Blakewell Producing some superb Trout

It’s seems I have lost the knack of catching fish in these post lockdown days. The top priority in a fishing session is of course to enjoy it and to that end I am generally a highly successful angler. But it is nice, indeed essential that at some point connection is made with a fish!

After a difficult day at the wonderful Wimbleball reservoir and a couple of unsuccessful lure fishing trips after a bass. A day at the ever reliable Blakewell was planned with James. James was also in need of actually catching a fish having shared my lack of success with the lures.

Blakewell has been fishing exceptionally well since reopening with several stunning double figure trout caught.

I received the below report from Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club secretary David Richards :-

I fished Blakewell on Saturday you have to pre- Book £40 for six fish pay over phone so you don’t need to meet anyone, arrived at 8.30 two others guys fishing (max 12) although there wasn’t 12 there. Weed free fishing good sample 2x3lbs 4×2.5lbs. Fishing at the top of finger using a little black and blue dancer. The chap down about 20ft away hooked into a big trout after about 20 mins I helped him land a 13.2lb fish looking immaculate. 

John Jobson below :-


Terri said can we have some trout please, always happy to oblige, opening day Blakewell get in ! biggest 14lb 2ozs, 13lbs 6ozs, new pb total wt 6 fish was 40lb 1oz. Freezers full , I’m shattered happy days , fantastic day out , thank you Richard and John, trout for tea I guess.

James and I arranged to meet in the carp park at 9:30am and with a strong south west wind( gale) blowing with intermittent cloud I was confident of success. We promptly tackled up and headed for the lake choosing a spot well away from the other four anglers.

It was an awesome late spring day beside the lake with bright yellow flag Iris lining the banks, electric blue damsel flies, birdsong reverberating all around and the fresh green leaves shimmering in the strong breeze. The lake had a tinge of colour and a well riffled surface.

We cast our lines expectantly and after just a few casts James glimpsed a big rainbow in the margin as it followed his lure. I fished a team of small imitative patterns a PTN on the point with two buzzers. I was surprised when after an hour we had both failed to connect.

Joint fishery owner Richard Nickel strolled over for a chat and talked eagerly about their plans for the fishery. As we chatted I missed two opportunities as the line tightened momentarily in a signal of  successful deception. As with most recent conversations modern phrases dominated with COVID-19, lockdown, social distancing, post pandemic and the few positives of reduced air pollution the embracing of local business and a refocusing on family life. Richard and his brother John have great plans for Blakewell in the coming months and have some super specimens ready to stock over the coming weeks.

James hooked a trout that struggled free after a few moments giving hope that success would come. As we fished on we caught the occasional tantalising glimpse of large trout rising but our offerings failed to tempt.

As confidence started to ebb a strong pull brought momentary contact followed by that despairing moment of slack line. Next cast and I was in action and after a brief tussle secured a rainbow of a couple of pounds. At least I had avoided a blank!

We searched our fly boxes for inspiration and began to swap and change searching in vain for that effective combination of right fly, right retrieve and right depth.

Eventually we ran out time and had to admit defeat. It’s not often I have a bad day Stillwater trout fishing and I generally bank on Blakewell producing the goods relatively easily. Perhaps it’s good to have that occasional hard day to raise the appreciation of the good days.

To round the day off I arrived home to find that I had forgotten to replace the cameras memory card last time I downloaded and so I had no photos of those beautiful flag Iris.

(Above) A fine Blakewell Double of 14lb 8oz for an angler called Paul

Wimbleball – Beneath a Cloudless blue sky

I had been itching to get back to Wimbleball after lockdown and booked half a day off work mid-week hoping it wouldn’t be too busy. It probably wasn’t the best day to have chosen; the hottest day of the year so far with a cloudless sky. Despite this I arrived full of optimism despite the conditions and headed for Rugg’s bay where there was plenty of room to fish and maintain social distance.

The far bank was full of families and young people soaking up the sun and whilst at first this seemed a little concerning I deemed that several groups may well be from single households. In any case the sounds of fun and laughter drifting across the water was welcome after months of doom and gloom. I am growing increasingly tired of the bitching and blaming that has manifested itself as the COVID crisis has unfolded. Apply a bit of common sense follow the rules and accept that there is always a bit of risk in life.

The walk to the lake along a buttercup lined footpath with young lambs playing in the fields was a delightful start to the afternoon and it was truly good to be alive and out in the English countryside.

I set up a floating line and a team of imitative patterns, a gold-head PTN on the point, a buzzer on the middle dropper and a diawl bach on the top dropper. I was surprised just how far the reservoir had dropped since my last visit back on opening day on March 1st when the lake was full to the brim.

Wading out into the cool clear water I extended the line across the water. Paused to allow the flies to sink a little and started a slow figure of eight retrieve. I expected a pull at any second as I settled into the session. Swallows and martins swooped over the water and birdsong resonated all around.

I kept an eye on other anglers around the lake and caught sight of the occasional bent rod and flurry of foam as a fish neared the net. After about an hour starting the line zipped tight and a hard fighting rainbow of around 3lb posed for the camera.

I fished on optimistically changing the flies from time to time but sticking to the slow imitative approach because that is what I had expected to work.

Slowly as the afternoon slipped into evening I began to lose some of that early confidence. Whilst the occasional fish rose further out it was clear that the hoped for evening rise was not going to happen.

I should perhaps have changed to slow sink line and gone deeper with a lure but on this occasion I had perhaps become too content just enjoying the day going through the motions of fishing the fly.

I drove home as the sun set over Exmoor thinking of my return to the lake in the not to distant future.

First Casts after lockdown.

posted in: At the Waters Edge, Sidebar | 0

            A tree creeper flitted up and down searching the bark for morsels of food. The tackle was ready  a favourite lure hanging from the rod. I enjoyed the quiet in anticipation of a couple of hours fishing ahead imagining the tide  as it pushed into the boulder strewn shoreline below.                                                                                                                      

            James duly arrived and we chatted as we descended to the beach. A gentle breeze wafted the smell of the sea as we approached, the sweet decay of drying seaweed and salty water. I paused to breathe in the air pleased to be released from a lockdown of a couple of months.

            A scramble over weed and barnacle encrusted rocks brought us to the waters edge where we chose our ambush points. It was a delight to once again send a lure out watch it splash on the surface before settling into the rhythm of searching the water. The water was clear and calm; James glimpsed a good bass ghosting past along with several mullet.

            I searched the water with both my lures and my eyes full of expectation. Thoughts of a troubled world erased temporarily from the mind. Gradually I became immersed in the location the vast waters that are the Bristol Channel. Pleasing cloud formations, sunlight on calm waters and the gentle lapping of the waves on the shoreline.  The expectation of that electrifying jolt down the line as a bass seized the lure gradually faded as the early tide pushed inevitably in.

            We walked back to the car talking of the next trip as we paused to admire the wild thrift that decorated the cliffs.

Sturgeon in North Devon – Can you help?

Sturgeon in North Devon – Can you help?

Angling Heritage has embarked on a project of finding out about the history of wild sturgeon in the UK, whether they were found as corpses, caught in nets or on regular tackle. (This doesn’t include stocked fish captures).

The Severn estuary was a stronghold in the past and as 5% of fish return to spawn in the wrong river we hoped there may be other records that you could help with or put us in contact with people who have some knowledge.  We have some information that one of 160lbs appeared at Bideford Bridge on May 17th 1862 and that three were in the Taw but that is the sum total information we have of North Devon.

Their last stronghold in the Europe is the Gironde in France where they believe there are only 500 wild fish left.  Conservation is being considered, but with males and females spawning in alternative years, the likelihood of wild fish breeding is very low.

A task force in Europe is looking at where the fish used to be with a view to reintroducing them. In the UK, where we have the longest coastline in Europe, they used to be plentiful but netting wiped them out as they used to be a staple food centuries ago. So any information would give an insight into where they lived in the past and  a indication of potential sites for introduction the future.

It is very early days and there is so much work to do in just compiling this database, but any help would be much appreciated.

Finally, if you catch one, put it back after photographing it and measuring it for the long term health of the species.

SOUTH WEST LAKES TRUST – OPENING STATEMENT

See below statement regarding the opening of South West Lakes Trust Waters. At present there is no night fishing in line with the government guidance that states no staying away from home. It is to be hoped that this will be reviewed at some point to allow 24 hours angling.

Please find below the link to our website which has the amended rules for the re-opening of fisheries and guidance around social distancing and measures to protect everyone. Its ESSENTIAL you read this information as it also includes a new update on night fishing which will not be permitted at this stage.

Fishing will be dawn to dusk with the exception of tomorrow 13 May when the fisheries re-open at 10am.

https://coarse.swlakesfishing.co.uk/coarse-angling-coronavirus-information/

This statement applies to both coarse and trout fishing.

Thankyou for your patience and understanding at this time.

Ben Smeeth

Coarse Angling: Coronavirus Information – SW Lakes Coarse Fishing
Issue date: 12 May 2020 15:45 Prior to every fishing trip, it is essential that you check the information on this page to ensure that you are up to date with relevant site information, rules and regulations. In line with government guidance to continue to stay home but enjoy more time outdoors we ar…
coarse.swlakesfishing.co.uk

The Return of Angling

I have copied the relevant section that relates to angling for clear guidance. I have read a lot of speculation regarding regulations but from what I can see its fairly clear. You can go fishing providing social distance is maintained. Competitive angling and charter boat fishing is not presently on the agenda and suspect it will be July at the earliest before this returns. It would be good if tackle shops could open but my interpretation is that it will be June before this happens.

I confess that I have not read all fifty pages of the report that can reviewed via the below link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy

Public spaces

SAGE advise that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, so the Government is updating the rules so that, as well as exercise, people can also now spend time outdoors subject to: not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household; continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household; good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces; and those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new COVID-19 secure guidance.

People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish. For example, this would include angling and tennis. You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces. You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.

People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people outside your household.

When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UKwhere it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.

These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.

ANGLING TRUST CONFIRM FISHING TO RESUME ON WEDNESDAY

Looking Good stay Safe and follow the rules.

Snowbee NHS Fly Rod Giveaway

West Country tackle company have produced a special rod to help raise money for the NHS visit their giving page for the chance to win a superb rod and support the NHS.

Snowbee NHS Fly Rod Giveaway

We are giving a Special edition “NHS” fly rod away for NHS Charities Together because our NHS workers are super heroes…

NHS Charities Together

We raise money for nhs charities to enhance patient care

Charity Registration No. 1186569

Story

Thanks for taking the time to visit our JustGiving page.

Snowbee in collaboration with Paul Davison have produced a bespoke NHS fly rod in aid of the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. The rod a 10′ #7wt Spectre, will be given to one of the kind contributors to our fundraising page. We also give thanks to the Angling Trust for helping to promote & raise awareness of our fundraising efforts for the brilliant NHS.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO DONATE

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/snowbee-nhs-rod?fbclid=IwAR1uCVO9S7vxBUVKJ0BlcYy6E-XDNF6583xJJckrH_Xbe-HfCtUV3eYK5v0

Contemplation in Surreal Times

posted in: At the Waters Edge, Sidebar | 0

Life is a little surreal right now perhaps with more time for contemplation. Pauline was sorting through an old tin of my late mothers’ memories. Most of the images raised little interest for me as I read a recently acquired book by my favourite author.

Then she came upon this old photo. Who was the fisherman in this old black and white photograph I wondered? I suspect it was my Uncle Jack who my mother recalled was a keen angler. The River was likely to be the Warwickshire Avon on a tranquil summers day in the 1940’s or early fifties.

I recall fishing the Avon several years ago on a warm September evening. Pauline and I sat beside the River opposite the Shakespeare Theatre and I drifted a float that dipped from time to time as plump gudgeon and roach seized the maggots. I was pleased to catch the gudgeon as it was these delightful fish that my mother once told me she had caught close to this very spot. Pauline and I chatted to a cheerful young man with a dog. Strange how some memories remain etched in the mind. Sometimes I wonder where the fishing gene came from for my family are not awash with keen anglers.

Part way through these jottings we went for our daily exercise or Boris walk as some have christened it. The sun was slowly sinking and wispy clouds decorated the evening sky. As we walked towards an old farm house swallows and martins swooped above in a timeless scene. Perhaps we as anglers haunt the same waters over many generations returning as time slowly drifts through the ages.

Thought for VE Day

In these troubled times we look back at the dark days of the second world war and some have drawn parallels to those dark times. Can we really compare the sacrifice of staying home to stay safe with the terror and destruction of a conflict that raged for more than six years?

I recalled a photo I saw a few years ago sat upon the mantle piece of a fishing hut beside the peacefully flowing River Torridge. It is somehow reassuring to stand beside a river and feel the continuity of nature. I am sure there were anglers who rested here thankful to have survived the horrors of conflict whilst casting a line across tranquil waters.

In the coming months it is to be hoped that anglers can once again return to the waters edge. Sadly the numbers of salmon are much depleted since those days 75 years ago when the nation celebrated Victory in Europe.