WIMBLEBALL – LATE AUTUMN

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Fly Fishers have enjoyed a splendid season at Wimbleball Reservoir with regular stockings of quality rainbow trout throughout out the season.

I enjoyed some exciting sessions at the venue in the spring but have struggled to get back during the summer months with other fishing trips and lifes demands conspiring to keep me away from this delightful venue high on Exmoor. With reports of some stunning rainbows being caught during the autumn I was determined to have at least one more session before the seasons close at the end of November.

Whilst the North Devon coast was tempting I decided I must take the fly rod and try for a reservoir rainbow. After the big storm that had blown through on Saturday I wondered what the water clarity would be like as I arrived on Sunday morning. To my relief the water was crystal clear and sparkling in the late autumn sunshine.  A brisk Westerly breeze was blowing across the lake into Ruggs Bay where I started my session. After half an hour or so without a pull I decided to move to Bessoms Bank opposite where the wind would be blowing over my shoulder, This was also the area that appeared to be fishing well according to the catch returns in the fishery office.

A couple of other anglers were already fishing this area and boats were drifting off this bank indicating that a few fish were probably about. It was encouraging to see several fish rising within casting range of the bank especially with it being November 3rd. I was fishing a team of flies with a floating line, Montana on the point and buzzers on the droppers. After ten minutes a fish rose at the limit of my casting range and I dropped my fly bang on target! One pull, two pulls and there came that satisfying thump down the line. The rod hooped over and several yards of line disappeared through the rod rings. A near fin perfect rainbow of around 3lb was soon safely in the net.

I persisted with the floating line set up for a couple of hours briefly feeling one other fish. With few fish rising as afternoon set in I changed over to a sinking line and a lure with a long black marabou tail and silver head. After ten minutes a solid take resulted in another hard fighting rainbow of a similar size to the first.

With two trout in the bag I now ensured that I was using barbless flies. For a while I persisted with the lure and sinking line approach and had several follows and swirls, I glimpsed what looked like a very large brown trout following the lure right to waters edge. After this all went quiet for a while and I reverted back to the floating line for an hour without success.

With no activity on the surface I again swapped over to the sinking line and lure approach. After ten minutes a beautiful brown trout of around 1lb seized the lure and was slipped free without removing from the water. Next cast brought a solid take from another brown trout that was pushing 3lb this was returned immediately as being on my own it would be difficult to get a decent picture.

As the light started to fade heavy rain began to fall and I decided it was time to head for home. It had been a very enjoyable day with a couple of good trout for tomorrow nights tea a pleasing brace of browns returned and that monster glimpsed to come back for next time. I slipped back into the permit office to make my return and checked out what others had caught. Plenty of stunning rainbows to over 5lb had succumbed with several multiple bags of fish. I could have done better but at least I had caught a few and enjoyed my day. I will be back in the spring. There are over three weeks left of the season and there are some stunning rainbows waiting to be caught from what has to be the West Country’s best large Stillwater. trout fishery.

Wimbleball – Fine Autumn Trout sport

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Stillwater Trout anglers are enjoying fine sport at Wimbleball Reservoir with rainbows into double figures succumbing to lures fished close to the surface. The catch and release policy is proving extremely successful with anglers catching up to twenty fish a day with 3lb plus fish frequently stripping anglers lines to the backing. September and October are exciting months for the trout angler on big reservoirs with the trout falling to fry imitations or dry daddy longlegs.

Denis Bilkey with a fine Wimbleball rainbow

WELCOME SUMMER RAIN

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As I write this rain is beating down and I am optimistic that the long summer drought is well and truly over. Whilst many will be grumbling about the wet summer we have not in truth had much rain so far certainly not enough to bring the rivers up and encourage good numbers of salmon and sea trout into the rivers. Sea trout wise it has not been as bad as last year and a few salmon have trickled in. Bob Lewington fished on the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats of the Taw and was rewarded with fine salmon of 9lb. A few salmon have also been tempted on the River East Lyn.

( Below) Chay Bloggis has landed a 7lb fresh run salmon from  the middle Taw on  a Stoats Tail, variant.

The cooler weather is also welcomed by Stillwater Trout Fisheries where the trout do not react well do extra hot conditions.

Pete Tyjas was rewarded whilst searching for silver on the river catching a superb brown trout.

Pete Tyjas “We’ve been hitting the river pretty hard hoping that any small lift might bring some salmon up. Despite our efforts nothing has materialised as yet.

Emma and I popped down this morning just in case and while she fished a pool for salmon I rigged up a single handed rod and decided I’d pull a streamer. At first I thought I’d hooked a grilse but it turned out to be a trout, the sort that I have only really dreamt about catching in Devon. I’m pleased Emma had a salmon net!

I’d love to say that it were perfect conditions for a heavy hatch and rising fish but it wasn’t and I just used what I had to hand.

Perhaps this method isn’t for for the purists but I don’t think I’d bump into a fish like this other than late at night or during a good hatch of mays. Happy? Just a little, sometimes your dreams do come true.”

BLAKEWELL RE-OPENS SATURDAY AUGUST 17th

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Blakewell Fishery is due to reopen on Saturday after a short closure to eradicate weed growth for the lake. After restocking with a good head of quality trout sport is likely to be excellent.

Don’t forget here is also the Fun Fishing Lake for the younger anglers and the chance to visit the otter via prearrange appointment. Hope to see as many as possible on August 31st for my book signing event see details at bottom of page.

FUN IN THE ESTUARY

With the warm summer weather Stillwater trout fishing is suffering the summer doldrums with trout tending to lurk in the deeper water reluctant to chase anglers flies except perhaps in the early morning or late evening. The rivers are in serious need of a good flush of freshwater so where to take the trout rod?

I had a report from two members of the River Torridge Fishery Association who had visited the lower estuary to enjoy a hectic session with school bass catching a large number on small barbless lures. With warm sunshine forecast a trip to the beach seemed a good plan. Pauline could sit and read a book on the sands whilst I waded out into the warm waters of the lower estuary. In addition to the bass I also had golden grey mullet on my mind and just wondered if I could strike gold after several previous failed attempts?

I after arrived at the waters edge just as the tide started to flood. I had intended to get there a little earlier but had to work out how to put together Paulines beach shelter, the brisk Southerly wind did not help!

The water was surprisingly warm as I walked out and stretched a line across the water. A couple of casts later brought the pleasing tug of a school bass. Several more followed as the tide surged in with the fish seen swirling all around. As the tide pushed in the takes eased off and I decided on a change of tactics fishing two small flies intended for mullet.

Despite the huge numbers of fish present I retrieved my flies without success. I changed tack slightly casting my flies into the shallows and retrieving as slowly as possible. Suddenly the line zipped tight and a fish darted to and fro on the line giving a scrap far out of proportion to its size. I was delighted to see the golden mark that helped identify the fish as a golden grey mullet my first of the species. The next cast and I connected again and the rod bent over with line zipping out as a good fish powered away before the hook pulled! I big golden grey ? I will never know but I will be back. I then discovered that if I dapped the flies lightly on a short line I could catch a bass on every cast. Twenty- five or thirty bass later I walked back up the beach as rain began to fall. Time to watch a bit of cricket to end a fun summers day.

Apologies for the poor pictures it not easy trying to get a pic without dropping phone or fish.

FORCE the Cancer charity day organised by John Dawson at Exe Valley

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Many thanks to Exmoor Fly Fishing for letting me reproduce their report on the charity event at Exe Valley.

Fishing for FORCE the Cancer charity day organised by John Dawson was held at the superb Exe Valley Fishery by kind permission of Sue & Nick Hart.
The day started overcast and dimpsey in other words Exmoor weather! Jackie joined me to learn how to fly fish in no time she was throwing nice loops so it was on to the lake …no pulling lures here it was small flies from the word go . She was soon into her first fish of the day a quick burger and coffee then I took Rory under my wing it wasn’t long before I heard the shout “ I’ve got one I’ve got one” an epic battle ensued before a fin perfect Exe Valley rocket was drawn over the net….several more soon followed, the fishery is fishing really well and the Trout are up in the water and will readily take a dry.
Thanks must go to John Dawson, Sue Hart and the ladies from Force for putting the day on and raising lots of money for the charity.

Blakewell Trout Sport Under Blue Skies

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club Members assembled at Blakewell Fishery the lake looking stunning with fresh green foliage forming a stunning back drop. Members elected to opt for the sporting ticket allowing two fish to be retained before continuing on a catch and release basis.

The competition was run on the first two fish caught.

1st – Colin Combe – 3lb 9oz

2nd – David Eldred – 3lb 7oz

3rd – Nigel Bird – 3lb 5oz

4th – Andre Muxworthy – 2lb 10oz

5th – Wayne Thomas  2lb 4oz

Small imitative patterns worked well in the clear water and bright sunshine with all members catching their allotted brace and then enjoying some exciting catch and release sport. From mid may until the end of June the English countryside is at its very best with everything a vivid green with bird and pond life flourishing all around.

(Above )Time for break and a chat.
(Above) A pleasing brown of close to 2lb

EXE VALLEY TROUT MASTERS RESULT

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Troutmasters Results

Well done to everyone who took part in the Troutmasters competition on Sunday 14th April 2019. The competition took place over four hours and even with the freezing cold easterly wind the ten anglers that attended managed a rod average of 2.4 fish per angler, with several anglers heading back to Anchor lake to continue fishing after the match had ended. Best tactics throughout this colder spell have been to fish deeper and slower.

  1. Chris Short with 5 fish weighing 16lb 8oz
  2. Keith Ratcliffe with 4 fish weighing 11lb 12oz
  3. Philip Duckett with 3 fish weighing 10lb 12oz
  4. Mary Ratcliffe with 3 fish weighing 7lb 12oz

  5. Ben Cheeld with 3 fish weighing 6lb 4oz

  6. Richard Cooper with 2 fish weighing 5lb 8oz
  7. Mike Duckett with 2 fish weighing 5lb
  8. Sam Shepherd – Junior with 2 fish weighing 4lb 12oz

    9 -Terence O’Keefe

    9 – Peter Kyle

    Junior Winner – Sam Shepherd

Exmoor Trout Fisheries for all.

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The above full tailed rainbow trout was landed by Nick Hart who runs the nearby Exe Valley Fishery. Wimbleball and Exe Valley offer Fly Fishers visiting Exmoor an excellant choice of venues. The wide open expanse of Wimbleball offers the challenge of hard fighting fish in a stunning setting of moorland, woods and extensive farmland.

Exe Valley is situated in a sheltered valley beside the River Exe and offers fishing for both experienced anglers and families. Being slight less imposing Exe Valley is an ideal venue for those wanting to try trout fishing before venturing out to the wild expanse of Wimbleball.

Exe Valleys tranquil waters offer great sport.

Both fisheries offer catch and release options with stunning brown and rainbow trout.

(Above)A hard fighting rainbow on the line at Wimbleball