Wistlandpound Club enjoy a fine mornings Fly -Fishing

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club visited Bratton Water for the second leg of their Winter Challenge Series. Members found the lake in fine form with a variety of flies tempting the hard fighting trout in the clear water. Club secretary Dave Richards won the competition with three fish for 8lb 2oz. In runner up spot was Nigel Bird with three for 7lb 6oz with Paul Grisley and david Eldred equal  third with three for 7lb 5oz.

Andre Muxworthy three for 7lb 3oz, Colin Combes three for 7lb 2.5oz, Dave Mock three for 6lb 6oz and Wayne Thomas three for 5lb 7oz.

A typical catch of three hard fighting Bratton Water rainbows.

Whilst large flies and lures can work well at Bratton I personally prefer an approach with a little more finesse when fishing this picturesque water nestled in a peaceful Valley beside the Bratton Stream. Arriving at the fishery I selected a small gold-head PTN for the point and a small black buzzer on the dropper. Casting out across the lake I allowed the fly to sink for a few seconds before beginning a slow retrieve just keeping the line tight as it drifts in the breeze. The tip of the line was studied carefully and after a couple of casts it was pleasing to set the hook with a quick draw on the line with the left hand. I caught my three fish bag within an hour of starting as did virtually all fellow members. It must be very difficult to get the stocking balance right on these small stillwaters. Anglers vary greatly in angling ability and the trout fluctuate greatly in their willingness to feed. Combine the anglers ability, the vast variation in the British weather with the vagaries of the trout and you have a recipe that seldom suits all tastes. Too many fish and angler catches his fish too quickly, too few fish and anglers will grumble that they cannot catch. Generally Bratton Waters stocking policy is spot on as on its day it can offer challenging fishing yet very few days when anglers go home without a fish or five.

On a cool winters day Wistlandpound Club members enjoy the social aspect of a day by the water. Chatting about fish and life is a big part of the club angling scene and small still-water’s like Bratton are perfect for a Winter morning with members returning to families and home life after a bit of fresh air with a bag full of trout each for tomorrow nights tea.

Win a Christmas Hamper at Exe Valley

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We sold out of smoked fish last week, thank you to all those customers who spotted the sign, visiting us for the first time and placed orders in time for Christmas. More stock is now available including Smoked Trout, Duck, Cheese and even Nuts!

The lakes have been battered by the weather this week, but those venturing out such as Mr Crane have been catching fish and at times enjoying some stunning scenes. See more here https://www.exevalleyfishery.co.uk/…/fishery-news-christmas…

This week – come fishing, spend as little as £25 on permits and/or the shop and be entered into our prize draw for a delicious hamper including smoked trout, cheese, nuts & pickles! The draw will run from Monday 10th to Friday 21st December with the lucky winner able to collect their prize over the weekend 22nd/23rd December … just in time for Christmas!


SAT 22nd DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

SUN 23rd DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm





FRI 28th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

SAT 29th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm




WED 2nd JAN – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 10.00am – 2.00pm (Normal Business Hours Resume)

World Wide Web brings together a vast angling community

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Whilst the internet and social media gets a lot of negative publicity there are many positive sides to its growth. Angling is a worldwide sport and its participants across the world have a huge amount in common. It is of coarse more than just anglers that have a lot in common for fish and the habitats in which they dwell also have many parallels. The internet has bridged many gaps and has opened up a vast amount of knowledge to be shared among anglers from different continents.

I received an email from David Straus who is the main editor at https://www.tackle.org/ David had read my feature on the West Country Fly Fishing Course http://www.northdevonanglingnews.co.uk/2018/04/03/west-country-fly-fishing-course-2018/

David asked me if he could share his latest feature on my website and having had a look I noted how relevant the tactics described are to those discussed at Eggesford. So if you have five minutes have browse at the tactics used to tempted trout across the pond and around the world.


Pete Tyjas talks trout tactics at the recent Fly Fishing Coarse at the Fox and Hounds Eggesford.


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

Bull Dog Farm – New Fly Fishery

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         North Devon Fly Fishing enthusiasts have new a venue to fish that offers catch and release fishing for big brown trout along with catch and keep rainbow trout. The lake is approximately 1.5 acres and is close to River Yeo where day tickets are also available for wild brown trout and the occasional sea trout. A catch and release ticket is £20 per day and a four fish rainbow ticket £30. Owner Nigel Early is applying for Trout Master status at the venue. Nigel Early – nigel@bulldogfishfarm.co.uk

Chay Boggis with a fine Bulldog Brown
Mervyn Symons of Bideford with fine bag of rainbows


Threats to the vital arteries of the land!

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Spring seems to be in the air today and thoughts are turning to running water, spring salmon and crimson spotted wild trout that thrive in Devon streams.

We must not take these delights for granted as there are threats to these vital arteries of the land brought home to me as I read through the latest emails from Chairman of the River Taw Fisheries Association Alex Gibson.

Open the below link to see what a badly managed dairy operation can do. The pollution here was on the Taw system, but fortunately did not affect the main stem of the river. Nevertheless the damage to fish stocks was extensive. If you come across anything of this kind when at or around the river please report it immediately to the EA Emergency Hotline – 0800 807060


The Pollution Threat from Sewage Treatment Works (STWs) on the Taw System

As we are all well aware, the importance of water quality in our river cannot be overstated.

The Committee has come across a new, to us, cause for concern in this area, namely the STWs on our system which are owned and managed by South West Water (SWW). Simply put – Are these STWs currently fit for purpose and will they be fit for purpose when all the planned house-building in our catchment’s towns and villages has been completed? For example, South Molton is planning over 1,200 homes and Chulmleigh over 90. Is the right amount of maintenance being carried out by SWW and is sufficient investment committed for the future?

There are at least 35 STWs on our system, all of which discharge into the main stem or its tributaries. SWW like other water companies runs STWs on the basis of “operator self-monitoring” which immediately raises an amber or even red warning light in our opinion. Also there is a question about how rigorous the Environment Agency is or indeed can be in this area given recent cut-backs.

This is not a Taw specific problem and we have raised it regionally with South West Rivers Association so that individual rivers in the south-west can take their own action. From discussions with Angling Trust we understand that they are aware that this is a national problem and are working with World Wildlife Fund.

As for the Taw specifically, we are working with Fish Legal to discover whether in relation to STWs the EA is fulfilling its role to protect and improve river quality under the Water Framework Directive and carrying out its duties towards fishermen. Other initiatives to raise awareness of this problem are being undertaken.

The Committee believes it is important that members are aware of this threat, particularly those who fish directly below STWs. Any obvious signs of pollution from STW sources should be reported to the EA emergency hot-line – 0800 807060. Also, as we understand more about the STW situation it may be that we will need to mount a campaign with the support of our membership.

Alex Gibson

Game Fishing News

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The salmon fishing season on the River Taw came to an end last Saturday and rods enjoyed some late season sport on the Weir Marsh and Brightly Day Ticket beats. Len Francis landed salmon of 9lb and 5lb. John Shrimpton a 9lb salmon and Graham Nichols a grilse of 5lb. Over on the Torridge around at least a dozen salmon were caught during September with most from Mid to upper river beats.

(Below)England Junior Fly Fishing Team Member Seth Tuson caught his first salmon from a middle river Torridge beat.

Torridge Fishers can enjoy salmon fishing on the Torridge until October 14th but must obtain a special permit from Charles Inniss prior to fishing that is strictly catch and release with single barb-less hooks only.

Following a Committee Meeting the River Taw Fishery Association  has decided to follow the lead of the Angling Trust and South West Rivers Trust in its response to the Environment Agency Consultation on Managing Salmon Fisheries. In brief the, RTFA considers that all salmon netting should be stopped and that rod fishermen should continue to operate under voluntary catch and release while aiming for a very high release rate and adhering to appropriate good practice.

Salmon anglers are being urged to respond the consultation by visiting the E.A website and completing the relevant documentation. Submissions must be completed by October

Fly Fishers missing the river can ensure they keep their casting action in good shape by fishing for the hard fighting rainbow and brown trout in local stillwaters. Blakewell, Bratton Water and Exe Valley.


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My friend Danny Ford dropped a me a Facebook message to say he was visiting Bratton Water; would I like to join him. Whilst I had not got time to fish I had got time to pop down for a chat and a catch up. On arrival the lake was mirror calm with the trees and reeds casting reflections across the still-water that was punctuated by the pleasing rings of feeding trout.

Danny was casting a line from the Dam and fishing a team of small buzzers very slowly watching the tip of the line intently for any movement that could indicate the deception of a wily trout. Danny pulled a fine prize from his trout bag a stunning brown trout of around 6lb. Its flanks were decorated in crimson spots. its tail was full, a perfect brown trout that would please any angler.


We chatted about fish, waters and prospects for the coming year. I told Danny I wanted some action shots and for a while he struggled to get a take. This is so often the way with trout in small still waters, Danny had caught three trout within his first hour and had taken a short rest to find that the fish had stopped feeding. Eventually after half an hour of varied retrieves the line drew tight and Danny played a beautifully marked brown trout to the net.dscn5053dscn5017dscn5029dscn5034dscn5039

Danny undoubtedly went on to catch his final fish of a five fish limit bag. We talked briefly of flies and concluded that one of the most important aspects of fly is that the angler has confidence in it. Danny carries a small selection of flies on most outings and has total confidence that he can catch on all but the hardest days.


Danny’s five fish bag



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from-left-2nd-rob-gale-1st-matt-kingdon-3rd-alec-hoareCongratulations to Matt Kingdon on winning South West Lakes Trust’s Best of the Best competition at Wimbleball. Full report below from Ben Smeeth of South West Lakes Trust

Matt Kingdon has won the Best of the Best £5000 final at Wimbleball Lake held on 18 September after being the only angler to catch a limit of 10 fish. The competition, now in its third year, is run by South West Lakes Trust and sponsored by Snowbee (www.snowbee.co.uk).

Matt, from Barnstaple, bagged his limit with more than an hour to go from the Bessoms Bridge area of the lake. Successful tactics were a team of three flies consisting of a Peach Blob on top, a Red Holographic Cruncher in the middle and a Black Lure with Malibu Tail and a Green Sparkled Body with Red Rib on the bottom fly. A slow to medium retrieve to jerk the Malibu Tail accounted for seven of Matt’s ten fish. He collected £2000 for the win, following on from his third place finish where he won £1000 in the 2015 final. It completes a great week for Matt who qualified for the Home International Loch style in 2017.

57 anglers fished the final after 92 had qualified throughout the season from Kennick, Wimbleball, Stithians, Siblyback and Burrator. After the briefing was done, there was a mad dash for the favoured fishing spots with most anglers opting for Bessoms and Ruggs end of the lake. The weather conditions were pretty good with a slight ripple on the water, overcast mainly but warm sunny spells at times. A lot of fish were showing out of casting range and catches were much slower than the previous week which was expected after the pressure from anglers practising.

Rob Gale, from Ashburton, finished second catching eight fish from the Narrows to claim the £1250 prize pot with Alec Hoare, Newton Abbot, claiming the £750 third place with seven fish for 11lb 4oz with only 5 ounces separating fifth place from third!

There was a strong Kennick Fly Fishers Association showing at the top of the individual standings with the top five finishers all members. After winning it the last two years Andrew Gooding finished a creditable 8th.

The largest fish in the final (not finishing in the top three) was won jointly by Mike Stone (Starcross) and Roger Truscott (Liskeard) who shared the £500 prize fund with a Rainbow of 2lb 2oz each.

The blind pairs was introduced this season and the winners, claiming £150 each, were Matt Kingdon and Steve Ebdon (Exeter) with Rob Gale and John Huckings (Camelford) finishing second to win £100 each.

There were 127 Rainbows caught in total giving a 2.3 rod average per person for the competition with a further 30 Browns also caught and released.

Simon Kidd from Snowbee was on hand to give out the prizes and here is the full list of prize winners:


Winner – Matt Kingdon 10 fish for 15lb 6oz £2000 BOB trophy and name on the honours board in the permit room
Runner up – Rob Gale 8 fish for 13lb 4oz £1250 BOB trophy and name on the honours board in the permit room
Third – Alec Hoare 7 fish for 11lb 4oz £750 BOB trophy and name on the honours board in the permit room
Heaviest Fish (not finishing in the top three) Mike Stone and Roger Truscott 2lb 2oz £250 each
Second heaviest fish (not in top three) Andy Watson 2lb 1oz Snowbee Fly Vest and Back pack worth over £100
Blind Pairs winners: Matt Kingdon and Steve Ebdon 18lb 12oz £150 each
Blind Pairs runners up: Rob Gale and John Huckings 17lb 15oz £100 each
4th – Andy Watson 7 fish for 10lb 15oz (won on countback with largest fish 2lb 1oz) Snowbee 9ft #6 Geo Nano rod worth £350
5th – Paul Wicks 7 fish for 10lb 15oz New Snowbee Classic Fly rod worth over £200
6th – Pete Kempton 6 fish for 9lb 11oz Snowbee stripping basket worth £50
7th – Nick Tompkins 5 fish for 7lb 9oz Snowbee Slim Line fly box kit worth £40
8th – Andy Gooding 5 fish for 7lb 8oz Snowbee Slim Line fly box kit worth £40
9th – Dave Perks 5 fish for 7lb 6oz (won on countback with largest fish 1lb 12oz) Snowbee Competition Fly Box worth nearly £30
10th – Tony Chipman 5 fish for 7lb 6oz Snowbee easyvue competition fly box worth £20
Heaviest fish Wimbleball – Howard James 6lb 8oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Kennick – Mark Brimblecombe 7lb 6oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Burrator – Allan Lawson 5lb Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Siblyback – Duncan Kier 6lb 8oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Stithians – Nigel Burley 6lb 11oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50

The top three will also have their names engraved onto the honours board in the permit room at Wimbleball.

A huge thank you to all of the Marshalls, especially Danny Ford for all his work leading up to and during the competition and also the sponsor Snowbee who very generously donated over £1000 worth of prizes.

Ben Smeeth

Technical Lead for Fishing