Thursday 17 December 2015

Burrator Fly Fishers Christmas Supper 2015

BFF members and wives gathered at the Jack Rabbit, Derriford for the Christmas Supper on Monday 14th December. The Jack Rabbit always has a very warm and cosy feel. There is a reasonably varied a la carte menu and we also had the option of the Christmas 'Festive Menu'.  Mark Clarke, who left the BFF when he moved away earlier in the year, very generously donated £50 towards the wine bill.
Our Chairman Peter presented prizes for various achievements throughout the year.  The prizes were as follows:
Pat Power - best trout from any water - 6lb 15oz Rainbow from Newhouse Fishery. Pat received a bottle of whisky and trout flies.
Mark Sinclair - best trout from Burrator - 5lb 10oz. Gets 'Geoff Riley' Trophy. Unfortunately Mark was not able to attend on the night to collect his award in person.
Mike Duckett - winner of the Christmas competition at Tavistock Trout Fishery with three fish for 8lb 4oz. Also won a bottle of whisky and trout flies.
Tony Hooper - winner of November competition at Burrator with two fish for 2lb 13oz. received a bottle of wine plus trout flies.
Bill Watson - winner of the Burrator Three Fly Competition. Gets a hand carved and painted wooden trout. Unfortunately Bill was not able to be present on the night to collect his award in person.
David Lye - winner of the Burrator 'best effort at falling in' award for full immersion in Burrator during the November competition. David was awarded a personalised bath towel!
A raffle was held with lots of prizes on offer.  The evening was declared a great success.

Peter deep in discussion
Peter & David discuss arrangements


Tony & George

TonyH received a bottle of wine and some trout flies for winning the November Competition at Burrator
Bob cannot believe that Tony has had yet another winning ticket in the draw!

David receives the prize for 'Best Effort at Falling In' - a personalised bath towel!

A visit to Tavistock for the Christmas Competition

A Motley Crew!
This year, for a change, seven of us went to the Tavistock Trout Fishery for our Christmas Competition. Tavistock is a small Put & Take venue with five small lakes covering, probably, two acres in total. It is hardly 'wilderness' fishing, but with its on-site tackle shop, free tea, coffee and biscuits in the anglers' club-house, and its well tended paths and  casting platforms it makes just the right easygoing environment a not too serious club event.

Stuart with one of his brace - Mike the eventual winner in the background
This year the turnout was quite small; only seven of us. Several regulars were elsewhere engaged, cruising the Mediterranean, or visiting relatives in Dubai, Derbyshire and all points north and south. The dedicated souls who made the effort were John Jeffrey, Pat Power, David Lye, Stuart Payne, Mike Duckett, Tony Vallack and Peter Macconnell.

Tony and Mike
We fished from 10.00am to 3.00pm for a maximum of three fish each. The weather was reasonably kind to us, it was grey and overcast but the rain kept off and it was not too cold. In  the end Mike Duckett won with three rainbow trout for a total weight of 8lb 4oz, and Pat Power won the 'Sweep' for the best individual fish for another rainbow of 4lb 5oz. It was his only fish of the day and came just minutes before the 'weigh-in'.

David and Peter

Sunday 15 November 2015

Burrator Fly Fishers Competition - 13th November 2015

Peter landing a rainbow off Longstone

The strong Westerly breeze made casting tricky
Not a day for the boat!

Seven members turned up to fish the monthly competition  with a 10am start and weigh-in at 3pm.  The forecast was very accurate giving winds gusting to  gale force from the west but not much rain. 

Three of us fished the breezy side of Longstone - John, Peter & me - while the others - Pat, David, Ken & Linda - headed to the north side of the Peninsula.

I used my Jim Teeny #10 WF floating line that is normally for fishing in saltwater.  The reservoir was positively rough with waves breaking past me and onto the shore.  Using my favourite 'orange fritz gold head nomad' I had a small stockie of 1lb 7oz within a couple of casts of starting  Not long after that I had a much better rainbow that raced up & down in the waves.  It came off as I went to net it!  An hour later I had one of 1lb 6oz.   The weigh-in was at 3pm but I had to leave early as it was my 70th birthday and tea & cake was being prepared at home.  

I saw Peter land one and our treasurer David also had one.  Thank you David for the kind thought and gift of 'the water of life' and even a glass to dispense it - much appreciated!  If anyone else had rainbows an update will follow.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Winter fishing arrangements for Burrator and other SWLT Lakes

A few days ago Ben Smeeth emailed to let us know the SWLT plans for winter trout fishing over the end of 2015 and into the early months of 2016. Here is what he wrote:

" Dear All
Here are the following prices for Rainbow Trout fishing in November. Our usual prices will stay the same throughout October.

November Only
Kennick £8.50 for two fish
Wimbleball £8.50 for two fish
Siblyback £8.00 for two fish
Burrator £8.00 for two fish and £10.00 for three fish
Wistlandpound £7.00 for two fish
Stithians £7.00 for two fish
Drift £7.00 for two fish

Anglers may buy more than one permit if they so wish.

Burrator is the only lake which will be open all winter and it will be stocked. Tickets will be £8.00 for two fish and £10.00 for three fish during December, January and February. Burrator will then close at the end of February for two weeks until the new season starts in mid March 2016. Permits for Burrator will be available from the permit room in the Warden's Yard opposite Burrator Lodge. A winter season permit for Burrator will be available for £75.00 for four fish per week from 1st December to the end of February. It will be available to purchase by telephoning 01566 771930.

If you have any questions please get in touch.

Best regards to all...Ben"

So there you have it. Once again there is for those who want it, fishing at Burrator throughout the winter with the exception of two weeks at the beginning of March. According to Neil Reeves with whom I had a conversation on the matter in March of this year SWLT were very pleased with the take up by anglers of this winter fishing. Clearly it was patronised well enough to encourage a repeat this year.

Brown Trout Bonanza from the boat

A pounder in the net
Friday 25th September turned out to be a comparatively mild and sunny day with a soft westerly wind of about six miles per hour. This was just enough for us to get a number of comfortable drifts. We started at 10.30am and fished until 5.00pm. In that time we had three rainbows (all kept) and sixteen brown trout (all returned). The best two or three brownies were all around a pound or a bit more. Here's how it happened.

We began in the back bay behind the Longstone Peninsula and were able to keep to a continuous drift along the eastern side shore all the way to the limit of where fishing is allowed on the edge of the Wildlife Protection Area. Occasionally we crossed over and drifted along in front of the 'Lawns'. In both areas we we quickly got in touch with fish; overwhelmingly brownies.

Another hard fighting little fish
All through the day there were flies on the water and fish showing to them. Firstly there were sedges and then there were some kind of terrestrial red/brown beetle type insects floating on the surface, presumably blown from the bank-side trees and bushes.  We were able to 'match' these flies by using small Invictas (both standard and pearly) and red Mini-Muddlers.

Mini-Muddler and Invicta
By fishing light rods were were able to present flies in the surface ripple; and ripple was all it was. I fished two flies on my 10 foot 4 weight  rod while Jon had a similar set-up on a 5 weight.

By the 'Lawns'
Having had such a day of brilliant sport we went back this last Friday 2nd October. There was much more wind from a cold easterly direction and waves that moved the boat much more quickly; we paid for forgetting to bring a drogue. When we packed up at 5.30pm we had two rainbows and not a single brown trout to show for our efforts. Oh well, we were lucky to get that Indian Summer day the week before.

September Competition - The Day of the Daddy-Long-Legs

The killing fly - Daddy-Long-Legs
Our two previous competitions, in June and July, had suffered from low water levels at Burrator, low fish numbers being landed and comparatively low turnout by club members. So, having had quite a lot of rain over August and into the start of September, the waters levels were on the rise and Burrator was over 50% full. So we all hoped that our next club outing on Friday 18th September would prove more productive, and we were not greatly disappointed.

The competition was won by Bill Watson from Callington with five fish for 6lb 2oz, Stuart Payne was second with three fish for 4lb 6oz, Pat Power was third with three fish for 3lb 7oz, and Tony Vallack was fourth with two fish for 2lb 8oz.

Pat with his third place catch
As can be gauged from the above weights, the size of trout landed; all rainbows, was not large. The average seemed to be around a pound and a quarter and the 'Sweep' for best fish of the day (the princely sum of £9.00) was shared between Pat Power and Terry Denley who both had fish of 1lb 8oz. Having said that there was plenty of sport to be had. Many fish were hooked and lost. I had four fish in four casts come off after a short fight or at the net and Bill Watson hooked at least four or five other trout in addition to the five he took to win it.

Peter Phillips - A picture of concentration
Of the nine members who took part; Pat Power, John Jeffrey, Tony Vallack, Stuart Payne, Kelvin Nikulin, Peter Phillips, Bill Watson, Terry Denley and myself, only one failed to land a fish or two and that person shall, to spare his blushes, remain nameless.

The day begins to darken over Stuart Payne
Another pleasing aspect to the fishing was the availability of surface or near surface sport, with virtually all the fish caught found high in the water. Bill had all his fish on Daddy-Long Legs fished dry.

Monday 24 August 2015

Burrator Update - Mid August

As many of you will know Burrator was not at its best during most of July. However, in the last week or two things have started to pick up quite a bit. Whether it is all the rain and consequently fresh water flushing into the reservoir or some other reason the trout have started to be more active.

Pat Power and John Jeffrey have reported bags of four or five fish taken more or less at the surface using a floater and the 'washing line' technique of three buzzers on droppers and a booby nymph on the point They have taken fish during the middle of the day on at least a couple of occasions.

I had my best rainbow of the season so far last week. I fished a floating line and two nymphs, the point one slightly weighted, and in bright breezy mid-afternoon conditions landed a fish of almost four pounds. Then last Saturday, in thunderous and eventually torrential conditions, the fish kept feeding at the surface on small black flies and I took three rainbows and lost a couple of others by tempting them with a size 12 Black Klinkamer dry fly.

Peter's 3lb 12oz  Rainbow

Later I had a very interesting email from new member  Andrew Brewer, who lives in Dousland. He wrote:
"...I had a great evening at Burrator on Tuesday. I fished from 5.00 until 8.45pm. I had eight or nine good fish up to three pounds. Initially I fished a size 14 black nymph with a mid green tail and then switched to a Bi Viz black ant (winged). They were going mad at it!..."
Andrew's Black Nymph

Now we have got terrible rainy and windy weather all week, but once it clears up a bit September fishing should be very promising. It will soon be time for the Daddy-Long-Legs!

A few days at Fernworthy

A couple of brownies about a pound each - taken on a dry fly

During most of  July the fishing at Burrator has been quite poor. It is not only my blank returns but those of numerous other anglers that show this to be the case. Those of you who get Neil Reeves' weekly returns will have seen how dour things have been. Only the cormorants have been bagging up!

A fish in in the net in calm conditions

By contrast the brown trout fishery at Fernworthy has been very much worth a visit or two. I have been on five occasions in the last six weeks and have only blanked once. Both during the day and in the evening the brownies have been up in the water and fishing for them with dry flies or 'emergers' has been possible and productive. On my visits I have met a couple of other Burrator members, so I am not the only one seeking a change

A smaller one -about to go back

My other reason for going to Fernworthy was that the water levels, though drawn off to an extent, are much higher and consequently it looks much less 'drought' stricken and without the difficult muddy edges that are a problem on some parts of the Burrator banks.

My wife Gill also likes a trip out to Fernworthy so on a couple of occasions she and Honey the golden Retriever came along also and we made a picnic of it. She (Honey the Golden Retriever) is very well behaved and doesn't go in the water, unlike some of the dogs, and their less civilised owners, at Burrator.

Honey finds fishing very interesting

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Scotland 2015 - A trip with a difference

Regular readers of this blog will recall that for the last couple of years Burrator member Jon Perry and myself, Peter Macconnell, have made a week long trip to the Scottish Highlands in search of wild brown trout. Earlier posts 'Watten Long Way' of July 2013, and 'Taking the High Road once again', of June 2014 tell the story in words and pictures of our fishing experiences in Caithness and Sutherland. This year we decided to go to Sutherland again and to base ourselves once more in the Cairnmuir Caravan Park in Lairg, six hundred and eighty miles from Plymouth and about fifty miles north-west of Inverness. On  Saturday 30th May we set off around 4.30am and arrived at our destination thirteen hours later having stopped only for petrol, coffee and food along the way. On Sunday we were booked to fish Loch Beannach from the Lairg Angling Club boat.

Loch Beannach before the wind got up

Beannach, being one of the smaller lochs managed by the Lairg A C is very shallow and only electric outboards are allowed. Initially our fishing went well enough and we were soon catching the typical half to three-quarter pound brownies, but then the wind got up and, as we were soon to find out, this shallow loch had many rocky shoals some of which we came upon suddenly and they made using the outboard motor quite difficult. I was anxious about breaking the plastic propeller because we had no spare with us. Rowing proved no easier in the windy conditions. On more than one occasion we wondered how we were going to get back to shore as our boat, yet again, became stuck on the rocks. However we did manage to catch around fifteen trout before we made it back to the shore where I took to the car to have a snooze (I was feeling unaccountably tired) while Jon carried on fishing from the bank.

Beannach brownie in the net

 On Monday we were booked to fish Loch Shin itself, once again from a Lairg A C boat. When we arrived at the club lodge Robert McQueen one of committee and a real club stalwart was there to meet us and offer some helpful advice. Though the club has several boats to rent we were the only ones out that day. We had the whole of the twelve mile long loch to ourselves! This was a very different prospect indeed. We also rented one of the club's four horse-power petrol outboards and we certainly needed it. On Robert's advice we made our way to Tiree Bay.

Loch Shin - Jon on the outboard in less than smooth conditions

On the way to Tiree Bay

We concentrated our efforts in this area of the loch a mile or two north of the clubhouse and on the east side of the water. We had fairly continuous sport and caught in excess of thirty trout. None of them were glass case specimens but were nevertheless strong hard fighting lively fish. All in all we had a tiring but very enjoyable day.

On  the Tuesday we were due to fish Loch Merkland but a combination of circumstances prevented us from doing so. The weather was beginning to cut up proper rough out on the big lochs and I, for some reason, was starting to feel a bit unwell. I decided to have a rest day and Jon, having the previous evening had a quick try on a local burn that ran into Loch Shin, took the opportunity to fish the River Shin itself. Interestingly we never quite worked out what the legal position was about fishing these rivers. They are essentially salmon rivers and, from a commercial point of view, there was no interest in the brown trout. The advice we were given was that provided the salmon have not yet come up over the Shin Falls no one, including the Ghillies, would mind if we fished for trout so long as we were clearly using trout tackle. So there may or may not have been 'poaching' going on! Here are some pictures of Jon's results

The River Shin from the bridge by our caravan site

A river Shin fish

A small burn fish on the dry fly

On the Wednesday morning I was feeling no better, in fact a fair deal worse. My breathing had become quite laboured and immediately Jon recognised  that all was not well. Well, to leave out the grim details, a few minutes later I was in the local health centre at Lairg being examined by a doctor, and a few minutes after that I was on my way to hospital in Inverness by air ambulance. It seems I was going into heart failure. So that was the end of my fishing for the week!

Suffice it to say I survived the experience and am here to tell tale- so to speak. That is in no small part due to Jon and his decisiveness in getting me to medical help without delay and in seeing that it was definitely required. I hope I didn't completely spoil his fishing week but I think I probably took the edge of it somewhat, to say the least.

This is where I spent the next week. The care was brilliant beyond all expectations