Wimbleball – Autumn Fly Fishing

Fly Fishers are enjoying some great autumn sport at Wimbleball Reservoir with hard fighting rainbows and stunning wild brown trout. Harry Plant banked five rainbows including a stunning rainbow of 7lb 8oz. Barry Ware boated a prime conditioned brown trout of 6lb 8oz.

Mark Underhill comments
‘Receiving lovely comments like this just make our day’…
“These are the best quality and condition stocked rainbows I’ve ever caught. Certainly hardest fighting fish we’ve ever had pleasure to catch. We had a couple of real monsters break us off on 7lb fluorocarbon – buying stronger leader for next time! Trevor was super friendly & helpful. All in all a cracking days fishing – so thank you all involved.”
Tom & Max had 11 fish between them & lost several more…

Wimbleball Lake is attracting Fly Fishers from all over the country as its reputation for producing hard fighting rainbows and stunning wild browns grows ever stronger.

I was keen to get back on the Lake and booked a boat and a day off work to share with our son James in mid-October.

In life not everything goes to plan and James Fiancée’s raging toothache resulted in James staying at home leaving me to take the boat out alone.

The drive over Exmoor in the early morning light was a delight with bronzed beech hedge rows illuminated as the leaves took on their rich autumn hues.

I had arranged to launch the boat at 9.00am and arrived shortly after this to be greeted by the ever enthusiastic Trevor who told me that the fishing had been a little slower in recent days in calm sunny conditions. The brisk South East wind should improve matters and this view was reinforced as two anglers were already enjoying bent rods in the sailing club bay.

I eagerly loaded my gear onto the boat and set off up the lake. I dropped the anchor part way up the Lake towards Bessom’s and tackled up. An intermediate Line an olive damsel on the point and diawl bach on the dropper. A few casts and then I up anchored, put out the drogue and started a drift up the lake 30-yards off the shoreline. After a dozen casts or so there came that thrilling jolt through the line as a trout hit the lure. I failed to connect but there was plenty of time ahead and more chances to come.

A couple of hours later my confidence was ebbing after searching several areas of the lake. The wind was picking up and had become a little challenging at times. I changed tactics frequently. Set up a second rod and had short spells drifting a set of buzzers on a floating line. With no fish showing I went to a sinker searching with black lures and the olive damsel. The other two anglers had left the Sailing Club Bay and were fishing close to lakes inlet. Their tally was up to five each with an orange blob the successful pattern.

A moment of hope came as a large rainbow materialized behind my lure, an image that remains etched on my mind’s eye as I type this account of the day.

As the hours drifted past at an alarming rate I decided to try the Sailing Club Bay. By now the wind was uncomfortably strong and getting the anchor to grip was a challenge. With plenty of rope out I got the boat to hold firm thirty yards off the bank and sent out my lure and blob combination. First cast and I felt a good tug. Next cast another. Then after fifteen minutes I hooked rainbows on consecutive casts both coming adrift after a few seconds with the rod well bent.

A handsome wild brown trout of around 8oz eventually saved a blank. At 5.30pm I reluctantly admitted defeat. Disheartened? Not at all I often liken fishing to a game of chess with nature and on this occasion the fish had won the day. The fishing at Wimbleball is not always easy the the fish it holds are without doubt a worthy prize. I will be back in search of success as soon as possible. As autumn enters its final month the weather may be cruel and frosty mornings may sting the fingers but those hard fighting rainbow will be waiting and really need that reel to sing!

South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

October 2020

Boat and bank fishing is still available to rainbow trout anglers at the time of writing, with day tickets on sale through the Lakes Trust website or via the telephone (01566 771930). Most of the self-service permit huts are now open, but anglers should confirm this before buying tickets on site. Certain restrictions continue to operate and, before fishing, anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing. information is also available on the South West Lakes Trust website – www.swlakesfishing.co.uk.

Where boats are available, these should be pre-booked, and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use (see website for details). Catch returns may be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view. Brown trout fisheries closed on 13 October, with some truly outstanding fishing at Roadford at the end of the season. The rainbow trout fishing improved as temperatures dropped, although generally fish tended to stay deep.

Fishing:

Kennick – Lure patterns (such as Boobies and Orange Tadpoles) fished on sinking lines hard on the bottom, or Damsel Nymphs in mid-water, generally produced the best results and, in spite of a few Daddy Longlegs being blown onto the water, fish could not be tempted to the surface. Bank angling was best in Clampitts Bay, while boat anglers preferred to fish in the deeper central water. The best fish caught in the month was a 4lb rainbow caught by Mr. Kent (from Exmouth). The annual Peninsula classic Bank competition was won by Andy Gooding (from Liverton), catching five rainbows weighing in at 10lb 5oz, using Damsel Nymphs and a Black and Green Lure.

Siblyback – In spite of plenty of fish in the water, the fishing was challenging throughout the month, with a number of decent fish being lost at the net. Dry Daddies picked up a few surface-feeding fish, although the majority were taken on lures (Cats Whisker, Sibblyback Sizzler, and Boobies) fished on a sinking line, with Two Meadows, Stocky Bay, and the North Shore proving to be the best locations.

Stithians – The fishing picked up towards the end of the month, with fish looking up to feed and the majority of fish taken on dry patterns (Deerhair Sedges, Foam Beetles and Hoppers in particular). Some sub-surface feeders were caught on Damsel Nymphs, Montanas, Black Spiders and Black Pennells. Fish were well spread out, with Holliss Bank and Sailing Club bank producing the most consistent results. The best fish caught in the month was a 3lb 3oz rainbow caught by Graeme Clement.

Burrator – The fish at Burrator continued to stay down deep, with Boobies and Cats Whiskers fished on a sinking line producing the best sport, with the occasional fish taking a mid-water hackled nymph, Damsel, Montana or Diawl Bach, with Longstone Point producing the best bank fishing.

Colliford – Colliford continued to produce some great sport through to the end of the season, with plenty of free rising brownies coming to a selection of patterns (Daddies, Hoppers, dry sedge patterns and the occasional Adams), with Black Spiders and Claret Pheasant Tails catching sub-surface feeders. As usual, the fish were well spread out. Local angler Dean Boucher finished the season with 18 fish on three visits, including grown-on fish to 2lb and the best fish of the season on the last day – a cracking 3lb brownie caught in the Narrows.

Fernworthy – The season finished with some hard fishing – a few fish were seen to rise but without much consistency (several were taken on Black Gnats and Sedgehogs). Subsurface nymphs and spiders fished on floating lines caught fish, but nothing of any great size, with the South Bank, Lowton Bay and Thornworthy producing the best sport.

Roadford – The fishing at Roadford continued to be truly outstanding, both for brown trout and perch from the boat, and just continued to improve throughout the month. Weekly trout rod averages started the month at four fish per anglers, steadily rising to over nine fish per rod by the end of the season. Cornish angler Roger Truscott banked 20 fish in one visit, including one of the best of the season – a grown-on brownie of 3lb, while Dean Boucher caught 51 fish up to 2lb 4oz in three visits, fishing from the bank. Both boat and bank anglers enjoyed some excellent sport, with fish being caught on a variety of dry patterns (Klinkhammers, Midges and Foam Beetles), wets (Pheasant Tails, Spiders, Soldier Palmers and Zulus) and lures (Tadpoles and Black Nomads), from locations all over the lake. Targeted boat fishing for perch resulted in plenty of fish being caught, the best day being enjoyed by John Deprieelle, catching four fish over three pounds and losing an even bigger one.

Angling Generations

Norman Bird was a founder member of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club and I was fortunate to join the club ten years after his son Nigel who joined the club in 1963. Nigel and I fished together with the club on many occasions during the seventies and early eighties and now fish together from time to time with the Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club. I was pleased fo receive this picture from Nigel showing his grandson George enjoying his first fishing trip with his grandad at Bratton Water where they enjoyed catching a fine bag of rainbow and brown trout.

It is great to see the generations as they discover the joys of angling. For many years I enjoyed trips out of Combe Martin on George Eastmans boat Star of Scillionia PW265.  and was also privileged to help out from time to time hauling lobster pots and taking trips around the bay. Those glorious summer days were greatly enhanced by Georges great grandad George Eastman of whom I have many fond memories . Much has changed over the years but I still feel a sense of belonging when I stroll upon the foreshore at Combe Martin reminiscing upon a lifetime of encounters within the bay.

Footnote – Nigel traced Star of Scillionia PW265 around the West Country over the years from the Isles of Scilly to the Helford Passage were she was finally decommissioned and broken up.

South West Lakes Trout Fishing Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

July 2020

Boat and bank fishing is available to anglers, with day tickets on sale through the SW Lakes Fishing website or via telephone (01566 771930). Due to Covid19 precautions, self-service permit huts still remain closed at the time of writing. Certain restrictions continue to operate and anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing – this information is also available on the SW Lakes Fishing website – https://trout.swlakesfishing.co.uk. Where boats are available, these must be pre-booked and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use (see website for details). Catch returns also need to be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view.

Kennick – The Rhododendrons are now in full bloom and the fishery is looking stunning. Boat fishing over deeper water has generally proved to be the most successful throughout July and, although some fish have been tempted up to look at dries and Hoppers, most fish have preferred to stay in the deeper water where Blobs and Boobies have produced good results. Plenty of fish over 3lb have been caught, with some large bags caught on catch-and-release tickets; rods averaged 2.7 fish per angler. In addition to deep-fished lures, weighted nymphs (Damsels, Montanas and Diawl Bachs) have also caught fish. Michael Herring (from Thurlstone) caught the best fish of the month – a 3lb 14oz rainbow, fishing deep from a boat. Mr. M. Ure had some excellent sessions from a boat, catching bags of 19 fish, 16 fish and 15 fish on separate occasions. Mr P.Brown caught a bag of 17 rainbows, fishing from a boat over the deeper water.

Siblyback – The changeable weather produced mixed fishing at Siblyback, with some weeks producing excellent sport (averaging 3.5 fish per angler) and superb fish, while others proving to be more challenging. Stocky Bay produced consistently good sport, while Crylla Bay, Marshes and the North Bank all fished well. Fish were still looking up to feed, and dry patterns (Black Beetles, Sedgehogs and Hoppers) all tempted fish. Sub-surface nymphs and wets (Damsels, Montanas and Black Buzzers) caught well throughout the month, with anglers also catching on fry patterns and lures (Kennick Killer and Orange Fritz in particular). Jamie Gilman caught the best fish of the month – a 5lb 8oz rainbow, as part of a bag of seven fish. A late return from George Hext reported that he had caught a rainbow of 8lb 4oz back in May – the best fish of the season (so far).

Stithians – Weekly rod averages have been up to 2.3 fish per angler, with plenty of fish over 2lb, the best being rainbows of 2lb 12oz caught by Steve Glanville and Mike Freeman. The best locations included Goonlaze, Pub Bay, Mossops and Carnmenellis, with fish being caught on a selection of dries (Sedges, Klinkhammers, Black Gnats and Beetles) or sub-surface nymphs and wets (Pheasant Tail Nymph, Mallard and Claret, Black Buzzers and Black Pennel).

Burrator – With weekly rod averages up to 3.5 fish per angler, Burrator continues to fish well and produced some outstanding days’ sport – Paul Lee caught 28 fish from a boat using a selection of Boobies, Blobs and Dry patterns on sinking and midge-tip lines. Generally wet patterns and lures have produced the best results (Damsels, Montanas and teams of Buzzers, or Orange Blobs, Boobies and Kennick Killers), while Klinkhammers and Black Gnats attracted some fish to the surface. Longstone Point and Sheepstor bank produced consistent sport from the shore, while boat anglers enjoyed success off Lowery Point and in the deeper central water. Simon Jeffries caught a 3lb 8oz rainbow (as part of a full bag) from Longstone Bank using a Kennick Killer, and M. Baines also caught a 3lb 8oz rainbow from Sheepstor Bank, using an Orange Cruncher.

Colliford – Some nice grown-on brownies were caught over the month, with Dean Boucher catching fish of 2lb 4oz on two occasions and Chris Clarke catching a 2lb brownie on a Brown Nymph. In addition to keeping on the move to cover as much bank as possible (with Redhill Flats, Lords Waste, Browngelly Bay and Gillhouse Bay all proving popular), it pays to vary the fly pattern and type according to conditions – with Soldier Palmers, Zulus, Black Hoppers, Beetles, Hares Ear Nymphs, Diawl Bachs, Sedge Pupae and weighted Damsels all catching well.

Fernworthy continued to produce some great sport, with anglers averaging 2.5 fish per visit – amongst these were plenty of full bags. George Hext caught a bag of 11 fish using a Black dry Sedge and Black Beaded Nymphs, while Nigel Easton caught a grown-on brown of 2lb using a Bibio pattern. Fish have been free rising, taking emerging midges and sedges, with a selection of traditional dry and wet patterns all catching well (Kate McClaren, Silver Invicta, Bibio, Coch-y-Bondhu, Diawl Bach, Soldier Palmer, Sedgehog, Zulu and Klinkhammer). Most banks have produced sport, with Thornworthy Bank, North Shore, Fishery Hut Bay, Farmhouse bank and Lowton Bay all mentioned in catch returns, with fish often tight into the bank in less than 12” of water.

Roadford – At last the fishing has begun to pick up at Roadford! Jeff Ferguson caught 7 brownies to 1lb 4oz using small nymph patterns (Pheasant Tail nymph and Black Buzzer), while Duncan Kier (from Belstone) had a superb morning fishing from a boat over the boils – the fish were high in the water and took a fast pulled fly (Squinky) almost as soon as it hit the water. Duncan netted five fish – the best a cracking 3lb 8oz grown-on brown in superb condition. The fishing is at its best at Roadford when there is some good cloud cover – currently this seems to be a far more important consideration than the time of day.

Perch fishing (from the boat only) is currently available – this must be pre-booked (see website for more details), and some great fish as well as large bags have been caught. Bruce Elston caught over 60 fish up to 2lb 8oz on one visit and over 30 fish, with five over 2lb, on another while Mike Stone (from Starcross) caught a beautiful 2lb perch.

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!

South West lakes Trout Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

June 2020

Boat and bank fishing is available to anglers, with day tickets on sale through the Lakes Trust website or via the telephone (01566 771930) – self-service permit huts remain closed at the time of writing. Certain restrictions continue to operate and anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing before fishing. Information is also available on the South West Lakes Trust website – https://trout.swlakesfishing.co.uk.

Where boats are available, these must be pre-booked and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use. Please see website for details. Catch returns also need to be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view.

Kennick – After a long period of hot, dry weather, some heavy rain and a drop in temperatures freshened the water up, with fish feeding well and looking to the surface for insects (particularly coch-y-bondhu beetles). Rods averaged 3.4 fish per angler, with fish being caught from both boat and bank. Poplar Bay, Clampits Bay and Forest Bay all fished well, as did the deeper central water from a boat. As well as Damsel Nymphs, Diawl Bachs and Montanas fished sub-surface, Coch-y-Bondhu Beetles and Claret Snafflers both produced excellent top-of-the-water sport. In addition to some excellent catch-and-release bags of fish (Andy Birkett, from Plymouth, caught 28 fish using a Diawl Bach from a boat, and Mr. M.Ure caught 26 fish using an Orange Blob from a boat), some nice individual fish were caught, topped by a 5lb 1oz Rainbow caught by Kevin Primmer fishing from a float-tube.

Siblyback continues to produce some superb fishing, with plenty of rising fish and anglers catching an average of 3.6 fish per rod from the bank. Stocky Bay, The North Shore, Two Meadows and Crylla have produced consistently good sport, with fish being caught on dry patterns (Brown Hoppers, Coch-y-Bondhu Beetles and Sedgehogs), nymphs (Damsel Nymphs, Montanas, Diawl Bachs and Buzzers), and lures (Cats Whiskers, Orange Blobs and Vivas). Included in the larger bags of fish (Browns, Rainbows and Blues) were 17 fish caught by Geoff Vernon, 15 fish caught by Andy Birkett from Plymouth (using a dry Fiery Brown Hopper) and 12 fish caught by Paul Ackland from Plymouth, using a foam beetle. Ollie Hoskin caught the best fish of the month – a 5lb 9oz Rainbow, fishing a Black and Orange lure on an intermediate line from the bank between the Stones and Stocky Bay.

Ollie Hoskin 5lb 9oz

Stithians – Rods have been averaging around two fish (up to 2lb 8oz) per rod over the month, with the best fishing from the banks at Sailing Club, Pipe Bay,Goonlaze, Chapel

and Carnmenellis. With plenty of insects on the water, fish have been tempted with dry patterns (Sedges, Beetles and Hoppers), although the majority of catches were on sub-

surface nymph patterns (Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, Mointanas and Black and Peacock Spiders), or deeper fished lures (Nomads, Cormorants, Zonkers and Boobies).

Finley-Chegwidden with a race of rainbows caught whilst fishing with his dad.

Burrator continues to produce some excellent sport and, while no particularly large fish were caught, anglers averaged 4.3 fish per visit, with many catching large bags. Boats mainly caught fish off Lowry Point or over the deeper central water, while bank anglers enjoyed good sport from Longstone, The Lawns, Pines Bay and Sheepstor Bank. The most successful dry patterns included Black Hoppers and Black Midges, while sub-surface Black Buzzers, Damsels, Montanas and Diawl Bachs caught well; productive lure patterns included Orange Blobs and Kennick Killers. With catch-and-release tickets proving popular, standout catches included 14 fish caught by Kevin Sellar, 19 fish caught by Duncan Kier (from Belstone) using Kennick Killers and Hoppers and eleven fish caught by Simon Jefferies using Blobs and Buzzers on a ghost tip line.

Colliford – the fishing improved as the month progressed, with the conditions determining the most successful method – one day pulled wet patterns (try a Soldier Palmer) work well, while on another day static dries (Black Hoppers, Sedges, Black Bits or Beetles) are the only patterns the fish will look at. As usual with the Colliford Browns, the best approach is to keep back from the water’s edge and cover as much bank as possible, although the most productive areas recently have included the water by the Dam, Redhill Downs, The Narrows, the East Bank and The Kiln. Dean Boucher has enjoyed some truly excellent sport, catching and releasing 53 fish in four visits.

Fernworthy’s fishing kept on improving as the month progressed, with many fish looking to the surface to feed as beetles were blown onto the water. Fish have been well spread out, with productive areas including Thornworthy Bank, Brownhills, Boathouse Bank and the North Bank. A wide variety of patterns have been catching fish, including Beetles, Sedgehogs, Black Gnats and Klinkhammers on the surface and Black and Peacock Spiders, Kate McClarens, Diawl Bachs and Pearly Invictas fished within the top metre of water. Anglers averaged 4.5 fish per rod, with notable catches by Charlie Beney (18 Browns to 1lb 8oz on Pheasant Tail Nymphs and Bibios), Alan Judd (14 Browns to 1lb 10 oz on Sedgehogs, Bibios and Klinkhammers) and Andy Birkett (16 Browns, all on dry beetles).

Wimbleball in Fine Form as it re-opens

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Wimbleball on Exmoor is fishing exceptionally well since reopening to angling in line with government guidelines.

The fishing is on fire at Wimbleball since we re-opened, we’re receiving some great reports & catch returns, just the tonic we needed as things stand with this virus. Tactics vary over the day as you’d expect & Di3 & Di5 lines are working well with black lures, but equally anglers are catching with teams of small dark flies just under the surface. Photos courtesy of Alan Behan who had a great day with his best Rainbow at 5lb 3ozs…

David Plumridge
Richard Stewart