John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

English National, Chew trout and pike

Last week I spent 4 days at Bewl Water in Kent practicing for; and then fishing in, the English Loch Style National Final.  Here, 100 of England's top anglers had qualified for the National Final, where the top 28 would represent Team England in the 2013 Loch Style Internationals to be held at Bewl Water in the Spring and Lake of Menteith (Scotland) in the Autumn.

I practiced for 3 days with Howard Croston, my great friend and fellow England World Team Member who works for Hardy and Greys.  We had plenty of fish on a variety of methods during practice, but sink tip or floating lines with washing line tactics seemed the best method.  My best fly was a Woofta Booby on a new Airflo Midge Tip, but we both knew that turning the energetic follows into takes on match day would be a problem as the fish came under more and more pressure during practice sessions.

On the day of the match, Bewl was becalmed and fish started to rise in the main basin.  This was going to be where I intended starting, as I hate the Cages area where I knew many would head.  I was praying the flat calm would prevail, but soon into the match, a light ripple covered the water and most of the fish stopped rising.

Thankfully, I covered a dimple rise near the tower at about 11:45 and a tiny sip engulfed my Claret Hopper - I struck and all hell let loose, culminating in a 3lb 6oz rainbow.  My boat partner Ian Watts had already landed a decent rainbow on a Booby, so we were both set for a few more fish.  But it got harder and harder for us both as the ripple stayed and the fish refused to rise.

I tried washing line tactics, but could only get the fish to follow.  Then another flat calm happened.  We moved around the lake looking for risers and finally found a few at the mouth of Bewl Straight.  I had been using normal size 10, 12 and 14 dries, but had several refusals, so I opted for 2 size 16 dries which I found in an old box in my tackle bag.  The first fish I covered ate it and trout number 2 nestled in my bass bag.  Then another ate it in similar style and it turned out to be a brownie, which had to be returned - what a rediculous rule on a day of such importance - a fishery rule I stress, nothing to do with the organisers!

I felt on such a hard day this might cost me my place in the England team, as once again, the ripple developed and the trout disappeared again.  Thankfully, at 5:30pm, the flat returned and I raced toward Bewl Straight - once again, a few fish rose and I covered one to hook and land my 3rd fish - and that, as they say, was that!  Ian also got one more fish on the Booby.

My weight of 7lbs 1/2oz gained me 27th place and with it a place in one of next year's Loch Style Teams - phew, what a relief!!!

Congratulations to Steve Cullen for winning the National and to runner-up Tony Fox, who were the only anglers to take their 8 fish limit bags.  And congratulations to the other 25 qualifiers - well deserved!

Chew Trout and Pike are amazing!

On Saturday I fished with 4 clients on Chew who landed 17 trout in bright sun and a steely cold wind - dreadful conditions for Chew Valley.  Floating Lines and nymphs were the tactics, with Diawl Bach's and Crunchers leading the way off Wick Green.  Oliver had a fantastic 4lb 10oz rainbow (see pic) and as the wind dropped, fish began to rise.

Next day I was piking with Neil West - it rained all day, blew a "hoolie" and the conditions were so bad, Chew Magna made National news for floods throughout the village!  Neil had 2 PB's weighing 13.08 and 15.08, while I sneaked out a 25.08 and a 20.08.

On Monday and Tuesday, the winds were so severe all the boats were cancelled.

On Wednesday I fished with Dave Sproston for pike during more rain and he had fish of 20.08 and 28.12, while I had a 27.08 pike plus a few smaller fish.

Today, Tony Ling and I braved strong winds and sunshine for 11 trout weighing 27lbs 11ozs.  Tony had a 4.02 and 4.00 rainbow, along with 5 others.  Most of the fish took nymphs, although we did tempt a couple on dries at last knockings.

My advice for anyone thinking of coming to Chew is - DO IT!  The fishing is fantastic!!

 

 

Oliver's 4lb 10oz Chew Rainbow
Dave Sproston's 28lb 12oz Chew pike
My 27lb 8oz Chew Pike

Anglo Welsh are 2012 Lexus Team Champions

Two days of consistent Team performances with no blanks assured Anglo Welsh FF finished in 3rd place on Day 1 and 1st Place on Day 2 to take the covetted title of 2012 Lexus Team Champions.  In fact, they were so consistent, even if they had a blank - which would count as 132 place points against them; they would still have been Champions!

In 2nd place for the 3rd consecutive year, were the ever consistent Rio Masters team and in 3rd place were Margam FF from Wales.

This year, the Team matches have been fished to FIPS Mouche World Championship rules, where all individuals' positions in the match are added together and the Team with the least place points are crowned Champions.

This format suits the more consistent teams and no longer can 1 individual's performance carry their team through.

Most of the competitors enjoyed the new format and most importantly, more Teams entered this year than last.

Cliff Waters will have full pics from both the Team and the Indiviedual Finals on his "Fishy Pics" web site.

Renegades lead Lexus Teams Final after Day 1

The Renegades lead the challenge for Lexus Team Champions 2012 after the 1st day of competition, having amassed the lowest total place points score of 235 points..  22 Teams are battling it out over 2 days here at Rutland Water and the sunny, windy conditions did little to help the elite field of 132 anglers.

Although the fishing was hard, the quality and size of the Rutland trout was extraordinary.  Average weight was 2lb 9ozs and the best fish to the scales was a Brown Trout weighing 7lbs 3ozs and fell to the rod of Trout & Salmon Magazine's editor Andrew Flitcroft.

Top rod on Day 1 was Warren Gain of the Fishhawks, with 6 fish for 20lbs 12ozs, including a 6lb 1oz Rainbow Trout.  Warren was closely followed by Blagdon's Mark Miles with 7 fish for 20lbs 8ozs and Margam's Rob Honour with another 7 fish weighing 19lbs 15ozs.

The match is fished to FIPS Mouche World Rules where points are allocated to individuals based on their position in the match, so no one individual can dominate the Team's results and every team member's contribution counts - with a blank adding 132 points to the Team's score.  So every angler is now trying to avoid the dreaded blank at all costs and team work is everything!

In 2nd place are the reigning Champions, Alba Orvis FF from Scotland with 282 points, 3rd are Anglo Welsh FF with 284 points, 4th Seighford Sharks with 329 points and 5th are Rio Masters with 338 place points.  In 6th place are previous Champions Team Airflo with 342 points, 7th are another previous Lexus Champion Team; the Ospreys, with 342 points, 8th are Sonik Sports Pitsford Pirates with 358 points, 9th are Nymph-O-Maniacs with 367 points and in 10th place are Iain Barr Team Costa with 378 place points.

The conditions at the start of Day 2 were far better, with lighter winds and a cloudy sky.  There was another even split, with boats heading for both Arms and some to the main Basin.  I predict more fish being caught today than the 253 caught yesterday!

Day 2 at Rutland

2012 Lexus Team Final kicks off today.

The 2012 Lexus Team Final has just started here at Rutland Water, with 22 Teams and 132 anglers competing for the title of Lexus Team Champions.

When the shotgun start signalled the "off", the boats split pretty evenly, with 28 heading up the South Arm, 17 to the North Arm and 21 boats opting for the Main Basin.

Practice here has been hard, with bright sunny skies and a biting sharp wind making things difficult.  The winds have dropped a bit today, but it is still cold and sadly; still bright and sunny - often the kiss of death for feeding trout!

The anglers are fishing to a 4 fish kill, then Catch and Release, with every returned trout counting as 2lbs 4ozs; the average weight of trout here at Rutland Water.

The reigning champions; Alba Orvis Flyfishers are here to try to retain their Trophy and previous Champions Iain Barr Flyfishing, Team Airflo and Ospreys are also attempting to recapture their titles.  For the first time we have a ladies team in the Grand Final - the Damsel Nymphs from Scotland.  We wish them well and the other 17 Teams who have done so well to be at this Grand Final.

I will update the match situation after the first day weigh-in which takes place at 1800hrs and will take at least an hour to complete.

Sponsors Flags at Rutland

Howdy from Jackson Hole

It's Friday evening and I've just finished filming with Hunter Hoffler in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an episode of "In the Loop" for American TV.

I was called in to film the stillwater episode where we fished on a local lake and caught heaps of fantastic Cutthroat trout.  Hunter is just 16 years old, but he fishes like an angler with twice his years' experience! 

It's his ambition to be one of the best anglers in the USA and to fish for ther USA senior Team.  He's already been the National Champion and fished for USA Youth in the World Championships and I think he's got what it takes to fulfill his ambitions!

We had a blast, both catching those lake Cutthroat and doing the filming and we also got plenty of our UK methods to work.

Now it's off to North Carolina where I'm doing some stillwater clinics for the USA Team and aspiring team members.

This is an 8 day trip, with 7 plane flights and hours of travelling by road, but so far it's been amazing.  We've seen Bald Eagles, Buffalo, Elk and a host of other wildlife and the scenery in the Teton Mountain range is truly spectacular.

Check out a few of the pics so far.

Beware of grazing Buffalo!
Hunter with Cutthroat Trout
Small sandwich - American style!!

Off to the USA!

On Saturday I ran the Lexus Individual Final on Chew and today (Monday) I am flying out to the USA - Jackson Hole to be specific.

I have been invited by my American World Team friends to share a few stillwater secrets.  Having done the same in Australia, Canada and Tasmania, I had no reservations about doing the same in the US of A!

More of this trip when I return.

Lexus Final a raging success.

We have a new Lexus Champion for 2012 - Alistair MacGillivray from Scotland- and SKY TV were there to record the entire event.  Alistair's name is now the 12th name on the prestigious Lexus Trophy.

Alistair caught his 10 fish limit weighing 26lbs 10ozs by 3:30pm and was the clear winner on what was a cracking fishing day on Chew.  Craig Barr was the only other competitor to take his maximum bag, but it took him until 5:15 to finish and his weight of 23lbs 15ozs meant that Alistair's time bonus got him the ultimate prize in fly fishing - a Lexus RX450 Hydbrid SUV - and what a prize!

The Bronze medal winner was Charlie Abrahams, with 9 trout for 21lbs 6ozs.

The holiday prize for the biggest fish of the Final went to Andrew Esplin for a magnificent 8lb 9oz Brown Trout.  This is the 2nd time on the trot that Andrew has won the holiday prize for the biggest fish of the Final!

In 4th place was Lee Patten, 5th was Peter Andrews, 6th Steve Docherty, 7th Marco Orsi, 8th Lee Bartlett, 9th Alan Williams and 10th was Bill McIlroy.

Lexus Team Final.

The next Lexus Final is the Team Championships, where 132 competitors representing 22 Teams, will be competing at Rutland Water on 15th and 16th September.

More on that in my next blog.

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