Monday, 21 November 2016

BFFA Competition held at Burrator on Saturday 19 November 2016

Perhaps the weather forecast had deterred members from fishing the November competition at Burrator as only four of us were there.  Calm & quite sunny conditions greeted our start but it soon clouded over.  The water level is still very low with the reservoir at something like 48% of maximum capacity.  The air temperature was about 6C and the water 9C.  

We all fished on the south facing side of the Longstone Peninsula where only an occasional breeze disturbed the surface.  Pat landed the first (and only as it turned out!) rainbow.  A rather slim and dark one of 1lb 4oz that took a "sparkly fly".  A little later I had a 10oz brown trout take my black & green Kennick Killer. The Burrator brownies really are stunning with a huge variation in markings and colouration.  By midday the cloudy skies had darkened and the first of several very cold, heavy showers spattered the lake.  The Kelly Kettle provided us with a gratefully received cup of tea - Bewleys Irish Blend - but by 2pm we decided we had had enough and declared Pat the winner. 

There had been a stocking of rainbows two weeks previously so it was disappointing not to land a few more.  I think that the odd fish we saw dimpling the surface were probably brownies - I saw no fly life at all.

A calm lake & blue skies at first

Pat into the first rainbow

My beautifully marked 10oz brown trout

Glassy calm at Longstone 

The Kelly Kettle included in a tea break 'selfie' with me, Mark, Bob & Pat

A heavy shower as were brewing tea

An even heavier shower mixed with hail

The smoke from the woodburning stove at the Discovery Centre looked inviting!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Burrator Fly Fishers Competition at Tavistock Trout Fishery 28th October 2016

This competition was held at Tavistock Trout Fishery on Friday 28th October.  Nine members met in the car park for the start at 10am.  Permits for three fish were purchased and we spread ourselves around the five lakes.  The weather was very mild with an air temperature around 15C although it remained overcast all day.  The water coming into the trout lakes from the River Tavy was much more chilly at 10C.  The weigh-in was at 3pm.

Prior to the competition three members, Pat, Terry and David had landed trout of over 5lb while fishing other 'away days' during the season.  It had been agreed at the last meeting that the biggest trout caught by them would win the Traveller's Trophy unless anyone of us fishing here at Tavistock had a trout bigger than 5lb 3oz which would then win the trophy.

In the event, Terry had a rainbow of 3lb 12oz which was the biggest on the day so he was declared the winner of the Traveller's Trophy as well as the competition.  Other members who landed trout were David - 2lb 12oz,  BobP - 2lb 11oz,  Keneisha 2lb 11oz and  Kelvin - 2lb11oz.  Four of us were unable to land anything although some fish were hooked and lost.  An angler unconnected with the BFFA had a beautiful brown trout of exactly 5lb on a small buzzer while fishing the Kingfisher Lake.

Very few trout were moving and not a great deal of fly life was seen.  The lakes are quite deep with the Big Osprey Lake topping the list at 18 feet, the other four ranging between 12 & 14 feet. 

New member Keniesha gets ready with the net as David hooks his first fish of the day

Looking across Heron Lake

Pete  gets ready with the net as Kelvin lands his first fish from the Lower Heron Lake

Safely in the net!

Tony fishing the Heron Lake
BobE & BobP fishing the Kingfisher Lake next to the lodge

Friday, 14 October 2016

Burrator Fly Fishers (& Others!) in Ireland Again

As in previous years I have resisted the urge to drive over 400 miles each way from Plymouth to the rented house in West Cork and have instead taken the Brittany Ferries flagship, Pont-Aven, from Plymouth to Roscoff and then on to Cork. A drive of about 35 miles each way. The house we rented enjoys a great location in Courtmacsherry looking up the estuary of the Argideen River, a well known sea trout stream.

Kelvin had never been to Ireland and had never fished for bass.  He showed us how it was done though, landing a nice bass on his first cast in Irish waters.  He had 5 good bass in all during his trip.  All fell to the charms of a Snowbee rhubarb & custard plug.  

Kelvin & Peter were due to hire one of Mark Gannon's 16 foot self drive boats for 5 days but the weather was anything but settled so they had just two days afloat.  There are usually plenty of pollack around the bay and we like to catch a few for fish pies, fish & chips, fish cakes etc.  This year we struggled to find any numbers even when the weather and sea conditions let us get out to the usual reefs and headlands.  

One of the photos below shows the Courtmacsherry lifeboat on a shout to assist a yachtie.  The lifeboat is a 14 metre Trent class and as they were going at full chat down the estuary one of the crew told me later that they noticed me fishing on a sandbank that was almost covered by the flooding tide.  They sounded their klaxon and realising that I may get wet I turned to wade back but at that moment I had a bass take the sandeel.  The wash looked worse than it was in reality but I did get a few photos and land the bass!  Later, in the Anchor Bar one of the crew told me that a yachtsman had dislocated her shoulder and was unable to sail the boat so the lifeboat took it and the yachtie into Kinsale.

I had been in email correspondence with Dr Ciara Wogerbauer at the Irish National Bass Program in Dublin.  Her team are collecting data to assist the Inland Fisheries Ireland in a long term bass sampling and research program to manage stocks for recreational anglers.  Unlike the UK where commercial fishermen are permitted to retain 1.3 tonnes of bass per month there is no commercial fishing for bass in Ireland.  Ciara asked if we could take scale samples from bass we landed before returning the bass to the water.  Recreational anglers are permitted to retain 1 bass per day but almost all of ours are quickly returned.  We did finish the visit with plenty of scale samples that I will be sending to Dublin with a short report.

My four and a bit weeks went in a flash while other guests came and went.  All too soon it was time to pack the car and drive to the ferryport at Cork for the return to Plymouth.  This year I landed 8 bass but in previous years I have had nearly 100 over the same sort of period.  I hope the research will discover some useful information.

The rented house in Courtmacsherry
The view up the estuary from the house

A visit to Mary O'Neill's Bar is a must - Mary on the right
and again............
And again.........!

Bassing from the shore at Barry's Point

Out on the estuary in my Avon

Tying up to a navigation buoy is not recommended when you are in the UK!

5lb+ bass

Peter & Kelvin in a self drive 16 footer

Just off Wood Point

At Rosscarbery Pier

Kelvin plugging off the shore at Wood Point

and again this time at Quarry Point with Barry's Point beyond

Tea break at Blind Strand

Off Barry's Point in my Avon - quite choppy for small boats!

The Courtmacsherry Trent Class lifeboat on a shout - less than 8 feet of water under the keel!

Peter Macconnell added a some photographs and a paragraph on 3rd November:

As Tony's guests in Courtmacsherry, Kelvin and I traveled in my car,and spent nine days there from 20th to 29th September. I thought I would add a couple of pictures, not least because they record Kelvin catching his first (and second) bass all on a cheap Snowbee plug. He caught five altogether which was more than me. I was very pleased for him!

Kelvin's first (on the Snowbee plug)

Late afternoon and a second fish for Kelvin

A nice bass for Peter on mackerel bait

Some serious fishing went on!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Burrator Fly Fishers Competition & BBQ 13 August 2016

There was quite a good turn out of nine members to fish a competition at Burrator.  We followed the afternoon weigh-in at Longstone with another BBQ.

The competition started at 10am and although not cold at 16C it was very overcast and murky with a light breeze from the southwest.  I took the water temperature which was 18C.  Through the morning we were treated to occasional drizzle and low cloud.  There was little fly life coming off the water and very few trout moving.  By lunchtime the weather began to improve and when we assembled at Longstone for the weigh-in the sun was breaking through.  The total catch was very disappointing with just one blue trout of around 1.25lb landed by Bob Eccles.  I understand that one or two members had contacted fish but didn't get them to the net.  Bob Prout had been all the way up the shore on the east side of the reservoir but did not contact anything.  At least it was an easy walk as Burrator is only 50% full.  We extended an invitation to SW Lakes Trust staff and Mark came around to check permits and see what was being caught but could not stay for the BBQ as he had to go back to Kennick.

The BBQ was lit after the weigh-in and we were joined by four of our ladies and our 5 year old grandaughter, Lily-Rose.  Mark Garbutt was disappointed to have to leave before the BBQ was underway.  Neil from SW Lakes Trust had let us have a bag of the Burrator Discovery Centre produced charcoal and I used it to cook the burgers & bangers.  Very good charcoal, by the way!  I had to apologise to the gathering for the shortage of onions as I made a schoolboy error (or was it an age related error!) and turned the gas cooker on full instead of off.  Some of the onions became welded to the bottom of the pan which reminded me of a few of my teenage camping trips when cooking over open fires!  I need not really say that it took some time to restore the pan to its former state! 

Bob & Jenny's very well behaved Spaniel, Ziggy did his best to ignore the smell of sausages & burgers all evening and was rewarded with one of Tesco's Finest sausages. Another enjoyable day at Burrator despite the lack of trout.

Low cloud & drizzle greeted members at the start

A bit of free advertising for the Snowbee Lightweight jacket!

BFFA members at Longstone

MikeD at Longstone Point

BobE at Longstone

Pat in one of his favourite spots at Longstone

TonyH trying farther along the east shore

The weather cleared up after the weigh-in

13 of us enjoyed the BBQ along with Ziggy the Spaniel

And finally my Kelly Kettles provide the tea and coffee

Monday, 1 August 2016

Burrator Fly Fishers Competition 30 July 2016

Six BFFA members met at Longstone for the July competition.  There has been low rainfall during July and the reservoir levels reflect that.  I took the water temperature at Longstone - 18C - and at the boat pontoon - 20C - so very warm.  A widely held belief in the US is that with a water temperature at and above 20C it is time to pack up!

At first there was a breeze blowing across the reservoir from the west which gradually became more northerly.  No rain was forecast and around lunchtime it quite suddenly became warmer.  Anyway, at the 10am start BobP decided to start fishing near the Discovery Centre on the west shore where he lost one trout  before returning to Longstone where he did land one 1.25lb rainbow.  Personally, I did not have a single 'touch' all day.  After the weigh-in at 3pm where Bob's was the only fish, I tried over the other side of Burrator at the boat pontoon and below the Discovery Centre without contacting anything at all.

The water level is quite low
View from the Sheepstor Dam

Linda fishing at Longstone

Tony & Mark waiting for the Kelly Kettle

Just boiled

We mostly fished towards the end of Longstone Point

I later fished at the boat pontoon