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.

Wimbleball in Fine Form as it re-opens

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Wimbleball on Exmoor is fishing exceptionally well since reopening to angling in line with government guidelines.

The fishing is on fire at Wimbleball since we re-opened, we’re receiving some great reports & catch returns, just the tonic we needed as things stand with this virus. Tactics vary over the day as you’d expect & Di3 & Di5 lines are working well with black lures, but equally anglers are catching with teams of small dark flies just under the surface. Photos courtesy of Alan Behan who had a great day with his best Rainbow at 5lb 3ozs…

David Plumridge
Richard Stewart

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

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

Lockdown Continues and Its goodbye to North Devon’s long serving Fishery Officer

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Last weeks Journal report if you missed it!

As we all endure the on-going lockdown thoughts turn increasingly to past exploits and to future plans for casting our lines. Nobody knows when this crisis will end but at some point a new normality will return and the waters edge will be with us once again. The Angling Trust whilst fully supporting the lockdown has been emphasizing the point that angling should be one of the first pastimes to be allowed to resume when safe. Angling is to a large extent possible whilst maintaining social distancing and due to its strong connection with nature has significant mental health benefits. The Trust has created a special page to entertain and inform anglers during the COVID-19 crisis and it is well worth a look with a wide selection of informative videos to view.

The River Torridge Fishery Association has recently published their latest Newsreel that reveals a successful year at their hatchery. During the winter and early spring the hatchery team has successfully nurtured 38,000 swim up fry that were stocked out into the River Torridge headwaters and main tributaries. This ongoing project gives RTFA members a strong feeling that they are at least attempting to put something back into their treasured river. The gift of nature’s wild salmon is to be valued and protected for this iconic species is a barometer to the health of our rivers and the wider environment. The rivers can be likened to the arteries of the land distributing life and water in a vital natural cycle that we endanger at our peril.

North Devon’s Fishery Officer Paul Carter has retired from the Environment Agency after more than three decades of loyal service. I have known Paul personally throughout his long career and have the utmost respect for his dedication to North Devon’s fisheries. His vast knowledge and experience will be missed by many within North Devon’s angling community. Paul has helped with many projects over the years including the provision of Bideford Angling Clubs Coarse Fishing Lakes, The River Torridge Salmon Hatchery and The Taw Access over Weirs Project along with numerous initiatives involving local schools. I wish Paul and his family all the best for the future and hope to catch up with him for a few tales from the water’s edge.

The vital work undertaken by Paul will still be carried out by members of the Environment Agency’s wider team. It is to be hoped that a replacement will soon be recruited. There is also an increasing reliance upon charities like the West Country River Trust to police our rivers in the fight against pollution. Fishery enforcement work is to a large extent undertaken by riparian owners with back up from the police where fish theft or poaching is suspected.

Like many anglers I have been taking this opportunity to sort through my tackle collection. Many of the lures I own will never be used for they have perhaps fallen out of favour as new more attractive versions have been produced by a tackle trade that has to appeal to both anglers and fish. I suspect that many more anglers are tempted by the visual appeal or wiggle of a lure than the fish themselves. This is however all part of the intricate game that we play.

Barnstaple & District Angling Club – Vice President Rowland “Bob “Keating – A Tribute

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 John Webber sent me sad news from Barnstaple & District Angling Club

It is with sadness that I report the death of our Vice President Rowland ‘Bob’ Keating.

Bob was a longtime member of our committee and an avid game fisherman, spending many happy hours at Newbridge in the pursuit of salmon and sea trout. Ill health several years ago sadly curtailed his fishing activity.

He will be remembered as a bankside companion, whose tales of when he served on HM Submarines and other stories, kept us fellow anglers amused for hours.

A good friend and fisherman. May he rest in peace.

Childhood Streams – By Ross Stanway

Many thanks to Ross Stanway who produced this enchanting piece for North Devon Angling News. I know that there are many who will read this and recall their own days beside childhood streams. The West Country is criss-crossed by these fascinating streams that have seen many hundreds of anglers born. The piece is illustrated with more of Ross’s stunning illustrations available via his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RossStanwayMarineArt/