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from-left-2nd-rob-gale-1st-matt-kingdon-3rd-alec-hoareCongratulations to Matt Kingdon on winning South West Lakes Trust’s Best of the Best competition at Wimbleball. Full report below from Ben Smeeth of South West Lakes Trust

Matt Kingdon has won the Best of the Best £5000 final at Wimbleball Lake held on 18 September after being the only angler to catch a limit of 10 fish. The competition, now in its third year, is run by South West Lakes Trust and sponsored by Snowbee (

Matt, from Barnstaple, bagged his limit with more than an hour to go from the Bessoms Bridge area of the lake. Successful tactics were a team of three flies consisting of a Peach Blob on top, a Red Holographic Cruncher in the middle and a Black Lure with Malibu Tail and a Green Sparkled Body with Red Rib on the bottom fly. A slow to medium retrieve to jerk the Malibu Tail accounted for seven of Matt’s ten fish. He collected £2000 for the win, following on from his third place finish where he won £1000 in the 2015 final. It completes a great week for Matt who qualified for the Home International Loch style in 2017.

57 anglers fished the final after 92 had qualified throughout the season from Kennick, Wimbleball, Stithians, Siblyback and Burrator. After the briefing was done, there was a mad dash for the favoured fishing spots with most anglers opting for Bessoms and Ruggs end of the lake. The weather conditions were pretty good with a slight ripple on the water, overcast mainly but warm sunny spells at times. A lot of fish were showing out of casting range and catches were much slower than the previous week which was expected after the pressure from anglers practising.

Rob Gale, from Ashburton, finished second catching eight fish from the Narrows to claim the £1250 prize pot with Alec Hoare, Newton Abbot, claiming the £750 third place with seven fish for 11lb 4oz with only 5 ounces separating fifth place from third!

There was a strong Kennick Fly Fishers Association showing at the top of the individual standings with the top five finishers all members. After winning it the last two years Andrew Gooding finished a creditable 8th.

The largest fish in the final (not finishing in the top three) was won jointly by Mike Stone (Starcross) and Roger Truscott (Liskeard) who shared the £500 prize fund with a Rainbow of 2lb 2oz each.

The blind pairs was introduced this season and the winners, claiming £150 each, were Matt Kingdon and Steve Ebdon (Exeter) with Rob Gale and John Huckings (Camelford) finishing second to win £100 each.

There were 127 Rainbows caught in total giving a 2.3 rod average per person for the competition with a further 30 Browns also caught and released.

Simon Kidd from Snowbee was on hand to give out the prizes and here is the full list of prize winners:


Winner – Matt Kingdon 10 fish for 15lb 6oz £2000 BOB trophy and name on the honours board in the permit room
Runner up – Rob Gale 8 fish for 13lb 4oz £1250 BOB trophy and name on the honours board in the permit room
Third – Alec Hoare 7 fish for 11lb 4oz £750 BOB trophy and name on the honours board in the permit room
Heaviest Fish (not finishing in the top three) Mike Stone and Roger Truscott 2lb 2oz £250 each
Second heaviest fish (not in top three) Andy Watson 2lb 1oz Snowbee Fly Vest and Back pack worth over £100
Blind Pairs winners: Matt Kingdon and Steve Ebdon 18lb 12oz £150 each
Blind Pairs runners up: Rob Gale and John Huckings 17lb 15oz £100 each
4th – Andy Watson 7 fish for 10lb 15oz (won on countback with largest fish 2lb 1oz) Snowbee 9ft #6 Geo Nano rod worth £350
5th – Paul Wicks 7 fish for 10lb 15oz New Snowbee Classic Fly rod worth over £200
6th – Pete Kempton 6 fish for 9lb 11oz Snowbee stripping basket worth £50
7th – Nick Tompkins 5 fish for 7lb 9oz Snowbee Slim Line fly box kit worth £40
8th – Andy Gooding 5 fish for 7lb 8oz Snowbee Slim Line fly box kit worth £40
9th – Dave Perks 5 fish for 7lb 6oz (won on countback with largest fish 1lb 12oz) Snowbee Competition Fly Box worth nearly £30
10th – Tony Chipman 5 fish for 7lb 6oz Snowbee easyvue competition fly box worth £20
Heaviest fish Wimbleball – Howard James 6lb 8oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Kennick – Mark Brimblecombe 7lb 6oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Burrator – Allan Lawson 5lb Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Siblyback – Duncan Kier 6lb 8oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50
Heaviest Fish Stithians – Nigel Burley 6lb 11oz Snowbee Fly Line worth £50

The top three will also have their names engraved onto the honours board in the permit room at Wimbleball.

A huge thank you to all of the Marshalls, especially Danny Ford for all his work leading up to and during the competition and also the sponsor Snowbee who very generously donated over £1000 worth of prizes.

Ben Smeeth

Technical Lead for Fishing



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Good news at Exe Valley Fishery …  Anchor Lake  will reopen on Sunday 18th September 2016

Continuing on  work carried out in 2015 the lake has received a five figure sum investment to completely rejuvenate the main attraction at Exe Valley Fishery.

Far too much work has taken place to list but look out for further info on  website and via social media such as Facebook in the near future.

If you would like to see the brand new Anchor Lake for yourself then please note that Sunday 18th, Monday 19th & Tuesday 20th September are available on a book only basis.

To reserve your space please call 01398 323008 or email [email protected]


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IMG_0662 It seems a short time ago that a keen assembly of anglers met up in the Rising Sun in early March to raise a glass to the coming season. Optimism was abundant tales were told of seasons past and hope raised for the one commencing. Many offers were made of fishing days on prime beats and plans to fish. Talk of summer nights and sea trout; of spring salmon on daffodil decorated banks. Were has that season evaporated to as we contemplate an end of season meal at the Rising Sun where I am sure those familiar faces will once again meet to reflect upon triumphs and a few tribulations of the past six months. The event is sure to be a popular one so I would suggest contacting Julian at the Rising Sun without delay.

September 30th

The Rising Sun Hotel

End of Fishing Season Menu


Homemade Vegetable Soup £5.95

Trout & Salmon Roulade £7.95

Chicken Liver Pate £7.95

Scallops St Jacques £8.95

Salmon with Pesto Herb Crumb, New Potatoes & Salad £13.95

Moules Frites £12.95

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni £11.95

6oz Rump Steak with Chips, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Onion Rings & Salad £13.95


Apple & Raspberry Crumble £5.95

Cheesecake £5.95

Ice Cream Selection £4.95

Cheese & Biscuits £8.50

IMG_0950Rising Sun


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IMG_3404I called into Blakewell Fishery on the way home from Barnstaple just in time to meet Roger Ackriod weighing in a four fish bag of quality trout to 4lb 2oz tempted on blood-worm imitation.

IMG_3405Roger Ackriod

The fishery re-opened today September 10th after extensive weed clearing work on the lake that has certainly paid dividends with the water now crystal clear and the bank-side vegetation  still lush and green. After a cup of tea and coffee Pauline and I took a walk around the lake to capture a few images on re-opening day. The early autumn sunshine shone into the clear water giving glimpses of several fine trout that I feel sure would have seized a well presented nymph. John Nickel informed me that several double figure rainbow trout have been stocked along with some pristine brown trout. The next few weeks will see some fine trout landed by visitors to this fine still-water with small imitative patterns most likely to succeed.

Afternoon tea at Blakewell
Afternoon tea at Blakewell



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Slide1Blakewell’s Fly fishing Lake will re-open on Saturday 10th September ’16
Blakewell thank all customers for thier patience during the past couple of weeks,saying “time to dig out your gear, grease up your line and get down here to bag yourself some hard fighting trout!”

As autumn descends and temperatures drop these small still water trout fisheries come into their own providing the opportunity for great sport and a means of keeping in practice when the rivers close for salmon and sea trout fishing.

IMG_2966Blakewell in winter



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Experienced Taw rod Roger Bickley has caught his biggest salmon and the best of the season so far. The huge fish measuring 39″ and estimated at 22lb was tempted from a middle Taw beat using a stoats tail variant tied on a size 6 single hook. Roger described the large cock fish as having its flanks shaded in colours of autumn with a large kype indicating that it had been in the river for some time. The fish was undoubtedly stimulated by a slight rise in the water following isolated thunder storms at the weekend. The fish took around twenty minutes to land making several powerful runs that tested Roger’s 12lb leader to the full. After a few minutes of cradling carefully in the rivers flow the mighty fish gave a kick of its tail and swam strongly away. Hopefully this fine fish will be spawning on the redds high on Exmoor before Christmas as anglers sit beside log fires recalling tales of seasons past.

Len Francis also enjoyed success lower down river landing a 4lb grilse from the day-ticket Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats near Umberleigh. Tickets are available from Ivan Huxtable on 01769540835 or call into the Rising Sun at Umberleigh and speak with Jules.

IMG_5374Roger Bickley fishing the Middle Taw

Rising Sun


High water temperatures and extensive weed growth have made fishing challenging at Bratton Water as at many other waters in the area some of which have been forced to close temporarily. The skillful angler can generally tempt a fish or two from the Bratton Waters Crystal clear waters using either dry flies or small nymphs. South Molton Angler Bob Gooding put his many years of experience to good use catching five brownies in a session the best two scaling 7lb 8oz and 5lb. Arthur Bond landed a brace of 5lb brown trout and rainbow trout.

Bob Gooding

As autumn sets in sport at this tranquil lake will improve with the trout rising freely. Daddy long-leg patterns are well worth trying fished virtually static; this visual fishing is a particularly pleasing way to deceive the specimen browns that cruise within the clear waters.


Trout Fishing News

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August is often a poor month for trout fishing with high water temperatures making the trout reluctant to feed. Excessive weed growth also impacts on many of the regions smaller still-water’s resulting in temporary closure. Blakewell Fishery is presently closed for maintenance and is due to reopen in early September as is Exe Valley near Dulverton. I will post here when both of these excellent fisheries reopen and may well pay a visit to them both myself. It is unfortunate that these conditions coincide with the busy time for tourism as fishery’s stand to lose income as a result of closure. Perhaps it would make sense to have a short close season each summer to allow for weed clearance with the fisheries reopening in early September as temperatures drop and the trout resume their feeding in earnest. Trout anglers would return to the lakes full of enthusiasm after the short break. Keen Fly Fishers can always find sport in the estuary along the coastline targetting bass and grey mullet. On the rivers they can target salmon and sea trout when conditions allow. There are also many miles of river to explore with a light weight fly rod, wild brown trout are beautiful fish that give great sport in beautiful surroundings.


Extracts from South West Lakes Trust Latest news update.


The warm, dry weather continued throughout most of the month with a few very hot sunny days. Water levels are dropping and water temperatures rising (to over 20 ºc), resulting in many of the fish moving out to sheltered, cooler deeper water.


Wimbleball – Boat fishing over the open, deeper, cooler water, particularly nearer the dam, has proved to be the most productive, particularly on the drift, while bank anglers have struggled to locate feeding fish. Weekly rod averages varied between 1 and 2.5 fish per rod. Evenings have been the best time to fish on or near the surface when dry Daddies, Claret

Hoppers, Bobs Bits and Ant patterns have caught fish. Nymphs (Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, Hares Ears and Pheasant Tails) fished on the washing line method, while Orange Blobs and

Boobies on sinking lines have caught the deeper fish. The best fish of the month was a 4lb 3oz Rainbow caught by Mr Ormston, while Paul Grisley caught a full bag of fish up to 3lb. Water level is 67% full.


RoadfordRoadford exploded into life at the end of July and has fished brilliantly all month. Regulars Duncan Kier and Andy Birkett have both had red letter days fishing by boat over the ‘boils’ (aeration pipes near the tower). Duncan managed 56 Brownies in one day up to 3lb 4oz with Andy catching 30 fish the following day up to 3lb. Duncan has returned to take 9 fish followed by a further 32 fish in separate sessions. Successful flies have been a Squinky, Muddler and Leach on the drift over the boils. Boats and engines are available on 01409 211507.



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It is hoped that the present rain will bring the very low River Torridge up and encourage a few more salmon and sea trout into the river. I fished the river today ( Saturday August 20th) and found three salmon lying up in a deep pool. I carefully covered the fish using a small stoats tail pattern with no interest shown. I hen changed to a bead headed long tailed black pattern and fished it as if casting a nymph to a trout. On the second cast a salmon turned and seized the offering twisting and turning for a few moments before the hook hold gave way. Whilst I had blanked it was good to hook my first salmon of the season. Its always a joy to be at the rivers edge to see a salmon and glimpse a kingfisher is reward enough.

Dr Jonathon Compson landing eleven sea trout in two late evening sessions. Martin Weeks has also enjoyed success landing several sea trout averaging 1lb to 2lb and a couple of grilse in the 3lb to 4lb range fishing at night for sea trout. Last weekend saw a small spate hit the rivers that should encourage a few more fish into the rivers.

Below is the latest newsletter from the River Torridge Fishery Association an organization well worth joining if you care for the river, its salmon and its health.



Fishery Update: two good spates in June and another at the beginning of August have kept the river at a reasonable level. Salmon and sea trout catches have been similar to recent years. There has been a run of grilse (approx 4lb) and these are now well spread throughout the catchment. Interestingly some have been caught by anglers fishing for sea trout after dark. At least two double figure sea trout have been caught and released. The brown trout fishing has been good, but as in recent years most of the fish have been caught with a nymph or wet fly.

The Hatchery: it’s that time of the year again: in early November we will be trapping the broodstock of five hens and six cocks. This winter we are again planning to rear upto 30,000 swim-up fry to stock out into the headwaters next spring. Running the hatchery is an expensive operation and we do need your support if we are going to be able to continue to stock those tributaries that currently demonstrate low juvenile numbers.

Juvenile Surveys: your association has commissioned the West Country Rivers Trust to undertake an extensive juvenile survey programme. Over the next three years. 40 sites will be surveyed. This will give us a far better understanding of which sections of the catchment are failing. The cost to the Association will be in excess of £6,000. Again your support is essential to enable this project to be completed.

The Annual Fundraising Dinner and Draw: will take place at The Half Moon, Sheepwash on Saturday 8th October. Please book direct with The Half Moon: tel: 01409231376.

The Annual Fundraising Raffle: enclosed are four books of five tickets. Please buy or even better sell to your friends. Then return the completed counterfoils/money to Charles Inniss at the above address. There will be the usual excellent prize list. If additional draw books are required or if you are able to donate a prize, please contact either Charles Inniss or Paul Ashworth on 01805804143.

Salmon Season Extension: the salmon season will again be extended by a fortnight until the 14th October. Special permits can be obtained from the Secretary. During the extension period fishing must be with single barbless hooks and all fish must be released.

Salmon Bye-law: a reminder that all salmon over 70cms (approx 7lb) must, after 1st August, be released. The Association encourages the release of all salmon and just as important all sea trout.


The River Torridge Fishery Association

President: Lord Clinton

Chairman: Paul Ashworth

Secretary: Charles Inniss Tel: 01409231237   e-mail: [email protected]