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

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!

Wimbleball Fly Fishery launches wheelchair-accessible boat for disabled anglers

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Wimbleball Fly Fishery launches wheelchair-accessible boat for disabled anglers

The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat, a purpose-built angling boat, will join the growing fleet in Somerset

On Sunday 1st March 2020, the opening day of the new fishing season at Wimbleball Lake in the Exmoor National Park, Somerset, a new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat – specially designed for angling – will be launched, thanks to a joint venture by The Wheelyboat Trust, The Angling Trust and Wimbleball Fly Fishery.

The new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat will enable disabled anglers, and wheelchair users in particular, to access the clear waters of Wimbleball Lake, allowing users to fish independently for top quality rainbow and wild brown trout, courtesy of renowned Rainbow Valley Trout Farm near Bampton. The new boat is the result of a partnership between national charities The Wheelyboat Trust and Angling Trust that provided seven part-funded Coulam 16 Wheelyboats. The funds for the project were generously provided by The Peter Harrison Foundation and Lord Barnby’s Charitable Trust. 

Fisheries across the UK were invited to apply for the seven Wheelyboats, and Wimbleball Fly Fishery is the first to be launched.  A crowd of bank anglers, boat anglers and VIP guests from South West Lakes Trust, the Environment Agency, South West Fishing for Life and The Wheelyboat Trust will gather on the pontoon to see the new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat set off for her first fish of the season. Trudi Underhill will launch the new boat with a bottle of bubbly and Gillian Payne from South West Fishing for Life will cut a ceremonial ribbon. Guests will hear speeches from Mark Underhill, who owns Rainbow Valley Trout Farm and leases the fishing at Wimbleball, and Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust. Andy Beadsley and Patrick Veale will be the first disabled anglers to take to the water.

Mark Underhill, Proprietor of Wimbleball Fly Fishery, says: “With our new Wheelyboat, disabled anglers will be able to fish across the 374-acre Wimbleball Lake, exploring the many bays and inlets, all stocked with some of the best trout in the country. Our new Wheelyboat will join the existing Mk II Wheelyboat, which was launched in 2005, as well as eight other Coulam-built boats already on the lake, with a further two arriving early in the season. It’s fantastic that our growing fleet of Wheelyboats will be able to accommodate more disabled anglers, allowing more people to indulge in their passion for fishing or indeed take up the sport for the first time.”

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, says: “As a disabled angler myself, I know first-hand the enjoyment that comes from casting a line and whiling away a few hours on the water doing something you love. We’re delighted that another Wheelyboat will be calling Wimbleball Lake home and hope that many disabled anglers and hopefully those new to the sport too, will come and experience for themselves the joy of angling independently.”

Ben Smeeth, Head of Angling at the South West Lakes Trust, adds: “The provision of a new Wheelyboat for fishing at Wimbleball Lake fits perfectly with our aims at South West Lakes Trust to enable as many people as possible, of all abilities and ages, to enjoy themselves at our lakes. Being outdoors and active and in particular taking part in fishing can have great benefits to peoples’ health and I fully support this great addition to Wimbleball Fishery.”

Coulam 16 Wheelyboats are widely used on fisheries large and small across the country, along with more than 1,000 standard Coulam 15s and 16s that the Wheelyboat model is based on. Access on and off is via a ramp from a pontoon onto a hydraulic platform built into the boat, that lowers the angler from gunwale height to floor level with ease. Once on board, the angler can sit at the bow or the stern and is able to operate the boat entirely independently. The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat can accommodate up to three people, uses an outboard motor up to 10hp and is designed primarily for angling on stillwaters, on the drift or at anchor.  The smaller Coulam 15 Wheelyboat is designed for angling on rivers, e.g. the River Tweed, where a boatman rows and the angler fishes from the stern.

The Wheelyboat Trust currently supplies four models of Wheelyboat that provide disabled people with independent access to a wide range of activities on inland and inshore waters including angling, nature watching, pleasure boating and powerboating. All Wheelyboats are hand built and fitted out to order by Jim Coulam of boatbuilders Coulam Ltd having been designed by naval architect Andrew Wolstenholme.

As a charity The Wheelyboat Trust relies on donations from individuals and organisations and their work could not continue without the ongoing generosity they provide. To donate and help The Wheelyboat Trust get more disabled people out on the water, please visit: www.wheelyboats.org/current-projects.

To find out more about The Wheelyboat Trust, visit www.wheelyboats.org.

Bulldog – Fly Fishing

Bulldog fishery has reopened after a winter break and offers some fine sport.

Ross Prior from Barnstaple took this double figure Brownie and bagged out with a 5 fish ticket for 19lb 6oz.

Fish tickets are 4 for £30.00, and 5 for £35.00, catch and release for £20.00/ day. Should anyone bag out and wish to carry on fishing its £5.00 with barbless hooks. All brownies to be returned, this allows other anglers the experience of catching double figured Brownies.

Fishery open dawn till dusk, days’ notice required for booking. Contact Nigel Early on 07767492800