Blakewell Spring Competition Sunday 29th April 2018

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Competition’s are very popular with our anglers.
Please book early to avoid disappointment, we can only cater for a maximum 25 anglers.
The competition will run from 9am to 5pm
with lunch provided at 13.00pm

Enter the Competition –

Our mailing address is:
Blakewell fisheries
Barnstaple, Devon EX31 3xg
United Kingdom

Chillcheater Carp and trout fishing green- New Range

Chillcheaters are now producing army green jackets, smocks and bib and brace in their renowned Aquatherm material these products are ideal for the carp and trout fisherman who want 100% waterproof clothing that is both lightweight and hard wearing. Braunton Baits are stocking the products. The jackets are £159, The smocks £140 and the Bib and Brace £130.

Beating the elements and cheating the chill

Wimbleball in fine form

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Wimbleball is in fine form at present with some stunning bags of rainbows caught in the opening few weeks with numerous fish topping 5lb. Surface activity has been great and should improve further with warmer weather on the way.

A very pleasing brace of 4lb-5lb rainbows caught by Richard Elbro. The trout were tempted on a cut throat cats whisker which was invented by his fellow angler friend Richard.

(Below)A very good day at Wimbleball for Peter Davies on the right and John Ratcliffe with 9 fish between them up to 6lb 10oz.

David Plumridge had great days sport  at the lake with loads of fish on buzzers on a catch n release ticket, best being a 5 lb rainbow.( Below)

Springtime is trout time

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I always associate springtime with trout fishing being beside the water as the buds start to unfurl and birdsong drifts through the warming air. As the evenings draw out it is time to savour the opportunities for after-work sorties all too often the longest day has crept upon me and I realize that once again I have failed to grab those important times beside the water.

With this in mind I had arranged to meet up with Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce at Blakewell Fishery to try out a few of their latest products and of course to catch a couple of trout. It was a cool evening when I arrived at Blakewell with occasional sunshine and a light breeze blowing down the lake.

Jeff was keen to assemble all the latest Snowbee gear from his collection of smart and functional luggage to suit the mobile angler.

We set up four rods from the latest Snowbee range and Jeff set about demonstrating the art of roll casting using the eight weight Spectre Fly Rod that is ideally suited for fly fishing for pike or bass fishing in the estuary. After a few casts a large brown trout erupted from the corner of the lake seizing the large clouser minnow before ejecting the hook in a flurry of spray.

Apart from this brief encounter with the large brown trout it seemed quiet in this section of the lake so we decided to move to the other end of the lake that had apparently been fishing well. Armed with lighter set ups we strolled to our new area where we immediately saw a few fish moving. Jeff was first into a fish using a small bead headed nymph; a pleasing rainbow of a couple of pounds. Several fish could be seen cruising in the clear water and I spotted what looked like a good fish. The five weight Snowbee Spectre proved to be a delightful tool matched to one of Snowbee’s floating lines and I was able to drop my bead headed nymph directly in-front of the cruising trout. I allowed the fly to sink before giving a gentle twitch, a glimpse of white mouth and slight twitch of line saw me tighten into the trout. Several minutes later following a tense tussle a fine rainbow of 6lb 8oz was safely in the net.

A few moments later it was Jeff’s turn to hook a decent sized trout that surged to and fro whilst I tried to capture a few images with my camera and Jeff’s Go-Pro. This fin perfect rainbow of 5lb made the session a great success.

Casting to individual trout is an exciting way to fish that demands a keen eye enhanced with a pair of quality polarized glasses to reduce surface glare.

Whilst there was a chill in the air as the sun sank lower in the sky signs of spring were all around with buds bursting forth on trees and shrubs. The croak of toads in the margins whilst high above gyrating in the sky a few martins had arrived from warmer climes far away. A sure sign that winters grip is slipping as we slide into the most glorious season of all. In just a few weeks the countryside will be at its magnificent best.

A couple of hard fighting two pounders later it was time to pack away the gear and retreat for a hot coffee with co fishery owner Richard Nickel who was keen to share tales of his latest excursion to Scotland’s River Tay where he had enjoyed success with an 8lb spring run salmon.

Seth chases Team England Success

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As a follow up to Seth Tuson’s  fascinating talk at the River Torridge Fishery Associations AGM I asked him to send me a few words. Young anglers are essential if future generations are to enjoy the waterside as we have done and they need all the support and encouragement we can give.

Seth Tuson

I Qualified for the England youth team in September 2016, at Grafham water. This meant I became part of a team that would fish at International competition at llyn Brenig in Wales the following summer. In the final competition England came second to Scotland with Wales in third and Ireland in 4th. In September last year I re-qualified at Draycote water where this years international will be held in August. It has been an amazing experience and I have developed my skills far past where I ever expected I would, to help fund my fishing I also sell my flies that I tie at £1.20 each these include a wide range of modern lures nymphs and dries as well as some classics. I can be contacted on

Seth Tuson – Right with Senior Team Member Matt Kingdom

Torridge AGM and latest River News.

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The Torridge Fishery Associations AGM at the Half Moon Inn Sheepwash was as always well supported with members travelling from far and wide to meet up with fellow members and hear a summary of the last twelve months. There was a good deal of common ground between Taw and Torridge River Associations with a focus on the River catchments health. Guest Speakers were Paul Carter from the EA, Sam Baycock from the West Country Rivers Trust and England Junior Fly Fishing Team member Seth Tuson. Paul Ashworth and Charles Inniss gave a summary of news including a positive result from the Hatchery project with 24000 swim up fry ready for stocking out.

Sam Baycock of the West Country Rivers Trust gave an enlightening talk on his work to improve habitat for spawning salmon and to increase fry survival,targeted coppicing to reduce shading, soil containment, and removal of obstructions were key areas.

Seth Tuson aged 17 talked at length about his experience fishing with the England Junior Fly Fishing Team. He outlined the vast amount of travelling and hard work involved with training session most weeks at Lyn Brenig in North Wales. This year training is at Draycote Reservoir. One of the huge benefits of the experience has been an depth knowledge of fly fishing tactics. Seth is tying flies to raise funds for his Fly Fishing adventure and can tie most still water flies to order and charges £1.20 per fly. Seth can be contacted via email :-

 Taw Salmon

High river levels have curtailed fishing effort on the Taw and Torridge but Len Francis managed to get in a cast or two during a slight lull in the rain catching a fresh run spring salmon of 9lb from the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats of the Taw. Another two salmon are believed to have been landed from Taw beats so far this year.

NEWSREEL: Spring 2018: Issue 37

Chairman: Paul Ashworth:

Secretary: Charles Inniss, Beeches Sheepwash Beaworthy Devon EX21 5NW

Tel: 01409231237


SUBSCRIPTIONS: for 2018 are now due please. If you have not already paid, please forward your cheque for £20 to the Secretary at the above address, making cheques payable to The River Torridge Fishery Association.

EA Proposals to reduce exploitation by rods and nets: A big thank you to all of you who responded to the EA proposals. Because of the pressure exerted by the Angling Trust, the South West Rivers Association, River Fishery Associations and many individual anglers, the EA have only imposed mandatory “catch and release” on rivers were salmon stocks are dangerously low. “Catch and release” on our river will remain voluntary.

In simple terms for our river:

  • The spring salmon byelaw will remain in place: ie prior to 16th June all salmon must be released.
  • “Catch and release” will remain voluntary, but the EA has stated that at least 90% of fish must be released. If this is not achieved the EA will reserve the option to introduce mandatory “catch and release”.
  • In 2019 seine netting for salmon/sea trout by the three remaining licensed netsmen will cease.

Your committee recommends that anglers should practice “catch and release” at all times and whenever possible use barbless hooks.

GREAT NEWS!! The proposed IFCA Bye-law has been confirmed. As from 1st March this year, all drift netting for bass and mullet in our estuary has ceased. This will finally bring to an end salmon and sea trout being caught as a by-catch and having to be released either dead or so seriously injured the chances of survival were minimal.

Three year juvenile survey programme: Two years ago your committee agreed to fund a three year programme of juvenile surveys. The results of the initial survey (a semi-quantitative survey by the West Country Rivers Trust) in the summer of 2016 were disappointing. Salmon fry were present in only 10 of the 35 sites. Last summer a full quantitative survey was completed by the EA. The results were much more encouraging with salmon fry present at most sites throughout the catchment. Salmon parr numbers were poor but brown trout were evident throughout the catchment. This year the West Country Rivers Trust will carry out the third survey. The three surveys should give us a better picture of the health of the river and where to target habitat improvements.

The 2017 Season: it was a dry spring and early summer but from July onwards the weather was much more unsettled with the river holding at a good height resulting in improved salmon catches. Salmon and sea trout catches were both slightly better than in recent years. However there is a discrepancy between the official EA rod catch data and our known catches by anglers. There are still anglers who are failing to send in their catch returns. It is vital all anglers send in their return even if it is a nil return.

Prospects for 2018: March has been an exceptionally wet and cold month with the river rarely fishable. So far one salmon has been caught (10lb), on the Lower Torridge. As I write this Newsreel in the second week of April it’s still raining with the river still in spate. Patience is a virtue!!

The Fishermen’s eyes and ears: Our fishery officer, Paul Carter, is now responsible for all the rivers in North Devon and more than ever he is dependent on the eyes and ears of fishermen. If you have any concerns (poaching or pollution) please call him direct on 07768007363, or the EA Emergence Hotline 0800807060 or the Association Secretary 01409231237.

The Salmon Hatchery: The rearing programme this winter has again been very successful. The broodstock of 5 hens and 5 cocks were all returned safely to the river. Although the eggs of one hen failed to be fertilised there have been very few losses from the remainder and over 24,000 swim-up fry will be stocked out into the headwaters during the next fortnight. For the dedicated team of eight it is a great relief when the last fry are released into the river after five months of hard work and worry.

Sewage Storm Overflows at Torrington: thanks to the perseverance of the Torrington Commons Conservators SWW will be taking action to rectify the recurring problem of two sewage storm overflows repeatedly discharging raw sewage into the river at Torrington. The Conservators enlisted the help of Fish Legal (the legal arm of The Angling Trust).

The Annual General Meeting: held at The Half Moon Inn on 6th April was a great success with over 40 members attending.

We all enjoyed an excellent buffet and social get together after the meeting.


Guided Fly Fishing with Nick Hart

On Thursday 28th Sept 2017 Nick cast aside his old wading boots and set off for Farlows of Pall Mall below is an extract from Nicks latest Newsletter.

Fed up with the winter?
Following the terrible UK weather experienced during the past few months at last the fishing season is open! To kick off I would like to welcome you to my first update of the year including news of my move to the world famous Farlows of Pall Mall and the latest from Exe Valley Fishery.

Guided Fly Fishing with Nick Hart

After many requests I am pleased to report that I will be swapping my Chinos for Waders, hosting a very limited number of guided days during 2018. Dates are available in April, May, June, July, August & September fishing for wild Brown Trout (on stunning Exmoor rivers like the one above!) and there are also my unique River to Rock Adventures which offer the chance to experience both West Country Trout and saltwater fly fishing for Bass on the North Devon Coast.

Please contact me directly by email for further details & dates. Alternatively I am available at the store located in central London, telephone 0207 484 1021
Find out about these limited availability trips & view packages here

Catch & Release 2018
It has been a tough winter at Exe Valley Fishery with low footfall due to the inclement weather. But now that spring seems to have finally sprung we are back in action with fresh stock introduced on a regular basis and our Catch & Release option launched last year continues for the same great price of just £25.

Meanwhile despite my new position as Farlows Fishing Manager, Sue will be available on a day to day basis to help with any queries you may have regarding the fishery and I will be visiting the lakes every week. You can also contact us on 01398 323008 or please email

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club – Blagdon Competition Result

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Paul Grisley secured victory in Wistlandpound Clubs April Trophy at Blagdon Reservoir. His eight fish limit bag of rainbow trout totalled 21lb 3oz. Colin Combe was runner up with 8 for 17lb 8oz and David Eldred third with 8 for 16lb 12oz. The biggest trout of the day was a rainbow of 4lb 6oz to the rod of Paul Grisley.

I shared a boat with Matt Kingdom who gave a lesson in how to catch trout completing his eight fish limit by lunch time and going on to add another ten trout. I fished similar tactics and even scrounged a couple of Matt’s successful flies to land a brace of trout. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is due to a subtle difference in technique or tackle. Blagdon is a truly historic trout water that can provide exciting sport especially at this time of year as the trout feast on the thousands of buzzers that hatch from the lake when conditions are right. In a few weeks time it will be thrilling to hear the pleasing screech of the swifts as they swoop across the lake. The first swallows should be showing any day soon.

After many years I have replaced my old trout fishing bag with a new one. The Snowbee XS – Bank & Boat Bag is highly recommended with numerous practical and functional characteristics.