John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

Chew's Best Opening Week Ever!

Chew Valley has now been open for a week and the action has been absolutely incredible.  I have fished opening weeks for over 20 years and I can honestly say that this is the best I can remember.
The weather has played it's part in a huge way - warm days to almost 20 degrees - very light winds - water temperatures of 11.5 degrees C - up to 8 feet of water clarity and most important of all - MASSIVE hatches of black buzzer.

Nymphs and Dries

Since Opening Day on both Chew and Blagdon; all I have used is a floating fly line and a team of Buzzers and Black Diawl Bach Nymphs.  At times, I have added a small Black Booby on the point at Chew to fish the "Washing Line" as the trout are so high in the water column, feeding on hatching buzzers and daphnia.
On the 2nd day of the season, I put up a team of dries and caught my first dry fly trout of the season - take a look at the pic below and you will see the Black Hopper firmly nestling in the scissors - you might also notice that it has a cormorant mark on it's flank.  There are still up to 100 cormorants on Chew and I have released 6 trout this season with cormorant scars - yet I'm still to catch a trout with a pike mark!

I fished the 2nd day of the season with my good friend Barry Hawyes from Reading and as usual, we had a great day.  Barry started the day with a bang off Moreton Bank and quickly boated several cracking rainbows on Diawl Bachs and Crunchers.  The weather was fantastic - flat calm and warm.  We moved to the North Shore and the fishing got even better.  We debarbed our hooks and fished catch and release for part of the day, finishing our limit bags at 4:00pm and making tracks early.  What a day!

Bird Life

The birds on Chew and Blagdon have been getting into the Spring spirit and Cettis Warblers can be heard all around both lakes.  The Sand Martins arrived at Blagdon on 16th March and I saw my first Swallow at Chew 10 days later.  Goldeneye are still plentiful, as are about 20 Shellduck that are feasting on the buzzers like everything else!  No Hobbies yet, but plenty of Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and Kestrels.  I am hoping an Osprey might make an appearance in the coming weeks on migration to Scotland.

Fish with me for free on Friday; courtesy of Bristol Water

On Friday I am doing the first of my 6 "Free Days" for Bristol Water.  Here, anyone who purchases a boat or bank ticket can have me for an hour or more - totally free of charge.  These days can sometimes be pretty hectic, but they are really enjoyable and I get to discuss tactics, flies and methods with both boat and bank anglers - anything from fly selection to double-haul casting techniques.

All you have to do is ring Woodford Lodge on 01275 332339 to book a session - maybe I'll see you on Friday!

Rainbow with Dry Black Hopper in scissors - note the cormorant mark
Barry Hawyes with silver rainbow off Moreton Bank

Best Chew Opening Day for years!

Warm weather, light winds and buzzers hatching in profusion made us all hope that Chew Valley Lake's opening day would be one to remember.
We were not disappointed!

All over the country, this unusual spell of mild weather will mean that Spring has arrived very early and the chironomids will become active and hatch throughout the day.
Forget the usual attack of Black, Orange and White Lures using sinking lines, but instead make a switch to teams of Buzzers and Nymphs on Floating Lines and long leaders.

Last week at Blagdon, Simon Pledge and I had a sensational Opening Day using Nymphs with Floating Lines and today, we repeated the success on Chew.  Most of the rainbows we caught were bright silver and fin perfect - all of which were over 2lbs in weight.  Normally the early season trout are a bit lethargic, but these trout fought like the proverbial clappers!

I spooned all of our fish and they were all stuffed with buzzer, green bloodworm and daphnia.  We returned 3 cock rainbows and 4 fish that had been hit by cormorants - none were marked by pike.
North Shore and the 2 Picnic Areas were the main hotspots from the boats.  Woodford Bank, Herons Green and North Shore were the best bank areas.  Wick fished reasonably well from both boat and bank, while Moreton and Stratford also produced plenty of fish for the boats.

If you are fishing other ressies across the country in the next few days, be prepared to fish more immitative patterns rather than lures and expect the best action during the warmest times of the day - 12 noon to 4pm.

I am out again tomorrow and for the next 4 days, so I will report back with the best areas and the killing patterns.

John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing

Blagdon's Fantastic Opening Day

What a stunning opening day we had on Blagdon today!
The weather could'nt have been better - light winds and overcast skies - perhaps a tad warmer, but hey - it is mid March!

We couldn't get a touch for the first couple of hours, but by midday, when we moved the boat closer to the shorelines - we hit the proverbial jackpot.
Simon caught the first 3 rainbows - all on the pointfly; a Gold Head Montana, fished on a floating fly line.
I fished a team of nymphs on a floater and started to get take after take on either a Black Buzzer or a JC Black Diawl Bach Nymph.

We never changed from floating lines all day!

There was no appreciable difference in the weather conditions during the afternoon - it didn't feel warmer, but things started to happen.

By 4:00pm, we had both caught over a dozen trout each and had released most of them - the surprising thing was that the best areas were within 50 metres from the bank.
Bells Bush at the Top End was sensational, as was Wood Bay and Green Lawns.  Butcombe fished it's socks off and we did one last drift into Polish Water before going home - both of us releasing 2 rainbows.

If you are going to Blagdon in the next few days, I hope that you have as good a day as we have just enjoyed.

John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing

First Lexus Heat of the new season

Well, the first Lexus Heat of the 2011 season took place today at Llyn Llandegfedd in South Wales.
The weather for mid March started cold, but by midday, it was sunny, warm and very little wind chill - pretty much perfect for an early season match.
We had anglers travel from the Midlands as well as locally to take part and they were rewarded with some excellent fishing.

Deep and slow

The Llandegfedd trout were lying deep and fast sinking lines with Boobies and nymphs proved to be the best tactics.
Top Welsh International angler Craig Gimblett told me "If you used a figure-of-eight retrieve, you got lots of nips - when I felt this, I sped up my retrieve and they slammed it"!
And Craig should know, as he was the first person to catch his 6 fish limit, but on the day he finished as runner-up and with it a Greys GX500 Reel.  Reigning Lexus Champion Dean Kibble opened his account with a limit bag just 15 minutes after Craig and qualified in 3rd place to win a Greys GX300 Reel.
But the honours on the day went to Mark Thomas, whose 6 fish limit and time bonus totalled 15lbs 15ozs.  Mark won the top prize of a Hardy Prizewinners Shirt and a £50 Sportfish Voucher.
All but 1 competitor completed their 6 fish limit bags and there were no blanks recorded.

Wild Card

The Wild card qualification place for the biggest fish went to Tim Llewellyn, with a 2lb rainbow.  Tim's fish was actually the 4th largest fish on the day, as the top 3 placings all had bigger fish in their bags!  Tim would have finished 2nd from last and this just goes to show that the Wild Card place actually means you are in with a chance of qualifying right down to the last few minutes and regardless of where you finish in the match.

John Horsey Fly Fishing

The New Lexus Fly Fishing Championships Website is Officially Live!

Today marks the launch of the new supporting website for the Lexus Fly Fishing Championships, sporting a fresh new look and feel. The UK-based fly fishing competitions, organised by myself, are now in their 8th year. Both competitions feature heats across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The events are known for drawing a Global audience, with regular participants from the whole of Europe, as well as Canada, the US and even as far as Australia. It's safe to say both fly fishing championships hold a firm place on the calendar of any fly fisherman who is passionate about their sport.

Whether a beginner or experienced fly fisherman there's an awful lot to gain from entering either of the events.. hints and tips on improving your game, fishing with like minded people, great prizes throughout, along with a brilliant atmostphere at each heat. For more details on the competition head on over to the Lexus Championships website... the site will be updated with results and photos soon after every match heat.

Lexus Individual Fly Fishing Championships

The Lexus Individual is for individual fly fishermen of all skill-levels. 20 heats will be held this year on 16 waters throughout the UK.  Each heat qualifies a number of participants depending on the day's takeup, ranging from 3 to 10. A feature that is unique to the Lexus Fly Fishing Championships is the 'wildcard' qualifier at each heat. This automatically qualifies the captor of the largest fish on the day - meaning that literally anyone stands a good chance of qualifying in each heat! Multiple entries are allowed, further increasing chance of qualification. There are quality prizes at each heat for every qualifier and a fantastic array of prizes at the final - grand prize is a Lexus RX450 SEL Hybrid SUV, largest fish wins a fishing holiday to Norway courtesy of Anglers World Holidays! Get an entry in now!

Lexus Team Fly Fishing Championships

Are there a few of you who share a passion for fly fishing? The Lexus Team is for teams of 6 anglers, with 9 heats taking place at 6 UK fishing venues.  The number of qualifying teams at each heat depends on takeup. There are tonnes of quality tackle prizes for both teams and individuals throughout the competition, grand final cash prizes of £1000, £750 and £250 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd team places, and much, much more. Only 1 entry is allowed per team, so make it count! Look forward to seeing you there!

Catch John and Chris Tarrant's fishing adventures on Youtube

Last year I spent many weeks filming a new fishing series for TV with my good friend Chris Tarrant.  I'm sure that most people realise Chris is a fanatical fisherman and we set out to film some great action from home and abroad.

We flew to the exotic Maldives where we caught Sailfish, GT's, Wahou, Tuna, and many more species.  Chew Valley Lake was our English location, with masses of pike action, while Salmon and Trout stole the limelight in Northern Ireland.

The rugged wilderness beauty of the Yukon in Northern Canada formed the backdrop to some of the best freshwater fishing I have ever experienced. 

Attached are a couple of clips of Chris Tarrant and I catching magnificent lake trout from Wellesley Lake in Kluane national Park... enjoy!


Chris Tarrant fishing on the Yukon
See video

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