Sunday, 9 November 2008

F*** Me Farmoor!

I could have called this post Fantastic Farmoor or Fabulous Farmoor but I spent a fair amount of yesterday turning the air blue as I enjoyed perhaps one of the best, if not the best session of reservoir fishing I have ever had in the UK. From a scenic point of view Farmoor ain't much as you can see but I can assure you that once you have tangled with the fish that roam these waters your surroundings will not matter that much!


You may want a full in depth report regarding the day but to be honest that would require an entire article and I hope that maybe one day I get chance to write it .... Henry Gilbey will freak when he sees this fishing!

My fishing companion for the day was highly talented angler James Warbrick-Smith who has worked these fish out perfectly. His Minky fly caused absolute carnage and for the first couple of hours I was nowhere near emulating his fishing. But after a while I got to grips with it and then to be honest I can only say that both James and I were like kids in a sweet shop! What follows is a blow by blow account of the fish we caught and in actual fact there were more but .... 1) The fishing was so amazing I couldn't be bothered to clear my memory stick and ... 2) The fishing was so amazing that we felt our time was better employed catching another fin perfect 4lb + Rainbow rather than taking another photo!

Anyway more details about the fishing another day, I will let the pictures do the talking .... just take a look at F*** Me Farmoor!


Second Cast!


Third Cast!


Look at the bloom in this tail - Trout Perfection



I'm in! This would usually be the fish of the day on most reservoirs ... on Farmoor its pretty much average!


Sorry about the out of focus shot ... but you get the gist. The fish above took so hard that by the time I landed it the hook was only just staying together aided by the fly tying silk! And this is a Kamasan B175 and we know how strong they are!


But James is still showing me the way ...



James may I relieve you of one of those flies???


James generously hands over the killing pattern and my smug grin says it all!



The grin is now a Cheshire Cat Smile.


I love the Rio Midge Tip and coupled to the JWS Minky it was causing carnage.


I promise these are different fish!


F*** Me!


Outbound for James! (check your backing before you fish Farmoor)


Another for James ... to be honest he had lost a couple of others and I had him running up and down the bank to record my purple patch!


We were like schoolboys ... but seriously, have you seen better conditioned fish?



James said we didn't see any big ones during this session! This year he has had fish to double figures.


You maybe thinking that it is a shame to kill all these awesome fish? In fact Farmoor 1 has a 100% catch & release policy! How cool is that? All these fish were returned ... who was it that said catch & release doesn't work?


One for me and one for James! Again ... just look at those tails!


We had a load more Rainbows but to end the day perfectly I latched into this perfectly conditioned Brown Trout. Farmoor 2 has just produced a 14lb 4oz fish that was stocked originally at just 1lb 8oz!

The conclusion? Probably the best conditioned, hardest fighting reservoir Trout around right now in the UK. Plus what a cool concept to provide a full C&R policy on Farmoor 1 and for just £17.50 per day, less than a couple of rounds in the pub and you won't have a headache afterwards ... far from it. My only problem is I have to trek 2 1/2 hours to get there, but that doesn't worry me. Right now I am frantically going through my diary trying desperately to find some time in beween guiding and the shop so I can visit again!

James ... thank you for showing me this amazing venue and for handing over the killer Minky. It is a day I will never forget and although I am so lucky to be able to fish rivers and all manner of other venues I have to say that tangling with such pristine fish is hard to beat. To coin Henry Gilbeys descriptions holy cow, eat my shorts, awesome and bring it on ... although in this case I think a profound F*** Me says it all .....

Friday, 7 November 2008

Brilliant Blakewell Fishery

So October has been and gone and already a week of November has passed, before we know it the season will be here once again! But is there really a season anymore? I reckon there is just as much fishing to be had now as at any other time in the year. I really enjoy my Grayling and Pike sessions but there are plenty of people who love to wet a line on a small still water and Trout Fisherman magazine caters for these anglers extremely well. Working as a main contributor on the magazine this is therefore the time of year when I head to various small waters across the region to put together a few winter features.


Leaving base the weather was not looking so good for pictures as I headed out with Henry Gilbey to perhaps one of the UKs very best small stillwaters, Blakewell. A beautiful 5 acre fishery the lake is run by Richard & John Nickell who employed me during my days as a North Devon college student. In fact I was rarely present at my A Level lectures, spending most of my time either at the local tackle shop or working at the fishery (or fishing some place of course!). As it happened I had already decided long before I enrolled at the college that I wanted to be a fly fishing instructor and so I look back on those missed lectures as a blessing in disguise!




Since then Blakewell has strived forward and I am always blown away by how well managed this venue is. Stringing up my 9' 6" Hardy Demon I was relishing the chance of a few hard fighting fish, although it was strictly work of course! There was a juggernaut cruising that I spotted through my Mauis which took the fly on one occassion but I missed it! After that it staunchly refused to accept anything I threw at it. Even so we got what we needed as the light improved to show Blakewell off in all its glory. Many may think that putting these features together is easy but in fact Henry never stops thinking about the next angle, point of focus, light situation etc., and he certainly rarely picks up a rod while out on a job although it looks like we will be tracking down a few Pike together soon.

Yesterday we were back on the road bound for Temple Fishery, but I will post about our experience another time. Right now I am being called into a meeting as we have a whole bunch of stuff going on over the next few weeks and I must double check my tackle too as James and I are out for a sesh on the Farmoor heavyweights tomorrow. The weather looks a little inclement, but so what .... I am sure that will be the last thing on my mind as my backing fizzes out behind one of the grown on specimens I have been hearing so much about recently! Well ... I hope so anyway.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Tough Pike

I was hoping to get on the blog yesterday but have been busy writing up all our new courses and sorting plans for next season. It seems crazy to be doing this as the nights draw in ever faster but with Neil working with me full time through the off season it gives me chance to get stuck into all the things that have been put on hold for so long. But enough if that, lets talk fishing.

The week has zoomed by but this Pike is still fresh in my memory. Not a huge specimen by any account, but a half reasonable canal fish that took a # 4/0 Black Fly. It was caught during the last round of filming with Shaun Fenton of Diesel films and proved to be a tough fish to catch after the canal had coloured up due to some heavy rain. Just a couple of weeks prior to this the Pike had been nailing flies in the clear water, but as I have found when filming you have to expect the odds to be against you. That's cool, because it made me work harder and I hope this will show in the final product. Shaun has certainly done a great job of editing the programmes and as soon as I have any information regarding when you can view them I will add it here.


After a long day staring at computers and answering the phone constantly I relish the chance to get out in the fresh air (I am missing it already!) and so tomorrow will head to Blakewell with Henry Gilbey to shoot a Trout Fisherman feature. This is a stunning little lake and I haven't managed to visit for a long while so it will be great to catch up with John, Richard and hopefully a fish or two! Plus on Saturday I have my first visit to Farmoor to look forward to with James, a buddy of mine who I last caught up with a few weeks back on Clatworthy. The reports are that Farmoor is fishing its head off, I hope the barometer remains steady and that we get in amongst the action. It may be a concrete bowl reservoir but if the fish are overwintered and superb charged I really don't mind!