Monday, 21 April 2014

Fished Pitsford Reservoir today with 3 young grandchildren

Having stayed last night with my daughter and family at Milton Keynes I took Morgan (10), Jacob (8) and Imogen (6) fly fishing at Pitsford Water.  It was cold and misty when we set out and the SAT NAV got us to the Fishing Lodge at Holcot in around 40 minutes.  The Warden in the lodge was most helpful and let me have a 4 fish ticket for £17.00.  He checked the wind and recommended a suitable location together with black and red buzzers (chironomids).  He even gave us the combination to the padlock on the fisherman's car park barrier!  There were midges in great clouds like smoke near the tree tops so I felt sure that buzzers were the right choice.

I set one 7 weight rod up with a strike indicator (known as "the Bung") and 3 buzzers spaced 3 feet apart with the heaviest on the point.  Then I cast it a far as I could and gave the rod to one of the children having instructed him to lift the rod if the orange "bung" disappeared.  I then set up a 5 weight rod with a short leader and a piece of wool as a pretend fly.  I then gave them casting lessons on the grass holding the rod horizontally (Joan Wulff style).  Having got them use to the rod and lines combined action we graduated to the water with proper overhead casts. Morgan the 10 year old soon mastered the technique and I was able to show him how to shoot line.

The sun came out and there was nothing showing on top and nothing taking buzzers below in our area so I decided to change tactics.  Removing the buzzers and the bung I put a large cats whisker fly on the point and having cast it as far as I could gave the rod to Jacob (8) and told him to count to 30 and then retrieve.  This he did and then the others took their turns after I had cast out for them.  The sun became quite warm and we had just about given up on the fish cooperating when Jacob gave a shout as something was pulling on the line.  The trout came to the surface and flashed its silver sides before disappointingly throwing the hook!  This bit of action improved interest and morale for a bit but eventually Imogen negotiated a departure and we headed off home via McDonalds!

We will definitely be back to Pitsford.

Total Contrast at Bewl Water

One of the amazing things about living in the UK with its temperate climate is that the weather can change completely in a short space of time. In my last post I told of the strong winds and heavy rains experienced whilst fishing at Bewl, a week later and it was blue skies, gentle breezes and "sun burn"!  Yes I came away with 5 rainbows and rosy cheeks.

I was boat fishing with my pal Chris who had not fished Bewl before and who casts a modest distance.  In spite of that he had 3 fish on a single cats whisker before I had caught my first fish!  I was fishing a 3 fly team with a booby on the point and a couple of black buzzers on the droppers (known as the "washing line method").  Eventually it dawned on me that the fish were deeper, well below my flies but in range of his cats.  I switched to a lure and caught up with his total.  Then I thought I would experiment a bit so I fished 3 black buzzers approximately a metre apart under a "strike indicator" with the heavier gold headed  buzzer on the point. That technique caught me 2 more fish but both were caught on the point fly. I think the bright sun was keeping the fish deep. When we both left at around 5pm we each had 5 Superb rainbows and a suntan!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

EXTREME Fly Fishing at Bewl Water

Well we knew the weather would be wet, so we had the right gear on but it was still a bit challenging and when the heavens opened (which it did every time I said "I think it has stopped raining) it really poured and I ended up operating the bilge pump!
The good news was that Rob Barden (fishery guide/ranger and team England fisher) was on the water planning to fish,  and he offered to show us where it had been fishing well.  He also said the fish were on black buzzers. So we started at the top of Hook Straight.
I learnt a lot just watching Rob and how close he fished to the bank from the boat on the drift. We all found that strong winds and heavy rain put the fish down, but that as soon as the wind dropped and the temperature rose a degree or two, the hatches commenced and the fish were showing on the top.
Rob found it hard too and after a couple of hours he had touched several but only landed one. He had to go but we worked our way around the water looking for signs of fish. By this time we were really damp and a bit despondent. However as the saying goes "failure cannot cope with persistence" and we found fish off of Chingley Wood. So Malcolm caught his first trout from a boat and then got smashed by a monster and I came home with a brace of beautiful fish feeling shattered but pleased I had endured to the end!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Tough Day at Bewl

Well the company was good, Malcolm, Bryant and Gerald, the latter being a seasoned fly fisher.  It was Malcolm's first bank session at Bewl (he boat fished last week)  and the waders I loaned him fitted a treat.  It was Bryant's 3rd fly fishing session and his first on a big water.  He found out the snag of trying to wade deep whilst wearing my thigh waders!!  Fortunately he is a tough cookie and didn't complain about his wet foot.  The weather was over cast and cool but mostly the water was flat calm.  We fished both banks at Rosemary's Lane and right round into Tinkers Marsh with hardly a touch.  The only action was Malcolm pulling in a pike.  There seemed to be a lot of fry disturbing the slight ripple about 40 yards off of the north bank of Rosemary's but there were no trout disturbing the fry!
One chap had a pull whilst dragging a lure along the bottom but didn't keep it on.  We saw another catch a trout from a boat but apart from that it was very quiet. We started a bit late (10:00) and finished around 16:00. 
The night before I had been watching the World Fly Fishing Championships on You Tube and was amazed to see that even the experts sometimes "blank"! So that's why they call it fishing and not catching.
Now that's a nice Pike Malcolm!!!!!

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Janet in the Fishing Lodge has kindly sent me the weekly report, so here it is.
The 2014 fishing season - Bewl Water's 37th - got off to a good start on Friday 21 March, with many anglers catching their limits and very few nil returns. Rod average for the week is 4.86.
A weather change and colder winds just hours before the season started meant some areas on the north shore, such as Seven Pound Creek and in front of the playground - usually opening day "hot spots" - proved to be rather more challenging this year. However sheltered areas such as Rosemary Lane, Goose Creek, Dunsters and Overys Farm have fished consistently well from bank and boat. The far end of Hook Straight is also worth a go. Fish have been feeding on midge and top flies have been Cormorant, Viva, Montana and Damsel.
6000 of the popular Bulldog Trout Farm 2lb rainbows were stocked pre-season to add to a good head of overwintered fish and a further 1500 went in this week. A system has been set up where fish delivered from external farms can be loaded into a holding net allowing us to distribute to all areas of the lake as we always have done and this worked well.
The usual reminder: The more returns we receive, the more accurate the fishing report, and of course the chance to win the monthly prize draw for permit and boat hire vouchers up to the value of £79.50.
I plan to be there Monday!                                       

Monday, 24 March 2014

Report on this years first outing to Bewl Water

Well I could not wait, so I just had to go to fish Bewl a couple of days after the opening of the new season.  I had three pals, two of whom I had been teaching casting on grass, who I had promised some serious fly fishing.  So Malcolm, Niel and Reece (the latter two from the USA) joined me on a cool but bright morning.  Having given Malcolm and Reece a brief demo of what to do, with their boat moored to the jetty, I let them loose.  When Niel arrived he was glowing having just passed his driving test and we set off after the others. Having been briefed at the lodge and jetty we knew where to go.  Fishing on the drift was a bit tricky because we wanted to be close to the banks and were hindered by the wind shifting all over the compass!
Still cats whiskers, gold headed daddies (with rubber legs) and even a minkie booby did the trick.  The boys learnt all the things not to do, like fishing slack lines and lots of fish were touched and lost but eight did come to the boats and boy did those fish go.  The fish were nearly all 2lb plus and some were nearer 3lb.
Let the pictures speak.


I don't know about the others, but I just cannot wait to get back!  As we are all doing voluntary work at the London Temple, near East Grinstead, we will have to wait till next Monday, as Mondays are our one day off.  Roll on Monday.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Beautiful Afternoon at Boringwheel Trout Fishery

Having dropped my son off at Heathrow Airport for his 12 days holiday in the USA, I drove to the LondonTemple, near Lingfield and gave another one of my friends there a casting lesson on grass.  Then as the fog had lifted and the sun was shining I drove south to Nutley to fish Boringwheel Trout Fishery.  The location is just south of Nutley and you turn left onto Cackle Street and then follow this narrow winding road down hill for around half a mile.  The entrance to the fishery, which is on the left is not easy to spot as the name is on the gate and the gate is open.  The first time I went there I overshot and only spotted it after I had turned round.  You then drive up a paved road and park in the tennis court!
I was there to check out the water clarity (before I bring any more friends there) and I wanted to try the "gold headed daddy long legs" that had been so successful at Coltsfold Mill earlier in the week (see last post).  Well the water clarity was improved now that we had gone for some time without rain so I decided to fish and bought myself a 2-fish ticket. 
I tried the modified daddy down in the corner where the outflow is.  Third cast and I had a firm pull but did not hook up.  When I checked the fly, surprise, surprise, one of the rubber legs was missing! A few casts later and I was in, and I landed a perfect rainbow specimen.
I then walked round the lake and fished next to an elderly gentleman called Peter, he went on to catch on drowned sedges and a gold ribbed hare's ear.

Peter into a fish
I had a few pulls on a cat's whisker, then I tried several other lure patterns to no avail.  There was no breeze and the water was flat calm.  Occasionally a fish would show but usually just out of range.
When the time crept round to 5pm I decided to take the plunge (not literally) and take a boat out.  Now the boats are old but they are very stable and with a couple of pulls on the oars and you glide out into the middle of the lake.  You then need 360 degree vision because activity can occur anywhere.  I targetted fish that showed and eventually a blue flash damsel did the trick and I boated a cracking specimen who managed to pull the boat along before he surrendered.

The second fish like the first, was a cracker!