Members on the way to the water.

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club members enjoyed a brown trout bonanza at Bratton Water Trout Fishery where they assembled for their Christmas Competition. All but one of the members who took part successfully completed a four fish bag limit with the trout averaging over three pounds in weight. The first hour of the competition saw the trout on a feeding frenzy with most members catching their days allocation within this golden hour.


The brown trout within the fishery are stunning looking fish each one carrying a distinctive pattern of dark and crimson spots upon their flanks of gold, bronze and buttermilk. Each fish is so much more distinctive than the rainbow trout and  in my view deserves a far grander title than brown trout.


Members used a wide range of patterns to tempt their fish with damsel nymphs and small gold-head nymphs all successful.

Winner of the competition was Roger Bray who caught stunning browns of 5lb 4oz, 5lb, 4lb and 3lb 12oz for a total of 18lb.


Runner up in the competition was Matt KIngdon with a four fish bag of 14lb 4oz that included the days biggest trout scaling 6lb 4oz.


Full results

1st Roger Bray 18lb 2nd Matt Kingdon 14lb 4oz 3rd David Eldred 13lb 4oz 4th Wayne Thomas 12lb 5th -Colin Combe 11lb 4oz

6th – Nigel Bird 11lb 7th Andre Muxworthy 10lb 4oz


The event was fished in calm conditions with glimpses of winter sunshine. This intimate lake is nestled within a peaceful valley providing an ideal location for a winters day of trout fishing, After catching their bags of trout members retired to the fishing hut to chat of future plans for the coming year as they drained their flasks of hot tea and coffee.


My own twelve pound bag of stunning trout( Above) would delight from any fishery throughout the country. The lake is certainly well worth a visit over the Christmas period if you fancy tangling with some hard fighting trout; an ideal time to test out those fishing related Christmas gifts.



posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0


Blakewell Fishery’s Christmas Competition is always a highlight of the local game fishing calendar and this year competitors enjoyed some great sport beneath the winter sunshine. The trout seized anglers fly’s from the start of the event with rods bent all around the lake during the first hour. The twenty eight anglers landed a total of 168 trout; twenty eight six fish limit bags!

Four double figure trout were landed the best to the rod of Peter Fairclough weighed a touch over 13lb.

img_3771Peter Fairclough – 13lb Rainbow Trout

Phill Colwill landed an 11lb 2oz rainbow trout, Peter Furze a rainbow of 11lb 1oz and James Thomas a rainbow of 10lb 9oz.

img_3776 James Thomas – Rainbow Trout 10lb 9oz

The winning bag of the day was taken by Pete Furze and totalled 28lb 4oz, runner up was Phil Colwill 25lb 14oz, third Peter Fairclough 24lb 5oz and forth James Thomas 23lb 6oz.

Double figure trout for Phil Colwill, James Thomas and Peter furze


Several brown trout were also brought to the scales the best a fish of 3lb 14oz to the rod of Brian Howarth.

img_3791A pleasing brown that seized my damsel fly nymph.

The competition was punctuated by a delicious stew cooked by the Blakewell team and the packed tea room was filled with  chatter as friends old and new exchanged tales and experiences.

img_1500Mulled wine, stew and minced pies!

img_3806Reflections in the lake

img_3800Moorhens are just one of many birds at Blakewell

Richard and John Nickel were pleased to have Simon Kidd sales and marketing manager at Snowbee, fishing the competition and donating some great tackle prizes for the end of day draw.

img_3816Simon Kidd of Snowbee

img_3796The path to the lake

img_3815There are fish everywhere at Blakewell



There is no place better for buying tackle than your local tackle shop and before Christmas I intend to visit the local shops that have supported North Devon Angling News in its first six months. I started today at Summerlands Tackle at Westward Ho! This well established family run tackle shop has been trading for as long as I can remember and has a fantastic range of products for all angling disciplines. In my view its far better to walk into a shop and see the products. Tackle shops are also at the heart of the angling social scene a place where anglers often bump into old friends and swap tales from the waters edge.


Among the many offers in the store on the run up to Christmas are :-

 PENN 525 Mag Reel RRP £169.99 on offer for  £89.99 with free Rovex line

Preston Innovation Thermal Suit RRP £139.99  on offer for £119.99

Chub RS Flat bed+ Bed-chair RRP £109.99 On offer for £54.00   “Limited Stock”

All Subject to availability.


15327636_10154778631202533_1611719412_nAdvert  - Summerlands Tackle


posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

img_0192Blakewell Fishery hold their popular Christmas Competition on Sunday December 4th and there should be plenty of quality trout caught if previous competitions are anything to go by. This 6lb rainbow was part of a four fish bag weighing 14lb to the rod of Rodney Daniel. It will be interesting to see the total winning weight at the Christmas Competition. One big double can make all the difference!

Full report on the competition to follow Sunday or Monday night!



posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

“The fish bite the least, when the wind is in the north better not go forth, when the wind is in the west the fish bite best and the wind from the South blows the bait into the fishes mouth”.  Or something like that. After a few days away from North Devon I have returned and there is not a lot to report on unless you know different. The best chance of a fish would be to fish one of our local still waters for trout. Bratton Water is sheltered from the East wind and has a healthy stock of quality brown trout that respond well to small imitative patterns.


If it’s big fish your after then Blakewell Fishery has been producing some superb double figure rainbow trout in recent weeks and there is every chance of couple of doubles in the fishery’s popular Christmas Competition on December 4th. The event is now fully booked though it might be worth giving the fishery a ring just in case of a cancellation. I will give a full report here.


If you fancy a day out a little further afield then Exe Valley Fishery is a great venue with some hard fighting browns and rainbows present.  It is also well worth considering purchasing a tuition session with Nick Hart; a great Xmas gift.


Sat 10th Dec Exe Valley are hosting a pre Christmas bash on the renovated Anchor Lake.

Join Nick Hart & Pete Tyjas for interactive demos on tackle, casting & fishing techniques plus a chance to see what Grayling fishing is all about.

We will be available throughout the day to provide help & assistance with anything from tuning up a cast to fixing up a leader!

This special event is limited to 10 people, includes a 2 fish permit and unlimited catch & release. We might break out the fly tying vice and there will be cake!

The day will be £45 per person and
if you would like to register your interest please message or call 01398 323008.



After one of the driest Autumns for many years the rains eventually came courtesy of storm Angus the West Country’s rivers became raging torrents sweeping tons of leaves and debris seaward. The game anglers of the region are well aware that the deluge of freshwater will allow thousands of salmon and sea trout to forge eagerly upstream towards the redds where they will fulfill their destiny in spawning at their birthplace to ensure future generations.

Those who fish for salmon are amongst the most active of conservationists working with the Environment Agency and organizations such as the West Country Rivers Trust to give nature a help in hand wherever possible. Members of the River Torridge Fishery Association have for several years run a small hatchery that was initially set up under guidance from the EA. The hatchery is now run entirely by the association with volunteers working tirelessly each winter to secure broodstock, strip, fertilize eggs and then nurture the precious result of their efforts until stocking out swim up fry in early spring.

img_3742(Above) Paul Ashworth, Ken Dunn, John Graham and Paul Coles

I was delighted to join four members of the association to assist in trapping this years broodstock at a location nestled away in a valley within the Torridge catchment. The salmon are trapped and netted before being carefully transported to the hatchery in an oxygenated tank of river water. The salmon are then kept after careful treatment to reduce risk of infection. When ready to spawn they are stripped of their eggs and milt before being returned to the river.


The first trapping of the day had been unsuccessful as thousands of leaves had blocked the traps upstream end. This second trapping was to prove more successful with a 9lb hen salmon secured. A fine sea trout of around 4lb was also caught and released above the trap to continue its upstream journey. It was thrilling to get up close to this beautiful fish as it neared the end of its migration.

The following day produced two more hen salmon and two cock fish. Another trapping session will hopefully secure enough fish for another successful hatchery season.


It is difficult to measure the success of the hatchery that has over the years produced many thousands of swim up-fry. The anglers that work so hard can only hope that they are making a difference and that one day one of the fish they have helped will give that delightful draw on the line as the fly is seized in a magical moment of deception.

Salmon will be spawning on many locations across the West-Country high on the moors and in rivers where few suspect such mighty fish can swim. Each winter I take time to walk the river bank in the hope of glimpsing the salmon as they  carry out their annual ritual. It is always fun to speculate upon the size of fish that make it to the spawning grounds and dream of those spring and summer days when the fishing season is once again in full flow.

img_3728(Above) A fine sea trout

img_3734(Above) The salmon is carefully measured and a record kept of all fish caught as broodstock.

img_3716(Above) These brown trout would delight the trout fisher on long summer evenings.



posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Small still water trout fishery’s like Blakewell are perfect venues at this time of year as both brown and rainbow trout thrive in the lower water temperatures. They also provide the ideal antidote to the absence of salmon fishing on the rivers giving the opportunity to take a rod to the waters edge and feel that exciting life at the lines end. Fishing is seldom difficult with a damsel nymph/ lure fished on a long leader in conjunction with a floating line likely to work on most days. Several double figure trout have succumbed to anglers offerings over recent days and weeks.

img_0057(Above) Peter Bridges 11lb rainbow’ part of a bag totalling 24lb 4oz

img_0059(Above) Phil Colwill from Bude with a 15lb rainbow trout, part of a 25lb bag.

img_0061(Above) Kyle Bishop with a fine rainbow of 11lb 2oz.