Opening day action – Image Jeff Pearce Snowbee


                  When my good friend Martin Turner sent a question via messenger saying he was going to Wimbleball mid-week would I go for bank or boat? As luck would have it I already had the day pencilled into my diary and asked if he minded me joining them on the bank?

         A few days later I convinced Martin that there was no rush to get at the water for early dawn and as a result we decided on stopping off at  Dulverton for breakfast. We walked into The Copper Kettle Cafe at around 9:15am and ordered up their mini breakfast and hot drinks. Half an hour later we set off glad we had gone for the rather adequate mini breakfast.

         Martin and I have always plenty to discuss and had talked non stop since leaving my house in Loxhore and had still not exhausted the agenda when I climbed out of the car an hour after dark following the days fishing.

         It had been a bright and sunny day with a strong East to SE wind adding a bite to the moorland air. We had decided to start off near Bessom’s but on meeting Martins friend Mike Snudden walking the path and reporting no action we changed our plan and diverted to Rugg’s that was sheltered from the cold wind.

         I had been absent from Wimbleball for far too long and was eager to re-engage with this water that has a beguiling wild feel. It’s hard fighting rainbow trout are renowned amongst the Fly fishing fraternity testament to the hard work undertaken by Mark Underhill and his family over recent seasons.

         Early March and to me fly selection is simple, surely any lure with black and green fished on an intermediate line is the order of the day.

         We spread out along the bank and set about searching the icy waters emersed in our own worlds. I relished the cool water as I waded out to my waist, the chill water on the fingers as the line was retrieved. I expected that thrilling pull at any moment as I settled into the rhythm of cast and retrieve.

         I took stock of the surrounding rolling hills, the stark bare trees of early spring, blue sky and occasional fluffy white clouds. The margins were populated with frogspawn and melodic bird song drifted on the chill wind.

         I was surprised not to have caught after close to an hour and strolled over to Martin and Mike who were engaged in conversation with a fellow fisher.

                  The angler was Chris Guest who I had engaged with frequently on social media over recent seasons. It is always good to meet in person and we chatted fluently for several minutes comparing notes on bass, trout and books.

         My theory on not needing an early start proved questionable as Chris had caught nine trout before we arrived with ice in the margins.

As Chris had not caught whilst we were present we decided upon a move to a new area.

         The boat launching area has been kind to me in the past and it was to here that we moved. Punching a line into the bitter cold wind proved hard work and I soon had an urge to move to an area with a little more shelter where I had enjoyed success on previous trips.

         In truth it was good to have a brisk walk and warm up a bit after several hours fishing. I had foolishly tempted fate earlier boasting to Martin and Mike that I had not blanked at Wimbleball since its new era.

         After half an hour of searching the water I was delighted to feel a savage pull through the line. A large rainbow trout of perhaps five pounds erupted from the water, a couple of yards to the left there was another swirl as another large trout appeared in a flurry of spray! The result was inevitable as the two trout that had seized two flies on my cast headed in separate directions!

         A few minutes later Martin and Mike arrived to hear my tale of woe. Mike had banked a good rainbow of around 2lb whilst Martin remained devoid of any action.

         My line zipped tight once more and for a few moments I enjoyed brief connection with what looked and felt to be a good trout. I missed one more trout but by now I was feeling confident and expectantly fished eventually avoiding a blank day with a slim full tailed rainbow of just over 2lb.

          I was delighted to look across to Martin fishing fifty yards to my right his rod bent over a fish leaping clear of the water in a flurry of spray. After an exciting tussle a lovely rainbow of well over 3lb graced the net.

         I soon added a second rainbow to my bag a chunky fish of perhaps 3lb 8oz and missed a couple of takes.

         Once again Martin stood in the icy water his rod in a pleasing curve and his reel singing as a big trout surged to and fro. It was now close to five o clock and the sun was sinking slowly behind us. I stood beside Martin sharing the moments and snapped away trying to capture a few images of fishy drama in the slowly fading light of the day.

         After perhaps five minutes a fine blue rainbow trout of close to five pounds was held aloft in triumph. Mike arrived back holding a fine rainbow of close to four pounds along with the tale of a large fish that had taken him to the backing before departing with his fly.

         I grabbed a photo of Martin and Mike holding a pair of Wimbleball’s finest. Mike headed for home whilst Martin and I fished on eager for another connection as the chill of evening descended.

         As we walked back the car holding a brace of rainbows each we reflected upon the day and how enjoyable it had been. Whilst we have had days with far more fish we both agreed that these days when its hard work are so often more memorable and rewarding.

          These days of early season are so full of promise as we look forward to those warmer days when we will drift teams of buzzers in a gentle ripple driven by a warm southerly wind that will surely blow the bait into the fishes’ mouth.

Wind from the West, fish bite the best.
Wind from the East, fish bite the least.
Wind from the North, do not go forth.
Wind from the South blows bait in their mouth.


Below are a few images of open day action sent to me by fellow Snowbee Ambassador Jeff Pearce