Fine winter trout at Bratton Water

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club held the first heat of their Winter Challenge series at Bratton Water where all members secured three fish bags by mid morning. The winning bag of three browns fell to myself (Wayne Thomas) and totalled 9lb 14oz. In runner up spot was Colin Combe with  9lb 12oz and in third Andre Muxworthy with 8lb 12oz.

(Above) Winning bag of three quality browns to 4lb

Bratton Water is nestled in a wooded valley protected from most winds which is always good especially when a bitter East wind is blowing as it was on the day of our visit. With a bright blue sky I wondered if we would struggle to catch but these fears were unfounded as the trout responded well to a variety of tactics. I chose to fish a light rod combined with a floating line and long 6lb b.s leader with a small gold-head PTN on the tip and small diawl-bach on a dropper. Casting a long line and allowing the fly to sink before commencing a very slow erratic retrieve. The choice of tactics was more to do with how I wanted to fish as opposed to what I thought would catch most. Other members succeeded using small lures fished on intermediate lines with speedier retrieves.

(Above)Three quality rainbows caught by Nigel Bird
Members take a break


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“The fish bite the least, when the wind is in the north better not go forth, when the wind is in the west the fish bite best and the wind from the South blows the bait into the fishes mouth”.  Or something like that. After a few days away from North Devon I have returned and there is not a lot to report on unless you know different. The best chance of a fish would be to fish one of our local still waters for trout. Bratton Water is sheltered from the East wind and has a healthy stock of quality brown trout that respond well to small imitative patterns.


If it’s big fish your after then Blakewell Fishery has been producing some superb double figure rainbow trout in recent weeks and there is every chance of couple of doubles in the fishery’s popular Christmas Competition on December 4th. The event is now fully booked though it might be worth giving the fishery a ring just in case of a cancellation. I will give a full report here.


If you fancy a day out a little further afield then Exe Valley Fishery is a great venue with some hard fighting browns and rainbows present.  It is also well worth considering purchasing a tuition session with Nick Hart; a great Xmas gift.


Sat 10th Dec Exe Valley are hosting a pre Christmas bash on the renovated Anchor Lake.

Join Nick Hart & Pete Tyjas for interactive demos on tackle, casting & fishing techniques plus a chance to see what Grayling fishing is all about.

We will be available throughout the day to provide help & assistance with anything from tuning up a cast to fixing up a leader!

This special event is limited to 10 people, includes a 2 fish permit and unlimited catch & release. We might break out the fly tying vice and there will be cake!

The day will be £45 per person and
if you would like to register your interest please message or call 01398 323008.