John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

Will this rain never end?

Between the storms, the fishing on Chew last week was excellent - lots of incredibly hard fighting trout taking mainly Diawl bachs and Crunchers, with not a blob in sight!I   I fished with Jim and Becky Houlihan and Becky, who was boat fishing for just the 2nd time, hooked plenty of trout and landed a couple.  Jim joined us later in the afternoon and knocked out half a dozen near the Dam.

I have just been away to Eyebrook and Pitsford, running 3 consecutive days of Lexus Heats.  Last Sunday, I also ran a floating lines only heat at Chew Valley.
Every day we have had rain and all the reservoirs are now full to overflowing - Chew is overflowing at a rate of knots, as is Blagdon.

Thankfully, the fishing is very good everywhere at the moment, so long as we don't get gusty winds and driving rain - even the fish hate those conditions!

The extra water has certainly suppressed the weed growth on Chew and as a result, trout can still be caught over at Herriots, Startford and along the reedbeds off Wick Green - normally all these areas are choked with weed by this time of the year and the trout avoid them like the plague.

At the Lexus Heat on Chew last Sunday, winner Paul Roach entered his grand daughter into the event.  10 year old Daisy Bristow braved the cold wind and frequent storms to weigh-in 3 rainbows and win herself a special prize as the youngest ever competitor in a Lexus Heat!

The Chew Valley pike have been conspicuous by their absence so far this season - probably due to very late spawning and the millions of gallons of fresh, dirty cold water that has poured into the lake.  They have to feed soon however and I am out for them over the next few days with clients, so I am hoping for some decent results.

Apparently the pike at Pitsford and Ravensthorpe have also been reluctant to feed this season, so it appears it is a trend across the country. 

Becky with a cracking Chew rainbow
10 yr old Daisy with the Lexus qualifiers from Chew

England Qualifier on Chew

Yesterday I fished my England Qualifier on Chew and happily qualified in 2nd place with 7 trout, but boy has it been hard these last 3 days!
Just 5 days ago, we were all discussing it being a lottery, as you needed at least 6 fish over 3lbs in your bag of 8 to make a decent total.  Then came 3 days of gale force winds and torrential rain, which completely put the resident stock of Chew rainbows right off the feed.  By yesterday's match, we were all hoping to save the blank!

We made the draw for boat partners an hour before the match and I drew my England Team mate Iain Barr - this was not going to be a quiet day.  As Barney had not been able to practice, I gave him a full run-down of the 2 days practice I had endured for a total of just 2 trout!  But I did have a few places lined up and our decision was to start the day pulling a combination of lures and nymphs on DI3 sinking lines.

The corner of the dam had produced a few takes for me the previous day, rather than follows from other parts of the lake.  We started there and then never left the area.  Iain and I had a fish each within the first 30 mninutes, but any follows we had were right in the surface, so we felt we needed to switch to slower sinking lines.  I changed to a Fast Glass and Barney put on a midge Tip - and got one first cast.  I got 2 more on the glass line and a double sparkler on the point.

Those fish fought as hard as any I have caught on Chew and at one stage, Barney got his landing net out and netted one for me - then he did it again.  What a cracking thing to do for your boat partner - and this is the sort of thing competition anglers do for one another - thanks mate!

I ended up with 7 fish and came 2nd, while Barney got 4 and also qualified in 6th place - a perfect result.

John Gumbleton fished like a hero and was the only angler to take his 8 fish limit, while Keith Gollop came 3rd, Mark Miles 4th, Andy Croucher 5th, Tony George 7th and Mark Withyman 8th.

The National is at Bewl Water in Kent during September, where 100 qualifiers will battle it out for the 28 places in next year's 2 Loch Style Teams.

What a difference a day makes ......

Today the weather changed for the better - light winds, warm air temperatures and even some sunshine.  The fish responded by feeding properly again and my 2 guests Anthony and John Tabor had 10 cracking rainbows and hooked and lost at least another 10!

Dad John had an 8lb pike on a sparkler booby one cast, then a 3lb trout on a diawl bach nymph next cast.  It was a case of sunscreen and nymph feeders, rather than full waterproofs and lure bashing!

If we get a period of settled weather now, the fishing will revert to it's usual fantastic self - with plenty of massive fish to target. 

Lexus Heat at Chew on Sunday 1st July

I am running a Lexus Floating Line Only Heat on Sunday at Chew and expect the fishing to be excellent.

There are still places available at this Heat, so drop me an email and get your name down for it - you won't be disappointed.

Bryan Brown enjoying Midsummers Day on Chew!
First an 8lb pike for John Tabor
Next cast a 3lb rainbow for John

Great World Championships

I have just returned from Slovenia fishing for England in the 32nd FIPS Mouche World Championships - and what a Championships it was, with a record number - almost 6000 fish caught and returned.

Team England were represented by Howard Croston, Simon Robinson, John Tyzack, Phil Dixon and myself, with Scott Nellins as reserve and Paul Page managing at World level for the first time.  I was drawn on the lake for the first session and following a few marble trout and rainbows in practice, I was hoping to catch a few fish and start well for the team.

1st Place on the Lake

Most of the teams headed toward the river, but 2 of us; Davie Chalmers and myself, waited for the start in the middle of the lake where a few fish were rising.  To cut a long story short, I had a fish 3rd cast, then a marble trout and then 3 other rainbows - losing another 5 on the way and missing a few takes.  DI5 sinking line and a mix of Black, green or white minky flies was the technique, with slow retrieves and fishing the hang absolutely essential.

That was enough to take top slot and get the lake sector off to a good start.

River sessions very "peggy"

Howard Croston started in scintillating fashion, scoring a 1st and then a 2nd place on the rivers - then following that with a 4th place on the lake and with 3 sessions complete, it was Howard who topped the individual leader board.

Sadly, England dropped a bit going into the last day - down to 13th place, with most of the team failing to draw good beats.  However, Phil Dixon kept up his consistent form from last year and made the most of some reasonable, albeit not brilliant, pegs.  Simon Robinson had 3 bad pegs on the trot, but caught on the lake and finished well on the river.

I had a couple of better pegs on the Upper and Lower Bohinka and finished with two top 10 placings.  John Tyzack recovered from a blank on the lake and 3 very ordinary pegs to take a brilliant 1st place on the fickle River Kokra.

So England pulled up to a creditable 7th place and Howard Croston missed out onb an individual medal finishing in 4th place - a fantastic effort by a very talented angler.

Results

Gold - Czech Republic   Silver - Italy    Bronze - Spain

Ind Gold - David Arcay Fernandez - Spain   Ind Silver - Valerio Santi Amantinbi - Italy   Ind Bronze - Tomas Adam - Czech

 

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

Huge rainbows on Chew Valley

Today I fished with my long time client and great friend Barry Hawyes.  We had planned a pike day, but they have been so difficult to tempt recently, we decided to fish for trout first.

The day was very sunny and windier than forecast - now when have I heard that before?!  Still, at least it was warm and I only had 3 layers of clothing on instead of the usual 6 or 7!

First drift we had nothing.  Then next drift off Stratford, Barry had a cracking 4lb rainbow.  Soon I followed suit with a 4lb 12oz 'bow.  Both fish were absolutely stuffed with small green buzzer and big black buzzers.  Some even had damsels - which for Chew, is most unusual.

Things were hard across the lake, with no pike being caught and very few trout - also, the wind had increased in strength, which on Chew, is always the kiss of death. But we plugged away with our Diawl Bach Nymphs, Buzzers and Orange Blobs (top dropper) on 18 foot leaders and floating fly lines.  Every hour or so, we got a take - sometimes just a mere movement of fly line, but at other times, a finger wrenching pull!  Steadily we built a bag and every one was a cracker - fin perfect and fighting like fury.

By the end of the day, we had 7 rainbows to the boat, weighing an incredible 26lbs 4ozs.

If you are thinking of getting onto the water after all this cold, wet and windy weather, I suggest you get a boat on Chew and head for Stratford - the fish are fantastic!

World Championships

In a few days I will be heading off to Slovenia with Team England for the FIPS Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships.  As usual, the event will be dominated by river fishing, as most countries competing cannot handle fishing lakes!

We will be fishing 4 river sessions and a solitary lake session.

Our team is Howard Croston, Phil Dixon, Simon Robinson, John Tyzaqck and myself, with Scott Nellins as reserve.  Paul Page will manage the World team for the first time.

COME ON ENGLAND!!!!!

Barry Hawyes with 4lb Rainbow
My best fish of the season so far - 4lb 12ozs
Spoonings

Big Trout, Rare Birds and sunshine!

On Saturday I guided 4 good friends and clients to 26 trout between them at an average weight of over 3lbs per fish.
Herriots was the top area and Diawl Bach Nymphs and Buzzers using floating lines was the winning method.

So far this season, April and May have been cold months, with high winds and up to 7 - yes 7, layers of clothing!

I have heard a cuckoo in Ireland and at Grafham Water, but so far, not at Chew Valley.  But our bird watching rose to unprecedented heights, when we watched a Marsh Harrier quartering above the reeds and trees along Stratford Bank - what a graceful bird - very dark brown with a golden head and enormous wingspan - just the 3rd such sighting I have ever witnessed.

Later that afternoon, a pair of Hobbies flew overhead toward their nest sight - then an Osprey also flew above us, constantly being mobbed by a herring gull.

We were discussing how rare it was to see 3 such rare birds of prey in a single afternoon, so I rang my mate Martin Cottis to tell him.  He told me he was watching a really strange bird in the middle of the lake, so as it was time to pack up, we headed out to see what it was.  A Pomerine Skua - pretty well off it's migratory course and having a rest on the water.  What a day for fish ..... and birds.

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

My biggest ever Brown Trout

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I can now reveal that during my recent trip down-under to Tasmania, I caught my biggest ever wild brown trout.
Chris Bassano, my good friend and ex-Derbyshire cricketer, was my guide on the Lower Derwent River.  We both saw the fish move before casting to it, but neither of us realised just how big it was!

Closer to 30lbs than 20lbs was our considered estimate, but we did not have scales and we also wanted to release it, so in truth, we will never know.  However, I have caught scores of 20lb plus pike and plenty of 20lb plus lakers from Northern Canada, so I have a pretty good idea about estimating weights.  Chris too is expert on estimating brown trout, having weighed a 28lb brownie for one of his clients in the previous week - and that was from another river!

If you want to read more about this amazing fish and see more pictures of my trip to Tasmania, then get this month's Trout Fisherman Magazine as they have the exclusive story.  Take a look at the picture below and see what you think.

1st decent Chew pike of the new season

In my last blog I reported on how difficult it has been to locate the pike on Chew this season.  Lots of things have conspired to make things tricky, but I finally landed a decent 17.08 cracker yesterday.  Armed with my new-found confidence, I was looking forward to finding a few more today, only to be scuppered by 25mph winds and all boats on Chew cancelled!

Tomorrow it looks like the winds will ease and the weekend looks good - so I'm hoping my clients and I have some decent fishing.

JH and Chris Bassano with the monster Tassie Brownie
JH with 17.08 Chew pike

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