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

South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

FEBRUARY PRE-SEASON INFORMATION (2020)

In anticipation of an exciting 2020 season, South West Lakes Trust will be increasing stocking numbers at Siblyback, Burrator and Stithians, while at Kennick the minimum stocking size will be 2lb.

A number of habitat improvement projects are planned across the region to benefit fly life and Brown Trout spawning areas, as well as a number of coarse fish removal exercises.

Season Opening Dates:

Kennick – 15 February

Siblyback, Stithians and Burrator – 7 March

Colliford, Roadford, Fernworthy, and Wistlandpound – 15 March.

Rainbow Trout season ticket holders will be able to start fishing a day earlier on a special preview day.

Various ticket options and ‘castabout’ season tickets will be available (visit www.swlakesfishing.co.uk or your local fishery for more details and prices).

2020 Diary Events:

Fernworthy boat fortnight – 4-19 July

Roadford Perch fishing by boat – July, August and September

(Visit www.swlakesfishing.co.uk or your local fishery for more details, booking arrangements etc)

2020 Competition Dates:

Snowbee Team Bank competition (teams of 4 anglers) at Siblyback – 19 April

Bank Pairs competition at Kennick – 17 May

Peninsula Classic Individual Bank competition at Kennick – 21 June

Cornwall Devon Shield at Siblyback – 5 April

‘Best of the Best’ competition – this year there will be heats for individual Rainbow fisheries from March to October, with the grand final to be held at Kennick in October (visit www.swlakesfishing.co.uk or your local fishery for more details and heat dates).

Please visit the www.swlakesfishing.co.uk for more details on ticket prices, fishery information, clubs, competitions and boat availability.

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club – Christmas Competition @ Blakewell

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Seven members fished in the clubs Christmas Competition at Blakewell where all members caught their three fish bags of hard fighting rainbows. The fish were caught on a variety of flies mostly small imitative patterns with the water clarity good. The lake was well sheltered from the gale force winds that were beating in from the North-West.

1st – Paul Grisley –  3 Trout – 6lb 11oz

2nd – Dave Eldred – 3 Trout – 5lb 11oz

3rd – Dave Mock – 3  Trout – 5lb 8oz

4th – Wayne Thomas – 3 Trout – 5lb 5oz

5th – Nigel Bird – 3 Trout – 5lb

6th – Colin Combe – 3 Trout – 4lb 11oz

7th – Andre Muxworthy = 3 trout – 4lb 1oz

Last casts of the Wimbleball season

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It always seems difficult to fit in enough time for fishing trips so with the season at Wimbleball drawing to a close I was keen to have one last trip at this rejuvenated water. The last two years have seen this large reservoir return to form after a sterling effort by Mark and Trudi Underhill and their team. Regular stocking of full finned hard fighting rainbows has ensured that a building number of Fly Fishing enthusiasts are visiting the lake.

It seemed a good idea to visit the lake on the last day of the 2019 season on Saturday, November 30th. I contacted my good friend and Snowbee Ambassador Jeff Pierce to see if he fancied joining me. He too was keen so we agreed to meet up at 9.00am and take out a boat giving the freedom to explore a larger area than bank fishing.

I am not so sure either of us thought it was such a good idea when we set out at dawn with a bitter east wind and a forecast of temperatures of 5 degrees C. it was certainly a bitterly cold late November day with slate grey skies and a cutting Easterly wind that anglers dread. We have all heard that old saying, “ when the wind is in the East the fish bite the least”.

The only way we were going to enjoy today was to make sure we would keep warm. I had togged up with my full Chillcheater thermals, with a fleece trouser and top. On top of this I wore leggings and a Chillcheater waterproof smock. So suitably wrapped up we climbed onboard the boat and steamed out onto the cold expanse of water.

There were several other anglers braving the elements on the bank all fishing in the Bessom and Rugg’s area of the lake. This area gave some shelter from the wind and had been producing plenty of rainbows in recent weeks.

We both opted to start using sinking lines and a team of flies. Typically, a lure on the point a small imitative pattern on the middle dropper and blob on the top dropper. This was a combination I was to stick with all day.

We dropped anchor and extended our lines searching for fish in keen anticipation. It was great to be out despite the chill conditions and we chatted enthusiastically about past and future fishing forays.

After half an hour neither of us had so much as a pull and decided to make a move. On arrival at our new destination Jeff spotted a fish rise which gave some optimism. I heard a curse from Jeff  who had just cast out letting the line sink as he retrieved a drink from his tackle bag. The rod tip had surged over, loose line zipping tight. A momentary connection followed before the fish shook itself free from the barbless hook. A few minutes later Jeff saw another rise and cast hopefully immediately connecting with a hard fighting rainbow that had seized a tiny diawl bach as the flies hit the water. The rainbow would have weighed around 3lb and was carefully released at the side of the boat.

We fished on in this spot for a while before moving again and again in search of elusive trout. We saw that the bank anglers were enjoying some success with their rods bent and reels screaming in protest. To our surprise they seemed to be catching on floating lines despite the conditions.

Jeff worked hard as always changing his lines from sinking to intermediate and to a full floater. I persisted with the sinking line approach believing that most fish would be down deep. What I did do was change the tip fly on a regular basis and vary my retrieve. Slow and steady, fast and erratic. Sometimes letting the line sink deep and on other casts commencing the retrieve as soon as the fly hit the water.

Eventually the line zipped delightfully tight as something hit a damsel nymph beneath the boat. The fish fought deep swimming in circles with no long fast runs. To our surprise it was beautiful spotted brown trout  of round 2lb that appeared at the surface.

Jeff grabbed a quick picture of the fish at the side of boat and I let the out of season fish swim away into the chill water.

It was now early afternoon and we fished on relishing the challenge buoyed by some success. We both agreed that we looked forward to a return in the spring as swallows swooped low over the water, buds were breaking on the trees and trout were lazily sipping buzzers from warm waters caressed by a gentle breeze. Despite thoughts of spring and summer there is still something beguiling about this bleak winter landscape.

We continued to make regular moves hoping to locate a pod of fish. Once again my line pulled tight and another fine brown trout was brought to the side of the boat.

We watched the bank anglers continuing to enjoy some success which spurred us on to fish ever harder expectant of action with every cast. Jeff had several pulls that he failed to convert.

When my line again drew tight I was convinced I had hooked a big rainbow. The rod took on an alarming curve and line was ripped from the reel. For a minute or so the fish had the better of me causing a few anxious moments as it threatened to take the line around the anchor rope. Relishing the battle I piled on the pressure hoping Jeff would capture the bent rod as the fish tested my tackle. It was undoubtedly a very good fish as we caught a glimpse of its flanks in the clear cold water. Eventually the pressure told and a beautiful brown trout that must have been closer to five pounds than four broke the surface. The fish was drawn into Jeff’s rubber meshed net and carefully unhooked before a quick picture above the water. A stunning fish that would make this a day to remember.

We fished on for another hour moving a few more times but my arm was starting to ache. I suggested to Jeff that another ten minutes would do for me and I don’t think he was too disappointed at my suggestion. It was after all close to 4.00pm by the time we had moored the boat back at the launch pontoon.

We vowed to return in the spring at the start of a new season. It promises to be a good one if this season is anything to go by.

GOODING IS BEST OF THE BEST FOR THE THIRD TIME…

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GOODING IS BEST OF THE BEST FOR THE THIRD TIME…

Andy Gooding has won the annual Snowbee Best of the Best competition at Kennick Reservoir for the third time in five years. Andy scooped a cool £1000 for his efforts, catching 8 fish for 15lbs 12oz with the successful flies being Damsel Nymphs fished high in the water on a floating line with 20 foot leader. Andy’s largest fish was 2lb 14oz.

32 anglers fished on the day and a huge congratulations goes out to all of them in qualifying for the final. The weather was very unsettled with sunny spells and gentle breeze turning into gale force winds and very heavy downpours! Casting in some zones was very difficult but the anglers really stuck at it well.

A cracking BBQ was provided by South West Lakes Trust (SWLT) Countryside Warden Mark Baxendale and the presentations were made at the Kennick Lodge.

The event was sponsored, yet again, by Snowbee UK who are a leading manufacturer of fishing equipment and clothing. The products they supply are simply superb – www.snowbee.co.uk.

Ben Smeeth, Head of Angling for SWLT, thanked Simon Kidd and Russell Weston of Snowbee for supporting the event and being very generous in the prizes they provided.

Full results and prize winners:
Result                                          Fish Weight  
Winner – Andy Gooding 8 15.12 £1000 BOB trophy & Snowbee Hat
Runner up – Paul Jones 5 10.07 £400 BOB trophy & Snowbee Hat
Third – Ron Wilday 5 9.02 £250 BOB trophy & Snowbee Hat
Heaviest Fish (not finishing in the top three) John Huckings 2.06 £200 & Snowbee Hat
Second heaviest fish (not in top three) Dave Perks 2.05 Snowbee Stowaway Bag
Blind Pairs winners: A Gooding/R Gale 9 17.11 £50 each (£100)
Blind Pairs runners up: P Jones/M Sinclair 6 12.11 £25 each (£50)
4th  – John Huckings 4 8.00 Snowbee Nivalis Jacket
5th Andrew Alger 4 7.04 Snowbee Onyx Cass. fly reel system
6th Al Lawson 2 3.14 Snowbee Breeze Bloc Softshell Jacket
7th Roger Truscott 2 3.11 Snowbee Ultralite Chest Pack
8th Allan Brown 2 3.08 Snowbee 14740 Fly Box Tool Kit
 

9th

 

Dave Perkls

1 2.05 Snowbee Easy vue competition fly box L

 

 

 

QUALIFYING PRIZES

Weight

 

Heaviest Fish Kennick  –

 

Janet Till 4lb 8oz Snowbee Softshell Gilet
Heaviest Fish Burrator  –

 

Mark Sinclair 3lb 11oz Snowbee Softshell Gilet
Heaviest Fish Siblyback –

 

Ron Wilday 3lb 14oz Snowbee Softshell Gilet
Best Qualifying Junior  –

 

Alex Venn – Kennick 2lb 4oz Snowbee 16203  Classic Trout Bag L
Name Number of Fish Biggest Fish Total Weight Position Prize
Andy Gooding 8 2.14 15.12 1 £1000 BOB cheque & Snowbee Hat
Paul Jones 5 2.06 10.07 2 £400 BOB cheque  & Snowbee Hat
Ron Wilday 5 1.15 9.02 3 £250 BOB cheque  & Snowbee Hat
John Huckings 4 2.06 8 4 Snowbee Nivalis Jacket
Andrew Alger 4 2 7.04 5 Snowbee Onyx Cass. fly reel system
Allan Lawson 2 2.04 3.14 6 Snowbee Breeze Bloc Softshell Jacket
Roger Trustcott 2 1.14 3.11 7 Snowbee Ultralite Chest Pack
Allan Brown 2 2 3.08 8 Snowbee 14740 Fly Box Tool Kit
D Perks 1 2.05 2.05 9 Snowbee Easy vue competition fly box
Graham Watts 1 2.04 2.04 10
Mark Sinclair 1 2.04 2.04 10
Malcolm Ure 1 2 2 12
John Rumbold 1 1.15 1.15 13
Rob Gale 1 1.15 1.15 13
P Brown 1 1.14 1.14 15
Andy Lobb 1 1.13 1.13 16
Chris Bolt 1 1.11 1.11 17
Alec Hoare 1 1.1 1.1 18
Janet Till 1 1.09 1.09 19
Darren Penfold 1 1.09 1.09 19
John Hern 1 1.07 1.07 21
Alan Behan 0
Terry Diamond 0
Stuart McCullough 0
Tom Hendy 0
Paul Wicks 0
Barry Ware snr 0
Andy Lawson 0
Alex Venn 0
Darren Everitt 0
Mike Stone 0
Barry Ware Jnr 0

 

Andy Gooding has won the annual Snowbee Best of the Best competition at Kennick Reservoir for the third time in five years. Andy scooped a cool £1000 for his efforts, catching 8 fish for 15lbs 12oz with the successful flies being Damsel Nymphs fished high in the water on a floating line with 20 foot leader. Andy’s largest fish was 2lb 14oz.

32 anglers fished on the day and a huge congratulations goes out to all of them in qualifying for the final. The weather was very unsettled with sunny spells and gentle breeze turning into gale force winds and very heavy downpours! Casting in some zones was very difficult but the anglers really stuck at it well.

A cracking BBQ was provided by South West Lakes Trust (SWLT) Countryside Warden Mark Baxendale and the presentations were made at the Kennick Lodge.

The event was sponsored, yet again, by Snowbee UK who are a leading manufacturer of fishing equipment and clothing. The products they supply are simply superb – www.snowbee.co.uk.

Ben Smeeth, Head of Angling for SWLT, thanked Simon Kidd and Russell Weston of Snowbee for supporting the event and being very generous in the prizes they provided.

Full results and prize winners:
Result                                          Fish Weight  
Winner – Andy Gooding 8 15.12 £1000 BOB trophy & Snowbee Hat
Runner up – Paul Jones 5 10.07 £400 BOB trophy & Snowbee Hat
Third – Ron Wilday 5 9.02 £250 BOB trophy & Snowbee Hat
Heaviest Fish (not finishing in the top three) John Huckings 2.06 £200 & Snowbee Hat
Second heaviest fish (not in top three) Dave Perks 2.05 Snowbee Stowaway Bag
Blind Pairs winners: A Gooding/R Gale 9 17.11 £50 each (£100)
Blind Pairs runners up: P Jones/M Sinclair 6 12.11 £25 each (£50)
4th  – John Huckings 4 8.00 Snowbee Nivalis Jacket
5th Andrew Alger 4 7.04 Snowbee Onyx Cass. fly reel system
6th Al Lawson 2 3.14 Snowbee Breeze Bloc Softshell Jacket
7th Roger Truscott 2 3.11 Snowbee Ultralite Chest Pack
8th Allan Brown 2 3.08 Snowbee 14740 Fly Box Tool Kit
 

9th

 

Dave Perkls

1 2.05 Snowbee Easy vue competition fly box L

 

 

 

QUALIFYING PRIZES

Weight

 

Heaviest Fish Kennick  –

 

Janet Till 4lb 8oz Snowbee Softshell Gilet
Heaviest Fish Burrator  –

 

Mark Sinclair 3lb 11oz Snowbee Softshell Gilet
Heaviest Fish Siblyback –

 

Ron Wilday 3lb 14oz Snowbee Softshell Gilet
Best Qualifying Junior  –

 

Alex Venn – Kennick 2lb 4oz Snowbee 16203  Classic Trout Bag L
Name Number of Fish Biggest Fish Total Weight Position Prize
Andy Gooding 8 2.14 15.12 1 £1000 BOB cheque & Snowbee Hat
Paul Jones 5 2.06 10.07 2 £400 BOB cheque  & Snowbee Hat
Ron Wilday 5 1.15 9.02 3 £250 BOB cheque  & Snowbee Hat
John Huckings 4 2.06 8 4 Snowbee Nivalis Jacket
Andrew Alger 4 2 7.04 5 Snowbee Onyx Cass. fly reel system
Allan Lawson 2 2.04 3.14 6 Snowbee Breeze Bloc Softshell Jacket
Roger Trustcott 2 1.14 3.11 7 Snowbee Ultralite Chest Pack
Allan Brown 2 2 3.08 8 Snowbee 14740 Fly Box Tool Kit
D Perks 1 2.05 2.05 9 Snowbee Easy vue competition fly box
Graham Watts 1 2.04 2.04 10
Mark Sinclair 1 2.04 2.04 10
Malcolm Ure 1 2 2 12
John Rumbold 1 1.15 1.15 13
Rob Gale 1 1.15 1.15 13
P Brown 1 1.14 1.14 15
Andy Lobb 1 1.13 1.13 16
Chris Bolt 1 1.11 1.11 17
Alec Hoare 1 1.1 1.1 18
Janet Till 1 1.09 1.09 19
Darren Penfold 1 1.09 1.09 19
John Hern 1 1.07 1.07 21

 

Blakewell – Rainbows Give great Autumn Sport

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Garry Brown enjoyed a great session at Blakewell Fishery on the day of my book launch banking six fine rainbows the best a superb fish of 6lb that secured a bottle of champagne for the best fish caught during the event. The coming months should see anglers enjoying good sport on the small Stillwater trout fisheries with both Blakewell and Bratton Water well worth a visit.