Summer Fishing at Wimbleball

WIMBLEBALL

As we enter July trout fishing tends get harder going as the water temperature rises and the fish go deeper. I was eager to get out onto Wimbleball before the summer doldrums set in and had arranged to meet with Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce for a day afloat.

I met up with Jeff at the boat launching bay just before 9.00am and my spirits were immediately lifted by the enthusiastic banter that was flowing amongst the anglers gathering for a day on the water. I have found that angling has been a great antidote to the widespread doom and gloom of the COVID pandemic.

We were all greeted cheerfully by Trevor the fisheries resident guide and bailiff who is always willing to offer valuable advice on where to fish and what tactics to employ.

It seemed the perfect day for trout fishing with a moderate westerly breeze and broken cloud cover. If this had been a month earlier teams of buzzers would have been the way to go I am sure but general consensus was now for deeper water and lures.

During the more difficult days of mid to late summer a boat gives a significant advantage allowing a larger area of the lake to be explored.

Jeff and I decided on a few casts in the sailing club bay just to get warmed up so to speak. As we drifted slowly Jeff caught a glimpse of a good sized rainbow estimated at 6lb + and put his olive damsel into the area. The fish immediately seized the offering and erupted from the water in a flurry of spray. I grabbed for the camera to no avail as Jeff pulled in a slack line to reveal that the hook had partially opened out. Testament to Wimbleball’s hard fighting fish or a dodgy hook?

I had one trout follow my lure in the bay but after this early success we decided to head out onto the lake proper. The deeper water up near the dam seemed a good idea so it was off to there that we headed powered by the petrol outboard.

Drifting the margins Jeff had the first chance as a trout likened to a tuna chased a damsel nymph to the side of the boat. A few more glimpses of trout brought excited comments from Jeff as we explored the lakes margins that dropped off into deep-water within just yards of the bank.

After a few tentative plucks the first fish of the day was secured. A small handsome rudd of just over 8oz!

The Upton Arm has a reputation for producing some superb wild brown trout. And so we headed up into this delightfully wooded bay. Drifting with the strong breeze proved a little too fast even with the drogue so we decided to drop anchor at a promising looking spot not too far off the shoreline. I often ponder upon this for when we fish from boats we often strive to get close to shore whilst when we shore fish we aim to put our flies as far out as possible. In truth the margin of the lake is its biggest and most often productive zone.

This area soon proved a good call as Jeff hooked a fine rainbow of close to 5lb that used its broad tail to good effect. Over the next couple of hours Jeff added another three rainbows to the tally. I couldn’t get a pull and started to question what I was doing wrong. I was on a sinking line and fishing a damsel nymph whilst Jeff was on a sink tip with using various large nymphs on the point a yellow and red buzzer on a dropper.

As the fishing eased we decided perhaps unwisely to try elsewhere and headed for the deep water of the Narrows close to some old boat launching steps. Sticking with  the sinking line and a damsel nymph I searched the deep water. Suddenly the line zipped tight and a rainbow of a couple of pounds graced the net. Over the next couple of hour’s we drifted around anchored  for periods and it was me that started to enjoy success adding a couple more to the days total.

As afternoon drifted into evening we decided on a last half an hour back in the sailing club bay. After a few casts another rainbow hit my black zulu on the dropper. With four trout each it seemed a good time to head for home.

As we packed away the gear the lake looked superb in the early evening light. We reflected upon an enjoyable day of two halves. A morning when Jeff seemed to charm the trout and an afternoon when I somehow found the key to success. These long hard summer days though challenging are often just as rewarding as those easier days of plenty in the early season.

We will be back in search of those broad backed tuna shaped rainbows with full tails before too long!

Fathers Day At Wimbleball

Willie Waterston with a 10lb + fish yesterday which took him into the backing 3 times. 

With reports of stunning rainbows to over 10lb and trout feasting on beetles I was keen to get back up  to the beautiful Wimbleball lake again and do battle with its full tailed rainbows. Our son James was entering  a Motorbike Enduro event a few miles away so it seemed a good excuse to meet up for a Father’s Day Picnic combined with a few hours fishing!

I commented to Pauline as we enjoyed the journey across Exmoor’s summer landscape that the fish often went off the feed around midday. An ominous comment as I would probably manage my first casts for around 11:30.

I left Pauline reading her book in the car and hastened to the waters edge looking for  a place that would offer a little shelter from the brisk breeze along with a good chance of fish. Conditions were ideal and I soon found the perfect spot with the breeze blowing right to left. A few fish were rising just off the weed bed at the waters edge.

I tied a beetle imitation on the point, a diawl bach on the middle dropper and a black zulu on the top dropper. I waded carefully out and started searching the water. It wasn’t long before the line zipped tight; a pleasing 3lb plus rainbow was battling on a tight line. Ten minutes later a brace  were secured and tea secured for the next night!

It was now catch and release time. I wandered back to the car to see if Pauline was ready to join me and take a few pictures whilst enjoying the warmth of the day. On arrival back at the waters edge it seemed the spell had been broken as my first couple of casts resulted in a minor tangle and the rhythm seemed to have deserted me. It soon returned however but it seemed my prediction had proved right for takes became few and far between.

James and Sophie arrived and enjoyed a tasty picnic; Social distancing of course. Several trout rose within casting range and I was soon back casting a line. Rising trout really are not good for my social skills! Despite several chances I failed to connect and at around 6.00pm we headed for home.

It will not be too long before I get back for a more serious fishing session ensuring I get there well before the fish have their  afternoon siesta and perhaps hanging on for the evening rise as well!

Welcome rain brings hope

Salmon and sea trout anglers across the region have had their spirits lifted following the recent heavy rain hopeful that the salmon and sea trout waiting in the estuaries will forge upriver offering the chance to enjoy that thrilling encounter with the most iconic of silver flanked fish.

I headed for the River Torridge to find the river at a perfect height but with the water a turbid brown and full of sediment I was not hopeful. Salmon fishing is a frustrating game with those perfect conditions often only fleeting. There will be a moment as the water clears following a spate and runs the colour of ale when the fresh run salmon rise freely to the fly as it swings across the river.

Salmon run up river as they smell the freshwater influx following a spate. The initial rush of water is often foul after a prolonged dry spell so the fish will often pause until the water quality improves. The fish that run up river are often intent on their journey and ignore the anglers offerings. There comes a time though as the fish rest for a moment when they can snatch at that tantalising creature that flutters across the current. The reasons salmon take a fly or lure have been debated by anglers far wiser than I. The fact is that they sometimes do and if you have faith and persist that delightful moment of connection will come.

Despite the imperfect conditions I fished carefully down through the river absorbing the vibrant surroundings of early summer. Relishing the constantly flowing river, the glimpse of electric blue as a kingfisher darted past. The birdsong resonating all around and the abundant wildflowers that thrive along the river bank. I also noted that all is not well in our world as I gazed at the ash trees suffering from the onset of ash die back. It is estimated that up to 95% of ash trees will succumb around 25% of our woodland!

Grey skies and ash die back

Hopefully I will report on a salmon or two over the coming days for there are plenty of salmon in the river they have been leaping in the estuary for weeks and have been seen forging up over the weirs.

Blakewell In fine form!

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Blakewell Fishery has been in fine form since it reopened in Mid-May with numerous double figure trout tempted. Pete Masters banked a 12lb rainbow and Graham Thorne a stunning 15lb rainbow. Andy Facey banked a rainbow of 10lb. Rick Perry banked a brace of double figure rainbows weighing 13lb and 12lb. Chris Bryan banked a rainbow of 9lb 3oz. Small imitative patterns are proving most successful.

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

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club – Presentation Night

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

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