Wednesday 23 April 2014

A visit to Blagdon - OK but no big deal

Returning to the famous Blagdon Lodge

On Tuesday 22nd April I made, together with Jon Perry, my first ever trip to the iconic Blagdon Lake in North Somerset. A forty-five minute drive from Plymouth found me at Jon’s home in Exeter, and from there we set off on the country route to this famous Bristol Waterworks reservoir. Jon, being a native of this area, knew the back roads like the back of his hand, as they say, and I soon became familiar with them also.

Eventually we arrived, found our pre-booked boat, and got down to the fishing. We had taken the precaution of also booking an outboard motor, a nice little four HP four-stroke; quiet, clean, and perfectly efficient, though we would probably have been OK with my electric motor. On another occasion I would not pay the extra £14.00 on top of the £62.00 for the boat itself.

Anyway, as to the fishing itself, it was not that easy. I boated five rainbows for a total weight of 12lbs exactly (an average of approximately 2lb 6oz). Jon had one fish of about the same size. We had numerous other takes but it was not exactly fast and furious. All fish were caught on an intermediate or a sinking line. Jon had the only hook up on a floating line by casting to a fish which showed in a small bay near the boathouse. Unfortunately it didn’t stay connected. The killing flies were mostly traditional lake wets such as Invicta, Claret Bumble and Golden Olive Bumble. Though we, more or less, went through our boxes. I suspect that it was not the fly which mattered so much as getting the right depth and speed of retrieve (two to four feet down and quite slow). Such flies as we saw on the surface seemed to be mostly Olives and Buzzers but hatches were few and far between.

The weather was very mixed. We got a really good soaking on and off during the day, and it was consistently breezy, with very overcast conditions most of the time, interspersed with occasional bright sunshine.

Given that Blagdon is famous around the world for the quality of its trout fishing and the fishing experience itself; it even appears in a book called Fifty Places to Fish before You Die, I would say that whilst I didn’t dislike the place, I was a bit underwhelmed by it. The fish, though bigger, on average, than we are used to at Burrator seemed in less good condition; there were damaged fins or worn tails on all the fish we caught and, though I may be accused of being a ‘tightwad’, I felt that £76.00 for a boat for the day was more than it was worth even though that price included an OAP concession for me. Having said that, it was not the most idyllic of days weather-wise and I will withhold judgement until a further visit, to experience the evening rise, in warmer weather; perhaps at the end of May.

I have to say that my best fish of the day was the large size cod (and chips) from the chippy in Churchill village on the way home - highly recommended, but more than even a man of my notorious appetite could finish. I'll have the smaller portion next time - perhaps.

Here are a few more pictures.


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