Thursday 10 July 2014

A Day at Bellbrook

I have recently had the pleasure of  re-educating a friend of mine in the gentle art of fly fishing.The friend in question is Aubrey. He and his wife have recently moved from Surrey to the Devon town of Crediton. While they were down here house hunting they stayed with us in Dousland. Aubrey was fascinated to hear my fishy tales and to learn that there is so much water to fish here in the county. 

The trouble was Aubrey hadn't picked up a rod since 1974. So before we could go fishing we had a couple of sessions casting practice on his lawn and we talked entomology. We then went fishing at Kennick, where Aubrey managed to hook a few and got teased by many 'plucking' takes, but until yesterday the poor chap hadn't actually got a fish on the bank.

Aubrey lives  near Bellbrook Fishery; a group of very pretty and quiet lakes at Oakford near Tiverton. This was a good opportunity for me to try a new water and, hopefully, find Aubrey a local fishery he could visit on future occasions with a degree of confidence. Bellbrook has six lakes altogether, one of which is a so-called specimen lake. They run down a lovely wooded valley and are joined together by a gently babbling brook which helps to keep the water moving and aerated. Most pools are clear to about 5 feet but are much deeper.

When we arrived just before eleven o'clock on a bright but cool July morning we were pleased to find we were the only people fishing . We opted for three fish tickets and decided to fish in adjoining lakes, within earshot and view of each other. I put a trusty Blue Damsel Nymph on the leader; seeing many 'naturals' around the waters edge, and on my second cast was in to a lively rainbow which turned out to be 2lbs 4ozs.

First fish of the day - 2lb 4oz
Aubrey was fishing the next pool up the valley. He had opted to fish a Green Montana Nymph. After my early fish things went quiet so we both changed flies. A few casts later we were both were into fish. I landed another good rainbow. Unfortunately Aubrey lost his fish after a three minute tussle.

The sky now took on a heavy grey hue and within a short time the heavens opened and we found ourselves as wet as the trout. A quick sandwich lunch was the order of the day. Duly fortified we decided to fish the large bottom lake where we could easily fish together. 

Fishing a Gold-head Daddy Long-Legs I hooked a trout that took out twenty-five yards of line was clearly a very fit trout indeed! It kept running hard and taking more line. After a couple of minutes the combined weight of the fish, the line and a several pounds of weed in which it had become entangled, proved too much for the knot tying my leader to the fly and off went a very lucky trout. A few casts later I was in again and had my third and final fish. 

A satisfying full bag to end the day

I gave Aubrey the Daddy Long-Legs and within half an hour he landed trout of 4lb 0oz and 3lbs 8ozs. So a very happy day all round.

Aubrey - damp but happy

Mark Clark


  1. "a trusty Blue Damsel Nymph" - so no pike at Bellbrook Mark...................!?!

  2. Thankfully not Tony, just a good head of strong & very fit trout ! Mark