Bank Fishing tactics

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1 Bessoms Bay

This bay is very popular being less than a couple of minutes from the car park & a definite fish holding area. Shallow to the west side averaging 6ft, the bay drops into deep water as you near the bridge or go down the lake towards the trees. The shallow water fishes well with a floating line & small nymphs like buzzers or Diawl Bachs, if the fish are down a bit try an intermediate or sink tip. However, the presence of weed means that there are fish lurking all around looking for an easy meal so just an average cast is required for success. Look for a feeder stream in the small coppiced area which always gives up a fish or two in the right conditions.

Tips:   In summer use sink tip lines and small attractors such as a cats whisker or Montana in the deeper water.

Best times: Great all year but not so good with an Easterly wind.

Wind effect: Make use of south/south westerly winds to try terrestrial dries, such as daddy longlegs or Hawthorn.


2 Bessoms Bridge

Easily accessible location providing very deep water, an excellent early-season spot. A stony bottom makes it ideal for fishing patterns such as the Booby on fast sink lines. 

Tips: A great area for dries, especially during the Hawthorn hatch, also good for Hopper’s Daddy Longlegs.

Best times: Most of the year, especially summer evenings. Also excellent in bright, hot conditions.

Wind effect: Not good in an easterly but relatively sheltered when from the North.


3 The Stones

Head across Besoms bridge to the small anglers’ car park offering easy access to the Stones & Ruggs bay. A rocky bank provides for deep water close inarea which can be fished from both banks. Deep water makes it a good holding place for larger fish and often large Browns are caught here towards the end of the season on sinking lines and lures.

Tips: A good sheltered spot with the wind from the north.

Best times: All year especially early season but no good if water drops.

Wind effect: Generally good in most winds as shelter can usually be found on one bank or another.


4 Ruggs Bay

A nice bay offering fishing in a various winds. Ruggs is renown for holding a lot of stock fish, but the occasional decent wild Brown will also feature especially when using more traditional small nymphs on a slow retrieve or the washing line tactic.

Tips: Make the effort to fish the deep water trying flies such as mini Vivas, teamed with Buzzers and Hare’s Ears.

Best times: A good all year spot, look out for fish activity.

Wind effect: Pleasant to fish in a light to moderate south or east wind.


5 Cow Moor

A large bay, fishable from all sides with the deeper water on the South side, a long walk is required, use the Easterly anglers car park and following the footpath. This area is worth making the effort for & is often very quiet except for the boat anglers who enjoy this lovely bay. During a West wind, the East end close to the feeder stream can be full of fly life & nymphs, a stealthy approach & delicate cast will reap rewards. Steep banks on both sides provide good shelter and will fish in a North or South wind. Look for the various hedges along the banks, which often mark hotspots, and scan the water’s surface for fish feeding on terrestrial insects.

Tips: Walk the banks and fish near the hedgerows, fish are often close inshore.

Best times: All year

Wind effect: Good in North and South Winds, but not great in a Westerly as the shallows get coloured from the wave movement.


6 Valentines/Arthurs

Tree lined banks make sure fishing difficult & a long walk is required. Requiring a long walk, the small bay to the north of Valentines is referred to as Arthurs and provides peaceful fishing. Reasonably sheltered, this is a good area to escape a strong north wind or during an easterly. Look for the angler’s shelter that also marks the corner of the bay. A fence which runs into the water is another landmark, and a short to long cast covers depths averaging six to 8ft. There is also a deep section heading south along the easterly bank. This is one area where the odd half-decent brown puts in an appearance. The wading is easy but tread carefully to avoid stirring up too much silt, and beware of drop offs on the shelving banks. Long leaders and Buzzers fished on a floater in light winds is a great tactic and terrestrial insects will always figure. Not so popular with boat anglers, and requiring a long walk, it is often deserted.

Tips: Take the minimum of equipment as it is a long walk.

Best times: Summer months when other areas have been fished hard.

Wading: Easy in the shallows but beware of drop offs in the deep section.

Wind effect: OK in a light north wind and well protected from an easterly.


7 Upton Arm

The most beautiful area of Wimbleball, but requires the longest walk of all and a good standard of casting. Fishing is only really possible from the rocky banks as the water drops. A Mayfly hatch takes place in late June and early July. Crouched among the trees on the uppermost corner of the north side of the Arm, it is possible to watch fish come within feet of the bank to gorge on the Mayfly. This is wonderful fishing, but expect to miss a lot of takes and lose plenty as the Upton fish are often lean, grown-on fish which fight hard and dirty. The ability to roll cast is essential. Boats rarely venture into the area. Another good spot is the narrow easterly section to stalk fish in gin-clear water. A good place to escape a strong north wind but as casting is hard offers limited fishing possibilities and should only be attempted from the bank during summer with a floating line. Imitative flies are the best bet and a Black Bits fished dry can pull a lot of fish.

Top tips: Wait for the Mayfly hatch before making the long journey.

Best times: After June.

Wading: Very dangerous in most areas.

Wind effect: Anything west makes it difficult; best in summer flat calms.


8 Steart Bay and Dam

The bay can be accessed via the bridleway leading from the car park on the Watchet road. Otherwise it is a pleasant walk through the forest on the west bank. Cross the dam, and chuck out a long cast with an intermediate. The deep water lends itself to sinking lines although the fish are quite clued up and are more often caught on imitative flies. Small Damsels are a good bet, along with Hare’s Ears, Buzzers. Fish slowly with a figure of eight retrieve and you could pick up an overwintered fish or elusive brown trout. The shore is quite stoney and deep water just a short cast away. No good in north winds and a long way from other bank spots so it can be a bit of a gamble. Across the lake is the Dam which has one very small area of fishing. Look for the gap in the trees and be sure to fish to the left of the rope that marks the no-fishing area. Very deep water, wading not advised.

Tips: Watch out for wood beetles which can trigger a rise.

Best times: As a last resort if the fishing is hard, good for early season, overwintered fish.

Wind effect: Forget it in any northerly and fish it in light winds.


9 Farm Bay

A pretty bank marked by several old-fashioned barns. Quite a steep approach providing deep water, lending itself to sinking lines. However with a mixture of stones and silt, large hatches of fly occur and as the sun moves around and begins to dip good sport can be enjoyed on a floater. Easy to access by parking above the sailing club and walking across the fields. If the wind is blowing hard from the north, this bay can be quite sheltered but add some east and it becomes unfishable. If the conditions are right, Farm Bay is good. Experiment with lines and retrieves to get the right combination. This Bay can sometimes hold large shoals of stockies which migrate along the bank to find a nice depth. As with the other “wilderness” areas, which are lightly fished, it is possible to take some high-quality fish and the occasional wild brown. Catch and release is recommended if a brownie succumbs as they are few and far between these days. All Buzzers and nymphs will catch, but a slowly-fished Black & Peacock Spider provides a traditional and often deadly approach.

Tips: Lovely in a light wind and perfect for a team of nymphs fished off a floating line. Try evening for the best results.

Best times: Well worth a try all year and especially in pleasant weather.

Wind effect: Good in light winds but not anything from the east.


10 Sailing Club

A deep-water mark offering little in the way of features. The most popular spot is next to a fence that marks the boundary of the sailing club grounds. Do not fish in the sailing club area to the right of the fence when looking out across the lake. Stock fish are often available, although it is certainly not a first choice due to lack of features. Noisy during weekends when the sailing club is busy. Then it’s best to fish elsewhere as the banks are used by spectators. Sinking lines are the best option and, with little in the way of weed, a Booby fished on a fast sinker can produce. Look out in summer for insects close to shore during westerly winds. Then swap to a floating line with a large dark dry such as Black or Claret Hopper. Dries should be size 10 or 12 and well picked out to create a sharp silhouette. This is beneficial, as in the clear water fish will rise from the depths to intercept a tasty-looking meal. A good bank to enjoy a few casts before heading towards Farm Bay or Stearts and situated close to the car park behind the sailing club.

Top tips: Don’t stop for long and avoid weekends.

Best times: Early season when fish are deep.

Wind effect: No good in a north wind but sheltered in a southerly and pleasant during winds from the west.


11 Cowlings Bay

One of the hotspots, this bank does not shelve out into deep water as quickly as many other locations, and offers a good silty substrata which helps to promote aquatic insects. Look out for corixa in the margins, while spooned fish reveal bloodworm and buzzer pupa. Close to the permit kiosk and various car parks, Cowlings Bay can become busy which pushes the fish out. However, a 20-yard cast will cope with this and also has the bonus of fishing the flies over a deep gully running diagonally out from the shore. Weekdays will attract boats who can fish the area only while the sailing club is not in use, and anglers will attempt to get into spots close to the shoreline which can provide fast-paced fishing when there are stock fish about. The two best spots are a wide gap among two rows of trees and by a lifebuoy, but watch your back cast as a public footpath runs along the shore. Not bad in a north to north westerly so long as it is not too strong. Fishes well during a light west wind with a team of nymphs fished almost static, or with a Damsel or small Black Tadpole with intermediate.

Top tips: Get there early before the crowds and pick up an early fish.

Best times: Early season and during high water. No good in a drought.

Wind effect: Good in various winds except an easterly.


12 The Narrows

The most accessible bank from the permit kiosk and popular with anglers making their way to Bessoms Bay. A tricky back cast as the Narrows is a long thin cut leading from Ruggs and Bessoms towards the Sailing Club. Boats have to use this route to reach the north end of the lake and will often come close to shore. If it is blowing hard, avoid the Narrows as it is exposed to most wind directions, especially due south or north. However the deep water holds fish and, after stocking, the trout migrate along this shoreline which can only be fished effectively from the west side. Look out for risers which will come to a dry fished at range during light winds. This is another location bordered by a footpath which becomes busy in summer and Bank Holidays. Fishing deep is a good bet and ultra long casts are not required as the deep water is easily reached. Best spots are by the fence just down from the boat pontoon and close to bushes. This area can give up fish close to shore which like the shelter of the bush. Try casting alongside the bush and twitching a fly enticingly past the branches.

Top tips: Stop here when taking the long route to Bessoms.

Best times: Early season, and during evening flat calms throughout summer. Avoid Bank Holidays like the plague!

Wind effect: Hard fishing in strong winds. Not comfortable in an easterly.

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