Fly fishing at Blagdon

After hearing first hand reports of how well Blagdon had been fishing over the last couple of weeks myself and Mark had to book a boat. This would be our second consecutive week at the venue and if this trip was as good as last week then we would be in for a good’un.

But fishing wouldn’t be fishing if two days would ever be the same, never mind two weeks. We were faced with a north westerly wind and  temperatures of 5/6 degrees, a far cry from last weeks westerly and 16 degrees C!.  Adding to that the water level was down a good few feet which made parts of the lake unfishable.  The fishery is renown for its nymph fishing and my partner for the day as usual is experienced international angler Mark Thomas a member of this years gold winning Welsh team in the Orkneys. A hearty cooked breakfast in the Seymour Arms set us up for the day, also open for a lunchtime pint, or dinner once you’ve come off the boat.

Having been at the fishery the previous week and chatting to locals before hand the information was that the better fish were still coming off Rugmoor and in the middle of the lake at Rainbow point. These were intended to be our starting point for the day as we were trying to target some of the better fish which we had caught on the previous trip. These fish had put on such a good account of themselves that we were hoping for more of the same .

Methods for the start of the day would be nymphing, Mark, searching through his impressive fishing tackle collection for an Airflo midge tip fly line, with 20ft of 8lb sightfree with three diawl bachs and a booby on the point. With the cold chill in the wind, he chose to position his top dropper 8ft below the fly line, trying to position his flies at a varied depth. Using the booby just to slow the decent and give a washing line effect. I set up with an Airflo floating fly line and a straight team of 3 diawls on 18ft of  8lb sightfree. Hopefully with two different methods we would would find the fish and their preferred feeding depth, speed and cuisine.

As we motored out from the jetty and turned right towards Rugmoor we could see that the water was slightly colored as the water was low and the windy conditions from previous night had stirred up the loose sediment causing the top few lays of water to become cloudy. But, we had all day to cover the lake and find some clearer water.

Our first stop was at Rainbow point half way down the lake where the water was still cloudy but not enough to put us off. Drifting through here for around one hundred yards we didn’t raise any interest so off we motored into the middle of the lake for another drift, 45 minutes later still no offers between us. We decided to head over to Rugmoor for a look, as the further we drifted down the lake the cloudier the water became. Same again at rugmoor no offers between us on the setups we were using.

After another brainstorm we decided that the water would be clearer at the top end of the lake by the dam and a change of methods was required by one of us to try and get some interest.  I decided to change my setup to an Airflo Di3 sweep with 15 foot of 8lb sightfree with a cat variant booby on point and a tequila blob on a dropper 8ft from the top.

Cat Variant Boobies – Tequila Blobs

As we started our drift from the dam we could see boats anchored up all along from Cheddar water to polish water so we thought there must be fish in the area although we hadn’t noticed any of the boats taking fish we were confident in that the water clarity was much better at this end of the lake and we could see the bottom in some areas that were shallow.

The time was now 12.30pm and we hadn’t had an offer between us so we were starting to get a bit edgy. As we drifted from the dam into pipe bay I had my first fish, counting the line down 15 seconds and steadily drawing back when the fish took. As I struck into it and started to play it, it leapt from the water and I could see this was a good fish of around 3.5lb plus, another fishermans’ exaggerations? It was giving a good account of itself talking line and taking to the air, the one thing about the trout at Blagdon is that you can’t bully them into submission, they go like steam trains! After playing the fish for a couple of minutes the hook came loose and I lost the fish, disappointing but at least there seemed to be fish in the area.

We carried on the drift could see a boat opposite the lodge about 60 yards out into a fish, as we came along side the boat I had another fish take which was not as big as the previous one but welcomed all the same, taken the cat variant booby on the point. Mark had seen enough to change his method and changed to a Fast Glass with two cat boobys one with yellow eyes & one with white and was rewarded almost instantly with a fish. We carried on drifting past the lodge for 100 yards with no offers so it was back around to start the drift again.

As we started the drift we could see the boat anchored adjacent to the lodge into a fish so expectations were high. True to form as we came into the area I  was into a fish again seeming to take the fly as soon as it hit the water indicating the fish were higher than we thought. After landing it and recasting a couple of times my line tightened again also taking the point fly. We carried on through this area but the fish seemed to be concentrated in that magical 60 yard mark. At least we had found them.  Back around we went again and this was where Mark made contact for the first time getting a good solid lock up. Playing the fish, it boiled near the surface and we could see from the water displacement that this was a much better trout. AS the fish started to tier, Mark gained a few feet of line but only to be taken again as it got a glimpse of the boat. Eventually we netted the fish which weighed in at just under 5lb.

At around 3pm the decision was made to drift through the lake, onto Green Lawn. Mark took a Brown in perfect condition which was released instantly, and I took another in the same area. Again we both recast and found ourselves into fish again so they seemed to be here too. A great find towards the end of the day. We went back around for a few more drifts through this area where Mark took another brown trout which was in pristine condition, although taking  he booby with white eyes.

We continued to fish the area until 5pm when the temperature dropped to below what was comfortable for us so we decided to head off as it ws starting to get dark. 16 fish to the boat all of which were caught after 1230pm, cant really complain at that! Mark with nine and myself with seven with one of Marks fish being around 5lb.

All in all after reading the fish returns we had had a very succesful day compared to the other boats which were recording catches of three and fours. Even though we had a plan to fish imitative techniques for the day the sudden drop in temperature had certainly put the fish off taking such offerings and it was pleasing that between us we had found the method and depth which in the end made what was looking to be a difficult day a good day. This just shows you cant be focused on one technique! Especially this time of year were the weather is prone to change like on the press of a button.