John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

Fantastic Blagdon fishing!

The opening few days on Blagdon Lake have been simply amazing!  The quality of the rainbows is superb and average sizes are well over the 2lb mark, with a smattering of overwintered fish as well.

Opening Day saw the bank anglers doing just as well as the boats, due to the fish being so close to the shores.  That trend has continued, but during the brighter days, the trout tend to move out to slightly deeper water.

Ash Trees has been the hot spot area, but Pegs point, and most of the North Shore has been producing the goods.  Action on the South Shores has not been so widespread, but Green Lawns and Rainbow Point have both been good areas.

Floating Lines with teams of buzzers or diawl bachs have been the norm, but sometimes a gold head nymph or lure on the point has helped to get the flies a bit deeper.

Dry Fly on Day 2!

Saturday started with a flat calm, so Anthony Tabor and I headed for Ash Trees.  There was a line of rising fish about 100 yards from the bank and I actually caught one on a dry fly - Anthony had 4 others on nymphs as I attempted to take my earliest ever trout on a dry from Blagdon.

Yesterday Les Toogood and I had another top day, with both of us taking limit bags and returning a few others during the course of the day.  We fished all over the lake and found fish to be pretty wide spread.  I managed a cracking 3lb 12oz overwintered fish from Butcombe late in the afternoon.

Most of the fish are feeding on daphnia, buzzers or bloodworm.  However, the fish off Rugmoor are full of corixa - very early for these, but very welcome as corixa will keep the trout feeding in the shallow water.

Chew to open this Friday.

Chew Valley opens this Friday and the water clarity is now about 6 feet.  The rainbows have all been stocked and should have acclimatised and spread out well by now.


Anthony Tabor with Blagdon rainbow off Green Lawns
My 3.12 overwintered Blagdon Rainbow

Blagdon opens in just 3 days!

This Friday sees Blagdon Lake open it's very large "doors" for a new season.  I went to the Lake today and am glad to report that it is only 2 feet off top level - last December it was only half full!
All the rainbows are now stocked into Blagdon and there should be a good head of overwintered rainbows and browns to supplement the new stock fish.

If last year is anything to go by, the main tactics ought to be Nymphs and Gold Heads fished on Floating Lines, which seems to be the norm nowadays.

Chew Valley opens a week later on 23rd March and levels there are similar, with about a couple of feet to go.

Some Boats still available with me for early season.

Although I am booked from opening day on Blagdon until Tuesday, that means I still have 2 days free next week.

Once Chew opens, I am booked every day until 31st March, but still have Sunday 25th March and Sunday 1st April free if you fancy an early season foray onto either lake.

Tight Lines on Sky last Friday

Last Friday's Tight Lines show with Keith Arthur was really enjoyable.  One of the segments was a short film of my visit to the Cayman Islands before Christmas and the remainder of the show was spent discussing trout and pike fly tactics on both large or small stillwaters.

17 year old up-and-coming trout competition star Sam Edmonds has already been featured on the show fishing Grafham for pike and zander.  Sam and his parents visited the studio and met all the cast and crew.

To download the free Pod Cast, simply go to,20494,19916,00.html

Cayman Islands article in this month's Trout Fisherman Magazine

For more information on the Cayman Islands, why not buy this month's edition of Trout Fisherman Magazine? 
Issue 429 carries my feature, pics and flies, showing how to fish for Bonefish, tarpon and a host of other species on this beautiful, paradise island.

South West England Qualifier - Chew Valley - Sun 24th June

More details to come soon, but put the date in your diary if you're keen to fly fish for England.

Chew's current levels
JH, Keith Arthur, Caroline, Gary and Sam Edmonds in the Tight Lines Studio

See John on Sky TV's Tight Lines this Friday

I'm looking forward to going into the Tight Lines Studio "Bothy" to chat over my recent Cayman Islands trip with presenter Keith Arthur.
We will be watching footage from the trip, where I caught bonefish, tarpon and a host of other species on the fly rod.

Little Cayman really is a wonderful location and a tropical island paradise - the fishing is great too!

We will also be discussing thoughts on the coming trout fly fishing season and talking about the methods most likely to bring success.
The show goes out on Sky Sports 3 at 6:00pm this Friday, 9th March 2012.

Back from Tasmania

My trip to Tasmania was truly awesome.  I have always felt, from my previous visits, that Tasmania had the best stillwater trout fly fishing in the World and my feelings have not changed one bit.  In fact, having driven all over the island on my travels, I now know that there are a multitude of lakes and rivers to fish - not just the better known waters of the Highlands region.

The Gum Beetles didnt put in much of a show during the sunny afternoons, but as soon as the cloud covered the sun, mayflies (known there as Duns) hatched in their thousands.  Early morning and late evenings gave us opportunities for tailing fish in the margins, while the sunnier days helped us to "polaroid" fish in open water.  These are techniques that we simply do not encounter back home.

We even had some time for a sea fishing trip out from Port Arthur aboard Steve Gilbert's boat Moonshine.  We were after Tuna, but due to calm seas, they were elusive.  We did get 6 hits and 2 Albacore to the boat, plus a heap of Gurnard, flathead, perch and striped trumpeter to baits fished 300 feet below the boat!

But it was the rivers that were the real eye openers.  Huge wild trout from tiny streams and creeks - wild rainbows and browns from tumbling rivers as clear as the river Test.  I caught my biggest ever wild brownie from a river no wider than a minor road.  Keep your eyes out for it in Trout Fisherman magazine as they have the exclusive in pics and words next month. now fully updated

The Lexus Web Site is now fully operational and updated for the 2012 season.

Download an Entry Form for Individuals or Teams from the site and follow the progress of each and every match as it unfolds throughout the year.

The first Individual Heat is at Llyn Llandegfedd in South Wales this coming Sunday, 11th March 2012.  Llandeg has been fishing it's head off since opening day and loads of overwintered rainbows are being caught.

It's not too late to enter this Heat, just email to reserve your place.

Drifting on Arthurs Lake
Cracking Brownie from Woods lake
Albacore fresh from the sea!

My first Chew 30 of 2012!

On Monday I fished with Chris Tarrant on Chew and we had a superb day on the baits. 
I would far prefer lure fishing, but as it was cold, we decided to put down the anchor and watch floats instead.

The last time Chris and I fished the Spring Pike Trials, he had a 30 during the full force of a snow storm!  This time, it was my turn to get one of Chew's big girls, weighing 32lb2 12ozs.  Herring was the bait and 9 foot was the key depth.

Chris also had 5 pike up to 10lbs and I had 4, with a decenty double of 17lbs thrown in for good measure.

The next day, I fished with Paul Mersh and his father Peter.  We had 12 pike to the boat, with Paul's biggest going 22lbs 4ozs and Pete's best at 17lbs.  I also chipped in with a fish of 20lbs 12ozs and our total weight was over 150lbs.

This was my last pike trials boat until October - on Thursday I fly out to Tasmania to film and fish the best stillwater trout fishing in the World!

When I get back I will update you on the trip.

2012 Lexus Entry Forms

The Entry Forms for this year's Lexus European Flyfishing Championships all went out in the post today.

The Lexus Web Site will be updated when I return.

John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing

Chew Pike go ballistic!

What a great day John Synnuck and I had yesterday on Chew Valley fishing for pike.  We had over 100lbs to the boat, but this almost paled into insignificance by the magnitude of fish taken on the day.

For the very first time in a day on Chew, there were not one, but two 40lb specimens landed.  Also, no less than seven 30lb pike and a whole host of 20 pounders and loads of mid to upper teens.

The best of the bunch weighed in at 41lbs 4ozs and was taken from Woodford Bank.  Phil Wakeford also had a 40lb fish from a boat.  Neville Fickiling at last broke his Chew 30lb duck with two 30lb fish in a day!

With water temperatures between 6 and 7 degrees C, the Chew pike must have kept feeding all through the Winter months.  I saw several pike swirling on the surface chasing roach and this activity is more akin to what I see in the Summer months.

Dead baits such as mackerel, smelt, herring and blueys accounted for the majority of fish.  Lures have been taking a few, but the vast majority of pike anglers that visit Chew Valley fish nothing but baits, so I would expect this type of result.

John's first fish of the 2012 trials was a solid 17lb 04oz lump, while my first fish of 2012 tipped the scales at 22lbs 4ozs.

The first 3 days of trials have produced at least a dozen fish over 30lbs and now 2 over 40lbs.  The weather is now changing from low to high pressure and the temperatures are already dropping - hopefully this will not stop the pike from feeding - I am out tomorrow, so watch this space ................

John Synnuck's 17.04 pike
My first fish of the season weighed 22.04


Hot off the press, here are the venues and dates for the 2012 Lexus European Flyfishing Championships.


Llyn Llandegfedd      Sun 11th March
Rutland Water           Mon 9th April
Chew Valley               Tues 24th April
Chew Valley               Weds 25th April               Floating Lines Only
Woodford (N.I.)          Sat 28th April
Grafham                     Sun 29th April
Straid (N.I.)                 Fri 1st June
Loch Leven                Weds 13th June
Woodford (N.I.)          Fri 15th June                    Floating Lines Only
Foremark                   Sun 17th June                * * NEW VENUE * *
Eyebrook                    Mon 2nd July
Eyebrook                    Tues 3rd July                    Floating Lines Only
Pitsford                        Weds 4th July
Lake of Menteith        Thurs 12th July
Llyn Brenig                  Sat 14th July
Stocks                          Thurs 26th July               Floating Lines Only
Stocks                          Fri 27th July
Ravensthorpe            Thurs 9th Aug                * * NEW VENUE * *     Floating Lines Only
Draycote                      Fri 10th Aug

Grand Final                 Chew Valley Lake        Sat 1st Sept 2012


MIDLANDS          Rutland Water            Tues 10th April
SOUTH/MIDS      Grafham                      Mon 30th April
SOUTH WEST     Chew Valley                Weds 14th June
NORTH                 Stocks                          Sat 28th July
                               Stocks                          Sun 29th July

                               Lake of Menteith          Fri 13th July

                               Llyn Brenig                   Sun 15th July

Grand Final        Rutland Water             Sat 15th & Sun 16th Sept 2012

Lexus Entry Forms will be mailed to all existing competitors within the next 10 days and the Lexus Web Site will be updated soon, where Entry Forms can be downloaded.

Those wishing to enter now should list their chosen dates/venues and send the details to:

Stanton Wick,
BS39 4BZ

Entry Fees for the Individual Heats remain at £30 for first entry and £25 for subsequent entries.

Team Fees are £165 per Team of six anglers.

Cheques should be made payable to "LEFC"



Briefing the competitors at the Lexus Grand Final

Blog Archive

December 2016

January 2016

December 2015

April 2015

August 2014

December 2013

September 2013

February 2012