John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

What a week on Chew!

 This last week has been sensational on Chew - apart from the weather - which has been dreadful.  Cold winds, rain and hail storms have dominated the forecast, but the Chew trout and pike have fed well.
I started the week on Sunday where I fished my England Qualifier and failed to make the cut for the National at Grafham by a mere 4ozs!
Chew fished very well on the day, with no less than 30 of the 38 competitors taking their 12 fish limit bags.  We fished to a very sensible 6 fish kill, then 6 fish release with a further 2lbs an hour time bonus.

I caught my first 6 fish in Villice Bay using nymphs on a floating line within 55 minutes, but switching to debarbed hooks and moving about to find some new fish, meant I lost both several fish and some all important time.  I completed my 6th released fish at 13:45, but sadly my total weight fell agonisingly short of the qualifying cut-off weight of 36lbs 9ozs.

Congratulations to those who qualified, with newcomer dale Burgess winning the day.  Fisheries manager Tony Donnelly also qualified for the National and I wish all the qualifiers well for the Grafham finale - I only wish I was joining you!


On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I hosted ian Gregg's party of anglers and fisheries biologists for their 9th annual trip after the Chew Pike.  The "Chew Valley Pikers" managed a very creditable 33 pike over the 3 days, with Eric Hope taking the best brace of the season so far at 28lbs 2ozs and 27lbs.  Keith Hendry had a 23lb 8ozs tagged fish, while brother Cliff also had a tagged fish of 16lbs.  Ian Gregg had a 26lb pike, while James Stephens landed another fish of 26lbs 8ozs.

Next week Sky TV's Keith Arthur and the film crew will be fishing with me, so I am keeping everything crossed that the weather will be kinder than this week.

Chew Valley Pikers on Chew
Eric Hope's 28lb 2oz Chew pike
Keith Hendry with a cracking 23lb 8oz Chew pike

Scotland win Spring International

I have been at Bewl Water in Kent for the last week practicing for yesterday's Home International Loch Style Competition.

The weather was evil at times and the fishing was really hit and miss as a result.  No stock fish had gone in since 30th April, so we knew it would be hard.  We found fish using sinking lines on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - in 6 areas.  On Thursday the sun came out and everything switched to floating lines or midge tips with nymphs.

Match day the wind went to the North and the temperatures plummetted again.  The same areas held the fish, but instead of slowly fished nymphs, almost all the fish were taken using a Cat Booby or a Sunburst FAB on the point of a 20 foot leader with 3 other nymphs up the line.  The odd fish took a nymph, but the vast majority ate the point fly bouyant pattern fished absolutely static at depth!

The Scots had this method off to a man and they thoroughly deserved their emphatic victory.  We also had this method but did not fish it so proficiently, so we came second.  Wales were third and the Irish picked up the Wooden Spoon.

England Qualifier

I am now coming back to Chew to fish my England Qualifier on Sunday with no practice for the past 10 days.  I know it is fishing better than anywhere in the country, with loads of huge fish and the majority taking nymphs.  I hope I draw a good boat partner who has been doing his practice in recent days!!!

@johnhorsey for Twitter reports

Massive Buzzer hatch on Chew!

Buzzers everywhere

Take a look at the photo below and see the MASSIVE buzzer activity yesterday evening at Chew Valley Lake.  They were literally everywhere.

Earlier that day, I fished with father and son team Andy and Guy Torrance and they had a real head-to-head fishing day - reminiscent of myself and my sons!
The fishing was harder than of late and we moved around the lake looking for fish and a bit of shelter from the very gusty South Westerly winds  At times I was wishing they would turn back to the East again - but without the drop in temperature.

Guy was on his first trip to Chew and when he lost a big fish early in the day on a Diawl Bach Nymph, I thought he might even finish with a dreaded blank.  But Guy is made of stronger stuff!  Andy caught, missed and lost fish steadily, with most taking a Black Lure on a floater.  Guy missed a few, but just couldnt connect properly.

Switch to a DI5 Sinker brough results

However, at 5:00pm we changed Guy to a DI5 sinker and within an hour he had 4 fish - same as Dad!  I had to leave around 6:30 but they were back on the water resuming their family fishing contest - fished in the very best of spirits I might add.

Definitely one to watch for the future is young Guy Torrance!  Perfect attitude and application.

Monday on Chew

On Monday I fished with Rob Ratcliff, which was his first trip out of the new season.  It was a cracking day, with light winds for a change and much warmer air temperatures.  Understandably, Rob fancied fishing the floater, so we tackled up with Black Lures on the point and Diawl bachs for droppers.  Slow retrieves were the order of the day and we caught everywhere we drifted - Stratford, Moreton, Herons Green, Wick, Nunnery Point and along the East Shore and Spring Bay.

We both finished the day with limit bags of over 22lbs.  I spooned all of the fish and although the priciple food form is still daphnia, there is more bloodworm and tiny buzzer appearing in their diets.

Pike on Thursday

I am out again tomorrow and this time it is the Chew pike that we are targetting.  Then it's trout again on Friday and Saturday.

Buzzers galore on Chew
Guy Torrance with a good Chew rainbow
Andy and Guy at 4 fish apiece

I'm now on Twitter!



I've recently decided to join the social networking scene by opening a Twitter account.

It's really easy to update catching areas and flies - while I'm actually out on the lakes!


Cold but still catching!

 Well, we all know it's been another freezing cold week.  I fished today and it was officially the COLDEST APRIL DAY IN 60 YEARS!!! And it felt like it too.

Yesterday I guided John Synnuck and Neil Leaver on Chew in similar North Easterly winds, gusting at times to around 20 mph.  But the main difference was the sun - it shone all day and took the chill out of the normal wind chill factor.

North Shore, False Island and Denny Island have been the best areas, but the strong, biting cold East to North East winds have stopped anyone-  with any sense-  fishing anywhere but at the top of the wind.  So in effect, 90% of Chew Valley lake hasnt seen a fly this season!

John and Neil caught 12 rainbows weighing 33lbs, including 1 overwintered fish.  All had daphnia in them apart from the grown-on fish which had Hoglice and a few Shrimp.  Black Lures, Black Boobies and Coral Boobies fished on either Floating or DI5 Lines took most of the fish.

On Tuesday I fished with Bryan Brown and we had 8 trout apiece, including my best of the season at 6lbs 4ozs - another overwintered fish.  Once again, that fish had been feasting on Hoglice and Shrimp, whereas the others had daphnia and all took Black Lures or Black Diawl Bach Nymphs.

I've recently been putting my new Hardy Ultralite CLS Reels through their paces - and the new locking system for the spare spools.  They are fantastic and a big improvement on my old Demon Reels - and they were damned good!

It looks like the winds will be dropping on Saturday and over the weekend, but next week will start cold and get warmer as the week progresses - which will then turn wet!  I hope not.

Lexus Heat at Rutland

On Sunday I am running the first Lexus Individual Heat at Rutland Water - PLACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE - Email to book a place.

The Team Heat is on Monday at Rutland and you can still enter a team of 6 anglers.  Simply email the above address.

My 6lb 4oz Chew Rainbow
Bryan Brown playing a fish off the False Island
John Synnuck with another decent Chew Rainbow

Cracking start for Blagdon

 Blagdon Lake opened last Saturday and the fishing was fantastic.  My 8 fish weighed a massive 28lbs 10ozs and all were taken using a floating fly line.
I fished with Simon Pledge and he too caught his 8 fish limit and they weighed over 22lbs, making it a combined limit bag of over 50lbs!

The best fish on the day was a superb overwintered rainbow of 5lbs 4ozs which took my size 10 Black Diawl Bach Nymph off Polish Water.
Most of our fish took the Black Lure on the point and all had some daphnia in them but little else due to the very cold water and air temperatures.

A couple of days later I fished with Dougie Grant and due to the strengthening Easterly wind, we spent a lot of the day in Pegs Bay and off Rugmoor Point.
The water here was a bit dirty, but it made no difference to the trout - they fed well all day and once again, we fished floating lines with a Black Lure on the point with Diawl Bach Nymphs on the droppers.

We had 4 fish over 4lbs, including 2 overwintered rainbows of 4lbs 2ozs and 3lbs 2ozs.  Again my 8 fish weighed in excess of 28lbs!

Bewl called off

I was due to fish Bewl on Saturday for an England get-together, but due to the awful weather and the distances our team had to travel, it was postponed.  Just as well as there was 3 inches of snow in High Wycombe where I had been staying.  

Because of this, I was to miss Chew's Opening Day for the first time in many years, although I was due to be out on the Sunday.

As it happened, I also missed that day and have to admit I was not too sorry.  I popped in to the Lodge mid afternoon and spoke to some of the anglers.  Scott Roberts showed me a pic of the ice that had formed on his rod rings.  Another angler told me he had put his rod down in the bottom of the boat and it froze solid, making it hard to prise away again to fish!

Plenty of trout were caught on the opening 2 days, but most from the top of the wind around North Shore, False Island and the main Picnic Area.  I am sure that as soon as this cold spell of weather relents, the fishing on both lakes will be explosive, with plenty of overwintered fish being caught.

What a difference a year makes .......

Just to give you an idea of what this time last year gave us, here is a pic of Opening Day on Chew last year.  We fished in shirtsleeves and needed sunscreen!

My overwintered 5lb 4oz Blagdon Rainbow
Another overwintered Blagdon Rainbow
2012 Chew Opening Day weather

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