“the wind had completely turned and was pushing us out into open water, so Toby suggested we tied the boat back up & to fish from the bank. A great decision as it didn’t take long to further our success with over 30 fish to the net…”
Had an absolute awesome day with one of my closest friends Toby Merigan on Wimbleball today.
The conditions were completely against us non-stop rain and strong winds with a storm sweeping through, didn’t seem to be working in our favour, especially when neither of us had a drogue, so not easy to maintain a steady drift throughout the day.
Arriving about two hours later than planned due to the roadworks on the North Devon Link road. Toby had already managed to bag 8 fish & release them safely. In fact I watched him land 2 fish within 2 casts as I was walking my gear down to the boat pontoon.
After Toby took the mick out of me for being late It was time to get my act together and get a rod set up & join in on the action. Knowing that john Emerson’s streamer (a firm favourite Stillwater fly of mine) was the trout’s first choice when it comes to pin fry imitations, it only seemed sense to arm myself with it on the point as that’s where I find it most successful.
It was also this pattern that accounted for all of my clients fish a few weeks back whilst they were smashing pin fry around the pontoon.
My go to variant of this fly is the gold beaded version but only having one of them left in my box I decided to go with the black nickel beaded version. This ended up being a great choice because the fish were a bit finicky and fairly selective at times especially after we had drifted over them a few times.
On the first drift and I was rewarded with a solid take and a beautiful fully finned fish over 4lb.
It had been a while since I had last seen Toby, life gets very busy sometimes and we don’t manage to make the time to do the things we love and catch up with our friends, so the day was already set up to be a good day regardless of if we caught any fish or not, the fish would just be a bonus.
The heavens opened up & Toby regularly had to use the bilge pump to empty some of the excess water that had fallen in the boat from the downpour, we were sopping wet through, but the great company and plenty of laughs allowed us to see passed this until we were the only 2 fishermen left on the water. All the other fishermen had called it a day due to admitting defeat from being soaked to the bone. It was physically impossible to get any wetter than we already were, so we weren’t going to let this stop us.
By this point, although we had had a really respectable number of fish from the boat, the wind had completely turned and was pushing us out into open water, so Toby suggested we tied the boat back up on the pontoon and tried to fish from the bank. A great decision as it didn’t take long to further our success with over 30 fish to the net, mostly resident fish with the odd freshly stocked fish in the mix, creating a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Top flies of the day
Lewis – Emerson’s streamer, Black & red straggle dabbler
Toby – Mini cat, Mini humongous
Wimbleball reservoir is so sentimental to me because its where fly fishing all began for me. It’s also where I caught my first ever rainbow, trout, which was responsible for me falling in love with my passion, so it will always be a place that I hold dear to my heart.
Being a member of Wimbleball youth flyfishing club from age 11 all the way to 16 and the help I received from a couple of great dads that dedicated that time to helping us learning and improve as a youth platform. Back then the fishery was a great fishery, through the years the water sports overtook the fishery as a priority for the reservoir & the fishing was almost disregarded and put aside.
Until in recent years, Wimbleball was thrown a lifeline once again as a fishery, when mark Underhill got involved, and made it a great fishery once again with his knowledge & careful management, the fishery sees a very high quality of stock fish and the lake is once again thriving with top class fish & fishing.
His dedication is making Wimbleball one of the premier trout fisheries in the country so if you haven’t fished Wimbleball before, I definitely suggest paying it a visit & experience some of the best reservoir trout fishing you can get your hands on today. Along with this its population of wild brown trout which have been caught up to huge sizes over the last few years is a definite bonus.
Thanks Mark for making this place great again…