Wimbleball in fine Spring Form

Mark Jones and his brother enjoyed a cracking day at Wimbleball where Mark boated a personal best rainbow of 8lb and and another fine rainbow of 5lb 10oz.  Marks fish plus another four over 4lb were tempted using dial bach’s and buzzers. Marks brother boated a 5lb rainbow first cast! The venue is certainly providing some superb sport despite the inclement early spring weather.

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club – Presentation Night

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club  held their presentation night at the Pack of Cards Combe Martin where club members and their partners enjoyed a delicious meal. The club was formed in the late seventies and is still going strong despite Wistlandpound being downgraded to a wild brown trout fishery. The small friendly club hold competitions throughout the year visiting the regions many still waters in search of trout.

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club – Award Winners 2019 Members 

South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

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February 2020

At the time of writing, Kennick is the only South West Lakes Trust Trout fishery that has opened for the 2020 season and, in spite of three named storms, strong winds and heavy rains, anglers who have braved the elements have been rewarded with some excellent sport.

The opening weekend (14 February) produced a rod average of over four fish, with over half of the anglers recording a full bag. The fish are lying deep, so sunk lines fishing weighted lures (Blobs, Nomads, and Cats Whiskers, as well as Goldhead Damsels) have produced the best results, with fish being caught from the banks at Clampitts, Laployds, up to the Causeway. The best fish caught on opening day was a 2lb 12oz Rainbow, caught by Andy Gooding (from Liverton), while Andy Lobb braved storm Dennis to bag eight Rainbows weighing in at 17lb 5oz.

The following week continued to produce some fine fishing, with most anglers opting to fish from the banks (although boat anglers caught well in the deeper waters in Outer Clampitts), with the North end of the fishery producing the best results. Anglers averaged a rod average of 3.1 fish per rod, including plenty of strong overwintered fish, with Mike Malpas catching the best fish – a Rainbow of 3lb 12oz.

The seventh annual South West Fly Fair (this year’s main show sponsor being Chevron Hackles) was held on 29 February at Roadford Lake and, yet again, the day proved to be a great success. In addition to the opportunity to try out the latest equipment available from the various trade stands, there were casting and fly tying demonstrations from the show’s patron, Charles Jardine, as well as demonstrations, including preparation and cooking your catch, from Gary Champion. A number of fly tiers were on hand to demonstrate and explain various techniques, with the opportunity to ‘have a go’ with the experts, as well as stands organised by local Clubs, fishery and environmental organisations. The day is always a great opportunity to buy that essential tackle for the new season, as well as to catch up with old friends and to talk fishing in anticipation of the forthcoming year on the water.

Annual Fly Fair Attracts Over 200 People to Roadford

The eighth South West Fly Fair got the Trout fishing season off with a bang on Saturday 29 February as fly fishermen from all over the region attended the annual show, held at Roadford Lake and hosted by South West Lakes Trust.

The show is always a great place to grab a bargain, watch some fantastic demonstrations from Trout fishing celebrities and speak to the many organisation and trade stands that attend. There was also a free fly casting and fly tying zone for anyone to have go.

The show was launched by Ben Smeeth, Head of Angling for South West Lakes Trust, and then officially opened at 10.30am by Charles Jardine, one of the country’s most respected fly-fishing gurus, England Fly Fishing Commonwealth Team member and patron of the show.

Activities throughout the day included casting demonstrations with Charles, who gave an entertaining and impressive display with the Trout rod, and Gary Champion, a local expert who travels worldwide teaching people to fish and give demonstrations.

More than 30 people took advantage of the free fly casting lessons and clinics for both newcomers to the sport and experienced anglers feeling a little rusty after the closed season. Gary Champion gave a fantastic demonstration on ways to prepare and cook your Trout once you have caught it with samples to taste. This was a real treat on a very cold day!

There were a variety of angling conservation organisations including The Westcountry Rivers Trust, The Wild Trout Trust and local custom rod maker, Luke Bannister, who has built up an international following for his beautiful hand-crafted split cane rods.

Those looking for new fishing opportunities in 2020 were able to speak to representatives from various fishing clubs throughout the region.

There was also a large selection of angling trade stands including impressive displays from the shows sponsor Chevron Hackles, with the opportunity to handle, try and buy this year’s latest equipment.

The 2020 Trout fishing season has started on the South West Lakes Trust Rainbow Trout water Kennick with Siblyback, Stithians and Burrator all opening on 7 March. The Brown Trout season for Roadford, Fernworthy, Colliford and Wistlandpound starts on 15 March. Full details and this year’s prices are on the Trust’s website – www.swlakesfishing.co.uk.

SOUTH WEST FLY FAIR 2020

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Ben Smeeth – Head of Fishing at South West Lakes Trust

The South West Fly Fair at Roadford Lake has become a popular fixture on the West Country angling calendar and always attracts a healthy number of the regions fly fishing enthusiasts. Falling on the eve of a new season the event is always good for stocking up with tackle and catching up with fellow anglers rekindling old friendships and forming new ones.

The Casterbridge Fishery Team

There is always a strong focus on the environment that is vital to the health of ourselves and the fish we seek. After a stormy winter with exceptional rainfall anglers are looking forward to warmer months rising trout and perhaps silver sea trout and salmon.

Gary Champion give a casting demonstration during a lull in the blustery weather.

This year’s event was sponsored by Chevron Hackles. Chevron are a local company who produce top quality fly tying hackles for the discerning Fly tyer.

The following stall holders were present :- Alan Riddell Rods, Arundell Arms, Turral, Homeleigh Angling Centre, Chevron Hackles ( Show Sponsor) Snowbee UK, Casterbridge Fisheries, Luke Bannister Split Cane Rods, British Float Tube Association, Second Hand Tackle Sale, Wild Trout Trust, Author Wayne Thomas, West Country River Trust, South West Lakes, South West Lakes Invasive Species, Virtual Nymph, Grayling society and Launceston Anglers, Milemead Fish Farm, Torre Trout Farms.

The following stall holders were present :- Alan Riddell Rods, Arundell Arms, Turral, Homeleigh Angling Centre, Chevron Hackles ( Show Sponsor) Snowbee UK, Casterbridge Fisheries, Luke Bannister Split Cane Rods, British Float Tube Association, Second Hand Tackle Sale, Wild Trout Trust, Author Wayne Thomas, West Country River Trust, South West Lakes, South West Lakes Invasive Species, Virtual Nymph, Grayling society and Launceston Anglers, Milemead Fish Farm, Torre Trout Farms.

Plenty of flies to tempt both anglers and trout!

The South West Angling Show

There is an exciting date for South West Anglers to add to their Diaries. The South West Angling Show is to be held on Saturday May 2nd and Sunday May 3rd at Newton Abbot Race Course.

I asked host Zenia Gregorek to send me a few words on the event:-

I am so excited and honoured to be asked to be the host and presenter of the 1st ever South West Angling Show which will take place at Newton Abbot Racecourse on Saturday 2nd May and Sunday 3rd May.

We will be fronting some of the biggest brands from across the country offering great deals and offers on great tackle at the show and also showcasing some fantastic talks on the main stage of influential Anglers interviewed by myself.

We are very excited about bringing an Angling Show to the South West and hope to see everyone join us to celebrate it and make it a success to continue in the future.

Anglers Paradise

Salmon Fishing Season off to a flooded start

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A new salmon season began on Sunday March 1st  but looking at the Taw below Newbridge on the eve of the season I doubt if any of the North Devon rivers will be fishable for at least a week. Early season is often hampered by high river levels and in the longer term this could be to anglers advantage as it will hopefully mean that there is a plenty of water well into the season. The early part of the season can produce some of the biggest fish of the year with big fresh run spring salmon one of angling greatest prizes. Don’t forget that all salmon have to be returned to the river in the first three months of the season. Catch and release is also encouraged throughout the entire season with barbless single hooks preferable.

Salmon close seasons by river

River Start and end
Avon (Devon) 1 Dec to 14 Apr
Erme 1 Nov to 14 Mar
Axe, Otter, Sid 1 Nov to 14 Mar
Lim 1 Oct to the last day of Feb
Camel, Gannel, Menalhyl, Valency 16 Dec to 30 Apr
Dart 1 Oct to 31 Jan
Exe 1 Oct to 13 Feb
Fowey, Looe, Seaton 16 Dec to 31 Mar
Tamar, Tavy, Lynher 15 Oct to the last day of Feb
Plym, Yealm 16 Dec to 31 Mar
Taw, Torridge 1 Oct to the last day of Feb
Lyn 1 Nov to 31 Jan
Teign 1 Sep to 31 Jan

WIMBLEBALL – OPENING DAY – MARCH 1st 2020

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Wimbleball is a good hours drive from our house North of Barnstaple but it’s a drive I always enjoy winding across Exmoor’s wild landscape. A wintry dusting covered the moors on the high ground yet signs of spring were all around with daffodils already blooming and the snowdrops already withering.

I had been looking forward to Opening day with anticipation since my last visit to the venue on the close of the season last November. Storm Jorge had forced the cancellation of the boat launch and undoubtedly deterred all but the hardiest of Fly Fishers. I had arranged to meet Fishery Manager Mark Underhill and his wife Trudi for a chat before joining former England International Matt Kingdon at the lakeside. Mark and Trudi have transformed Wimbleball over the past two seasons stocking the lake with large numbers of fighting fit full tailed rainbows and introducing an enlightened catch and release option that enables anglers to enjoy a full day on the bank.

Mark and Trudi Underhill

Early March is not for the faint hearted as it can be bracing. A cold wind was driving across the lake as I walked down to greet Matt who had been fishing for fifteen minutes without a touch. I had set up an intermediate Snowbee Fly Line with a gold headed black lure on an 8lb b.s leader. I never go below 8lb b.s as the trout at Wimbleball have smashed up many an angler’s tippet as they seize the lure.

I waded out into the cold water and put a line out allowing the fly and line to sink a couple of feet before starting a slow erratic retrieve. The cold wind and icy water tingled on the fingers. I settled into the rhythm of casting and retrieving, relishing the ever changing vista of the lake, hills and sky. Dark clouds threatened bringing showers of sleety rain.

Suddenly the line zipped delightfully tight and the rod hooped over as a feisty rainbow lunged and powered away causing the reel to sing pleasingly. Matt grabbed a couple of pleasing images of the battle. The full tailed rainbow was well over three pound and a great start to the day.

A few moments later Matt cursed as a vicious take smashed his 9lb point! Ten minutes or so passed before another rainbow hit my lure and gave an aerobatic display on a tight line.

An hour passed with a couple of fish coming adrift for both Matt and I. The hectic sport we had hoped for was not forthcoming though neither Matt nor I mind having to work for our fish.

When it goes quiet a move is often a good idea as the walk warms the body and the change of location brings an injection of fresh hope. The move brought two hook ups in quick succession with both fish coming off after a few seconds.

An angler appeared at the point to my left and immediately hooked into a trout his line singing tightly in the wind, rod hooped over forming a pleasing image against the horizon.

Matt suggested a move to some deeper water and so we set off once again in search of rainbows. The ongoing search inevitably brought connection for Matt as his black lure was intercepted. The next hour saw us catch a further four trout all cracking thick set rainbows of between 3lb and 4lb.

Dark clouds hastened towards us and icy droplets of  wind blow rain beat upon the face and hands. It was close to 3.00pm and we both were pleased to have had enough for one day. We walked back to the cars chatting eagerly of the season to come and more days beside the water.

With frogspawn in the shallows, hawthorn in bud and the soft grey of pussy willow tipping the branches spring was on its way and days of warm sunshine undoubtedly just a few weeks away as winter inevitably gives way to a new season.

Calling in to fill in our catch returns revealed that other anglers had also enjoyed some great sport with plenty of five fish bags, one individual catching fifteen trout on a catch and release ticket ;all on snakes and lures.

The return journey across the moors to the soundtrack of Johnny Walkers Sounds of the seventies was a fitting end to the days fishing. The poignant sound of Terry Jacks; “Seasons In the Sun” reminded me of a  work colleague whose funeral I attended a couple of days ago. A prompt to savour these precious spring days.

Storm Jorge delays boat launch but there’s still a chance to cast a fly

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A serve weather warning for gale force winds as forced the postponement of the boat launch at Wimbleball but Opening day still has the promise of some exciting bank sport at Wimbeball. Hope to meet a few of you on the bank where I will be fully armed with rod and camera.

Try a black lure on a slow sinking line for some exciting opening day action.