Chew Valley Lake

At this point in the year, it’s a bit of an in between time for me, the grayling and pike fishing has come to an end but the river season is still a couple of weeks away. With the need to scratch an itch, I planned a spur of the moment trip to Chew Valley Lake.

Chew valley lake

Social media, love it or hate it, provides invaluable up to date fishing reports from various venues across the country. Having seen the recent reports from Chew, numerous reports of big catch numbers and quality fish, these only fuelled my eagerness to get out there and throw a line.

It’s all too easy to get to the day and decide for whatever reason not to visit the water, so with that in mind I played my personal trump card and booked and paid for my permit the day before so there was nothing going to get in my way come the day.

Chew valley Lake

One thing I hadn’t banked on was the big rise in temperature overnight and into the day itself. This seemed to switch the fish off and had slowed down sport considerably from previous days.

I turned up and started off at Woodford bank. The weather was overcast with heavy drizzle which again was not in the forecast I was looking at. A steady South-westerly breeze blew from right to left, perfect conditions! The warmth on the day had encouraged a steady buzzer hatch, surely the fish had to be in the mood to feed?

I started out with an intermediate line, an 18 foot leader with a damsel on the point, black buzzer on the middle dropper and a diawl bach on the top.

After 45 minutes of moving along the bank between casts and not even a sniff I decided a change was in order. I cut off the leader and switched the spool on the reel to a Di5 and repeated the process. Again, all in vain. Time for a fly change, I set up a new leader with a sunburst booby on the point and a pink blob on the dropper. The next half our produced zero interest despite counting down through all of the depths and trying every retrieve in the book.

Only one thing for it, time for a move, so headed over to Nunnery, another area of deep water. I stuck with the lures and it wasn’t long before a nice fish hit the booby on a fast roly-poly retrieve. Moving around Nunnery I added another 3 fish, all safely returned. I also had plenty of knocks and lots of follows, hanging the flies at the end of the retrieve saw plenty of interest but no solid hook ups. The fish were definitely not committing on the day. This was probably down to the big increase in temperature, as we know, fish don’t like big changes and today seemed to be proving the point.

It was enjoyable session with quality fish all in the 3lb to 5lb bracket, but wind really got up in the early afternoon and the fishing slowed, so I decided to end the day and head home as I’d had a few fish and new things were only going to get rougher weather-wise. As ever, on the larger waters you do really need to go in search of the fish, if you’re not getting any interest move to another spot, if you persevere you will usually be rewarded.

Fly Fishing For Carp

When the temperatures rise in the height of summer and the trout fishing becomes difficult, fly fishing for carp can provide some welcome rod bending action.

The fish in the video was taken at Burton Springs Fishery in Somerset who actively encourage fly fishers to target carp when the trout aren’t playing ball.

Although the fish isn’t massive in carp terms, it was really good fun on a fly rod and I would recommend giving it a go if you ever get a chance.

Carp can be taken on all manner of techniques and flies. They will readily take natural offerings like nymphs and dry flies or can even be taken on lures such as blobs and boobies. One of the more popular methods is to get the carp feeding on the surface with dog biscuits then use a deer hair imitation biscuit to tempt the fish. The key to this particular method is to feed the biscuits little and often and really get the fish feeding confidently, almost competing for your offerings, before you cast your fly onto the water.

One thing to remember when you fly fish for carp is to take an unhooking mat to protect the fish when you have it on the bank. Also carry a decent size landing net as a lot of these fish just aren’t going to fit in your traditional trout scoop net!



Burton Springs Casting Clinic

Today saw me hosting a casting clinic at Burton Springs Fishery near Bridgwater in Somerset.

Arriving at the fishery I was met by blazing sunshine and angler lined banks with bending rods, what more could you wish for?


After setting up some kit, Adam the fishery manager greeted me with a most welcome cup of coffee. If you have never fished  at Burton Springs before I strongly urge you to, it’s a cracking fishery with trout and carp on offer to the fly angler with the most welcoming family you could ever wish to be running a fishery, who will do everything they can to make your day a truly enjoyable one. They will even deliver hot food to you on the bank while you are trying to fool some of the hard fighting fish stocked into the lake……. now that’s service!

It was a truly great day in the sun meeting friends old and new, casting some lines and having a chuckle and generally talking about all things fishy.

Time was spent tweaking overhead casts along with some single and double hauling and a spattering of speys, basking in the warm spring sunshine.

Thanks to all you guys who attended and hope to bump into on the bank in the future.

On returning home and firing up the computer it was great to be met with a such nice thank you email as well  ………

” Hi Neil, a cracking day, thanks mate. When Jon and I arrived this morning we couldn’t cast for toffees! It seemed that all you had taught me had disappeared.
After half an hour with you this morning it all seemed to come together. We spent the rest of the day casting various flies and lures all around the lake. We didn’t catch; but we had a great day. Thanks again, and see you in April. Regards, Ken”

Burton Springs Beginners Day

Saturday saw the arrival of the Burton Springs Beginners day near Bridgwater which I had set up some two months previously thinking that a June date would give us some good weather. It was an early start loading the car with all the equipment ready for the off and when I opened the front door I was met with some really heavy rain……..not what I had wanted to see.

We arrived at the fishery around 8.15 am and proceeded to set up for the days events but still in the pouring rain. Everyone started arriving around 9.30am and was greeted with tea and coffee and the day got started at 9.45 am.

I had hoped to run some of the course outside in the morning but this was just not possible due to the now monsoon type rain we getting!! Luckily Burton Springs has a lodge so we all packed into this for sessions on fly tying, entomology and knots and leaders.

Burton Springs Lodge….a haven from the bad weather!!

The weather broke just before lunch and I took everyone out onto the lake for a talk and demonstration on basic casting mechanics, 5 minutes into the demonstration the heavens opened again and we all made a dash back to the lodge for cover, it was short lived and we were all soon on the bank again to finish this session.

Getting to grips with the casting.

After lunch we were lucky as the weather seemed to get better and we were all able to get out and get into some casting before finishing up with some fishing with a few fish landed on the bank to end a great day.

One of the casting sessions.

The day was made all the better with the great people that had turned up, all of us had a good laugh and a chuckle throughout the day which helped considering the conditions we had to endure. Everyone went home with a smile on their face so I guess it was mission accomplished!!

The smile says it all!!


For everything they done to make the day a success, I would like to say a big thank you to fellow instructors Sally and Tony Pizii, Gilly for laying on all the great food for the day, taking the photos and not forgetting the home made cakes which went down well!! And finally to Adam and Dave down at Burton Springs Fishery for hosting the day and helping us make the day run smoothly.

Father & Son enjoying the fishing.

For those of you that attended the day, I would be grateful for any feedback that you can give me by filling out the message box at the bottom of this page and please feel free to copy any of the photos I have posted here.

Keep an eye out here for similar future events and come and join us on the bank.

Here are some photos of the day, please click on a thumbnail to enlarge the photo.