It has been a busy week at the fishery as the improved weather inspired anglers to get ready for the new season. 62 fished during the last 7 days, catching a haul of 211 fish, slightly improving last week’s average to 3.4 per rod.
Overall up to 28th Feb the 3.4 fish per rod average was maintained by 140 anglers catching 475 Trout, a new February record. This is a great total and I would like to thank everyone who has supported the fishery during not only poor weather but the A396 road closure (more later).
Main event this month was the first of our competitions as 15 anglers got together to decide the Exe Valley Troutmasters Fish Off winner for 2016. The field consisted of 13 adults and two young rods, William Gentle & James Mockridge. No stranger to success, James landed himself a prize during the Greys Junior Bank National in October 2015 while Will took fish to 5lb 8oz during his last visit.
At 9am the whistle was blown and the entrants (who qualified by catching a big fish in 2015) began fishing the first of 8 half hour sessions, moving 4 pegs every 30 minutes, to ensure everyone had a fair chance to try different areas of Anchor Lake.
It was dry but a bitterly cold NE wind was making things tricky, as the late winter sun cast a harsh light across the water. Tough conditions to say the least, especially after the mild temperatures we have been experiencing recently. Even so, a few rods began to bend and it was clear, from the off, that fish were spread around the lake.
Some competitors stuck it out with floating lines, but the most successful tactics required an intermediate or medium sink line to be fished deep and slow. The new depth and areas of fishing has really changed how matches play out and throughout the day several competitors were in with a chance. By the end of the 4 morning sessions Alan Jukes was out in front with 5 of a possible 6 fish limit caught using Bead Minkies & Squirmy Worms, while several others were on 2 or 3 Trout.
Meanwhile junior angler James Mockridge was off the mark with a lovely Rainbow he landed using a Black Lure. There were tense moments as a very fit Trout made a determined effort to throw the hook but eventually James had his prize nestling safely in the net.
Following a change of tactics to an intermediate Mary Ratcliffe got her first and as it turned out, only fish of the day, although it was the heaviest of the match at 4lb 12oz. However it definitely was not the biggest hooked. That prize would go to Richard Burt who has had some great bags in recent weeks, although this time his luck ran out when a huge fish lured by a Black Snake Fly thrashed at the surface, crash dived and threw the hook. It turned out to be a costly loss as Richard was one of three anglers to land 4 fish and the specimen would have earned him top spot and a chance to fish the Grafham final.
Eventually the winner turned out to be Alan Jukes, a previous winner back in 2014, he had to hang on by the skin of his teeth as he struggled for his last fish while several other competitors began to catch up in the afternoon, most notably Mike Kennedy who qualified with this 10lb Trout in November last year. Mike ended on 5, followed by John Ewington with 4, Richard Burt with 4 and Rob Grisley, also with 4.
Overall it was a very fair competition with the top 5 anglers all in with a real chance of taking the crown in a match that produced 35 fish for an average of 2.3 fish per angler. Huge congrats to Alan and good luck in the final plus I would like to make a special mention of our young entrants, James & Will.
Unfortunately Will didn't manage to catch and James could not add to his first Trout, but neither of the boys gave up in very cold conditions. They are a credit to young anglers and it was fantastic to see how much encouragement the adults gave these boys. We need more like them!
Lots of other news and great comments but this post is lengthening quickly so I will finish off the fishing for this week with Ivor Topps lovely Brown Trout of 5lb 8oz. It’s much bigger brother continues to evade capture (tantalising anglers again today!) and I have also stocked 3 more tagged Trout. One of these fish was caught yesterday but two more roam Anchor Lake winning £50 for just a £1 entry fee.
Finally, I had posted details of a diversion via Stoodleigh to Exe Valley following the closure of the A396 at Cove. Due to dangerous driving and accidents these directions are no longer valid as one of the lanes featured in the original directions has been closed by Highways.
However there is a very convenient route via Tiverton Old Road which is available by looking at this page and can also be printed by clicking this link – Tiverton Old Road Directions to Exe Valley Fishery. Use these directions if you are approaching from J27 of the A361. Thanks as always to the anglers who have made the detour. The full closure is not going to be in place for much longer as the road reopens on 12th March 2016.
I can’t quite believe that February has been and gone. We have welcomed a record number of anglers for the time of year and as the nights begin to draw out we are looking forward to some more great fishing at the lakes and some additions to the services that we provide. Sign up using the form on this page (see top right) for regular updates and if the Troutmasters report has inspired you to have a go at fishing in a competition why not get involved with our Bank Masters heat on 20th March? Find out more about the bank masters competition here.
Thanks for reading & best fishes,
(Below) Full Results - 2016 Exe Valley Fishery Troutmasters Fish Off