go to gain your free permit with the offer ending on 31.03.2019. You then have until 30.04.2019 to use your permit.

· Please can I remind anglers fishing Catch & Release that there are few separate rules. A copy can be found here.

· The pre-order menu will continue to be available until 31.03.2019. There is a copy below.

Thank you for taking the time to read this report. Sue x

Torridge Fly Fishing Club

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Torridge Fly Fishing Club are friendly club of Fly Fishing enthusiasts who control fishing Upper and Lower Gammaton Reservoirs. The fishery provides excellent sport with spectacular views across the Taw and Torridge estuary.

Located at Gammaton Reservoirs ( 2 four acre lakes) .Annual membership £170. Members can keep up to 6 fish a week.
Day tickets £20 (3 fish) available from Summerlands Tackle, Westward Ho! & Tarka Country Pursuits , Torrington.
Membership enquiries to Mike Ball 07899 742757 . Email : Michael.ball54@btinternet.com

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club – 2019

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club are a small friendly club who meet at least once a month to fish Stillwater trout fishery’s in the south West. Membership is £18.00 per year. For membership contact David Richards ;-  rich.david@hotmail.co.uk

Competition Programme 2019/20

Date Venue Times Special Rules Award
10/03/19 Wimbleball 10am-4pm Bank D&D Cup
07/04/19 Clatworthy 10am-4pm Bank April Trophies
12/05/19 Blakewell Fishery 9am-4pm Floating Lines Only. Max fly size 10 Buzzer/DRY Edwards Cup
09/06/19 Exe Valley 10am-4pm Hulland Trophy
14/07/19 Wimbleball 10am-4pm Boat Jubilee Rose Bowl
11/08/19 Bratton Fisheries – BBQ 3pm-7pm None

 

Beeny Trophy
08/09/19 Hawkridge Fishing with the women – times to be confirmed Boat

 

Roger & Guard Shield
06/10/19 Clatworthy 10am-4pm Boat Secretary’s

Shield

27/10/19 Bratton Fisheries 10am-4pm
20/11/19 Exe Valley 10am-4pm First round of Winter Challenge
15/12/19 Blakewell Fishery 10am-3pm Christmas Competition*
12/01/20 Simpson Valley or Blakewell Fishery 10am-4pm Second round of Winter Challenge
09/02/20 Bratton Fisheries 9am-3pm Third round of Winter Challenge

*Please can all competitors that are invited to take part in the Christmas Competition donate a raffle prize to around the value of £5

 

Winter Challenge – best two competitions, out of the three, to count.

 

PLEASE CAN ALL COMPETITORS CHECK IN WITH THE SECRETARY 20 MINUTES BEFORE THE START TIME.

 

NOTE: All Boat bookings and transport arrangements are the responsibility of the members


Seasons underway on Taw and Torridge

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The first day of the salmon season brought success for anglers on both the Taw and Torridge an excellent omen for the coming season.

Seth Tuson fished the Lower River Torridge and got his season off to a great start  tempting a fine fresh run salmon estimated at 8lb.

On the River Taw Chris Steer fished the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats on the Taw and tempted a 7lb bar of silver.

WIMBLEBALL – OPENS MARCH 1st –

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A New Season gets underway at Wimbleball Reservoir where expectations are high for some superb early season sport with hard fighting rainbow trout that have been stocked in good numbers. With mild conditions running up to the seasons start the trout should be moving well and eager to feed. Lure anglers will probably do well over the opening days with black often the most successful colour.

The fishery enjoyed a very productive season last year with excellent catch returns despite difficult weather conditions that saw the lake drop to very low summer levels. The lake is now close to full and should give sport from both bank and boat.

An imaginative pricing policy gives excellent value with a five fish ticket just £25 or catch and release at £25 with two fish to kept at the start of the session. For full details click on the advert below…