Monday, 22 October 2007

New Arrivals!

As you can see, no posting for a while, but there is a reason ... and this time it is not fishing! As some of you may know my wife has been expecting our 2nd child who was due to arrive at the beginning of December. Well our beautiful little girl decided that she was ready for the world right now and appeared on 14th October weighing 4lb 3oz ... not a bad Trout! After a few tough days in hospital she has settled well and is getting some much needed rest after a traumatic entrance into the world. I am dead chuffed of course, now Mum can take daughter horse riding while Chester and I get stuck into whatever fish cross our path! No name for baby Hart yet, sadly Sue and I don't make our minds up about names as quickly as I do about what fly to put on!

On the new arrival note check out the latest Trout Fisherman mag. There are tales of battles with monster Coalfish like these seen on Henry Gilbeys site and I also complete the year long casting series with a feature about how to get that fly into all those fish holding nooks and crannies.

Look out soon on this blog for some helpful winter fishing tips.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Cook your Catch!

So can you believe it, October and the sun is out! We have had some top weather this last week; in fact it has been better than July. I have just spent the weekend in the company of two great guys, Alasdare Lambert who I have been guiding for several years now and his good mate James, a sea fisherman who wanted to find out why Alasdare has got the fly fishing bug so bad! Both Alasdare and James work in a company called Shirlaws, if you are in business you should check them out!

Anyway we got stuck into a Saturday morning session of casting with James while Alasdare kicked off with some dry fly fishing on our Island Lake here at Exe Valley. It was tough going with a very bright sun, cloudless sky and a stiff breeze. Even so a few casts in and Alasdare was stuck into a Trout that promptly threw the hook. Two hours whizzed by as James got to grips with the casting and then it was time to pack up, England v Australia Rugby called! Of course we all know the outcome which was not so good for James being an Ozzy! The next day he was feeling a little off colour; was it the rugby or too much Exmoor Gold ?!

Al and James got some rest at the fantastic Three Acres Country House and then it was time to shake off James rugby blues and get him his first Trout . The island lake Trout began feeding on hatching buzzers with gusto and pretty quickly James had latched into a fish caught off the surface. Photos, more fish and most of all just another lovely Sunday kicking back, enjoying the amazing Exmoor countryside and relaxing. Its hungry work though and so at lunch time we got a Barbecue going. I know, in October, cool or what! I for one hope the great Indian summer continues.

The Trout was gutted and prepared using a stuffing of thyme and a couple of Garlic cloves. Bang it on the BBQ for a few minutes each side and hey presto, a seriously healthy lunch that had been swimming just minutes before! Fish doesn't come much fresher! We got back to more fishing and then sadly the time was up and the guys are now heading back to London as I type. I look forward to seeing them again next year and it sounds like James maybe trying a day out on Syon Park a Trout venue in London! Yep, you can even reach it on the tube!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Fishery Reports - South West Lakes

Here it the most recent news from South West Lakes Trust regarding our local West Country game fishing venues sent to us by fishery boss Chris Hall ... get out there quick the season is drawing to a close!!!

Wimbleball has produced another excellent month’s sport, with rods averaging just under 3 fish per rod. While fish have been well dispersed over the reservoir, Ruggs and Bessoms have produced the most consistent results, with fish also being caught by the Dam and in Arthur’s Bay. Sedge patterns and Bibios brought fish to the surface (there were sporadic hatches of sedges and buzzers throughout the month), but most fish were taken sub-surface, either on traditional nymph patterns (Hares Ears, Pheasant Tails, Diawl Bachs, and Damsel Nymphs), or on lures fished on a sinking line (Vivas, Blobs, Boobies, and Cats Whiskers). The best fish of the month was a 5lb 10oz rainbow caught by Chris Curtis (of Paignton) while fishing from a boat (28 Sept). Other notable fish caught in the month included a 5lb 6oz rainbow caught by Neil Osborne (Exeter), and a bag that included rainbows of 4lb 12oz and 3lb 12oz. The annual boat pairs competition (this year supported by Scott Rods) was won by The Squirrel Tails – brothers Steve and Vince Floyd.

Note from Nick: I guided Jim Parrot here recently (see September Blog entry) and we found a McKay fished on an intermediate line (Cortland Blue) to be deadly. Nice easy fishing, chuck it out, count to 10 and twiddle back with a steady figure 8 retrieve.

Fernworthy - fish showed well on the surface throughout the month, and again, black and dark flies continued to fish well, either on or beneath the surface, with successful patterns including Hoppers, Coch-y-bondhu, Pheasant Tails, and, Bibios fished dry and in the ripple, or Diawl Bachs and Montana nymphs fished subsurface.

Colliford – Hoppers and Daddylonglegs fished in the surface ripple, along with pulled traditional wet flies, have provided good top-of-the-water sport during the month, while subsurface nymph and fry patterns fished in the margins have successfully taken browns throughout September.

Note from Nick: Fernworthy and Colliford are not regular venues for me, even though I can be on both in not much over an hour. However I urge you to get out on them before the season ends. The Browns will be up on the overcast days hunting down as much food as possible ready for the long winter months. This could mean great dry fly sport or try pulling Wets, I like to go for a modern approach and favour Cormorants in #10 & #12 fished through the surface on an intermediate line. Dabblers, especially Iain Barrs range, are also worth a go.

Above: Fishing Fernworthy in September 2007, this turned out to be one of my most memorable days in a long time. You should try it!

Monday, 1 October 2007

End of Season Fishathon!

I don't know how I managed it but for the first time in years I ended up with the last day of the season off! Making the most of it I got together with great mates Alex Bobba and Mike Boniface to spend the day chasing down any Grayling or Trout happy to snaffle our flies.

This is what fishing is all about, a day out with your mates in the fresh air. Mike certainly proved to be the top rod knocking out fish after fish on a great Big TG Emerger including this spanking little Brown Trout. Fishing also brings out the little boy in you and we just couldn't resist a slide or two down Bolham Weir! After a long wet summer it was amazing to see an excellent hatch of Olives and fish very keen to take from the top. If you are out after the winter Grayling though be sure to have some big bugs ... tungsten bead heads with lead. In the late afternoon I scored well with these in the deep water when the dry fly sport dried up. Black and Olive are highly recommended but the Grayling also love Pink, so try some shrimp style flies tied on heavy wire curved hooks.

Sadly the Trout season is at an end but there are still many opportunities to be had with Grayling plus I will shortly go into Pike overdrive! Fly Fishing for Pike is about as cool as it gets, BIG fish on BIG flies and be careful ... they bite! If you fancy trying this for the first time drop me a line to organise a guided session. We have all the kit, the right flies and some cracking venues on offer. The new Trout season commences on 15th March 2008 and my diary is already filling so check out here for more information.

Right now it is back to the keyboard and web work but I am planning my next session out as yesterday was such a blast. Trying hard not to look at Henry Gilbeys blog who right now is in Canada with Aardvark Mc Leod.

Next Stop New Zealand

On Friday and Saturday I enjoyed the company of Phil & Alison Smith who live in North Somerset, well, they do now but not for long! Very shortly they will be heading for Nelson in New Zealand! For those who are not aware New Zealand is a fly fishers mecca, a place quite literally heaving with Trout and many of spectacular proportions. Already keen sea anglers, Phil & Alison decided to try a long weekend learning how to fly fish and here they are with their first catch! They stayed at the superb Three Acres Country House and ate at our local gastronomic delight, Woods. I look forward to hearing from them when they land their first Trout on the other side of the world!