Matt Kingdon and I arrived at Wimbleball Lake for around 8:30am, misty drizzle drifted across the water and surrounding hills driven by a brisk North Westerly breeze. Wimbleball can be a bleak place in early February but the plentiful full tailed hard fighting rainbows draw anglers from across the West Country.

We headed for the picnic bank giving access to deep water; a reliable area especially early in the season when the recently stocked rainbows tend to shoal up. It was good to wade out into the cool clear waters of this vast lake and put a line out across the water. I had tied a small black Wooley bugger on the point with a small black and green nymph on a dropper, this was presented with an intermediate line. These tactics were the same I had used from the boat a couple of weeks  ago with good effect. On each cast I paused for a few moments allowing the flies to sink before commencing a slow erratic retrieve. I often use the analogy of playing with a kitten when describing how to tempt a trout. The movement imparted into the flies or lure can trigger a take as can the pause. Each cast is made with thought, searching the depths and aiming to stimulate a reaction.

I watched Matt to my left employing a speedier retrieve that I thought was more akin to his competitive angling spirit.

Matt Kingdon searchs the water

After a few minutes my line zipped delightfully tight as a rainbow seized the lure erupting from the water in a flurry of spray. Over the next couple of hours another five trout were caught and despatched. All hard fighting full tailed fish between 1lb 12oz and 2lb 8oz. Matt also banked a couple of pleasing rainbows.

Matt in action with a full tailed Wimbleball rainbow

Matts first fish of the day

The relentless brisk cold wind and light rain was not pleasant so despite being where the fish were we decided to  move to a more sheltered bank. With the wind at our backs casting was easier and the fishing more pleasant, there is often a balance to be had when deciding where to fish. The whole thing is after all about enjoyment so whilst catching is important its not always vital to catch as many as possible. Unless of course it’s a competition!

We resumed our quest searching the water in various locations and catching trout in each area we searched. Matt worked hard changing flies and tactics earning himself a full bag of five trout by the time we were ready to head for home shortly after 3.00pm. I soldiered on with the same tactics and caught and released a further three trout ending the day with eight trout. A great days’ trout fishing on a dark dank February day.

A perfect February rainbow

As we packed away we plotted to return on those warmer spring days when the fish would rise freely and a floating line would stretch out on a lake riffled by a gentle breeze. Despite the chill air there were signs of spring all around with frogspawn in the shallows and birdsong drifting in the air. Snowdrops were abundant on the roadsides with daffodils budding in every moorland village along the route.