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Anglers Paradise

Snowbee Ambassador Jeff Pearce and I visited Anglers Paradises Day Ticket Trout Lake during May last year and enjoyed a rewarding days fishing catching rainbow trout to over five pound and tiger trout estimated at 8lb.

Trouting In Paradise

We were both keen to return and arranged a visit with Go-Catch representative Peter Skrivanos.

After hearing reports of some stunning fish in recent weeks we were full of optimism as we headed across the meadow to the water.


Verdant green was appearing on the trees and cuckoo flowers decorated the lakeside grassland. Despite obvious signs of spring a cold North East breeze made it feel more like winter. There was at least a touch of blue between the clouds lifting the spirits as we made our first casts.

Peter was starting with a bold approach tying on a rather gaudy lure that he assured us would appeal to the aggressive tiger trout that reside within the lake.

I tied a tried and trusted gold head damsel nymph to my 10.5lb b.s XS plus Gold leader and proceeded to search the water with an Intermediate Snowbee XS Fly Line. I was well aware that the lake holds big hard fighting trout and wanted to get the fish to the net as quickly as possible to ensure they could be returned safely to the water after a minimal battle.

After just a few minutes Peter hooked into a hard fighting tiger trout that gave a fight out of proportion to its moderate size of perhaps 1lb 12oz. Peter kept the fish in the net and slipped out the barbless hook allowing me to get a quick picture before the fish swam briskly back into the lake.

After twenty minutes or so without any action I moved to the lakes corner and hooked a handsomely marked brown trout that slipped the hook before visiting the net.

A handsomely marked brown trout for Jeff

As the morning ebbed slowly away it became clear that the residents were playing hard to tempt. Jeff caught a tiger  of 1lb 8oz and and a small handsome brown trout we all caught numerous small perch, stripy sergeants that evoke memories of childhood days beside still-waters.

The vibrant sounds of woodpeckers drilling in the woods drifted across the valley. The evocative call of a cuckoo lifted the spirits a sure sign that summer is on its way after what seems a long wet winter and Spring.

I noticed several fish rising close to lakes overflow tower and changed to a floating line, suspending a black buzzer beneath a sight indicator.

 Casting this out I commenced an ultra-slow retrieve just keeping the line tight in the gentle breeze. I watched the indicator intently and lifted the rod sharply when I noticed it plunge beneath the surface. The rod a Snowbee Diamond 7wt took on an impressive curve and line was ripped from the reel as a trout of a good size powered away. To my concern the powerful fish seemed determined to head for the overflow pipe and whilst I frantically tried to prevent it I was unable to slow its progress. The fish of perhaps 7lb erupted from the lake giving a tantalizing glimpse of rainbow hued flanks before taking the line around the concrete the hook shank parting as the line momentarily snagged the structure.

Jeff and Peter looked across the lake alerted to my cursing cry! Encouraged by this, I tied on a new buzzer and started afresh.

The indicator dipped and I connected with what felt a very good fish. Once again its power surprised me and I endeavoured to get it away from the overflow pipe. To my dismay the powerful fish got the upper hand and won its freedom.

Peter and Jeff had also enjoyed brief connection with large fish that came adrift any one of which would have made it a day to remember.

As the afternoon evaporated Peter hooked into his second fish, a spartic nudging a couple of pounds.

Conceding that it was hard going Peter decided to head home before the traffic got bad. Jeff and I persisted convinced that at any moment the line would zip tight and one of the lakes special fish would make an error.

         Jeff pointed out the orange of my lost indicator at the upwind end of the lake. I wondered if the fish was still attached? I walked around and after a couple of casts managed to hook into the indicator. The fish was no longer attached but the buzzer was still there so at least the barbless hook had fallen free.

         By late afternoon the cold wind and lack of action started to take its toll and we eventually conceded defeat agreeing to return in search of the large trout that dwell within the lake that nestles within a wooded valley.

Anglers Paradise Trout Lake is strictly Catch and release with barbless hooks, single flies, rubber nets and unhooking matts mandatory. I personally try to unhook fish in the water returning with minimal handling.

Catch and release is a concept withing trout fishing circles that stimulates some debate. Some believe it makes the fish wary and harder to tempt. Whilst there could be a bit of truth in this it also enables trout fishing for large fish at a very reasonable price.

Day Tickets for Anglers Paradise can be purchased via

South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report – March

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

March 2024

The new season is now firmly under way at all of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries; where available, boats are now on the water, and should be pre-booked (online or via the telephone). Generally the weather for the opening month has been both mixed and challenging to anglers, with strong winds, rain, snow and hail, and cold temperatures. Fish have been feeding throughout the water column, with some already starting to feed near the surface, and many have been caught using floating line tactics. The very wet winter means that the water levels are full.


Kennick – Rods averaged just over 5 fish per angler over the month, with fish generally well spread out around the lake and eager to feed. Both boat and bank anglers caught fish in most locations (particularly the Top End, Clampitts Bay, the Dam and Hawthorn Point), using a variety of tactics from floating lines fishing nymphs just under the surface, to Blobs and Boobies fished on fast-sinking lines, all with a variety of retrieves. Andy Western caught a four pound rainbow, the best fish of the month.

Siblyback – The fishery continued to produce some fine fishing, with anglers averaging 3.9 fish per rod. Two Meadows, Stocky Bay, Crylla and North Bank produced the best sport, with bank anglers getting marginally better results than the boats. Dark fly patterns seemed to be preferred by the fish, with Montanas, Vivas, and Black and Gold Fritz patterns fishing well over a range of depths and with various retrieves; a few fish were even tempted to the surface to take Black Hoppers. Small hatches of buzzers produced rising fish on occasions. Benjamin Lang (from Launceston) caught one brownie and seven rainbows – the best of which was 3lb 8oz, caught on a size 14 buzzer cast to rising fish feeding off hatching buzzers off Meadows Bank. Simon Peters (from Truro) caught a bag of seven rainbows to 2lb 8oz, fishing from the East Bank, using a Black and Green Snake and a Black and Green Bunny Cat on an intermediate line.

Burrator – Again, the great start to the season continued at Burrator, with anglers averaging 5 fish per rod, with fish well spread out around the lake, particularly at Longstone, Sheepstor, Lowery, Pig Trough and Bennett’s. Floating and intermediate lines with a variety of retrieval methods (fast, slow figure of eight, washing line) all produced good sport. Hatches of buzzers and black gnats meant that fish were frequently found feeding near the surface (and occasionally caught on a Klinkhammer); however, the majority of fish were taken sub-surface on a variety on nymph (Damsels, Pheasant Tails, Buzzers and Montanas) and lure (Orange Blobs, Black Fritz, Humungous and Cats Whisker) patterns. Kevin Sellar (from Plymouth) caught twelve rainbows and a brown from the boat, fishing off Discovery Bank, then Lowery Point, Pines, Bennett’s and Narrator, using a slow intermediate line. Al Lawson (from Plymouth) caught a bag of five rainbows fishing between Lowery Point and the field, and then on to Bennett’s; Dom and Ben Garnett (from Exeter) caught four rainbows and three browns, using a Damsel Nymph at first, and then a Black spider when fish started to rise to hatching buzzers, at Narrator Bank.

Stithians – The fishing improved as the month progressed, with anglers averaging 3.3 fish per rod. The best sport was to be had at North Bank, Yellowort, Goonlaze, Chapel Bay and Mossopps, with surface activity during the occasional buzzer hatch. Fish were caught at all depths on a wide selection of nymphs (mainly Damsel variants) and lure patterns (Orange Blobs, Cats Whiskers, Cormorants and Muddlers), with some fish rising to both Claret and Green Hoppers, as well as small parachute dry patterns and Coch-y-Bondhu. Simon Peters (from Cusgarne) caught a bag of eight rainbows in the space of an hour, pulling an Apache Lure on an intermediate line and slow retrieve, with aggressive takes; on another visit he caught five rainbows to 2lb 8oz from Deep Bank. Phillip Lockley (from Constantine) caught four rainbows using a home-tied Damsel nymph fished near the bottom.

Fernworthy – The fishing improved as the month progressed. The middle week resulted in eight anglers out of thirteen catching full bags, and an overall rod average of 2.23 fish per angler; the average then rose to 2.7 fish per rod in the final week of the month. The most successful method was a medium or slow retrieve on either a floating or intermediate line, with most fish feeding in the top six feet of water, mainly on a variety of sub-surface nymph patterns (including Diawl Bachs, Pheasant Tails, Montanas, Buzzers and Bibios), while a few fish rose to take a Daddy Longlegs from the surface. Prime locations included Permit Hut, Boat Bay, Lowton Bay and South Bank. Rodney Wevill (from Lifton) caught five browns to 1lb 4oz using a Soldier Palmer and Blue Zulu on a floating line with a medium retrieve.

Colliford – Again, the fishing improved toward the end of the month, with rod averages rising to 3.5 fish per visit, with the best fishing to be had by the dam, Lords Waste and along the West bank. Generally floating lines with a medium or slow-jerked retrieve produced the best results, using Soldier Palmers, Muddler Minnows, Zulus and Hare’s Ear patterns. When there was a rise to hatching buzzers, small Black Gnats and Bob’s Bits both caught fish, as did Deer Hair Sedges and Daddy Longlegs patterns. Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) opened his season with four (three overwintered) browns to twelve inches using a Black Tadpole and Zonker. Chris Tilyard (from Fraddon) caught four browns, casting a Black Gnat to fish rising to a Black Buzzer hatch, while Roger Truscott (from Liskeard) caught eighteen browns in one session. Richard Ticehurst (from Kelly Bray) caught six browns to 14” in an afternoon session, noting plenty of insect activity (tiny black terrestrials, longhorn sedges, small brown beetles, and craneflies) – he found short casts and static presentation of dry patterns for the fish to find the most successful method. Colliford is the only reservoir not yet at full capacity, being 95% full at time of writing.

Fluff Chucker’s /SWLT Brown Trout Masters Heat one – Colliford

Roadford – Rods averaged 3 fish per rod, with most fish caught either in the deeper water by the dam or at Grinnacombe. Generally a slowly retrieved floating line, fishing Beetles, Tadpoles or a mini Scruffy Tiger produced the best results. Jamie Gillman (from Plympton) caught ten browns up to 1lb, all using a Beetle pattern.

Please see the Trust’s website ( for more information on buying tickets, boat availability and booking, and forthcoming events. The Trust, in conjunction with Fluff Chuckers, will be running a Brown Trout Masters competition this season, to be held over three dates at Colliford, Fernworthy, and Roadford – please see the website for more information.


Chris Hall (April 2024)


Fluff Chucker’s /SWLT Brown Trout Masters Heat one – Colliford

Round one of the SWLT / FLUFF CHUCKERS Brown trout masters at Colliford lake on Bodmin Moor.
A good turnout of anglers from all over the South West met up for a 9am start on a cold, wet and very windy morning.
But the conditions suited the browns with Roger Truscott netting the most fish with 12 lovely browns.
Runner up for most fish was Keith Burnett  with 4 good fish to the net.
The largest fish of the day went to Kevin Sellar with a fantastic 44cm fish with similar markings to a spartic trout .
Runner up largest fish went to Philip Hoskin with another lovely fish of 40cm.
A big thank you to all the anglers that supported todays event in not so great conditions
And a massive thank you to #yetiuk and #lakedownbrewingco for supplying some really fantastic prizes for the winners and your continued support of Fluff Chuckers – Fly Fishing Fanatics.
All the total lengths of each anglers fish today will be added up and added to the next two rounds to find the 2024 SWLT / Fluff Chuckers Brown trout master .

Roger Truscott 363CM
Keith Burnett 126CM
Wayne Thomas 98CM
Richard Adeney 96CM
Philip Hoskin 93CM
Kevin Sellar 74CM
Matt Rodwell 67CM
Ben Elliott 64CM
Dave Perks 64CM
Rodney Wevill 56CM
Sławomir Olaf Pilecki 32CM
Jack Welshman 30CM
Pete Williams 28CM
Peter Finnis ——

My day at Colliford – A cunning plan

Colliford Reservoir high on Bodmin Moor was the venue for the first leg of the Fluff Chucker’s and SWLT Brown Trout Masters. With a favourable weather forecast I was looking forward to a Spring day targeting the brown trout for which this venue is renowned.

I arrived at the assembly point to meet fellow Fluff Chucker’s and on stepping out of the car I was pleased that I had dressed up for temperatures were far lower than forecast. Whilst the wind was Southerly it felt particularly Baltic as the wind swept across the 900 acres of water.


The atmosphere was cheerful and friendly as angler’s swapped tales and talked of prospects for the day ahead. The rules were carefully explained by head Fluff Chucker Rodney Wevill. At 9.00am suited and booted up, the go fishing call was made and we all set off for our chosen areas.

I had only fished the venue on one previous occasion so headed for the area I had fished before two years ago. Like Baldrick of Black Adder fame I had a cunning plan! Basically I would wander the shoreline casting a black woolly bugger on the point and a  small black spider on the dropper. I would cast and take a step covering plenty of water.

I had every confidence in my cunning plan and persisted throughout the morning. After two hours I had not had a pull but surely persistence would pay off? Dark clouds crept ominously closer and the chill wind showed no sign of relenting. An angler fishing further along the bank caught a trout which gave me hope but also made me wonder if my lack of success was unique to me?

As heavy rain started to fall I thought of breaking for a drink and snack but all thoughts of this were put on hold as  the line zipped tight and a lovely brown trout gave a pleasing account before slipping into the waiting net. After slipping the hook out and recording the fish I resumed  fishing confidence fully restored. A few casts later and a savage tug a big swirl at the fly. Looked like a good fish and a chance gone. I fished on down through the bay and then retraced my steps fishing over the successful section again.


Heavy rain on the camera lens made focussing nigh on impossible plus the fish kept leaping out of the guttering !


Two more trout followed in the next twenty minutes before all seemed to go quiet. I decided to try a new area and walked to a new section of bank. After half a dozen casts I hooked another trout that came off after 30 seconds.

With a few hours left in the day I decided to try the hotspot one more time before working my way slowly back to where I had started the day. I bumped into a couple of fellow fluff chucker’s on route and compared notes to find that whilst most had caught no one seemed to have bagged up big time.

The cold wind persisted but at least the cold rain had stopped falling. I heard sky-larks song drifting in the breeze. I looked out for early spring migrants hoping to see my first swallow or sand martin but the skies remained devoid of these harbingers of Spring and summer. At least the lake was brim full after an exceptionally wet winter.

I found some quieter water at the top of the lake and climbed out onto an old bank that allowed a nice long cast parallel to the reed fringed shore line. A trout rose within casting range and I instinctively changed my tip fly to a small tungsten headed black spider.

The cast landed perfectly and within seconds of touching down the line zipped tight and there was a boil on the surface. B***er another chance gone.

            I fished on for the next half an hour without a pull and eventually called it a day with a couple of minutes before competition end.

            I walked back to see what had been caught and found that I had done Ok. A couple of big trout had been tempted the best a beauty of 44cm. Venue regular Roger Truscott recorded twelve browns and had been favourite to win from the start.

            Reflecting on my day I was pleased to finish third one more fish would have resulted in runner up spot. I should perhaps have persisted in the area I had caught in but the general consensus seems to be that roving works best. A classic case of should I stay or should I go?

            I reality it really doesn’t matter for I had enjoyed the day immensely despite the cold wind and chilled fingers. I look forward to heat two in June when it will surely be warmer?

            Many thanks to Rodney Wevill for all his efforts in putting the series together and of course to SWLT, Yeti, Lakedown Brewing co and for their generous support.

The latest from Bulldog Fishery

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Below is a post from Bulldog Fisherys near Barnstaple  who appear to have been victim to the scurge of keyboard warriors on Social media. The internet and social media spread gossip and false stories rapidly and those who fail to catch often invent the craziest of tales to explain their lack of success. I once fished a lake where nobody caught and was told that the water had been spiked with soap to put the fish off the feed! There are a thousand and one reasons why fish are not caught and the vast majority are simply bad angling.
Clearing up a few rumuors a post from Nigel Early at Bulldog 

Good morning everyone! It has come to our attention that a couple rumours regarding our carp lake have been circulating the local anglers.  Now, we don’t usually pay any attention to the general gossip/drama that inevitably takes place in the industry. However, we have now received contact from several concerned anglers asking what happened. So to avoid having to explain countless times we’d like to set the record straight…

Word has been spread that whilst we drained/netted the lake to extract the bream last month, we had some sort of disaster resulting in a lot of fish dying or not being returned to the lake. THIS IS TOTAL RUBBISH!
Whilst the work was taking place, the only issue we encountered was that the lake didn’t drain out quite as planned, a definite inconvenience at the time but far from a disaster.
We can say with 100% certainty that every carp removed from our lake was returned with ZERO casualties! With the exception of 5 fish that we decided wasn’t up to the standard we wanted for the lake. These 5 fish are being replaced as of November this year.
Please feel free to share this post as much as possible to help squish these daft rumors that I can only imagine have come from an industrial size game of whispers!
We look forward to the constant progress the fishery is on! And can’t wait to see what the future holds 🎣🎣

🎣 Tight lines everyone

( Above) Ongoing improvements
The latest twenty

(Below) there’s plenty of trout between 2lb and 5lb being caught from the trout lakes.

A Visit to The Arundell Arms at Lifton a longstanding Country Hotel with a rich history for shooting and fishing

The Arundell Arms at Lifton is a longstanding Country Hotel with a rich history for shooting and fishing. When I saw that a new Orvis outlet was opening there in mid-March a visit for Pauline and I was undoubtedly in order.

After one of the wettest February’s on record and an exceptionally wet start to March the 2024 start to the salmon season has been very much  a non-starter. And as we drove through Devon crossing the Torridge and Tamar enroute we noted the muddy and swollen bank high rivers. There would be no fishing for a few days at least.

We arrived at the Arundell Arms mid-morning and walked into the new Orvis store to be greeted warmly by David Pilkington. A gentlemen I had not previously met but a name that is synonymous with West Country Fly Fishing.

David Pilkington joined the Cornwall River Board as a trainee bailiff at the age of sixteen and joined the team at the Arundell in 1976 as assistant river keeper and fishing instructor. We chatted with David about his years at the Arundell and inevitably reflected upon the catastrophic collapse in salmon and sea trout numbers. Like many anglers of our generation I feel that we perhaps share both a deep rooted sadness at what we have seen and an acknowledgement that we were lucky to fish through such wonderous days of abundance.

A wide range of salmon, sea trout and trout flies suitable for West Country waters were available  and I inevitably succumbed to temptation purchasing a few salmon and trout  flies. I just hope they appeal to the fish as much as to me! An impressive rack of Orvis fly rods and reels were on display, clothing waders and tackle adorned the opposite wall all exuding quality that was reflected by the price tag.

After chatting with David we engaged in conversation with the Arundell’s new owners. Simon Village and Arabella Munro. They took over the Hotel in 2020 during the height of the Covid pandemic a challenging time to embark upon such a venture for sure.

Simon was undoubtedly well versed in the Hotels rich history and traditions and recounted the glorious days when the Hotel was under the stewardship of Conrad Voss Bark and his wife Anne Voss Bark. The Arundell Arms is one of few remaining Country Sports Hotels left in the West Country. I recall with fondness the Carnarvon Arms and Tarr Steps Hotel  on the Barle in Somerset and several other establishments that were once thriving hubs of country life.

Simon and Arabella’s passion for preserving this rich cultural heritage was evident as we chatted about the river, its fish and its fishers. These Country Hotels with fishing and shooting have over the years hosted many with wealth and influence upon the land along with many of anglings greatest writers. Unlike many large country historic houses that are now preserved by the National Trust or run as theme parks these establishments still maintain a real beating heart of Country life and tradition.

Whilst the demise of salmon and sea trout is undoubtedly very sad. The thriving wild brown trout and grayling give hope for a bright future at the Arundell. Twenty two miles of glorious river meandering through the border lands of Devon and Cornwall.

After booking Sunday lunch we headed to the famous Cockpit to grab a fresh coffee before trying out one of the new Orvis rods on the lawn. The cockpit was once used for the barbaric sport of cockfighting. In recent years it has been the Hotels rod room and location for pre fishing briefings. There is a great deal of research carried out before these rods are released and it was a joy to have a few casts with a rod of undoubted quality.

Pauline and I enjoyed a delicious lunch in the Hotel Bar as warm spring sunshine beamed in through the windows. A smouldering log fire, Spring flowers, Suitably piscatorial pictures on the walls along with cheerful friendly staff made it a perfect way to spend a Sunday lunch.

Suitably refreshed we headed to Arundell’s Tin Hay Lake half a mile down the road. The lake is an old flooded quarry its gin clear waters providing superb fishing for stocked browns and rainbows. Today Orvis and Arundell team members were offering expert tuition to a mixture of experienced anglers and keen novices.

We chatted with members of the Orvis team and local anglers. We also conversed with Luke Bannister maker of fine split cane rods, we delved into the joys of fishing and how those magic wands that deliver flies to the trout are instruments of delight. I pondered upon the worth of rods with price tags upwards of £1000. My own analogy was to liken the difference between a cheap run-around car and a Ferrari. The distance can be covered just the same with both cars as a trout fly can be delivered with equal effect to the wily trout. And so the question we are left with is not in relation to the catching of fish but more the delight in using tools that ooze that essence of quality that cannot always be seen or quantified.  The difference between a true diamond and cubic zirconia ring perhaps.

We also drifted briefly into the toxic world of modern politics and the fight to clean up the nation’s rivers. There is certainly a growing and united movement of protest about the state of our rivers.

After a pleasant and engaging conversation we headed off for a walk along country lanes. The road took us over a bridge that crossed the River Thrushel a tributary of the River Tamar. The hedges and riverside banks were brightened with the carpets of yellow celandines. Daffodils were still in bloom but past their best an indication of increasingly early springs.

The river was alluring despite its turbid brown colour its gurgling sound adding a pleasing symphony to the spring day.

The country scene is one that will linger in my minds eye until the day I depart this earth.

         After a pleasing and engaging day at Arundell I have plans to return later in the Spring rod in hand to explore waters that to me are uncharted. I will of course call into the store for some sound advice and maybe a fly or two recommended by David and the Arundell team. 

01566 784666

Rainbow trout waters opening weekend

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The new season is now firmly under way at the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries, with the Rainbow waters opening on 3 March (with prior preview days for season ticket holders), and Brown Trout due to open on 15 March. Where available, boats are now on the water, and should be pre-booked (online or via the telephone). Generally the weather for the opening weeks has been challenging to anglers, and in spite of strong winds, rain, snow and hail, and cold temperatures, the fish have already started to feed near the surface, with many caught using floating line tactics. The very wet winter means that the waters are at full capacity.


Kennick – Rods averaged over 5.5 fish per angler during the opening sessions, with fish generally located along the western bank and in the Narrows, with bank anglers catching well. A selection of nymphs (Buzzers, Damsels and Montanas) and lure patterns (Tadpoles, Kennick Killers, Black and Blue Fritz and Black and Green Woolly Buggers) fished on intermediate and floating lines with various retrieves proved most successful. The best fish, a rainbow of 3lb 13oz, was caught by Mike Malpas.

Siblyback – The season opened on excellent form – anglers averaged 4.8 fish per rod, with fish mainly located along the North Bank, Two Meadows and Stocky Bay. While some fish were caught on Montana Nymphs, most were caught on a variety of lure patterns (Cormorant, Kennick Killer, Snake, Blob and Siblyback Sparkler) fished on floating lines with a medium retrieve. Ron Wilday (from Liskeard) caught a bag of six rainbows to 1lb 12oz in Stocky Bay.

Burrator – the season opened with a flying start, with anglers averaging 8.6 fish per rod, mainly from Longstone, Pig’s Trough, Lowery Point and Back Bay. Intermediate or floating lines with a fast retrieve proved to be the most successful method, with fish feeding on small flies on or just below the surface. Successful flies included Damsel Nymph variations, Black Fritz, Humungous and Distressed Marabou patterns. Simon Stokes (from Horrabridge) caught the best fish, a rainbow of 2lb 8oz, using an intermediate line fished down to four feet depth, with a medium to fast retrieve. Jonny Mac (from Plympton) caught ten ‘fighting fit’ rainbows to 2lb, chasing stripped lures down to 6 feet below the surface.

Stithians – the cold windy conditions made the opening weekend’s fishing challenging, with anglers managing to average only one fish per rod. Fish were mainly located at Pub Bay, Hollis, Sailing Club Bay and Carmenellis, with slow-fished lure patterns (Black and Green Cats Whisker, Cormorant and Blob patterns) fished on a floating line, but letting the fly sink well before retrieving, proving to be the most successful.

Another successful Fly Fair was held at Roadford Lake on 25 February, with fly-tying demonstrations, casting lessons and trout cookery demonstrations. Charles Jardine opened the event, which also included a variety of tackle and fly-tying suppliers, ‘Coarse fish on the Fly’ by Dom Garnett, a chance to meet local clubs and some bargains to be had on the Kennick Club used-tackle stand.




Opening day action – Image Jeff Pearce Snowbee


                  When my good friend Martin Turner sent a question via messenger saying he was going to Wimbleball mid-week would I go for bank or boat? As luck would have it I already had the day pencilled into my diary and asked if he minded me joining them on the bank?

         A few days later I convinced Martin that there was no rush to get at the water for early dawn and as a result we decided on stopping off at  Dulverton for breakfast. We walked into The Copper Kettle Cafe at around 9:15am and ordered up their mini breakfast and hot drinks. Half an hour later we set off glad we had gone for the rather adequate mini breakfast.

         Martin and I have always plenty to discuss and had talked non stop since leaving my house in Loxhore and had still not exhausted the agenda when I climbed out of the car an hour after dark following the days fishing.

         It had been a bright and sunny day with a strong East to SE wind adding a bite to the moorland air. We had decided to start off near Bessom’s but on meeting Martins friend Mike Snudden walking the path and reporting no action we changed our plan and diverted to Rugg’s that was sheltered from the cold wind.

         I had been absent from Wimbleball for far too long and was eager to re-engage with this water that has a beguiling wild feel. It’s hard fighting rainbow trout are renowned amongst the Fly fishing fraternity testament to the hard work undertaken by Mark Underhill and his family over recent seasons.

         Early March and to me fly selection is simple, surely any lure with black and green fished on an intermediate line is the order of the day.

         We spread out along the bank and set about searching the icy waters emersed in our own worlds. I relished the cool water as I waded out to my waist, the chill water on the fingers as the line was retrieved. I expected that thrilling pull at any moment as I settled into the rhythm of cast and retrieve.

         I took stock of the surrounding rolling hills, the stark bare trees of early spring, blue sky and occasional fluffy white clouds. The margins were populated with frogspawn and melodic bird song drifted on the chill wind.

         I was surprised not to have caught after close to an hour and strolled over to Martin and Mike who were engaged in conversation with a fellow fisher.

                  The angler was Chris Guest who I had engaged with frequently on social media over recent seasons. It is always good to meet in person and we chatted fluently for several minutes comparing notes on bass, trout and books.

         My theory on not needing an early start proved questionable as Chris had caught nine trout before we arrived with ice in the margins.

As Chris had not caught whilst we were present we decided upon a move to a new area.

         The boat launching area has been kind to me in the past and it was to here that we moved. Punching a line into the bitter cold wind proved hard work and I soon had an urge to move to an area with a little more shelter where I had enjoyed success on previous trips.

         In truth it was good to have a brisk walk and warm up a bit after several hours fishing. I had foolishly tempted fate earlier boasting to Martin and Mike that I had not blanked at Wimbleball since its new era.

         After half an hour of searching the water I was delighted to feel a savage pull through the line. A large rainbow trout of perhaps five pounds erupted from the water, a couple of yards to the left there was another swirl as another large trout appeared in a flurry of spray! The result was inevitable as the two trout that had seized two flies on my cast headed in separate directions!

         A few minutes later Martin and Mike arrived to hear my tale of woe. Mike had banked a good rainbow of around 2lb whilst Martin remained devoid of any action.

         My line zipped tight once more and for a few moments I enjoyed brief connection with what looked and felt to be a good trout. I missed one more trout but by now I was feeling confident and expectantly fished eventually avoiding a blank day with a slim full tailed rainbow of just over 2lb.

          I was delighted to look across to Martin fishing fifty yards to my right his rod bent over a fish leaping clear of the water in a flurry of spray. After an exciting tussle a lovely rainbow of well over 3lb graced the net.

         I soon added a second rainbow to my bag a chunky fish of perhaps 3lb 8oz and missed a couple of takes.

         Once again Martin stood in the icy water his rod in a pleasing curve and his reel singing as a big trout surged to and fro. It was now close to five o clock and the sun was sinking slowly behind us. I stood beside Martin sharing the moments and snapped away trying to capture a few images of fishy drama in the slowly fading light of the day.

         After perhaps five minutes a fine blue rainbow trout of close to five pounds was held aloft in triumph. Mike arrived back holding a fine rainbow of close to four pounds along with the tale of a large fish that had taken him to the backing before departing with his fly.

         I grabbed a photo of Martin and Mike holding a pair of Wimbleball’s finest. Mike headed for home whilst Martin and I fished on eager for another connection as the chill of evening descended.

         As we walked back the car holding a brace of rainbows each we reflected upon the day and how enjoyable it had been. Whilst we have had days with far more fish we both agreed that these days when its hard work are so often more memorable and rewarding.

          These days of early season are so full of promise as we look forward to those warmer days when we will drift teams of buzzers in a gentle ripple driven by a warm southerly wind that will surely blow the bait into the fishes’ mouth.

Wind from the West, fish bite the best.
Wind from the East, fish bite the least.
Wind from the North, do not go forth.
Wind from the South blows bait in their mouth.


Below are a few images of open day action sent to me by fellow Snowbee Ambassador Jeff Pearce