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Thread: Fly Fishing England

  1. #31
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    back in Cape Town
    Posts
    137

    Default Bewl Water, Kent

    Well we just had our August Bank holiday (long weekend for us uneducated types) this side, which means only one thing: Notting Hill Carnival! As it starts basically outside my front door I thought this might be a good time to go away and do some fishing.

    Chose Bewl Reservoir as its only 50miles outside London and there was lots to do for my pregnant wife as we fished. Also wanted to try boat fishing. Been on my tube a bit back home, but wanted to try this fishing style. Win-win situation, and they rather rare these days! So i booked a boat and a camp site (Hop Farm- really good value) and saturday afternoon after work we were off!

    Bewl is a 700acre reservoir in Kent, near Royal Tunbridge Wells. It has both bank and boat fishing for rainbows, browns and i think some blues. My friend and i chose boat fishing as neither of us knew much about it. On arriving at the entrance we were asked to pay a £5 entrance fee which we did only later to be refunded (its free to enter if you a fisherman). We chose the C&R ticket (£18), which still allows you to keep 2 fish if you want, but you have to stop fishing after despatching your 2nd fish! The boat was about £20 together for the day! Not bad for a day out.

    We paid at the fishing lodge, which is equipped with flies and quite a bit of equipment if you have forgotten anything and got the latest advice on hot flies and the hot spots around the water! The staff are really nice and helpful and that makes for a pleasureable day! We headed down to the quay to get our lifejackets (free, supplied and mandatory) our boat an cast off.

    We chose to head upwind to the cages. Bewl catches river run trout, strips them and uses the eggs to breed local trout. The ranger told us later that he has seen huge trout up the feeder streams (but that will be another visit i think). There are buoys where you can tie up the boats and then drift in a way with the wind. It was rather windy and stormy and with our lack of experience, I was not gonna try a drogue in the conditions. So we hooked up and set-up.

    First mistake, set-up on land before you get in boat! with the waves and wind it was rather difficult, but after way too long we were both fishing. I set up a 3 fly rig: olive damsel thingy, zulu and a spider, on a sinktip line, while my friend Bev set up a peacock daddy on a floater. The daddy immediately got some attention, but Bev was sleeping and missed the take. Just after i was in to a beautiful fish which made my 6weight bend nicely. It had taken the zulu on the dropper. I noticed that with every sunbreak, fish would start to rise, so i quickly rigged my 4weight with floater and CDC sedge pattern and cast out. Almost immediately a pretty little bow porpoised over the fly and i had to hang on as it shook its head and dived deep.

    With the rain coming down we decided to call it lunch and headed off to the lodge. Anyway Bev had forgotten his hi-vis rain clothes (didn't stop laughing for a while) and we need the toilet. Anyone know the rules about toilet on a boat? The staff at the lodge were very suprised at our success and fly choice. Everone seems to use blobs or boobies they said. long time since people have used traditional flies. Self-fullfilling prophecy i think.

    we had a quick bite and were off again. We wanted to head towards the dam wall, but it was full of boats, so we kept moving around different buoys and even tried drifting down but it proved really difficult, though i did get a small rainbow on a Diawl Bach. We carried on, Bev missing fish and me trying diffent set-up and lines.

    At the end we called it a day with a few hours left of the day, but a very dark cloud bank was closing in and we didn't fancy getting stuck in it, even with waterproof gear on. So we powered back, packed everything away and collected my wife just before the heavans really opened up!

    Must say Bewl is definitely worth a look if ever you down that way or have spare time! It is a wonderful fishery! i am looking forward to getting back there! Just one warning, Bewl is used by other sorts of water activities too, so if you on a boat be careful of other users!
    If you work with monkeys you'll definitely slip on a banana peel!
    The way to a fly fisherman's heart is AlWAYS through his fly!!

  2. #32
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    back in Cape Town
    Posts
    137

    Default River Test Grayling

    Well the birth of my son has knocked my fishing time for a six. But my missus generously allowed me a days fishing about two weeks ago. I so wanted to get a Grayling before New Year, so looked into oppurtunities for some fishing. Now that winter is here (not really! its warm for the UK) the rivers have shut down for the trout season, but many allow fishing for Grayling. Where you would be paying 150-650 for a days fishing on a chalkstream beat in high season, you can now get a beat for 20 - 50. Expensive still, but for a chance to fish a famous river (Itchen, Test or Avon) I could spare a few quid.

    There are quite a few ways to get on a beat, but settled on going through another fishing store in London as he offered breakfast, lunch and transport at only 47. Hugh O'Reilly is a large Irishman with a big personality who runs and owns O'Reilly's of London, a small store near Edgware. But i must say i had to chase him a bit to get all the details and my pick-up point.

    So the Sunday arrived cold and frosty. The weather was expected to be sunny with temperatures around the 5 degree mark. Our lift got us there in no time, with my foot hard on the imaginary brake the whole time. We arrived with Hugh preparing breakfast, so we got set-up in the meantime. Once my waders and all the layers were on we tucked into sausages, bacon eggs, bread and tea (coffee if you preferred) and chatted to the other guys preparing to fish. Hugh drove us up towards the small town (swore i wouldn't reveal it) and gave us a quick rundown of the beats we were going to fish.

    The Test is a beautiful river! Maybe too manicured for my liking, but crystal clear and clean. We coud see the fish, mostly browns in the first runs, holding and feeding in their lies. Unfortunately our shadows were being cast right across the river, so we were spooking fish as soon as we saw them. I started wading to overcome this (river is deeper than i had imagined) and caught my first wild grayling of about a pound. Oh yes, these fish smell, so handle as little as possible, but they are BEAUTIFUL!!! We carried on like this, taking browns and a few more grayling, till we were phoned for lunch. Now i was expecting a small packed something, but we arrived to an enormous hot plate of tender roast lamb, potatoes and veg! Just what we needed. With the sun setting we then stayed close to the hut and fished the last hour on the main river, taking a few more fish and spooking a sea trout that leapt clear from the water.

    My main method of fishing was with small nymphs under a dry fly. Was using my 8'9" 3weight (though a longer rod woud be better i think) and a long leader. Quickly shortened my leader and reverted to NZ rig as i was missing takes on the dropper method and getting too much drag. Once i sorted that out the fishing was much better. Small nymphs included size 16-20 hare's ear and PTN's with tungsten beads. Pink shrimps did not work and were completly ignored as were anything larger than a 16. Our last sessions we fished dry fly only. Reverse parachutes and griffiths gnats worked well for us and i lost something big (but don't want to talk abou that).

    It was a beautiful day, amongst stunning scenery and with great fish coming out. I am booking another day next year so i can get another crack at these amazing fish! If you ever in London in winter and have a day for fishing, give Hugh a call! It is worth every penny!!!
    If you work with monkeys you'll definitely slip on a banana peel!
    The way to a fly fisherman's heart is AlWAYS through his fly!!

  3. #33

    Default

    Hi Appin

    Nice report, thanks. The Test is a wonderful river rich in history and atmosphere. I recall when I fished it (the Home beat on the Middleton Estate) I was astounded by the clarity of the water.

    I understand that the grayling's scientific name Thymallus thymallus derives from the Greek for "thyme smell". I can't smell, so not a problem for me!

    Fishing the Test is a must for any SA fly fisherman, but if in trout season, better save up first!
    "The best way to shrink a fish is with with a ruler - the best way to grow a fish is with a beer."

  4. #34
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    back in Cape Town
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Oh yes! Save up big time!! But there are reasonable beats on carrier streams that are reasonable and not fished as heavily. Just can't get over the stocking of these rivers to satisfy the needs of the corporate bigshots. But each to his own!

    It ain't a terrible smell, just not one you would expect of a freshwater fish. They are supposed to be the best tasting fish too. They are a bit like our Yellows back home, under appreciated till very recently! But what a fight when the sail goes up!
    If you work with monkeys you'll definitely slip on a banana peel!
    The way to a fly fisherman's heart is AlWAYS through his fly!!

  5. #35

    Default

    Thanks for the reports, will hopefully be there sometime in 2013 to visit my brother and do a bit of fishing!
    Apparently people don't like the truth, but I do like it; I like it because it upsets a lot of people. If you show them enough times that their arguments are bullshit, then maybe just once, one of them will say, 'Oh! Wait a minute - I was wrong.' I live for that happening. Rare, I assure you ― Lemmy Kilmister

    Reap the Whirlwind - WM

    Paradise = A 3wt Rod & a fist full of someone else's #32 parachutes

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Vanderbijlpark
    Posts
    7,317

    Default

    Great report on the Test. Thank you.

    Now all I need to do is win the LOTTO
    It's not in the catching, it's in the learning something new.
    view albums at. http://www.flytalk.co.za/forum/album.php?u=659

  7. #37
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    back in Cape Town
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Thanks! We all need that lotto win! Then would do that trip to Desolation Island!
    If you work with monkeys you'll definitely slip on a banana peel!
    The way to a fly fisherman's heart is AlWAYS through his fly!!

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Eastern Cape
    Posts
    6,347

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Herman Jooste View Post
    Great report on the Test. Thank you.

    Now all I need to do is win the LOTTO
    Quote Originally Posted by Appin69 View Post
    Thanks! We all need that lotto win! Then would do that trip to Desolation Island!
    LOTTO, round the world ff trip for me.
    Handle every situation like a dog.- If you cant hump it, piss on it and walk away. --JASPER.

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