News

The season so far ......

Its amazing to think that we are already into August and another season is flying by!  Apart from a week or so of scorching hot weather, this has been a cool Summer with plenty of rain and even more wind!!  As I write this blog the rain is pouring down outside but that does have the helpful effect of cooling down the water temperatures on our lakes and reservoirs - as I'm out on Chew for pike on the fly for the next 2 days, this will be very welcome indeed.

Trout

The trout fishing on Blagdon in recent weeks has been incredible.  First with grown on rainbows and browns feeding on damsels, migrating leeches and corixa at the Top End, then to deep fished nymphs and boobies at the Dam where the fish fought like fury!  Barry Hawyes and I had a great couple of days boating fish after fish, with Barry taking browns to over 5lbs and rainbows over 4lbs.

Chew has been harder of late, but a month ago everyone was heading to Stratford and Herriots where overwintered trout were feeding amongst the weed on bloodworm and corixa.  There were some monsters to be caught but the weed growth and increase in water temperatures stopped this for a while.

Pike

Pike have been feeding during the cooler days and some cracking fish have fallen to the fly this season.  One of my regular clients ian Gregg had a superb 36-04 pike using a tiny baitfish pattern at Stratford, and there have been a couple more over 30lbs and plenty over 20lbs.
My season so far has been fine as regards numbers, but high doubles have been my best to the boat, although we have lost some bigger fish which we could not hold!
As the water cools, I reckon things will pick up and more of the big girls will begin to show.

Barry Hawyes with his amazing 5lb 2oz Blagdon Brown trout
John Horsey with a superbly conditioned Blagdon rainbow
Ian Gregg's 36lb monster from Chew on a fly

Spring has finally sprung!

This last week has seen temperatures soar and put an end to the 3rd cold Spring in successive years!
Water temperatures have reached 22.5 degrees on Chew but the fish are still feeding happily and oxygen levels are fine - water clarity is also excellent.
On Chew the main trout areas have been the deep water at the Dam - but don't think these fish are deep - quite the opposite.  On overcast days Dry Fly is the best method and in other conditions it is Washing Line or simply straight lined nymphs.

My clients have had superb sport in recent weeks with lots of limit bags and hard fighting trout.

Pike

After weeks of rock hard fishing, the pike have finally started to feed with a vengeance on Chew and loads of big 20's plus a few 30's have been caught on the fly.  Jake Belgium has had an awesome year so far and topped it off last week with a 25lb 4oz pike - taken on a competition size Cats Whisker Booby intended for trout while fishing - wait for it - at the Dam!

My clients have all had good sport recently but we seem to be hitting doubles rather than 20 or 30 pounders.  Luck of the draw I suppose, but I am also sure some biggies will follow in the coming weeks.

England duty and the Grafham Trophy

Last week was spent in Ireland on the wonderful Lough Lein near Killarney fishing in the International Loch Style Spring match.  The wild brownies were small but plentiful and the rules were that only fish measuring 10" from tip of snout to INSIDE fork of tail would count.  On the first practice day, Richard Slater and I boated 43 trout and only 1 was sizeable!  We knew then that numbers in the match would be low.

However, with great team practice and top angling by my England team mates, we managed 18 fish for the team and brought home the covetted Gold Medal.  Wales were 2nd with 13 fish, Scotland 3rd with the same number and hosts Ireland were 4th with just 8 fish.

I also had the honour of being top English Rod and brought home the impressive Grafham Trophy.

Guided Days

Now I'm back until September (when I leave for Vail, Colorado and the World Fly Fishing Championships) so most of my days will be spent on Chew or Blagdon guiding for trout and pike.  I still have plenty of places available in July and August, so simply drop me an email to book a day.

John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing

GREAT NEW SEASON SPORT

What a great start to the 2016 fly fishing season this has been on the Bristol Waters.  Superb quality rainbow and brown trout being taken from all corners of both Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes on a huge variety of methods.
Although the weather has seen cold winds and many layers of clothing have been required at times to keep warm, the trout have never been very deep and on Chew they are feeding hard on small black buzzer, while on Blagdon they are stuffed with daphnia.

Dry Fly!

Whenever the wind drops on Chew, the fish have risen to hatching buzzer and people were reporting catching on Dry Flies as early as the 18th March - the day after Opening day on Chew Valley!  This is almost unheard of on any of our reservoirs.

Teams of nymphs on Midge Tip lines have been very effective and on the colder, windier days, a DI5 with a bright Blob on the top dropper, a Black Diawl Bach Nymph in the middle and a Black Booby on the point has normally taken plenty of fish.

Buzzers everywhere

Every year the buzzer hatches on Chew seem to get earlier and definitely more prolific.  Black buzzers are already covering the surface of the lake and ducks, gulls, sand martins and swallows are feasting on them - as well as the trout!  Now that the winds have dropped recently, the nymph fishing is really taking off and some quality trout are being caught.

Pike slowly starting to feed again

Fishing for pike on the fly has been slow this season.  We are not sure why this is, but water temperature and possible spawning might be the reasons.  Every year the times that the pike spawn vary, so no-one ever knows how this affects the fishing. 
Thankfully a few have started to feed again as the days have grown longer and warmer - the best two being one of 32lbs and another big double - both taken while trout fishing on a Blob and Booby by the same angler; Dean Kibble from Wales.  Every year Dean catches big pike at this time of the year on small trout flies, so it's no coincidence.

Guided fishing on both lakes

Now that the season is in full swing, I am already heavilly booked for Guided Days, but still have plenty of mid week dates available throughout June and a few remaining in April and May.  The trout fishing should become more "top of the water" in the coming weeks and the pike fishing will become top drawer during may and June.

 

A cracking Blagdon rainbow
Anthony Tabor with a nice Chew Brownie
A nice Chew double taken on the fly

Last 3 Pike Trials Boats Available

In a new initiative by Bristol Water, I am doing 10 Guided Days in the 2016 Chew Pike Trials.  So if you are new to Chew Valley Lake's 1200 acres, not been successful in recent years or simply been unable to secure a boat for Europe's most popular piking days, then this is a great way to get yourself onto the water.

Demand for the days, which only went on general release last week, has been high and only 7th Feb and 16th Feb remain available for the Spring Trials and 7th Nov for the Autumn Trials.

To book one of the 3 remaining days please contact Woodford Lodge on 01275 33233901275 332339.  The cost per boat will be £300 and applies to 1 or 2 people, so is great value for money.  I can supply all tackle if you are new to pike fishing.

Amazing fishing on Litton

Last week I took Jeff Harris from Dallas, Texas for two days guided fishing.  Day 1 we went to Litton lakes and he sampled some top quality rainbow and brown trout fishing, with every fish full finned and fighting fit!  A floating Line and small gold head lures was the best tactic and by the looks of the trout, they had been eating well during these abnormally mild Winter months.
Jeff's best rainbow weighed around 4lbs while his biggest Brown was well over 3lbs.  All the fish were released and if anyone fancies a day out before the main reservoir season begins, just email me and it can be arranged.

Grayling at Avon Springs

The next day I took Jeff to Avon Springs Fishery near Andover to fish the Wiltshire Avon.  Jeff had never caught a grayling but we soon corrected that and by the end of the day he had plenty of grayling up to about 1lb but he also lost a brute of a fish which threw the hook in the fast water - we did see it though and it was easily 2lbs+.
This is a great venue to learn some river skills and stays open all season long.  With almost a mile of river plus the bonus of 2 lakes if the river is out of sorts, it is a perfect venue for a day's fishing or for a corporate day.

 

Neil Leaver with his 30lb pike caught with me during last Feb Pike Trials
Jeff Harris with his best Litton rainbow - look at that tail!
Jeff Harris with his first UK Grayling from the Wilts Avon at Avon Springs

2016 Season looming

Not long now before the new fly fishing season begins on our reservoirs.
Blagdon Lake opens for business on 10th March, while Chew Valley opens a week later on Thursday 17th March 2016.

The Winter so far has been mild, wet and windy - although we have had nowhere near the huge amounts of rain experienced in the North of England, Scotland and Ireland.  In fact, neither Chew Valley or Blagdon are overflowing yet, but they are only a couple of feet below top water so we expect them to be full within a few weeks and certainly before Opening Days.

Book now for Guided Days

I am now actively taking bookings for Guided Days in 2016 on both Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes.  Fish for quality Brown and Rainbow Trout on either lake and of course there is the opportunity to target massive pike on the fly at Chew. 

If you fancy a lake to yourself, then why not try Litton Lakes with me from a boat.  It is possible to have not one, but both lakes to yourself for the day, along with exclusive use of the Fishing Lodge where we can barbecue lunch in a truly peaceful environment.

Just drop me an email on my "Contact" page and we can get a day or two arranged for the coming season.

Chew Spillway
Herriots Bridge
Enrico Pini and I with his 40:08 fly caught Chew pike last March

What a season that was!

Hard to believe that another fly fishing season is now complete - but what an awesome season it was!
Huge pike, enormous trout, monster perch and great competitions.

Vail, Colorado USA for 2016 World Championships

My best bit of news recently is being selected to represent Team England in next year's World Championships in Vail, Colorado.  The Youth Championships were held there this season and by all accounts the venues and organisation are perfect for a match of this magnitude.
My other England Team Mates are Howard Croston, Simon Robinson, Phil Dixon and Andrew Scott, with Paul Page as Manager.

Trout Season

Both Chew and Blagdon Lakes were on fire for the majority of the season.  Once again, massive buzzer hatches brought the fish onto the feed as early as March and the dry fly fishing on Chew was exceptional.  Although the rainbows are always in tip-top condition, it was the size and quantity of the browns that was staggering.
One of my clients, Chris Jarrett, landed a brown of over 14lbs while pike fishing with me in November - the giant brownie took a whole mackerel.
All through the season people were reporting catches of 5lb to 8lb browns - most of which were voluntarily returned to the water.  Which is great news.

Perch on Chew

For the 3rd year running, the perch showed up in large numbers on Chew Valley Lake.  Specimens of up to almost 5lbs were taken - mainly around the jetties and most on the fly. 
Late afternoon in the back end of August through until November was the key time to contact a PB Perch.  I fly fished one day with Ian Gregg and we struggled for perch all day - plenty of pike and the odd trout, but the perch were hard to locate.
Then just as the light started to fade and the wind dropped, Ian had a PB 3:03 perch then with the last cast of the day followed it with a 3:10.

Pike

The highlight of the season has to be my Italian client Enrico Pini's massive 40lb 8oz caught during March on Chew using a fly.  Vern Novy then had a 31:08 a week later and plenty of other pike came to my boat during the course of the fly fishing season.  Pike ranging from 2lb, through to double figures and also several 20's up to 28lbs 8ozs.
But during the Pike Trials, Dave Sproston had a 33:10 on a lure, while I had a 33:00 on a deadbait.  We also had 70 others on both fly, lure and deads from 1st October to mid November.

European Championships

I fished for Team England in Italy for the FIPS Mouche European Championships and had mixed results.  The rain and floods made a couple of my river pegs almost impossible to fish, but I did manage another 1st Place in my Lake Session.  As a team we finished in 8th place overall.

National Loch Style Final

After being the 2014 National Loch Style Champion, I qualified once again for the Final, but this year on Bewl Water.  It was a very tricky and testing venue, with 100 top anglers vying for the 28 places in next season's 2 Loch Style International matches.
Thankfully I finished in 5th place overall and have now qualified to fish the Spring International on Ireland's Lough Lein in May.

Christmas Vouchers for Guided Days

Don't forget that I can provide Vouchers for Guided Fishing Days that make excellent Christmas Presents.  Just drop me an email and I can arrange it for you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

Ian Gregg with his last cast 3:10 Chew Perch
Me with a 33lb Chew Pike
Chris Jarrett's 14lb Chew Brown Trout

The perfect fishing gift...

For the fisherman who has it all, or the beginner who's always wanted to try: John can provide Gift Vouchers for a perfect day out!
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