Last Weekends bank holiday gave the perfect opportunity for a spot of fly fishing. The Saturday saw me heading out for a return to Bellbrook Fishery near Tiverton, Devon. Whilst the weather was particularly uninviting with strong southerly winds and rain predicted, I banked on Bellbrook being sheltered from the winds given it’s location in the steeply sloping wooded valley. It was with great relief after driving up from Exeter that I found the lakes flat calm and then only had to deal with the near constant drizzle.
Learning from my last trip to Bellbrook, I fished various flies, but after speaking with another angler who was just leaving with a good bag of fish, I concentrated on using a green, bead headed fly at his recommendation. This went on to elicited lots of follows and nibbles from fish. Whilst it’s all very encouraging to see the fish, they kept turning away at the last second, or else just nibbling at the very end of the fly. It didn’t seem to matter what kind of retrieve I used – fast / slow / smooth / twitchy – I still couldn’t quite connect with any of the fish.
Eventually up on Sedgemoor lake I managed to successfully tempt a fine, if modest sized rainbow trout about a pound and a half. This may have been because I had the opportunity to present the fly in the midst of a small group of 5-6 fish, and the resultant competition between fish saw one of them seize it whole heartedly without hesitation. Either way, it was fantastic to finish with a feisty little specimen – and I didn’t blank.
Following my success of Saturday I managed to wrangle another away pass from the family on the bank holiday Monday itself, with the plan to revisit Bellbrook yet again but this time with my fishing buddy, Jason. Again the weather forecast was for strong southerly wind and rain, and again we found Bellbrook nicely sheltered in it’s valley.
We started off (and spent most of our time throughout the day) up on Sedgemoor and Exmoor lakes. These two are probably the smaller of the lakes at Bellbrook. First cast and I hooked and lost a fish using a green damsel fly, before hooking and landing a rainbow on my second cast! Wow! By my standards this was going amazingly.
Both Jason and myself tried various flies throughout the remainder of the day but concentrated on using the green damsel’s as they certainly seemed to generate plenty of interest from the fish. The fish themselves definitely seemed to switch on for short periods before it would all go quiet for a while again in a repeating cycle.
I ended the day with 2 modest sized rainbows up to a pound and a half in weight, whilst Jason caught his first ever trout with a cracking wild brown trout of a pound in weight before proceeding to land two rainbow trout up to 2.5lb and losing another at the net. We finished with 5 fish between us, and only called an end to proceedings with the onset of some pretty persistent heavier rain.
A great trip fishing wise to my mind and I felt we really learnt quite a bit during this last trip but I was still left frustrated with my, at times atrocious casting. I’ll definitely be looking into another casting lesson at some time during the summer to work on consistency and presentation. Hopefully before then there’ll be a lot more fish on the bank…