Richard Bird (Part week),John Alcock,John Watkins
Junction 19 M5 our usual rendezvous for our West Country excursions, a bit of breakfast then off to the sunny shores of Lake Wimbleball to see how she is improving under the new management.
There was a bit of extra traffic which slowed us down a touch between Junctions 23 & 24 but 25 soon arrived so it was skirt round Taunton and onward to Exmoor.
We had a good feeling about Wimbleball this year so we got tickets for 4 days, all of Richard’s time with us. Off to Ruggs Bay and it was time to wet a line and start the serious business of rainbows.
On this first outing there were obviously a lot of fish in front of us, I had 5 fish on in the first hour but I couldn’t make one stick, Richard and John were also into the action as well the long distance release being well used. The session ended with the 2 Johns takins fish each and Richard taking 2 and releasing one.
Off to the farm to see Gillian again, get our rooms unload and unwind in time for dinner.
After dinner it was down the farm track for a short session at Cow Moor. Mark Underhill the new owner was fishing from a boat and landed at least one fish. Richard ambushed one fish but John and John didn’t get a tug between them. My impression of Cow Moor was that it needed a serious amount of gardening to improve access or the fishing would be very difficult for the bank anglers unless the tide went out a few more yards. A hot spell and a paddling pool in every garden in Somerset should soon put that right.
Sunday was an open day for Lake Wimbleball and for the first time in many years there were 20 or so anglers around Ruggs Bay all of then keeping clear of the public on the far bank. The quantity of anglers didn’t dampen the fishing and we had a lot of quite exciting action. Mark owns Rainbow Fisheries and has been stocking Wimbleball with his own trout. All of them in the 3 to 4 pound bracket and they fight like fury, taking me down to the backing on more than one occasion. A couple more LDRs before I started to bring them to the net taking 2 and releasing 2. John and Richard had a couple each as well. As it was Sunday there was no evening session as we had opened another bottle!
Things quietened down early in the week and the fish were much harder to come by. Richard left us Tuesday lunchtime and caught a fish just before he went so was happy to finish on a high.
Wednesday we decided to have a break from Wimbleball and headed for Clatworthy. We generally only visit Clatworthy once as it is a 5 fish catch and kill ticket and the freezer at the farm is quite a modest size. We arrived at 9:30 and I had 3 fish by 11:00. John had 2 so we were well pleased. Then nothing between us for the next 5½ hours!
We had to fish Wimbleball on Thursday as I had arranged to meet Jane, one of the ladies from Gillian’s breast cancer charity South West Fishing For Life. (See a past issue of the Flydresser). John had a fish AM and I collected Jane at the farm around 12:30. She hooked a fish first cast and couldn’t really believe it then a couple of hours later she hooked and landed her first fish from Wimbleball and off the top weighing in at 3lb. 2ozs. Have a look at the photograph, she was well pleased.
Friday was the last fishing day so we headed back to Clatworthy, and for only the second time in many visits I took my full bag and released 3 smallish wild brownies. John didn’t fare quite so well but was he downhearted? Well he was a bit but soon got over it and we were soon working on our plan of attack for next year.
After a great start Wimbleball got to be a little disappointing but looking over my records for the past 14 years it was far from my worse year. I spoke to Mark before we left and he was very concerned that the fishing had dropped off. Perhaps the fish were gorged on beetles and had stopped feeding or perhaps the barometer had changed. Who knows? That’s fishing and that’s what keeps us going back!