John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

2014 National Champion

Just returned from 5 days at Rutland which culminated in me becoming the 2014 National Loch Style Champion!
120 qualifiers took part in the first ever 2 day National Final and all were competing to finish in the top 28 and form the two England Teams for next year.

Day 1 saw no less than 37 limit bags of 8 fish and thankfully I finished top of the pile.  Dry Fly tactics at Gibbets Gorse and Manton Bay was my chosen method and I knew there were better fish; albeit less than in other places, to be caught at the top of the South Arm.  My bag weight of over 18lbs included a grown-on fish of over 4lbs.  Finishing at 1:35pm also gave me a time bonus of 4:04 and a total weight of 22lbs 13 5/8ozs.  My boat partner Gary Haskins also caught his limit by 3:52pm using the same tactics.

Day 2 and I returned to Gibbets Gorse with new boat partner Mike Heritage and we were amazed that we had only 4 other boats for company.  We had 3 between us at Gibbets then nipped across to Manton Bay where I finished my limit bag again by 3:08pm and Mike completed his a little later at 4:53pm.  My bag weighed over 18lbs again and with Time Bonus came to 20lbs 14 7/8ozs.
I finished Day 2 in 4th place while Mike came 8th.

My total place points were 5 which made me 1st place overall and National Champion for 2014.  This is the first time I have ever been National Loch Style Champion and I am very proud to add it to my National Rivers Champion Trophy won on the rivers of Northern England several years ago.

Both Gary Haskins and Mike Heritage also qualified in 6th and 7th places respectively and there were no less than 6 Chew Valley regulars in the Top 10!

Clive Collier presenting me with the National Trophy
2014 AT Team England Qualifiers

Lexus Final this weekend

100 of Europe's top fly anglers will descend on Chew Valley lake this weekend for the Grand Final of the 2014 Lexus European Flyfishing Championships.

Anglers from all over the UK, plus France, Belgium and Norway will fish for the biggest prize in flyfishing - a Lexus RX450 Hybrid SUV, plus loads of other top prizes.

This year, all Heat Winners will compete in the Champion of Champions category to win a fantastic holiday prize; courtesy of Anglers World Holidays.

Co-Sponsors Greys will also supply the top 10 anglers with tackle prizes, and other prizes will be supplied by Ugly Fish Sunglasses and Minox Optics.

Chew is fishing very well at the moment and with good weather forecast for this weekend, the outlook promises to provide some exceptional fishing for all 100 competitors.


Fishing catch-up

Apologies for the delay in updating my blog.  I seem to spend more time nowadays updating Facebook posts to keep things bang up to date with whats going on in the fishing world.

Great Chew trout fishing

Following weeks of hot weather and water temperatures of over 79 degrees F, I can finally report that Chew is right back on form thanks to the cooler weather and heavy storms.  In the Lexus Heats held over the weekend, rod averages were over 8 on both days, with average weights being 2lbs 6ozs.

We fished to a 4 fish kill and then catch and release.  Of the 354 trout caught, no less than 194 were returned alive to the lake.  Paul Roach, winner of both Lexus Chew Heats in 2013, continued his amazing run of form with victory on both days this year!  Quite an acheivement.

But the biggest cheer of the day went to Paul's granddaughter Daisy Bristow for qualifying for the Grand Final with 11 fish and with it 6th place overall.

Greys UK Pike Fly Fishing Championships

The inaugural UK Pike Fly Fishing Championships sponsored by Greys took place a few weeks ago on Chew Valley Lake.

Top rod on the day was Alex Mason who landed 2 pike for a match winning weight of 20lbs 4ozs.  Mason’s catch included a 15lb12oz fish and his prize was a Greys Carnivore Rod.

Geoff Hewitt’s 19lb 14oz pike won him the biggest pike prize of a Greys carnivore Rod, while Mike Bolt topped the Perch catch, also winning a Carnivore Rod for his 2lb 2oz Perch. Runner up was Simon Pledge and 3rd place went to John Bowen – both anglers winning Greys GX900 Reels.  4th place to Kevin Edwards who won a pair of Ugly Fish Sunglasses.

I am grateful to Bristol Water for allowing us to have a pike match and to Greys for their superb sponsorship.  Next year we hope to sell out the event and I am confident that there will be sufficient support.

Some great pike being caught

High water levels and reduced weed growth with masses of roach and perch fry have meant that the Chew pike are feeding well.  Things look great for the Autumn pike trials, but in the meantime, some superb quality pike have been caught on the Fly!

I have been out lots of times this Summer and thanks to high winds and good quality water, there has been absolutely no problem with oxygen depletion and the pike are in top shape.  My best was a 32:08 cracker from Stratford Bay and that makes it two 30's to the boat so far this season.

As the temperatures drop and the water cools, I am expecting some great results from the pike and possibly also the Perch.



Greys UK Pike Flyfishing Championships Prize Winners
Barry Hawyes with a brace of 3lb+ Chew rainbows
John Horsey with a 32lb 8ozs Chew Pike on the Fly

See me on Sky TV this Friday

I'm off to Sky TV on Friday to appear with keith Arthur in the "bothy" for another episode of Tight Lines - Sky Sports 4 at 7:00pm.
We will be discussing all things fishing including the recent World Championships in Czech Republic, fishing for pike and trout on Chew and Asp in Sweden.

England win Bronze!

Team England won the Bronze medal in the 34th FIPS Mouche World Championships held in the Czech Republic at the end of May/beginning of June.
The team was Howard Croston, John Tyzack, Phil Dixon, Andrew Scott and myself.  Mike Dixon was reserve and Paul Page the manager.

We fished 3 river sessions on the Vltava River and 2 lake sessions - one from boats and the other from the bank - so it was a true test of all-round fly fishing skills.  All fish counted, so we targetted both trout and grayling, plus roach, chub, dace, perch and pike.  It was quite a championship with over 10,000 fish being caught and returned.

We also had the Individual Bronze medal winner in Andrew Scott, making his debut for England in the World Championships.  Well done Scotty and the rest of the lads.

Chew still fishing well

Both Chew and Blagdon have continued with their scintillating form this season.  Dries and nymphs have been the main methods and the size of the fish have been fantastic.

Pike also starting to feed

My client Cliff hendry had a cracking 25:08 pike on the fly on Chew today.  Yesterday Cliff had a mid double and today followed it up with this beauty.

Team England on the Podium
Me with a decent Chew brownie taken on a dry fly
Cliff Hendry's 25:08 Chew pike


On 11th June Chew Valley Lake will play host to a brand new Pike Fly Fishing Championship.

There are already over 20 competitors entered and it promises to be a great days fishing for both pike and perch.

Entry Fees are just £30 and competitors must pay for their boat fishing fees.

Please contact me by email to book your place in these inaugural Championships.

Lure Qualifier Match

 On Tuesday I fished my first ever lure angling match in a heat of the British Lure Angling Championships held on Chew Valley Lake.
The match was a sell out with 66 anglers hoping to finish in the top 6 and secure their place in the Grand Final, also to be held at Chew Valley Lake on 4th October.

I was drawn with Stephen Bates and we decided to try all over the lake in the hope of discovering some new pike areas that we have not yet found this season on the fly.
Stephen started in great form with a 20lb pike, which measured 95cms.  The match is decided on total length, so weight is not important -only to the anglers!
I soon had a 9lb pike which amazingly measured 78cms and therefore I only needed a jack to beat Stephen's massive fish!

Until then I was treating the day as a pleasure day, but my competition mentality kicked in and we decided to do our best to both finish with respectable scores.  The field of anglers was very experienced and a top 6 place would be hard to achieve!

We decided to target the deeper water where there often are plenty of jacks - so having spent several hours in pursuit of big fish, we changed our tactics.  Off to the Woodford bank and fishing in 24 feet of water, we fished painfully slowly with Fox Replicant Lures to prise out 4 more fish for me and 2 more for Stephen.  Now during the last couple of hours, I lost at least 5 pike during play, but Stephen could have walked the match with the number of pike he lost - frequently right by the net as well!!

To cut a long story short, my total length of 303cms was sufficient to earn me 2nd place overall and Stephen also qualified, so we were both very happy anglers.  My final fish came on my very last cast and without it I would not have qualified!  

Roll on the Grand Final.  I am really going to take this match seriously from now on as it is a great event, expertly organised by Julian Chidgey.

Stephen Bates 20lb lure caught pike
My biggest pike on the day

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