ROADFORD FLY FAIR – 2022

Fly Fishing enthusiasts from across the South West and beyond gathered at Roadford on March 6th for the popular Fly Fair. After a two year gap due to COVID the event was rejuvenated with an overwhelming sense of joy at a return to a sort of normal.

The event organised by South West Lakes Trust is an invaluable show case for Fly Fishing providing a platform for companies to display their products and more importantly for anglers and lovers of the waterside to mingle generating firm plans for the coming season.

When I arrived home after a day chatting to fellow anglers my mind was buzzing with talk of flies, presentation, tackle, fish and the waters in which they swim along with the extensive environmental challenges. I will try to give a brief account of the day but would urge all who love fly fishing to attend next year.

Thanks must go to South West Lakes Trusts Dil Singh, technical lead for game fishing who organised the event along with his dedicated team. The event was opened by the Fairs patron Charles Jardine who gave a warm welcome stressing how vital angling is to us all during these challenging times. The fairs main sponsor was Chevron Hackles.

Fair Organiser Dil Singh and its Patron Charles Jardine

Charles delivered a fascinating Fly Casting demonstration later in the day. This was delivered with his normal repertoire of humour with clear inspiring instruction illustrated with a few tales from the waters edge. To watch Charles cast is a true reflection of how an expert makes a task look so easy and effortless. The bitter cold North-East wind was conquered  as he both mastered the conditions and captivated the audience.

The basic principle to learn about fly fishing was the importance of relaxing and being at one with the rod and line.

Amongst the fly fishing topics covered were trout, pike and salmon. A rather sad observation made by Charles was that today salmon fishing consisted of plenty of casting practice with the vague chance of catching once a year. This is rather a poignant statement that to my mind very much describes the state of West Country salmon fishing!

Casting a fly line with broomstick!!

Charles ended his demonstration by casting a fly line using a broomstick!

Retreating to the warmth of the conference centre there was an abundance of Fly fishers to engage with and discuss the wonderful places we share and the issues that we feel so passionate about.

Fly Tying demonstrations

The environment was high on the agenda with members of the fish pass team present to discuss the many miles of water available across the South West via their fishpassapp.co.uk  The invasive species stand gave valuable information about how anglers can reduce the inadvertent distribution of species by cleaning and drying waders and nets between trips.

South West Lakes support the Invasive Species initiative

Several Fly Fishing groups and associations were well represented with Burrator Fly Fishing Association, Kennick Fly Fishers, Siblyback Fly fishers and Stithians in attendance along with the Pike Fly Fishing Association. Apologies to those I have undoubtedly failed to mention.

Simon Kidd of Snowbee gives valuable advice and tips.

Snowbee Tackle were well represented by Simon Kidd and one of their ambassadors Jeff Pearce who mingled with the many angler’s present discussing the finer points of Fly fishing.

Nigel Nunn and his wife Julia enjoy chat at the bar with Jeff Pearce of Snowbee and Wimbleball Fishery manager Mark Underhill

It was a delight to catch up with so many friends that share my passion for fishing. The planning of future forays at such social gatherings is undoubtedly vital for the future of fly fishing and it is very clear to see how valuable quality time at the water’s edge is for our mental health and well-being.

Pete Tyjas is editor of Fly Culture magazine a publication that provides a brilliant and inspiring read incorporating quality writing on fly fishing from across the globe. Pete also produces the excellent Fly Culture podcast that makes for fascinating listening on those long drives to fishing destinations. www.flyculturemag.com

John Aplin and Pete Tyjas sharing in the fun of the fair

It is always good to catch up with John Aplin Managing director at Casterbridge fisheries Limited.  I have been very fortunate to visit Johns wonderful stretch of the River Frome in Dorset and even catch some of the marvellous grayling that swim within the clear waters of this tranquil chalkstream. http://www.casterbridgefisheries.co.uk

I was introduced to Nigel Nunn from Kent who has turned his hobby into a full time job.

Pete Tyjas and Nigel Nunn

Nigel is now a full time Fly Tier crafting flies that are intended to catch trout and not anglers. Nigel is a frequent visitor to the South West with his wife Julia who shares his love of fly fishing. Since becoming a full time fly tier Nigel overcame the challenge of impaired vision after developing cataracts on his eyes. Working with fellow anglers Nigel creates flies to imitate the wild insects hatching across the country. He explained how he receives orders from across the country reflecting the timing of fly hatches that move through the rivers of the land generally from South to North.

www.nigelnunnflies.com

Fly Tier Nigel Nunn and Julia discuss the finer details of split cane craftsmanship with rod maker Luke Bannister

Luke Bannister builds high quality split cane fly rods for the connoisseur who delights in the qualities of split cane as a tool to deliver the fly. Luke relishes fishing for wild brown trout that abound in West Country rivers.

www.splitcane.co.uk

Rodney Wevill is vice chairman of the Pike Fly Fishing Association and a keen member of the Facebook group fluff chucker’s. Rodney is a keen fly fishing devotee who targets a wide range of species beyond pike.

www.pffa.co.uk

Rodney Wevill
Selection of pike flies

Rodney has enjoyed success with that most elusive of fish the grey mullet. I expressed my own frustrations at chasing these fish with the fly. Catching mullet on bait is often difficult enough without complicating matters. Rodney and his good friend discussed the intricacies of stalking these mesmerising fish using small flies to imitate their natural food.

Selection of flies to tempt the wily mullet

Shallow water and feeding fish being the key. This summer will once again see me wading in the shallow clear water of summer following wise words of encouragement from Rodney and his good friend Gary Brazier.

Alan Riddell’s stand with an impressive range of flies

I even managed to find a present to take home for Pauline!

I spent several hours at this year’s fly fair and left buoyed with optimism for the future of Fly Fishing. The challenge for the future is of course to encourage more young participants. Angling has undoubtedly received a boost as many have discovered its true value whilst escaping from COVID induced lockdowns etc. In these increasingly dark times solace can often be found at the waters edge. The ability to wander free with a rod and line is without doubt an experience to both cherish and share.

2022 Trout Fisheries Prices

View our guide to catch and release angling here

View our float tubing good practise guidelines here 

Trout Fishery Season Dates Day Ticket Concessionary
Day Ticket
Daily Bag
Limit
Catch & Release
Day Ticket
Evening Ticket Under 18
Ticket
Evening/
Under 18 Bag Limit
Burrator 12th March – 30th November £21.00 £19.00 5 £15.50 £14.50 Free with paying adult 2
Colliford 15th March – 12th October £17.00 £15.50 4 n/a £11.00 Free with paying adult 2
Fernworthy 15th March – 12th October £17.00 £15.50 4 n/a £11.00 Free with paying adult 2
Kennick 12th March – 30th November £27.50 £25.00 5 £20.00 £19.00 Free with paying adult 2
Roadford 15th March – 12th October £17.00 £15.50 4 n/a £11.00 Free with paying adult 2
Siblyback 12th March – 30th November £25.00 £22.50 5 £20.00 £17.50 Free with paying adult 2
Stithians 12th March – 30th November £21.00 £19.00 5 £15.50 £14.50 Free with paying adult 2
Wistlandpound 15th March – 12th October £11.00 n/a 2 n/a n/a Free with paying adult 2
Dil Singh of South West Lakes Trust

Boobies, Buzzers and Wets the Art of Fly Tying

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Many thank’s to my good friend Jeff Pierce who sent me this short article that demonstrates the Fly Tiers Art.

(Above) Amazing poppers, Jeff ponders that they would be good for Bass & Pike, tied by Stack Scoville USA

Fly tying is a fascinating & most absorbing hobby in its own right, but made even more hypnotising when you catch your first fish on a fly you tied. That’s when it takes on a whole new dimension, the obsession of outwitting the trout not only on the water but on the vice, in the comfort of your own home. Blending, colours & textures of natural & synthetic materials together to match the hatch & fool the fish, trust me you’ll be immersed in no time, not to mention being buried in fly tying materials & hooks! Or to the uninitiated, creating an imitation of fish food by wrapping feathers, hair & synthetic sparkly materials to a hook, hoping it will fool a fish to take it…

Stuart Smith Scotland a true work of art recon’s Jeff!
Fabien Moulin, beautiful wets!

A favourite sea trout fly
A blinged up north country spider
Buzzer selection
Jeff’s own boogie selection
Boobies et al.

SOUTH WEST FLY FAIR 2020

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Ben Smeeth – Head of Fishing at South West Lakes Trust

The South West Fly Fair at Roadford Lake has become a popular fixture on the West Country angling calendar and always attracts a healthy number of the regions fly fishing enthusiasts. Falling on the eve of a new season the event is always good for stocking up with tackle and catching up with fellow anglers rekindling old friendships and forming new ones.

The Casterbridge Fishery Team

There is always a strong focus on the environment that is vital to the health of ourselves and the fish we seek. After a stormy winter with exceptional rainfall anglers are looking forward to warmer months rising trout and perhaps silver sea trout and salmon.

Gary Champion give a casting demonstration during a lull in the blustery weather.

This year’s event was sponsored by Chevron Hackles. Chevron are a local company who produce top quality fly tying hackles for the discerning Fly tyer.

The following stall holders were present :- Alan Riddell Rods, Arundell Arms, Turral, Homeleigh Angling Centre, Chevron Hackles ( Show Sponsor) Snowbee UK, Casterbridge Fisheries, Luke Bannister Split Cane Rods, British Float Tube Association, Second Hand Tackle Sale, Wild Trout Trust, Author Wayne Thomas, West Country River Trust, South West Lakes, South West Lakes Invasive Species, Virtual Nymph, Grayling society and Launceston Anglers, Milemead Fish Farm, Torre Trout Farms.

The following stall holders were present :- Alan Riddell Rods, Arundell Arms, Turral, Homeleigh Angling Centre, Chevron Hackles ( Show Sponsor) Snowbee UK, Casterbridge Fisheries, Luke Bannister Split Cane Rods, British Float Tube Association, Second Hand Tackle Sale, Wild Trout Trust, Author Wayne Thomas, West Country River Trust, South West Lakes, South West Lakes Invasive Species, Virtual Nymph, Grayling society and Launceston Anglers, Milemead Fish Farm, Torre Trout Farms.

Plenty of flies to tempt both anglers and trout!

The Art of Fly Tying

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I joined South Molton Angling Club members at the Coach and Horses Inn at South Molton where local Fly Tier Matt Kingdon gave a demonstration of his skills in creating flies and lures to tempt the wisest of trout. Matt used all the latest materials to whip together fur and feather in an impressive display of skill chatting as he tied about the factors that make a good fly, First rule is of course that the fly should be tied on a quality hook! Each fly is tied using features that create triggers to entice the trout, to do this the fly should appear natural in the water. To this I would add that the fly should appeal to the angler for with confidence in the fly comes success.

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Local angling guide Bryan Martin also joined in tying a stoats tail salmon fly that I intend to put to good use next season!

img_1553 Stoats Tail -Variant

In addition to vast range of materials used in tying the flies Matt also gave useful tips such as the use of Hard as nails available from Boot’s and Super drug for varnishing the heads of the flies.

img_1550img_1541Rising Sun