John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

2012 Lexus Team Final kicks off today.

The 2012 Lexus Team Final has just started here at Rutland Water, with 22 Teams and 132 anglers competing for the title of Lexus Team Champions.

When the shotgun start signalled the "off", the boats split pretty evenly, with 28 heading up the South Arm, 17 to the North Arm and 21 boats opting for the Main Basin.

Practice here has been hard, with bright sunny skies and a biting sharp wind making things difficult.  The winds have dropped a bit today, but it is still cold and sadly; still bright and sunny - often the kiss of death for feeding trout!

The anglers are fishing to a 4 fish kill, then Catch and Release, with every returned trout counting as 2lbs 4ozs; the average weight of trout here at Rutland Water.

The reigning champions; Alba Orvis Flyfishers are here to try to retain their Trophy and previous Champions Iain Barr Flyfishing, Team Airflo and Ospreys are also attempting to recapture their titles.  For the first time we have a ladies team in the Grand Final - the Damsel Nymphs from Scotland.  We wish them well and the other 17 Teams who have done so well to be at this Grand Final.

I will update the match situation after the first day weigh-in which takes place at 1800hrs and will take at least an hour to complete.

Sponsors Flags at Rutland

Howdy from Jackson Hole

It's Friday evening and I've just finished filming with Hunter Hoffler in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an episode of "In the Loop" for American TV.

I was called in to film the stillwater episode where we fished on a local lake and caught heaps of fantastic Cutthroat trout.  Hunter is just 16 years old, but he fishes like an angler with twice his years' experience! 

It's his ambition to be one of the best anglers in the USA and to fish for ther USA senior Team.  He's already been the National Champion and fished for USA Youth in the World Championships and I think he's got what it takes to fulfill his ambitions!

We had a blast, both catching those lake Cutthroat and doing the filming and we also got plenty of our UK methods to work.

Now it's off to North Carolina where I'm doing some stillwater clinics for the USA Team and aspiring team members.

This is an 8 day trip, with 7 plane flights and hours of travelling by road, but so far it's been amazing.  We've seen Bald Eagles, Buffalo, Elk and a host of other wildlife and the scenery in the Teton Mountain range is truly spectacular.

Check out a few of the pics so far.

Beware of grazing Buffalo!
Hunter with Cutthroat Trout
Small sandwich - American style!!

Off to the USA!

On Saturday I ran the Lexus Individual Final on Chew and today (Monday) I am flying out to the USA - Jackson Hole to be specific.

I have been invited by my American World Team friends to share a few stillwater secrets.  Having done the same in Australia, Canada and Tasmania, I had no reservations about doing the same in the US of A!

More of this trip when I return.

Lexus Final a raging success.

We have a new Lexus Champion for 2012 - Alistair MacGillivray from Scotland- and SKY TV were there to record the entire event.  Alistair's name is now the 12th name on the prestigious Lexus Trophy.

Alistair caught his 10 fish limit weighing 26lbs 10ozs by 3:30pm and was the clear winner on what was a cracking fishing day on Chew.  Craig Barr was the only other competitor to take his maximum bag, but it took him until 5:15 to finish and his weight of 23lbs 15ozs meant that Alistair's time bonus got him the ultimate prize in fly fishing - a Lexus RX450 Hydbrid SUV - and what a prize!

The Bronze medal winner was Charlie Abrahams, with 9 trout for 21lbs 6ozs.

The holiday prize for the biggest fish of the Final went to Andrew Esplin for a magnificent 8lb 9oz Brown Trout.  This is the 2nd time on the trot that Andrew has won the holiday prize for the biggest fish of the Final!

In 4th place was Lee Patten, 5th was Peter Andrews, 6th Steve Docherty, 7th Marco Orsi, 8th Lee Bartlett, 9th Alan Williams and 10th was Bill McIlroy.

Lexus Team Final.

The next Lexus Final is the Team Championships, where 132 competitors representing 22 Teams, will be competing at Rutland Water on 15th and 16th September.

More on that in my next blog.

Salmon in Ireland

Last week I spent some time in the North West of Ireland fishing for salmon.  We were hoping to film the trip and top angling photographer Peter Gathercole was there to take the photo's for Trout and Salmon Magazine.  But the continued wet Summer conspired to make things really difficult for us.

When we arrived, the River Mourne was 7 feet higher than usual and in a dirty flood, so we switched to the River Finn.  Also high, being a spate river, it dropped nicely for the second day and we were more than hopeful - but all 6 of us failed to catch a fish.  The next day, Sid caught a clean run 7lb salmon and I managed a small fish from a pool way up the river.  Peter had another fish on Day 3, but not the biggie we were hoping to catch.

By the 4th day, the River Mourne had dropped to just 18 inches above normal and we managed 5 fish between us, with the biggest at 14lbs falling to my rod from the famous Snaa Pool.

Thankfully that was sufficient for the article and also provided some filmed footage, so the trip turned out to be a success.  But that is the fragility of salmon fishing - one day too little water, the next day too much.  We hit it just about right on one day out of 7 and that day produced the goods.

Back on Chew for trout

The day after I returned, it was back to work as usual and that meant fishing on Chew for trout with my good friend Barry Hawyes.  Day 1 was sunny and windy, normally the kiss of death for Chew - but not this time.  We both fished deep nymphs and boated 9 trout for just under 27lbs - what a bag!

Next day, we had 10 fish, losing a few and missing several and this time they weighed 24lbs 8ozs.  Overcast skies meant that the fish were higher in the water, but still the nymphs did the business, rather than dries or lures.

Lexus Final on Chew this weekend

The weather for the middle part of this week is forecast to be pretty rough, but thankfully by Friday, light winds should prevail, making it almost perfect conditions for the Lexus Individual Final on Saturday, with official practice on Friday.  I am really hoping that Chew continues to fish well for the biggest event of the year and that the 100 competitors enjoy some fantastic sport.

My 14lb Salmon from Ireland's River Mourne
Barry Hawyes with a 3lb plus Chew Rainbow

My 1st Chew 30lb Pike this season on the fly

At long last, the Chew pike have made an appearance - and what an appearance!

I fished 4 times this week with clients and we have had some cracking sport, with the best fish weighing in at 30lbs 10ozs.  That fish fell to my rod, although my guest for the day, Stephen Bates, also had a Personal Best fly caught pike of 20lb 4oz, plus we both had doubles and jacks to take our score well over the 100lb mark!

PAC Chairman John Synnuck and I started the campaign off with 14 fish over 2 days for 250lbs; the best fish weighing 23lbs 4ozs.

Later in the week I fished with Vincent Middleton and we had a 20lb and 19lb fish in our 10 fish haul.

It looks like the roach shoals have started to congregate and this is always the key to the best pike fishing, as they simply do not target the trout in their absence.  This season has been difficult for pike due to the very late spawning and unprecedented high water levels - in fact, the lake is still overflowing, which has never happened before in August in Chew's 56 year history.

Trout fishing also good

The trout fishing is good on Chew providing the wind and sun does not conspire to ruin things.  Try along the edge of the weedbeds off Moreton and Stratford for some truly huge rainbows, using washing line tactics with Diawl bachs and Crunchers.  Dry fly is also working, but don't be afraid to twitch them to simulate corixae.

Herons Green is also another top spot, with straight lined nymphs being favourite.

But due to the high water levels and the lack of weedbeds this season, the trout are really well spread and anglers are even catching over the Roman Shallows area and across the middle.  The North Shore and Picnic Areas also hold plenty of fish and Wick Green is fishing well.

Blagdon has been fishing it's head off for weeks now and the quality of the fish is superb.  Rugmoor is great for the boats, with any of the points around the lake good for bank anglers.  Try Butcombe Bay and Pipe Bay with both nymphs and dries, but on tricky days, I have had loads of success with a DI3 Sinker, using an Orange blob on the top dropper, 2 Diawl bachs in the middle and a Sparkler Booby on the point - believe me, it is truly great sport having follows and bow-wavers chasing your flies!

Salmon here I come!

I am off to Ireland to fish for salmon on the Rivers Mourne and Finn next week.  Apparently there are loads of fish in the river systems due to the wet summer and levels are still unusually high for the time of year.

We will be filming the trip and Peter Gathercole will be taking the stills to cover the action in Trout and Salmon Magazine.

Lexus Final on 1st September.

Yesterday I completed the last Heat of the Lexus Individual Championships at Draycote Water near Rugby.  We also had a Heat at Ravensthorpe the previous day, so now we have 100 Qualifiers who will be fishing at Chew Valley Lake on 1st September trying to win the ultimate prize in fly fishing - the keys to a Lexus RX450 Hybrid SUV worth over £50,000!

Sky TV will be covering the event and some of the World's best fly anglers will be taking part.

My 30lb 10oz Chew Pike
Steve bates with his 20 pounder
Vincent Middleton andf a 19lb Chew fish


This year's Lexus Individual Final will be filmed and shown on Sky Sports TV.

The Grand Final will be filmed at Chew Valley Lake near Bristol on Saturday 1st September and the confirmation by Sky TV that they are covering the Event is fantastic in raising the profile of Europe's biggest fly fishing championships.

100 Qualifiers will attend the Final and all will be hoping to win the star prize of a Lexus RX450 Hybrid SUV worth almost £60,000!

There are still 3 Regional Heats to be held;
Grafham Water on 5th August
Ravensthorpe on 9th August and
Draycote on 10th August

Places are available at all 3 Heats.

To book your place email:


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