It was always likely to be a challenging days fishing with a hot sunny day forecast requiring the packing of sun cream and plenty of water. The drive to Wimbleball was a delight with Exmoor in full summer splendour. Bright yellow buttercups and the delicate white flowers of cow parsley lined the roadside and the trees were close to being in full leaf.
I met up with Matt Kingdon at Wimbleball’s boat jetty at 9.00am, we were fishing in South Molton Angling Clubs annual visit to the fishery where members hoped to catch a fish that could win the Mac Trophy.
Matt had fished the venue a few days earlier and enjoyed good sport using sinking lines and brightly coloured blobs and boobies. With warm sunshine we hoped that the fish might start to feast upon the brown beetles that were present in good numbers.
During early season I am happy to fish Wimbleball from the bank where fish can generally be tempted using buzzer tactics or lures on long leaders. As summer progresses access to deeper water can be beneficial and the ability to search the vast acreage becomes a distinct advantage.
We headed to Cowmoor for our first drifts searching previously productive areas with bright blobs and boobies. The first half an hour brought no action despite covering plenty of water as we set up different drifts.
We moved to the far end of the bay and found a few fish rising prompting a change to floating lines. Half an hour casting beetle patterns at rising fish resulted in a handsome wild brown trout of around 1lb.
With fish hard to find and less fish rising we decided to head for the tree shrouded Upton Arm. We pushed up into the far end of the Upton Arm with its steep wooded banks giving an almost Amazon jungle atmosphere as a hot sun beat down and thousands of small roach massed in amongst the tree branches.
We worked our way out through the Upton Arm at times frustrated by the cyclonic wind that dropped away and veered frequently in direction. Matt was first to succeed hooking a rainbow of around 3lb that as always gave a spirited tussle.
We persevered in the Upton Arm and Matt had a few follows and added another rainbow to his tally. My flies remained untouched as I fished hard and expectantly, a rainbow did follow my flies to the surface actually leaving the water as I lifted and taking a nip at the point fly as it dived back into the depths.
Perhaps we should have stayed in the Upton Arm instead of moving on? But move we did, back to Cowmoor and then to search Rugg’s and Bessom’s for a while before returning to Cowmoor for the Final effort.
We found fellow club members Ed Rands and Steve Bendle anchored up and reporting that they had found a few fish including a stunning 6lb 8oz rainbow to Steve’s rod.
We commenced a search close by and once again Matt was in action with hard fighting rainbows and a beautiful wild brown trout.
Suddenly my line zipped delightfully tight as a 3lb rainbow hit my yellow blob to give a hard battle before succumbing.
We fished on for a while having several last drifts before eventually deciding we had had enough.
It had been a hard day’s fishing beneath a cloudless sky. Sunseekers and water-sports enthusiasts were present in large numbers but there is room for all on Wimbleballs vast acreage.
We observed how natures calendar seems to be running slightly late with may blossom still in full flower in mid-June as foxgloves bloom. Sometimes a hard day’s fishing such as this is just as enjoyable as an action filled day when the fish come easy. Is there a better place to be than bobbing about in a boat beneath a blue sky amidst Exmoor’s pristine summer landscape?