Wistlandpound Club – Visit to Exe Valley

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club members travelled to Exe Valley Fishery to compete for the secretary’s Shield.

The weather forecast gave the rain clearing away by mid morning but on this occasion this proved a little premature as heavy rain persisted for the first couple of hours with the Anchor Lake overflowing into an already swollen River Exe. The wind had however abated from the gale force winds of the previous two days that had been courtesy of storm Callum.

It was relatively mild and trout were rising from the start of the days competition. I started off with a damsel nymph and hooked into a hard fighting rainbow of around 3lb within ten minutes of starting.

A few more follows and takes followed but as is often the case the trout seemed to grow warier as anglers lines splashed upon the water. Noticing several trout rising a couple of yards along the bank I relocated; tied on a daddy longs imitation and fished it very slowly to quickly complete my three fish limit of fish to kill and take. Other members were also catching trout on a regular basis with small imitative patterns outscoring lures.

It was now time to snip off the barbed hooks and go catch and release for the remainder of the day. This proved both fascinating and frustrating for me as I successfully hooked a succession of trout on buzzers and diawl bachs all of them coming detached before reaching the net. This wasn’t really an issue as the most exciting part is hooking the fish and all appeared to be fish between 2lb and 4lb and whilst it is good to get them to the net its not important as it the successful deception that matters in this instance.

By mid afternoon all members had completed their three fish bags and gone on the enjoy some catch and release action.

The competition was won by Dave Mock who weighed in three trout for total of 9lb 14oz. Runner up was Colin Combe with three for 9lb and third myself with three for 8lb 14oz.

4th -Paul Grisley 8lb 12oz

5th – Nigel Bird 8lb

6th David Eldred 6lb 4oz

The trout averaged 3lb for the day with all members taking their allocated quota. The innovative pricing structure combining various options of catch and release and catch and kill gives excellent value depending upon individual preference.  The lake is can now be fished without hindrance from weed and the water remained clear despite the flooded river Exe racing past full of turbidity and flotsam.

PERKS WINS £1000 AT BEST OF THE BEST TROUT FISHING FINAL!

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PERKS WINS £1000 AT BEST OF THE BEST TROUT FISHING FINAL!


Dave Perks from Newquay has won the annual Best of the Best competition at Kennick reservoir near Bovey Tracey in Devon. Dave caught 6 Rainbow Trout for 12lbs 10oz to scoop the £1000 top prize.

The competition which is now in its fifth year is run by South West Lakes Trust, the largest provider of trout fishing in Cornwall and Devon. Snowbee, based in Plympton, who are a leading brand within the trout fishing industry were once again the sole sponsor of the competition.

The competition was held on 7th October at the stunning 50 acre venue which is heavily stocked with Rainbow and Blue trout. Dave’s bag of fish included a fine 4lb 7oz Rainbow. Dave finished runner up in the 2017 final and went one better this time holding off the challenge of Paul Jones from Wadebridge who was runner up for the second successive year. Paul caught 7 Rainbows for 10lb 4oz and collected £400 for his efforts.

Third place, winning £250, was Graham Watts from Bodmin who caught 6 fish for 10lb 3oz.

In total 97 Rainbows were caught by the 35 finalists for a rod average of 2.8 fish per person. There were also some cracking Brown trout caught and released with Chris Bolt managing the largest at 3lb 8oz. Fish were caught by a variety of fly patterns throughout the day.

Ben Smeeth, Head of Angling for South West Lakes Trust commented ‘it was a cracking final and many congratulations to Dave Perks on the win but well done to all anglers on qualifying for the final and a huge thankyou to Snowbee for sponsoring the event. Our Rainbow trout fisheries will be open for everyone to enjoy until the end of November’

LAST CAST – Seasons End

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The last week of the salmon the salmon season brought promise of some tail end sport following on from heavy rain that swelled all the local rivers. It was indeed great to see a decent flow after the long summer drought.
I made a couple of visits to the middle Torridge and failed to tempt a salmon. I was beginning to question my fishing ability until we attended the annual Egg Box dinner at the Half Moon at Sheepwash. Several of the guests had been out fishing and the majority had nothing to report.
Good news came from Little Warham Fishery where four salmon had been tempted. I believe the total for the week on the Torridge was up around eight salmon.


On the Taw several anglers fared better with nine salmon from the Weirmarsh and Brightly beats.

Richard Johns caught three of 10lb, 8lb and 8lb. Edd Oldrey landed a 10lb salmon, G.Nichol a brace of 10lb and 8lb. Chris Steer an 8lb salmon and Richard Jewell a salmon of 5lb.

Several were also caught from beats further upriver. Reports from the Taw are always harder to obtain as much of the river is privately owned.
The Egg Box dinner at the Half Moon Inn saw over fifty River Torridge Fishery Association members in attendance who all enjoyed a delicious meal. This is always a warm and friendly occasion with plenty of fishing talk reminiscing and hope for future seasons. The raffle and dinner raised well in excess of £1000 to invest in river projects including the hatchery that has enabled the stocking of thousands of swim up fry over recent seasons.

I will leave you with a few images from my last morning on the Torridge this season.

Salmon Season End of season flourish

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After one of the worst salmon and sea trout fishing seasons for several years it is good to report on a few fish as longed for rain brought a significant rise in both the Taw and Torridge. I expect to get a more details of fish from the Torridge when I attend the end of season Egg Box Dinner at the Half Moon but below are few images of fish caught in the last week of the season.

(Below)Ian Blewett’s early morning brace of Taw salmon

(Below)Chay Boggis caught this pleasing grilse of around 3lb from a middle Taw beat

(Below)The middle Torridge earlier this week fining down fading light.

Wimbleball Season continues until the end of November

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Its great news for Fly Fishers at Wimbleball Fly Fishery where the season has been extended until the end of November. Its been quite a season with the quality of the fishing surpassing expectation during a difficult year for trout fishing. Throughout the season anglers have enjoyed sport with tail perfect hard fighting rainbows and wild brown trout.

(Above)The 2 browns caught by Duncan Kier, the smaller one from Upton arm and the larger from Bessoms.

See recent comments from visiting anglers below.

Friday John Hern and boat partner bagged up on the boat and had double hook ups in the process

Duncan Kier and boat Partner had 11 fish to the boat which included a 5.5lb and a 8.5lb Brown.

The Withers, Father and 2 sons, caught 17 fish from the bank at Cowmoor of which 6 were browns.

Tight lines.

An excellent evening fishing on Bessoms yesterday. Despite the cold wind, there were 5 anglers. Fish rising, fry being chased, rods bending. I had to pull myself away after taking 2 well sized rainbow trout whilst missing others. Before fishing, I’d read that the “Clifton” used to be the fly of choice. I quickly tied 2 and can say, yes, they work. Savage takes. The smaller version was more successful! Size 12, very short black zonker wing, chartreuse tag, peacock body, red seal fur on the head with a little UV. Wish I had more. Suggest a minimum of 9lb 12′ leader. Steady retrieve with lots of pauses. A big thank you to Mark and Trudi.

“Today was my day on the bank at Wimbleball and what a day, lovely wild Brownies and scintillating top water sport with super fit, super fast full finned Rainbows taking me into the backing, a C&R ticket allows you to keep two for the pot then go barbless and shake em off.
Check it out I can’t recommend it enough…..Chris”

“Great day yesterday for Mike Stone and boat partner they had 24 fish to the boat drifting right down the middle of the narrows towards Bessoms.”

“Storm Ali and it’s leaden sky’s didn’t stop Ian and myself enjoying superb sport from the bank at Wimbleball today, these rainbows coupled with wild browns were eager to take our offerings, fish were moving close to the bank just as the clean was meeting coloured water disturbed by the gale force wind!”

I visited the lake back in March and hope to return once more before the close of the season on October 31st. Late in the season trout often feed on fry so lures can once again prove effective as can daddy long leg patterns and nymphs.

http://www.northdevonanglingnews.co.uk/2018/03/25/new-start-wimbleball/

For all fishing information please call Mark on 07758561412
Facebook: Wimbleball Fly Fishery
Email: Wimbleballflyfishery@aol.co.uk

Autumn Trout at Blakewell

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As the river season closes its time to start thinking of Stllwater trout to keep in practice.

Its been a challenging summer for still water trout fishery’s and fish farming with high water temperatures and prolific weed growth causing many problems. At Blakewell the Nickel’s have as always endeavored to keep the fishery ticking over offering anglers a special ticket option of an open ticket entitling the angler to keep visiting as many times as they like until their bag limit has been completed. This offer continues until the end of October when normal operation resumes.

Early in October a specialist weed cutting company will be visiting the fishery to eradicate the problematic weed in preparation for the winter season when trout fishing is at its best.

The imminent closure of the Barnstaple to Muddiford Road is no obstacle to visiting Blakewell as a short diversion around Shirwell will only delay arrival by ten minutes.

The lake at present at the end of September has weed covering 50% of the lake but as you can see from these pictures I took today large areas are weed free allowing plenty of water to cast a fly. At this time of year a bushy daddy long legs imitation  will produce exciting takes on most days. A muddler minnow stripped across the surface could also work well as will all the normal buzzers and nymphs. Plenty of trout were showing as I walked around the lake with anglers telling of of browns to over six pounds in recent weeks. If your on holiday and have no tackle with you this is no obstacle to enjoying a day fishing as top quality Snowbee Fly Fishing tackle is available to hire.

Fun fishing is also available for children with a heavily stocked trout pond where children can catch the families supper.

The cafe offers a delightful place to call in for a coffee or cream tea with a tasty looking array of hot for to choose from. On a sunny day sit beside the stock ponds or on  cold day sit beside the wood-burner!

Rain Brings hope of silver tourists

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Rain has brought a rise and colour to the River Bray it is to be hoped that further rain will follow and swell the entire river system.

Heavy rain has brought a welcome rise in river levels that could bring in a run of fresh salmon and sea trout to save what has been a dreadful season as a result of drought conditions throughout much of the summer. The final week of the season will see fish just a couple of months away from spawning and it is is imperative that angers follow good practice in practicing catch and release the following link give information and advice regarding C & R.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-catch-and-release-angling-practices-on-survival-of-salmon

A matter of perspective

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A matter of perspective

Fishing is at times a complex pastime full of paradoxes’, dilemmas and moral issues that can stimulate passionate debate. Fly Fishing by its nature is perhaps even more prone to this than other forms of angling though I say this in part because this article is aimed at the Fly Angler. As an all round angler I am far from a fly fishing purist and resist the elitist view that fly fishing is somehow superior to other forms of fishing. Many hold fly-fishing in esteem as a more worthy style of fishing when compared to bait fishing or lure fishing. But where does this view come from?

As a young boy I fished a tiny stream and caught plenty of wild brown trout with buttercup flanks and crimson spots. My chosen technique was a wriggling red worm or pinch of bread flake. It was beside this tiny stream that I learned to read the water and develop that knack of knowing where to cast. Sadly that wonderful stream of my youth is devoid of fish but that’s another story.

As time went by I learnt to cast a fly and find fly-fishing an invaluable string to my angling repertoire. On its day it can be a very effective way to catch fish and on most days I would expect to catch more trout from a small stream armed with a lightweight fly rod than with a pot of worms. It is true that the worm might tempt that big trout living deep in a shady pool or one that has grown large as a result of cannibalistic tendencies but in general the delicate fly fisher will out fish the bait dangler.

When I developed a love for angling literature I delved into classic tomes that told of chalk streams and water meadows. In classic books such as “ A Summer on the Test” by John Waller Hills or “The Book of the Dry Fly” by George A.B Dewar these authors and others of that era were of course members of the upper classes who lived privileged lives that enabled them to cast into the almost sacred waters of the Test and Itchen. It was in these waters where the dogma of Halfords Dry Fly Purist attitudes where born.

I fished the Test once several years ago and whilst it was a costly days fishing I enjoyed every minute of it. I caught on both dry fly and upstream nymph. It was a privilege to fish from manicured banks and tread the path of those with more money than I. I almost used the word wealth at that point but held back for money and wealth are different. The fishing was very enjoyable but in truth not as challenging as I had expected. These were not wily wild fish but stockfish in what has become an artificial fishery like many small Stillwater fly fisheries.

Trout waters are many and the trout within them varied. Each river, lake, loch and reservoir has its own peculiarities and it is this rich variation that gives fishing its fascination. There are different approaches to trout fishing and we as anglers contrive to introduce a complex web of rules and values.

Modern trout fishing has many parallels with society reflecting morals and desire. The put and take trout fisheries that emerged in the late seventies brought an expectation amongst many to get their limit of big trout. As a result prices were driven up as fishery owners tried to cater for the demand for big trout. Anglers measured their success with the size of the fish they caught a plump 10lb or even 20lb rainbow being the dream.

Sadly as time has passed by many anglers have developed unrealistic expectations and have lost sight of the true essence of fly-fishing. Fortunately I see a slow change as many are now seeing the value in wild fish in tumbling brooks and streams. A fishing world in miniature where it is not the size that matters, more the beauty of the quarry and the natural surroundings from which it is caught. The brief admiration of a jeweled trout before it is slipped carefully back into clear water.

There is undoubtedly a place for well-stocked artificial waters and at times it is fun to catch a big stocked trout. It is also exciting to catch stocked rainbows from reservoirs using modern methods but it is surely that moment of delightful deception that is equally thrilling from a rambling brook especially if the whole act can be witnessed in clear and healthy water.

The measuring of fish by sheer size is perhaps that reflection upon society where we want it all bigger better and now. Surely utopia is a day of fishing ahead where there is no rush and all that matters is to momentarily connect with the pulsing life in that world beneath the surface. To put it in monetary terms where lies the best value? A full day wondering the stream for priceless spotted jewels surrounded by natures finest or a dash to catch a limit of stockies in a well kept stew pond?

Wayne Thomas

The tragedy of salmon farms

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I received this email today from James Barlow. I have decided to share  here on North Devon Angling News website because I share the concern regarding salmon farming and its devastating impact upon salmon, sea trout stocks and the wider impact this has on the environment. I have visited the West Coast of Scotland and talked to local people who have witnessed the dramatic decline in salmon and sea trout numbers. We have seen dramatic declines in the West Country but not as rapid as seen in parts of Scotland. In Norway I caught cod and halibut with their stomach contents packed with pellets. The water on calm nights shimmered with oil that I believe came from the waste from these farms. The cod and coalfish we caught were also carrying large numbers of lice.

As anglers we all care for the long term future of fish stocks for we have a vested interest in one sense in that we want to catch fish but also because anglers care about fish and the environment in which fish live.

This July I assisted in the rescue of 75 salmon from a local estate after over 100 wild fish had already died. We believe the deaths were exacerbated, if not caused, by lice infestation from local salmon farm cages in Loch Roag, Isle of Lewis. The regional Fishery Trust biologist recorded between 500 and 700 sea lice, a parasite, on several live fish between 5-8 lbs. These wild fish are literally being eaten alive. My photos from the first day can be viewed here.

‘The One Show’ episode is available to watch on iPlayer until 18/10/18. The relevant article commences at 3 mins 10 seconds and runs for 9 minutes.

They highlight the plight of farmed salmon in cages which, like the wild fish, are suffering from appalling predation by lice. Last year, of the 208 salmon farms in the UK, 82 farms declared that they had exceeded the statutory Government acceptable limits for sea lice – that is 39.4% of all UK salmon farms.
Due to transportation costs, for the past two years the Scottish Salmon Company, proprietors of the farm in Loch Roag, has been burying thousands of dead fish (morts) in a ‘temporary’ landfill site in North Uist.

In the summer of 2017 over 175000 fish died of disease or attempted treatment at salmon farms in the Hebrides (The Telegraph). If this mort rate, or the effect of their farming methods on wildlife, were to occur to a mammal or on land the public outcry would be deafening, I’m sure. On average Scottish fish farms expect a mortality rate of around 23% of their stock. Such a high death rate would not be tolerated in any other form of animal husbandry.

Please take the time to view the programme and decide for yourself whether this is a quality product which you are happy to eat or serve to your family. Even ‘organic’ salmon can be treated with antibiotics yet still receive certification. EU regulation states that, “chemically synthesized allopathic veterinary medicinal products including antibiotics may be used where necessary…”. While ”excessive” treatment can result in removal of the prestigious Organic certification fish may still be treated under veterinary guidance then sold as ‘Organic’. Standard farmed salmon are regularly dosed in an attempt to ameliorate their condition. When you watch the video it will be clear why this is necessary.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this request. If you have any questions I will endeavour to answer them to the best of my ability.
Further video and photographic evidence can be viewed via this link to a Salmon Fishing Forum thread – ‘Sad, Sick Salmon both Farmed and Wild’. My contributions are under the username ‘Lewis.Chessman’.

If you feel sufficiently moved, please forward this mail to your friends and family. This industry will not change its methods unless its profits are threatened by consumer pressure.

My thanks to you all,

James Barlow.

Big rainbow for Wistlandpound Club member Nigel Bird

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club Members travelled to Wessex Waters Clatworthy Reservoir where members enjoyed a fine days sport with hard fighting rainbow trout that averaged over 2lb. Highlight of the day was the fine rainbow trout of 8lb 6oz caught by Nigel Bird that helped him towards a winning bag of five trout totaling 17lb 15oz. All members caught their limits of five trout with the remaining results below.

Runners up were: Wayne Thomas Five 10lb 10oz and David Eldred 10lb 10oz

Third – Paul Grisley – 10lb    Dave Mock 10lb

Fourth – Colin Combes – 9lb 15oz

I shared a boat with fellow club member Paul Grisley and we both completed our five fish limits before 1:00pm.

(Above)Paul Grisley with a well conditioned Clatworthy rainbow
(Above) Fresh from the water a stunning rainbow of just over 2lb

Autumn is a fine time for reservoir trout fishing with water temperatures starting to drop and fry plentiful in the margins. Its hard to believe that its autumn already. (Below)The reservoirs are showing the result of a  long dry summer that has been a disaster for salmon anglers.

The months of September and October should see some excellent sport enjoyed at reservoirs such as Wimbleball and Clatworthy.