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

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Burrator Boat Thursday 14th July 2016

Most of the shore anglers are members of the BFFA

Fishing the northern, shallower end of Burrator

The anglers only area at Longstone

Peter & I lunched at Longstone

Peter with one of several brownies

Ashore for an afternoon brew
The water level was quite low

Peter & I took the boat out at Burrator on a day of sunshine with only a gentle breeze.  Several other BFFA members were fishing at Longstone and we also met an ex-colleague of Peter's when we went ashore for lunch.

The water level was low and fishing at the top end we had to be careful not to run onto the odd big boulder or stony bank just under the surface.  We saw very little surface activity all day but did boat four rainbows and one blue as well as several beautifully marked brown trout.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Pollack on the Fly - Mike & Tony's trip to Ireland

Our accommodation for the week - Elmville B & B

On Friday 1st July We (Tony Vallack and Mike Duckett) set off for Ireland by ferry from South Wales to Rosslaire. We have been to Southern Ireland several times before and visited Co. Wexford, Co. Waterford,  Co.Cork, Co. Kerry and Co. Galway in our time. This time we were going earlier in the year than is usual for us. We have mostly gone in the Autumn before. Our plan was to base ourselves in Cobh, Co. Cork, a very attractive and fishing friendly town inside the massive Cork Harbour, which is supposedly one of the best sea fishing spots on the whole of the southern Irish coast.

In advance of our visit we had contacted a local fishing guide, Richie Ryan, who takes anglers fishing for bass and pollack from his boat. So we booked with him and he recommended that we base ourselves at Elmville B & B which overlooks the harbour and is only a few hundred yards from where is boat is moored. Richie, a retired Irish Navy Commander, advertises himself as the first licenced saltwater fly fishing guide in Ireland and the local expert on fly fishing for bass. However, in our case, he turned out to be much more of a pollack expert. For some reason the bass were particularly hard to come by during the week we were there, but we had a real bonanza on the pollack.

Mike with one of the week's  rare bass

Mostly we fished in 20-30 feet of water using fast sinking lines and very slow retrieves. The killing fly was on of our guides' own design, 'Richie's Raider'. We caught dozens of pollack and a few bass and got taken into the kelp and broken up a time or two. We kept the odd fish for the landlady, Olive O'Brien, at the B & B, but mainly we returned them. Here are a couple more pictures.

A typical fly caught pollack

Another one for Tony

Bass again for Mike

We were disappointed not to get more bass but had a very good time anyway and may well be back again next year.

All the best and tight lines...Tony & Mike

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Return to the Highlands - Part 2

Peter asked me to post a summary of what happen at Corriekinloch after he left us on Sunday. The main features of the second week were that we started to catch a few, consistently larger fish from the bank of Loch Shin, mostly by fishing a little deeper than we had been doing and using some less traditional flies such as bead headed lures. Interestingly most fish still took the dropper which for me was usually a Golden Olive Bumble but it seemed as if the weighted lure made a difference in presentation that attracted bigger fish.

Lovely looking Fish from the tiny stream outside the house

Fish of about 1lb 4oz from Loch Shin

Phil experiencing tough going

We also hiked to a much more distant hill loch. This was tough going, taking us some two hours to cover about five miles to get there. The picture on the right gives an idea of the terrain. The Loch is called Loch Bealach a Mhadaidh. We decided to go there on a tip from some anglers who called at the house, they were heading into the hills themselves and advised us of this as a good option. It was a wonderful place, directly under a hill called Conival west of Ben More. We watched a Golden Eagle mob an Osprey and chase it off. We all caught trout and I had a red letter day with eight between 10 and 12oz and innumerable smaller fish. Almost all the fish I caught were on Sedgehoges which for me was probably the most productive fly of the whole trip. These were often taken within seconds of landing in the heavy chop produced by the strong Easterly wind. We were all exhausted when we got back, but it was a great day. Other than that we continued to fish hard everyday until late into the evening, we explored some areas of Loch Shin which were new to me, the loch is vast and has miles of fishing which rarely if ever sees a bank angler. We had a tough, windy but very enjoyable day on Loch Merkland with Phil and Kev taking good fish and lots of small ones. Loch Craggie remained poor and the River became very difficult to fish because a strong and cold downstream wind, though Kev had some success using a French Leader set up and heavy nymphs.

                                    Loch Bealach a Mhadaidh

Overall we had a great couple of weeks, caught loads of fish, though nothing huge, got eaten alive by midges and had a great time. For those who have never tried it I recommend highland fishing. The fish may not be the biggest but the places you can catch them will make your heart sing.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

BFFA Competition & BBQ at Burrator on Saturday 25th June 2016

Eight members of the club arrived at Longstone to fish the June competition.  The weather forecasters were giving a few showers with a cool north westerly breeze and some sunshine.  I took the water temperature which was about 16C.  The air temperature was a little less and had dropped farther by the evening.

We all fished around Longstone and as usual the wind was from the right along the south facing shore making right-handed casting tricky on that side.  Bob fished near the point and used a floating line with two buzzers.  He allowed the line to drift across in front of him in the breeze slowly taking the buzzers along.  He successfully netted two brownies for 2lb 5oz - both returned - and five rainbows for 5lb.

The rest of us were less successful: Myself - nil, Linda - nil, Terry - nil, Peter - 1 rainbow for 1lb 5oz, TonyV - 1 blue for 1lb 13oz, Pat - 1 blue for 1lb 1oz and I don't know what Ken landed.

After the weigh-in at 3pm we assembled near the Longstone Manor for a BBQ.  We were joined by Jenny & Ziggy the spaniel,  Gill & Honey the retriever and Sue who brought some of the food.

The dropping air temperature and northerly breeze was quite a bit colder than the water in the reservoir which is never good for trout fishing. (Except for Bob, of course!)

Two of Tesco's finest picnic bbq trays were lit and within an hour we were enjoying the first of the burgers & sausages.  The two dogs were extremely well behaved and despite the lovely smells wafting their way they managed to ignore it completely.  We were joined for a while by Neil who is the Countryside & Angling Manager for Devon based at the Burrator Discovery Centre.  We sat in Peter's gazebo for tea and coffee with some of Linda & Gill's excellent cake.  A great way to end a day at Burrator.

Bob had two brownies on the same cast - Pat helps to release them

Peter's rod bends into a rainbow

....which he safely nets

The BBQ at Longstone

Peter brought his gazebo

The Kelley Kettles boiling the water for a brew of tea and coffee

We try out the gazebo.  Ziggy on the left with Jenny & Honey with Peter & Gill


Looking towards the Sheepstor Dam

Monday, 27 June 2016

Away Day to Bellbrook Trout Fishery, Tiverton Thursday 16th June 2016

Five members visited Bellbrook a fishery near Tiverton to sample the fishing in the six lakes.
www.bellbrookfishery.co.uk  There are a wide range of tickets available that started at £20 for catch & release to a 6 fish limit at £55.  One of the six lakes - Ironmill - is a specimen lake stocked with rainbows, blues & browns from 4lb up to very large fish that includes doubles.  The other five lakes are stocked with 2lb plus trout.

I was staying with Sue in our caravan for a few days near Tiverton.  It wasn't far to Bellbrook from the caravan site on the Grand Western Canal for the 10am start.  I arrived as TonyV was cooking the bacon baps (perfect timing & excellent, thank you Tony!).  Tony, Pat, Bob & Kelvin had travelled up from Plymouth. The fishery owner, Chris Atwell, arrived as we were buying our permits.

The fishery is based on two small valleys with the specimen lake in one valley and the other five in the next valley.  All of us headed down to the specimen lake where the fishing is from wooden platforms around the lake. At times we could see the trout in the fairly clear water and on several occasions I watched fish come up to my damsel nymph fly only to turn away at the last.  At lunchtime I walked back up to the fishing hut and then up the other valley to try another lake with Kelvin and Tony.   It was sunny and warm so we had left our waterproofs at the cars.  Needless to say, we hadn't been fishing on Exmoor Lake long before a very black cloud headed our way accompanied by a very heavy shower of rain.

I changed to a dry black daddy long legs alternating to a black gnat from time to time.  I had one rainbow on the dry daddy which later went 2lb 12oz.  At 3pm we met at the hut for the weigh-in.
Pat had taken one rainbow on the specimen lake and at 5lb was the winning fish. Bob had one for 3lb 13oz, and I had the one of 2lb 12oz.  Kelvin & I decided to fish on after the others had headed back to Plymouth and we went up to Sedgemoor Lake where Kelvin had a rainbow of 3lb on a floating black beetle.  I persevered with the dry fly but was quite unable to connect with all the swirls and pulls from apparently interested trout.

Kelvin & I packed up around 6.30.

A view of the rearing ponds and Ironmill - the specimen lake

The specimen lake

TonyH at the specimen lake

A very heavy shower at Exmoor Lake

All quiet again at Exmoor Lake

TonyV fishing Sedgemoor Lake

Pat with his rainbow of 5lb

The fishing party - left to right TonyH, TonyV, Pat, Bob & Kelvin

Looking up Sedgemoor Lake

Kelvin casting a black beetle on Sedgemoor

and about to land a 3lb-er