Last casts of the Wimbleball season

posted in: Articles, Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

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.

Wimbleball – Fine Autumn Trout sport

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Stillwater Trout anglers are enjoying fine sport at Wimbleball Reservoir with rainbows into double figures succumbing to lures fished close to the surface. The catch and release policy is proving extremely successful with anglers catching up to twenty fish a day with 3lb plus fish frequently stripping anglers lines to the backing. September and October are exciting months for the trout angler on big reservoirs with the trout falling to fry imitations or dry daddy longlegs.

Denis Bilkey with a fine Wimbleball rainbow

Good Friday Trout Fishing

April has to be one of my favourite months to target reservoir trout with that vibrancy of new life all around. Having enjoyed a good day at Wimbleball a few weeks ago I was keen to return and hopeful that with warm temperatures forecast there would be the chance of catching fish on the floating line.

This was to be a short session during the middle of the day with a catch and release ticket. Pauline would enjoy a well deserved rest with a good book whilst I waded out into the cool water. The drive across Exmoor proved to be an enjoyable experience with a stop off at Wheddon Cross to enjoy a Croissant and a hot coffee.

On arrival at Wimbleball it was clear that the holiday season had kicked off with families enjoying the warn sunshine, picnicking, floating about on the lake and generally having fun.

After checking into the ticket office and gleaning information from the catch returns it was time to head off and find a peaceful area of the lake away from the crowds. There is plenty of space at Wimbleball for everyone to do their thing. The information board in the ticket office indicated that some very good trout had been coming out to a variety of flies but that when the sun was out the fish tended to go down and become difficult to tempt.

We parked up past Bessoms Bridge and headed for the shallows where Jeff Pearce and I had enjoyed good sport a couple of weeks back.

I put down the tackle and surveyed the scenery. The lake stretched out before us sunlight twinkling on the ripples whilst a few swallows, swooped past and a butterfly fluttered in the light breeze. It was an idyllic spring day and with a warm sun and light breeze I was confident that the trout would be up in the water despite no signs of fish rising.

I waded out in to the crystal clear water and worked out a length of line to place a team of three flies. On the point a Montana, a buzzer and a Zulu on the droppers. I soon settled into that rhythmic routine of casting and retrieving. Birdsong, the call of toads and the sounds of people enjoying the day drifted across the water. My eyes searched the lake for feeding fish, my chilled fingers retrieving the line in slowly with the expectancy of that pleasing tug through the line.

After ten minutes or so the line pulled delightfully tight and a trout cartwheeled on a tight line before shedding the hook. That connection however brief always gives faith that the tactics will work and allows fishing to continue with conviction. It wasn’t too long before another trout was deceived and this time the barbless hook held firm. The trout was not to be easily subdued and threatened to strip line to the backing on several strong runs. After a couple of minutes the fish was ready for the net. A fin perfect rainbow of between four and five pounds.

As the afternoon approached I was pleased to hear the pleasing sound of trout rising. Several fish could be seen breaking the surface just out of casting range. After losing a couple of fish I eventually connected again and another stunning battle a rainbow of over four pounds was admired.

Pauline was called upon to briefly put down her book and capture the moments.

As the afternoon grew late it was unfortunately time to leave with other engagements looming away from the pleasing shores of this splendid lake. As other anglers passed by we chatted and exchanged notes. Several anglers had also enjoyed success and carried nets of weighty looking rainbows. As we walked back towards the car two anglers were fishing in the bay and one of them had hooked into a fine rainbow and was netting it as we approached. Yet another pristine full tailed rainbow of exactly 5lb was held up for the camera by captor Steve Essery who later informed me that he had finished his day with four fine trout scaling 2lb 4oz, 3lb 8oz and 3lb 10oz. His fishing companion had also enjoyed success ending with his five fish limit bag. He commented that it was great to see the fishery turned around under Mark Underhill’s management.

Wimbleball offers a superb trout fishing experience its not always easy but the fish are full tailed and hard fighting with the catch and release option working well. As the summer approaches it may well be worthwhile taking the option of a boat to cover more water. Summer evenings will I am sure provide some exciting sport from both bank and shore with free rising trout.

Exmoor Trout Fisheries for all.

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

The above full tailed rainbow trout was landed by Nick Hart who runs the nearby Exe Valley Fishery. Wimbleball and Exe Valley offer Fly Fishers visiting Exmoor an excellant choice of venues. The wide open expanse of Wimbleball offers the challenge of hard fighting fish in a stunning setting of moorland, woods and extensive farmland.

Exe Valley is situated in a sheltered valley beside the River Exe and offers fishing for both experienced anglers and families. Being slight less imposing Exe Valley is an ideal venue for those wanting to try trout fishing before venturing out to the wild expanse of Wimbleball.

Exe Valleys tranquil waters offer great sport.

Both fisheries offer catch and release options with stunning brown and rainbow trout.

(Above)A hard fighting rainbow on the line at Wimbleball

Wistlandpound Fly Fishers visit Wimbleball on a stormy day!

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Clubs first outing of the season was to Wimbleball Reservoir high on Exmoor. With gale force winds, hail, sleet and icy rain punctuating long sunny spells it was a day to wrap up warm. We arrived shortly after 9.00am and a glance through the catch returns showed that sport had at times been frantic over the opening week of the season with plenty of limit bags and impressive catch and release sport. The size of trout was also promising with good numbers of fish over 4lb.

I decided to start directly below the permit hut close to where the boats are launched as this bank had a degree of shelter from the gale force wind that was sweeping across from the North West. A large bead headed black lure presented on an intermediate line seemed an obvious choice this early in the season and the trout seemed to agree as I was into a hard fighting rainbow of close to 3lb on just my second cast.

For the next half an hour I felt tugs at the fly on every other cast and briefly connected with another hard fighting rainbow before landing my second rainbow. At this point I was expecting to bag up within a couple of hours but the trout had other ideas!

I persevered with the same tactics for another hour but failed to get a pull. A move fifty yards along the bank brought an encounter with a stunning brown trout of close to 2lb that cartwheeled out of the water in flurry of spray. After a quick photo of the fish in the net it was returned and swam strongly away into the crystal clear water.

Talking to other passing anglers it was a similar story with sport drying up.  I decided upon a move along the bank to where some other club members where fishing. Andre Muxworthy had already bagged up and told me he had landed all his fish within the first hour or so. Whilst I received a couple more pulls at this location my score for the day was to remain at a brace of good rainbows totalling 5lb 8oz.

The afternoon passed quickly by with clouds racing across the sky, Canada geese cackling on the lake and leafless trees dancing in the cold wind. After a day stood in icy water it was not too difficult to drag myself from the waters edge and return to the permit hut to weigh in.

Winner Paul Grisley with a 4lb 2oz rainbow

1st – Paul Grisley – Five trout for 15lb 8oz  Best fish a rainbow of 4lb 2oz

2nd – Andre Muxworthy – Five trout for 14lb   Best fish a rainbow of 5lb

3rd – Wayne Thomas – Two trout for 5lb 8oz

4th – David Eldred – Two trout for 5lb 4oz

Andre Muxworthy with the best fish of the day a full tailed 5lb rainbow.

I hope to return to Wimbleball in a couple of weeks when with luck the weather will be a little kinder. The fishing has been spectacular at times so far this season and even on this day when I and a few others struggled to catch one angler enjoyed a catch and release day with over twenty fish returned. Early in the season with fish often tightly shoaled up location is often the key with black and green lures very often successful.

WIMBLEBALL – OPENS MARCH 1st –

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

A New Season gets underway at Wimbleball Reservoir where expectations are high for some superb early season sport with hard fighting rainbow trout that have been stocked in good numbers. With mild conditions running up to the seasons start the trout should be moving well and eager to feed. Lure anglers will probably do well over the opening days with black often the most successful colour.

The fishery enjoyed a very productive season last year with excellent catch returns despite difficult weather conditions that saw the lake drop to very low summer levels. The lake is now close to full and should give sport from both bank and boat.

An imaginative pricing policy gives excellent value with a five fish ticket just £25 or catch and release at £25 with two fish to kept at the start of the session. For full details click on the advert below…

Wimbleball Opens – March 1st

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Wimbleball enjoyed a fantastic season last year under the management of Mark Underhill who has transformed the fishery stocking hard fighting quality rainbow trout throughout the season.

The new season gets underway on March 1st and promises excellent sport from the off. I hope to see you there!

Season opening date 1st March 2019

For all fishing information please call Mark on 07758561412
Facebook: Wimbleball Fly Fishery
Email: [email protected]

Ticket prices: 2019

If you want to buy any tickets please enter your email address and name below and the number of tickets you require. We will then send you an invoice which you can pay online, alternatively please call 01398 351371.

Day ticket (5 fish limit) = £25.00

Catch and Release Day Ticket £25.00 (first 2 fish must be kept)

Day concession (5 fish limit) = £22.00

Evening Ticket after 4pm (2 fish limit) = £17.00

16-18yrs (2 fish limit) = £18.00
Juniors under 16yrs fish free with an adult ticket.

Boat Hire – 2 man occupancy. (Mon-Thurs boats need to be pre-booked)
Rowing Boat = £20.00 per day.

Rowing boat single occupancy = £15.00 per day.

Rowing Boat with engine = £30.00 per day

Rowing boat with engine single occupancy = £20.00 per day.

Wimbleball In top form

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

(Above)One of the 5 fish caught by Ashley Scott who tempted the fish on the coch bonddu beetle pattern.

Sport has been excellent at Wimbleball with quality rainbows taking several anglers to the backing from both boat and shore.

                                               (Below) A none fish bag for  boat anglers Brandon and Mark Hayward.

Wimbleball in Fine form

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Wimbleball continues to fish exceptionally well as the season progresses with some superb catches to anglers fishing buzzers and imitative patterns. Th next couple of months offer some excellent prospects.

Peter Hughes enjoyed a superb day’s fishing today off the bank at Ruggs. Despite bright sun and a strong, cold, North East wind Peter and his friend managed to entice 15 strong, hard fighting, bars of silver on a catch and release ticket. Brilliant fish and fishing with all fish coming to buzzer variants on floating lines.

Simon Fuller and boat partner caught full bags from Cow Moor fish ranging from 2.8lb-4.8lb,and bank fisherman Ashley Scott bagged up at Ruggs with fish up to 5lb.

(Below) A fine rainbow for Daniel Loftus

(Below )A couple of the fish caught by Ashley Scott