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The Club Grayling fishing trip to Wales on 25 October was attended by Keith Allison; Bob Ayres; Geoff Darby; John Goldie; Martin James; John Poote and Bob Sharp. The Hotel Cammarch, our base has three miles of fishing rights on the River Irfon, split into three beats, upper middle and lower. It is a tributary of the River Wye. For those of us who had limited their fishing to the manicured Chalk streams  of the south would find a different type of river – a freestone river.We had arranged to arrive mid afternoon to give us the chance to look at the area and locate the beats ready for the next day’s fishing. John, the hotel proprietor had organised  a guide (Oliver Birch who is a very well respected fishing guide who reports on river conditions for the Wye & Usk Passport Scheme.) to advise us on arrival. We should have made a note of his first comment – the river is up 69cms – 2’-4” in old money - from normal at this time of year; and to be very careful when wading – the underlying rock is very slippery and covered with lichen.A walk along the river confirmed our worst fears, the river was a wild torrent and little maintenance had been carried out over many many years, limiting access from the steep banks by bank-side trees, shedding their leaves into the river. There was a lot of colour in the water also which did not bode well.After an excellent meal we retired to the bar (which we had to ourselves as John had closed it to the locals) the exception being Gary Holt, who lives in the village, a fly fisherman and and fly tier who had offered to come in and give us some advice. Over a few pints he imparted a lot of useful information about the different pools and best flies for the conditions. He too told us that wading would be difficult and to take necessary care.


On the first day, Tuesday the river was just fishable, the middle beat, more so. After breakfast we set off for the day. Keith, Martin and Geoff to the lower beat, the two Bobs the middle beat and the Johns the upper beat. As predicted it was hard work, Keith took a tumble but managed to stop himself from full immersion but hurt is wrist in the process. Martin had the only success and managed a trout. Keith, Martin and Geoff  stopped on the way back and fished the town beat. Very easy access and looks as if it could be productive but in the conditions not so. On the middle beat the Bobs bravely waded quite deeply and were rewarded by Bob Sharp having two trout to the net. The upper beat produced the only Grayling caught by John Goldie (who was having a cup of tea and eating a bacon buttie at the time). John Poote fished the school pool, which under normal conditions is quite productive, but to no avail. Back for supper and a cosy chat in the bar afterwards. It has been A hard day’s night.Rain on Tuesday night added to the water level and coloured the water even more. We kept the same partners as the day before and swapped beats. Despite a valiant fishing effort on Wednesday morning, most of us abandoned the fishery by the afternoon. On return John had organised tea/coffee and scones for us so we duly indulged ourselves and swopped stories. We had asked Gary to have dinner with us but he was unable but said he would join us later for a drink.After dinner we discovered that Gary had set up in the conservatory to give us a workshop. He asked us for suggestions as to what we would like demonstrated and proceeded to give us a very interesting couple of hours on palmering, tying in wings and many other useful tips. Thank you Gary.Most of departed on the Thursday morning leaving the two Bobs to brave another day. In spite of the river conditions it had been a great couple of days and a very social occasion made enjoyable by our kind host John and his wife Hilary, this is a new venture for them and we wish them every success.Thanks to Bob Sharp for his input on the river conditions.Gary Holt:

Ian Spicer at Draycote

Draycote all day today - wow, what a difficult one!  The lake is a protein soup at the moment, it’s literally crawling with buzzers/hatched midges, the fish are spoiled for choice - plus, this afternoon the dreaded caenis started hatching off and we all know what that can do to a day’s fishing!!  Consequently, it was a very, very hard day.  I struggled to bring five fish to the net today, I could have doubled that if I’d hung on to everything I hooked - I do insist on using barbless hooks though!  


I did have one spectacular bonus fish though - an absolutely magnificent specimen perch; a real thumper.  My net measures 20” across a she filled it edge to edge - she was in the early stages of spawn too so a proper bunter!  Cracking & robustly healthy fish; a delight to grace any landing net (even if it was a tad out of season!!) - pictures available! 


For the record: the fish took a home-tied (by me) size 12 black buzzer with a dark quill body & orange cheeks (known I believe as a ‘crisp-packet’ buzzer), presented static on a slow-intermediate midge-tip line; I was ’straight-lining' a team of four flies - all buzzers.  It was my first fish of the day.


Ian Spicer 15th April 2023

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Picture Curtesy of Tom Bird


We recently welcomed a new member to our Club, namely Alison Fenn. A new recruit to the art of fly tying and flyfishing. She had  been to an instruction day on a river and had learnt to cast and actually did catch a rainbow trout on the river. However Alison wanted to get some experience fishing on a reservoir.


We had some correspondence and we had a day on above reservoir. The weather gods were kind as the day before had been 50mph  winds and rain. It was a fresh breeze on the punt but I managed to get us on the edge of the ripple so Alison had no problem casting. The level of water is now back to days of old which was right up to the boat jetty. We have stocked the lake with some brown trout and some have been caught this season, but not by me yet.


I knew deep fished buzzers were taking fish , so we started with a #10 black and green buzzer on point and red buzzer on dropper. I had an 18ft leader with 2 droppers and Alison 12ft with 1 dropper as I felt a longer leader than that could prove difficult to cast.


I had a fish in first  hour, but they were not throwing themselves on the buzzers. Alison persevered fishing the cast nice and slowly and hooked and landed her first fish of the day. It was a 2.5lb rainbow. She was thrilled with this and hooked another 2 before lunch , but sadly they never made the net. 


After lunch we went back on the lake to a different spot. This proved to be productive I hooked and lost 3 and netted 3 more. They were deep down so I increased Alison’s leader length by 4 ft. Within 5 minutes she had hooked another fish on the point buzzer and while she was playing this I netted it and we saw to our amazement the line was being pulled from the net. It was a double hook up and both were netted!


We called it a day at 4 pm and I am quite sure Alison is well and truly hooked now. I hope she gets many happy hours fishing and in the future catching on her own tied flies.


Keith 13th April 2023

Keith Allison with
Alison Fenn at Tringford

John and Keith on Farmoor 2

Although we had just lost an hour due to the ending of British Summer time John had heard Farmoor 2 was restocked 4 days previously. The water temperature now being 14 degrees which meant the water was warmer than the 8 degrees ambient air temperature. However it was cold enough for restocking. The wind direction was a north easterly approx 12mph, cloudy in the morning  and sunny the afternoon.We started with a fast glass and a Cortland blue slow intermediate. We hitched up to a buoy on west side, near 6. After 20 mins and no action we moved down to rainbow corner. John had a Di  5 sweep line and I tried a Di 3. We each had a fish by noon on a yellow dancer and a muskins.We headed back to near the jetty,  fishing down the south bank and at this stage I had a Di 7 line on and John continued with Di 5. Using Humungous white and silver boobys, with muskins, diawl bachs and tequila blobs. We had fish between us. John then lost a big fish and anchored in front of the jetty where John netted a cracking 5 pounder. It took several minutes to get in the net. I managed to get a couple of pics. 

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We then tried back drifting across the north  bank fishing out of the back of the boat. There were several bank anglers, but they were not catching. After half hour without a pull we moved back to the south bank. We attached the boat to the buoy near No 7 on south bank.This was a good move as the last hour from 3 to 4 pm proved to be our ‘purple patch’. I changed to a natural coloured minkie on point , cormorant mid dropper and orange booby top dropper. We hooked  a lot of fish as there were pods of fish fry feeding. I had a double hook up, but netted only one. It was a lovely 3.5 lb fish followed by another similar size. We ended up with18 fish to the net and many more ‘dropped’.It was difficult to tear ourselves away but boats were due in at 4 pm. The 4 fish I took for the pot weighed 11.3 lbs. A great day  out with some great condition trout. One of the bigger fish was crammed full of small snails. I am going to try to tie a pattern to match this and can’t wait for another day out to Farmoor which has excellent Winter fishing.  Keith Allison

John and Graham on Farmoor 2
John Poote and Graham Uttley Tuesday 9th May 2023

I started off with 4 buzzer patterns ( size 12 and 14) on floating line and a 20 leader. We fished the causeway between 1 and 9 markers. No action and as there were a few fish moving I quickly changed to a 12 tequila fab on the point. I had a few plucks but no hook ups and it was evident that the fish were high in the water so quickly changed to dries/ emergers. I stayed with the dries on co polymer, until lunchtime. Successful pattern was the orange foam daddy size 12. Also had fish on small black foam Emerger, orange shipman’s, claret /fiery brown Midas. There were not many adult buzzers flying around so I think they were taking in or below surface.

After lunch changed back to Muskins on top dropper 2 crisp packet buzzers in between and heavy Tequila blob on the point. Tequila blob was by far the most successful pattern but takes were so soft you didn’t know they were there until you felt the heaviness of the line. There was a purple patch mid afternoon with takes coming almost every cast but quite a few lost. Switched back to washing line with the orange daddy on the point and again lots of interest.
Best areas were between 1 and 9, 75mts out from the causeway and from 3 marker 75mts out drifting from the bank. Winds were from the SSW light to moderate until the rains came when it turned to a flat calm and made fishing more challenging but orange foam daddy still catching.
Looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday

John Poote 9th May 2023

Bob Sharp & Bob Ayres at Ravensthorpe

9th April 2021

This was Bob Ayres and my first fishing outing of the year, along with friends Phill and Andy. Thankfully we all decided to avoid an early start and arrived around 09.00 to find only four boats already on the water and a light breeze blowing towards the Dam.


Encouraged by a modest midge hatch, we anchored about 70 m from the far bank and 200m from the dam. Our set up, a long leader and three black buzzers and Bob A, a blob and buzzers. On the first two casts I hooked and lost two fish with Bob A soon into a fish. On my fourth cast I hooked and had nearly landed the fish when another took the point fly, chaos followed, luck held and these were landed, all whilst Bob A was landing another fish.


This pace continued until about lunchtime, my sandwiches and flask out when Bob A said ‘this is a decent fish’ which he played for about 10 minutes and brought the fish to the side of the boat and I saw it for the first time – I dropped my sandwich and grabbed the net and yelled ‘careful this is a really big fish’, and so it was. Sometime later with the fish safely in the net in the water, I could see It was the biggest trout I had ever seen anywhere! I tried to compare it with a 10 pounder I had caught at Ravensthorpe in June 2019 and concluded that was a dwarf compared with this fish. As we have a policy of fish hooked should remain in the water, any accurate measurement was not possible but my guess would be 12 – 14 lb


The buzzer hatch slowed just after lunch but came on again soon after, until about 16.00. We lost count of how many fish caught, probably more than 30, all in the 3-4lb class and all except two were carefully returned. I hooked and landed 7 fish in 10 casts. All the fish were in superb condition and very fit – one took my fly line and most of the backing off the reel before I could get a modicum of control.


Phill and Andy left before us and came alongside to say their day had been tough and Phill had just 3 fish. They had anchored about 200m from us and the same distance from the bank, indicating how local a hatch can be. We stuck with our original set up throughout the day, 9’ tapered leader and 10’ of 6lb Fluoro’ mine with 2 droppers and 3 black buzzers size 10 and 12 tied on Kamasan B110’s.


Most of the fish were hooked in the top metre of the water. The average weight of the fish caught was more than the usual average, probably explained by being stocked in 2020 and having a year of less fishing pressure. The fish had noticeably more body depth compared to their length.

Mark Robson at Rib Valley

27th December 2020

After planning to meet up with an old friend at lunchtime I realised there was an opportunity to sneak in a mornings fishing at Rib Valley, only a few miles away. It would also be a chance  to give the latest acquisition, a switch rod, its first outing.


It was the morning after storm Bella and the forecast wasn’t great. It was slightly disconcerting that as I arrived 2 other fishermen were packing up to go, declaring the water to be “unfishable”. The overnight rain had added to already waterlogged ground and the lake had overtopped its banks, they didn’t fancy the mud, but with a bit of care it was fine.


The weather was much brighter than predicted and by mid morning there were blue skies. A slightly odd experience stood on one of the fishing platforms but still in 6 inches of water . . .


Although the water was a bit murky due to the flooding, a short session of 3 hours led to one fish on a cats whisker and some practise of both overhead and spey casting on the new rod.


Careful examination of the long shot of the lake from the access road shows the extent of the overtopping of the banks on the day.

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Bob Sharp on the Hampshire Avon
24th June 2021

My favourite river in southern England is the Hampshire Avon and I am fortunate that Martin and me have access to fishing near Amesbury. The 24 June saw us on our way for a day’s fishing with high expectations, buoyed up having learned that the mayfly hatch was late this year and we now should be in the middle of the ‘duffers hatch’. Figuring that the hatch was most usually in mid afternoon we elected to arrive at noon and fish until dusk.

A look at the river showed little in the way of a hatch although Martin saw a decent rise later in the day on the lower part of the beat which is about a 2 km long and comprises the main river and the Ham carrier which divides from the river for about 800m, and is around 3m wide, deep in parts and had a decent flow - but no rises on the day.


Martin chose the lower beat and me the carrier to start the day. The lack of mayfly was perplexing but maybe the fish are mopping up pupa as they rise so - on went a #10 mayfly emerger tied klinkhamer style, and into the river as wading is permitted but upstream fishing only The second cast brought a 7’’ trout and the sixth a similarly size grayling, it seemed the fishing gods were smiling in my direction! Moving up the stream and about 10 minutes later a solid take and I was into different class of fish which after a 5-minute tussle resulted in a 22’’ brown trout, in magnificent condition, vivid spots, deep body and a huge tail fin. I couldn’t believe my luck, it was my second biggest river trout. Two more trout from the carrier followed then a pitstop.


After lunch, Martin moved into the lower part of the carrier and me into the main river with a change of fly to a Jon Barnes pattern LDO tied on a 12 hook*. The highlight of my afternoon was a trout of around 20’’again in excellent condition. We finished the day at the bottom of the beat but saw no rises and caught nixed. For the day, between us we had 11 fish including a chub and grayling.


NB *On the Club’s website there’s a video posted by John Poote showing the tying of the J B LDO tied on a size 14 hook for the LDO hatch. The fly use on the trip to the Avon is tied on a Kamasan B400 size 12 resulting in a much bigger fly.

Martin Grant Trophy
Farmoor May 2022

Eight Club Members fished for the above. John Gamon, John Goldie, John Poote, Keith Allison, Bob Sharp, Steve Harding, Mark Robson and Geoff Darby. After meeting up at 08:30 we were out on the water by 09:00. Over cast with very little wind and no apparent ripple on the water. Most boats opted to fish along the causeway between Farmoor 1 the exception being John Poote and Bob Sharp who went down between 6 and 7 on the south side.

It had been agreed to meet up at lunch time so we all moored to a bouy near the causeway to feed ourselves and sinus tactics. At this stage most people had caught or hooked fish using midge tips or floating lines and Fab/Blob on point and buzzers/nymphs on droppers. As this appeared to be the best method all decided to continue the same tactics. After lunch we dispersed to different areas to fish until weight in at 06:00 in the evening.


The afternoon was harder fishing than the morning but most enjoyed some success. Steve Harding was the most successful into double figures to win the trophy. Steve also caught the biggest fish of the day of around 4lbs. All boats caught fish and all hooked fish but one member failed to net!


A good day was enjoyed by all and thanks to Mark for excellent organisation.


Next up the Club BBQ on Saturday 14th this month

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Steve with the Fish of the Day


Our Chairman John Gamon presenting the
Martin Grant Trophy to 

Keith Allison and John Poote
Down and Dirty at Farmoor

December 29th 2019
After the Christmas festivities it was time to get out on the water for some fresh air and hopefully tight lines. Two other friends of John were in another boat . The weather was clement with 7 degrees, approx 8mph wind and sunny spells.  Having seen catch reports on Facebook and advice from the fishing lodge  the fish were deep down. We had to use Di7 and Di 8 lines fishing with snakelets and boobys. The colours being pink , red  and white and green boobys. We decided to get the lines down and deep we would fish out of the back of the boat  and drift . The wind was blowing  from south west  . John fished a red booby snake on the point and a tequila blob on dropper. The booby  helped the lure  from catching on any weed. I used a pink snakelet  on point and a tequila blob on dropper.  John had the first fish  approx 60 meters from shore and I hooked and lost one  at end of the drift which was around 20 meters from the bank. John was getting lots of pulls and tugs  on a certain drift at the south side of the reservoir. We went back and anchored there and John had two more. I had another on and off. We finished the day with only three in the net and my third blank on the trot! John’s friends had managed 12 between them of  which one was approx 7lb and  another 4lb. All caught  near the south bank by the old jetty.

Our second visit 5th January 2020
The weather was similar to above with less sunshine and a slightly stronger wind.with   similar direction as above. Based on our last visit all tactics were the same , but I only fished a  white booby snakelet for a short time . I changed to green and white booby and John had a white booby minkie. John had the first fish and we spooned it and it had been feeding on snails. I put a black and peacock spider on the dropper and John changed to  a shrimp pattern on one of the droppers and a small black UV straggle booby. My first fish swallowed the booby and I couldn’t remove it so I changed to a greeen  and black booby. My next fish took the B& P spider which was quite satisfying . The wind became stronger so we put out a short roped drogue which did work  And we managed to fish over the drogue. One of the high lights of the afternoon was John’s double hook up. He netted one and I managed to net the other for him. The rest of the day was productive with a dozen fish for John and eight for me. Most of my fish came to the black and green booby  ( a John Budsworth tied pattern) on the point. I did try a humongous on the point and the booby on dropper and the fish took the dropper.  John had most of his fish on the point  fly. We both lost several more fish and had quite a few pulls. It was a good exercise in learning to keep moving until you find the fish. I think we made the mistake in our first trip of spending too much time in one place. If  we continue to get the good weather we can recommend  Farmoor is well worth a day out in Winter. We no doubt will be back there soon for more action hopefully.

January 8th, 2020

Club Trip to Chew and Blagdon June 2022

We have to thank Mark Robson for organising a wonderful three days fishing and hotel for us. We had a good turn out of 10 members , Keith Allison, Geoff Darby, Stuart Foulds, John Poote, John Goldie, Mark Robson, Martin James, Bob Sharp, Robert Ayres and Steve Harding. The fishing conditions proved to be quite difficult. Due to very high winds we had to fish Blagdon on the first day.


After a hearty breakfast at Chew lodge we headed for Blagdon reservoir. The weather was 15 degrees and a 10 -12 mph breeze with a sharp rain shower at lunch time. Not many fish were moving and some boats decided to anchor in the bays and some to drift down the water. 

Stuart had a couple of fish , one being around the 5 lb mark, John Poote had 4 fish and John Goldie, Keith and Mark had 1 each. All in all a challenging day with 10 of us catching 9 fish. We all headed back to The Carpenters Arms, a splendid hostelry to discuss where we all went wrong!


The second day which was Chew, was touch and go as high winds were predicted with 35mph squalls. The good news was we were allowed to take the boats out, but the dam area was out of bounds. We all headed to the south and east of the reservoir past Nunnery Point to get out of the strong winds. It was to prove another difficult day with only 4 trout caught, one each to Keith, John G (which was approx. 5 lb), Stuart and Mark. The fish Mark had was a good 6 pounder, maybe a bit more and it took some landing. Martin had 2 small pike and Keith hooked and lost 3 pike, one leaping out of the water and breaking the flies off the cast. We called it a day at 6 pm and had to get back to the lodge by carefully hugging the shore lines due to the wind speed.


Our last day was at Chew again and the weather was clement, this allowed us to fish the complete reservoir. Most of the boats were out and Stuart and Keith were boat partners and were told by the bailiff that the dam area could be cloudy so may not fish so well. However they decided to head for Denny’s Island and anchored up close to the island bank were they saw a fish rise, Stuart cast to it and it was the first fish of 10. It seemed we had found the fish at last , and we were joined by some other members of our party. The outcome of the day was our party caught 29 fish and most were quality fish with John G catching 6.5lb, Steve 4.5lb, Stuart 5lb, Keith and John P 4lb and Geoff had 5  all on a red holo Cruncher. We were all broken at least once and we all hooked and lost some big fish. Chew was living up to its reputation at last.We were catching using floating lines, with red and black buzzers, muskins, red holographic diawl bachs, orange sunk daddy, yellow owls and black and green small lures.

Our congratulations go to Stuart Foulds who won the tour trophy for the most fish and best overall fishing performance.To conclude we didn’t catch many fish, but the quality of the trout was second to none and the accommodation was excellent. We are all looking forward to our next extravaganza.

Keith Allison / June 2022

Martin Grant Trophy and BBQ
13th May 2023 Farmoor

Thirteen members took to the water for the Martin Grant Trophy and BBQ. The weather was 12 to 14 degrees slight wind  but not particularly warm.

Fish were near the surface so floating or midge tip lines werethe order of the day. Flies catching were tequila FAB on washing line , with muskins and buzzers on droppers. Also orange daddies were catching.


We had lunch at 1 pm and have to thank the two chefs John Goldie and John Poote. John P’s home made beefburgers were truly scrumptious. Ken supplied the beers and wine and we have to  thank Peter Proctor who collected the gazebo and table from John Gamon, who could not make the day due to a new hip op. Finally John’s wife Mary supplied the delicious desserts.


At lunch Stuart was in the lead with 15 fish with the nearest to him Steve Harding with 9 fish, Steve having won the trophy last year. The afternoon was more difficult fishing, with some tying to buoys others drifting. Fishing finished 5:30 pm and Stuart won with 20 fish and Steve second with 14.


It was good to welcome our two new members Alison Fenn and Ian Spicer who both caught fish. A big thank you to Mark for his organisation and making the day a big success.

Club Day at Tringford

7th June 2023

Eight members of the Club, Keith Allison, Geoff Darby, Alison Fenn, Stuart Foulds, Martin James, Mark Robson, Bob Sharp and Ken Wilcock met at 08:00 for Bacon Butties and Tea Coffee. Fishing then commenced, the north easterly wind that has prevailed for past few weeks was 6-10 knots, cloud and over cast. 

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Alison, Paul and Geoff

Stuart in Heron Pose and Mark

Martin was into a fish on his second cast! But that was not sign of things to come. Over an excellent lunch and a beer of glass of wine tactics were reviewed most people had managed to catch  and the Red Diawl Bach seemed to be the fly of the morning.

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Back out on the water the sun appeared and the fish seemed to have moved deeper and midge tips and even a Di5 appeared. The afternoon was not as productive as the morning but at 4:30 when we finished all boats had caught fish and only one member failed to wet his net. It would appear that the boat average was 7.


Thanks are due to Paul Hughes who took Alison and Geoff out on the big punt and got Alison on to 5 fish, well done to our newest member.


Thanks are also due to Bob Menzies for getting us all out on to the lake and to Jane for the excellent food and drink and to Keith for organising the event.

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Geoff's Brownie

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Ken contemplating his fly box

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Fly of the Day the Red Diawl Back

Club Day at Ravensthorpe

12th May 2023

Eight of us attempted to fish this lovely reservoir in very hot conditions . We had a 5 to 8 mph north easterly for part of the day. The temperature in the morning was around 22 degrees with sun and cloud. The water temperature was 24 degrees.


The morning  was definitely the best part of the day with the fish feeding near or on the surface . Drifting from the dam out , most fish being in the middle of drift. Dry flies were the order , with John Poote showing us the way using elk hair caddis and cdc emergers. 


We met up at lunch time and most had caught fish. After swapping fly patterns and tactics , we were back on the reservoir. The heat was now at its zenith and the fish wee not playing ball. The wind had dropped slightly so fly presentation was paramount. We tried fishing the boils and Mark was successful in catching there.  There were not as many caught as the morning session .The fish caught were on the small side but fought well . This reservoir is a lovely venue to fish and well worth a visit.

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We called it a day at 6pm and made our way to The Chequers pub for a well earned pint and a meal. The rod average was 4 per rod , the main catching flies were Midas ,elk hair caddis, cdc emergers, damsel nymph, crippled midge, sedge, klinkhammer, crimson hopper and canada goose buzzer.


We are all looking forward to our Clywedog week away. Let’s hope it is a bit cooler and more cloud cover with a nice 10 mph breeze. We fishers don’ ask for much!

Keith Allison

Bucks Country Fair

1st and 2nd July 2023 Penn Street

The Club had a stand at the Country Fair to introduce the skill of Fly Tying to the visiting public. Most interested was shown by the younger people visiting with parents and on both days a few of the youngsters managed to tie themselves a fly with the assistance of the members present. The pleasure that they got from their achievement made the effort of all seem worthwhile. A few fly fishermen came along and chatted and some took away contact information but unfortunately no new members were signed up on either day. It was felt that that it had been a useful exercise in publicising the club and our sport. Thanks to the following members who assisted over the two days. Steve Harding, Martin James, Bob Sharp, Mark Robson, John Goldie, Keith Allison and Geoff Darby. Thanks also to John Gamon for Gazebo, table and chairs and John Poote for table and chairs.

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Club Trip to Clywedog
17th - 21st July 2023
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Left to right:  Geoff Darby, Stuart Foulds, John Poote, Kelvin Britton, Keith Allison, Martin James, John Goldie, Bob Sharp, Steve Orton, Mark Robson

Monday 17th July

Travelling on Monday 17th July we arrived during the course of the afternoon and early evening at the Bluebell Inn in Llangurig where we were staying for the four nights. Unfortunately, John Goldie (John Go) didn’t make it until 23:00 due to family problems. John Poote (JP), Kelvin (Kelvin Britton a guest who is familiar to those who fish Farmoor regularly) and Stuart had been up to the lake and Kelvin had secured a highly confidential map as to where the fish would be found we thought this put us in a strong position to bag up for the week, but as you will see it did not prove as useful as it appeared.

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We had dinner at the Bluebell and walked down to the River Wye to have a look at where Martin and Bob would be fishing on the Wednesday. We returned to the Bluebell for a pint, or two, before retiring. John Poote waited for John Go to arrive. We greeted him at breakfast on the Tuesday morning and it was good to see his happy smiling face, familiar now to so many on the Cruise ships.

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Tuesday 18th July
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After breakfast we drove to the Lodge at Clywedog settled our account for the three days and boarded our boats. The boat dock is superb and makes easy access for the more doddery amongst us. The pairs for the day, Keith and Martin, JP and Kelvin, Bob and Geoff, Stuart and Mark, John Go and Steve. Without exception everyone turned right and fished from Bwlch y Gle and down from the Sailing Club into Eblid.

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We quickly discovered that the wind behaves in strange ways because of the shape of the lake and the position of the hills makes for interesting drifts that seem to change direction constantly. All started on dries and several had success first thing but after about 11:00 the fish went deeper and tactics had to change. It started to rain and except for the odd 15 minutes continued throughout the day. We met back at the lodge for lunch and exchanged information. Every one caught fish using all methods known to man some deep and dirty! All were back at the Bluebell by about 18:00 and drinks in the bar whilst we chose our dinner menu.

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After dinner the pool table was empty so a couple frames were played. As only two or three of us had even played the game it was quite entertaining as most had no idea which ball to go for next and even where to pot it!

And so to Bed.

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Wednesday 19th July

Wednesday morning dawned clear and sunny with a good forecast of light winds. A good breakfast then off to the lake and on to the boats. Keith and Stuart, JP and Steve, Mark and Geoff, Kelvin and John Go. Martin and Bob are on the river Wye. Today we all turned left to fish from Rainbow Corner through to Llwyd. It was beautiful day but the fishing was not easy and changes in tactics and persistence was the order of the day. Kelvin and Stuart were both unfortunate enough to snap a rod section. Kelvin at the boat dock and Stuart was taken under the boat by a decent fish that had no intention of getting into his net.

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The Ospreys are nesting on the left above the willows. Apparently they had two chicks but a Goshawk took one of them! The wind again proved tricky to deal with but we all caught, just some more than others. But the company and the situation more than made up for that, this part of the lake is much quieter and wilder than the Lodge end.

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Back at the Bluebell we met up with Martin and Bob who had some success and Bob even managed a kip on the river bank (separate report will follow). The bar was very busy, as there had been an accident just outside the village and the road was blocked so folks were coming in for a meal. We took our drinks through to the dining room to give them more room. Dinner followed with the Spotted Dick dessert proving very popular. The pool table was in use so after a pint and a chat in the bar was in order before retiring for the night.

Thursday 20th July

And so to Thursday our last day. During our discussions over a pint what had become clear was that to the right of the dock, where the cages that kept the young fish being grown on, are a fair number of fish were taken in that area. That morning nearly all boats out were in that vicinity a bit like the trout M25. JP and Geoff, Steve and John Go, Kelvin and Keith Stuart and Martin, Mark and Bob. There were also fish holding in the deep water against the cliff on the left going up that proved productive.

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JP introduced Geoff to the bung but the one fish that he managed to hook promptly let go. So the bung went back in the bag. Quite a few fish were caught and Bob Sharp had three decent sized ones 1 to 4.5 pounds and Keith had a nice wild Brownie. So back to the Bluebell for our final dinner. The general consensus was that Clywedog is a great fishery in a wonderful setting that needs experience on it to get to know the conditions re area and wind. We also felt that late July was not the best time for dries as there is no hatch of any description. A return some time in May/June is certainly on the cards.

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The general opinion as to who deserved the Trophy for best performance at Clywedog was John Poote. John had the biggest bag but also for his excellent work on the video/flysheets/workshop on the Clywedog flies. And also his excellent advice on fishing tactics during the visit.

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Mark and Steve stopped on the way home and had a few hours on the upper Elan reservoir.

Thanks to everyone who took part to make this such an enjoyable event.

Martin and Bob on the Wye
Upper Clochfaen Beat 19th July 2023
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It would have been silly not to take advantage of staying an Llangurig and not fishing the Wye where it turns west to its source 20km distant. It turned out that whilst the river was part of the Clochfaen Estate, booking was through the Wye & Usk Passport Scheme. With a few clicks of the mouse the Upper Clochfaen beat which starts at the Llangurig Bridge and 3.7km long was ours for Wednesday, 21st July. 

The beat map provided showed the righthand- bank fishing was ‘almost’ continuous and the LH less so, the river bed was gravel – hooray - upstream casting only and the river was populated by fewer but bigger brown trout. Expectations were high on Tuesday evening but faltered when a local overhead our discussion and piped up saying there were not many fish in the river!

An inspection by most of the Club members on Monday evening showed the river about 40cm above summer level, the bed, slippery boulders, foot access was to the right bank only and most worrying, a brisk, gusting westerly wind.

Wednesday saw us on the river by about 9am, the water level down by about 30 cm and adopting a leap frog system to overcome the lack of access at the Bridge. The brisk, in our face wind made discrete casting very difficult.

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After about 600m we crossed the river, Martin fishing a pool where the river turned north and Bob pressing on to where it turned west and beyond during which no fish were seen and needing two – further river crossings. We rendezvoused at about 1 pm for a snooze! 

Midafternoon we returned to the Bluebell for something to eat, back to the river by about 4pm and fished hard until about 6.30pm.

During the day, the lack of continuity of the beat made 6 river crossings necessary, Martin had caught 4 WBT average 15cm and seen several fish, and Bob had caught BA[!] and seen 2 fish, Martin had fished about a mile of the river and Bob about 1.25m.

Whatever the outcome, we both had a great day but, as always, lessons can be learned which distil into always do loads of research on the area and its fishing including, if possible, from those who fish there regularly. And, if its upstream casting only, is a downstream wind prevalent!

Martin & Bob

Bob and John on the Test

Fishing the upper beat of the River Test at Houghton Lodge Gardens, Stockbridge on the 21st August 2023.


After months of waiting since the beat was booked, having agreed to start late – fish late, John Poote and me arrived in Stockbridge at about 12.30. It was a shame that Martin James had needed to give up fishing owing to work pressure.

Our first call was at Robjent’s tackle shop. Martin had advised ‘keep your hands in your pockets’, so extensive was the kit on offer. Robjent’s claims to be the largest tackle shop in England but had no internet facility. The shop was stuffed with top end stuff, a veritable Aladdin’s Cave’, but we managed to escape with just John’s purchase of tippet.

A further 2 miles took us to The Houghton Lodge Gardens where we met Seth the river keeper who took us to the beat, 1.25 kms of pristine Test carrier about 12 -15 metres wide meandering through open countryside and breathtakingly beautiful with parking about 80 metres from the river.

Seth is unusual amongst Test keepers – he is affable, full of common sense and has a practical view of river fishing, unusually allowing both downstream and upstream casting and nymphing.

Seeing little fly life, we both set up nymphing gear and started, John upstream and me downstream to the bottom of the beat. We met up for a ‘late’ lunch and although we had both had fish the going was hard with very little hatching, we got back to the river having swopped -John to the bottom of the beat and me upstream. Again, little fly life and no rises.

With the evening ‘still’ coming on we swopped, me to the bottom of the beat and a change to dry fly. I put on a Rogent’s Daddy a sure catcher according to the man at the shop. This is an interesting dry fly – my version, which included a foam underbody, did not float or catch!

A change to an orange foam daddy rose nix and an Elk Hair caddis nix although a sparse caddis rise had started.

We both got back to the car as dusk progressed to dark and needed headlights and headtorches to stow the tackle.

Between us we had landed 4 fish – 2 brown trout and 2 grayling, best of both,15 inch fish and had a further 4 off at the net.

It would be easy to be disappointed with this paucity but ‘that’s fishing’ and being able to fish in such surrounding in good company is a rare privilege indeed

The flies I used were a #14, March Brown Spider with a 2mm gold tungsten bead, A #14 weighted GRHE, a #14 PTN with a 3.5mm pink tungsten bead, a Robjent’s Daddy and a #14 Elk Hair Caddis, all fished on a 9’ Greys Streamflex Mk1, a Cortland Sylk DT line, a 9’ tapered leader and 4’ of 1.8kg BS Stroft GTM.


Bob Sharp  

Club Day at Tringford October 3rd 2023

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A good turn out of 10 fishers for the second Club Day at this fishery. The weather was kind with 15 degrees and  10 -14 mph wind. 


We met at the water for a sausage bap and a cuppa at 8 am, discussing tactics for the day. Best laid tactics however seemed to fall by the wayside for Alison and myself. However John Gamon showed the way with several fish in the morning session. Using a 3 ft midge tip line seemed to be the tactic used by John with a booby on point and cormorants on droppers.

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We adjourned for lunch and most had caught fish in the morning , but not in great numbers. A very good lunch was had with a beer or wine laid on by Bob Menzies and his helpers.

Back onto the reservoir with high hopes , however the afternoon session proved challenging and Peter Proctor had most success by catching two in two casts and then nothing.

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We called it a day at 4 30 pm and with a rod average of under two fish we need to try harder next time. However I think everybody enjoyed themselves and we will have another Club Day next year .

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Tringford's resident Aylesbury Duck

Keith Allison

October 2023

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Bob Sharp and John Poote
on the Test

Tuesday 21st November 2030

‘Last knocking’, river trip – John Poote and Bob Sharp fish for Grayling, River test, Houghton Gardens Upper Beat, 21st. November. 2023.


John said we should go early and that’s why I was in Chinnor at 6.50! John was waiting in his car, ready to get to Houghton good and early to meet Seth the keeper. The rivers up about 2 feet Seth said, another assumption dashed as I thought chalk stream levels were usually stable and there have been sparse, local small olive hatches, unusual at this time of year. When we got to the beat, to our dismay, the current was too fast for much fishing but, beggars can’t be choosers so we tackle up with very heavy nymphs and John to the upper section and me to the bottom. After two hours I had hooked and immediately lost one fish.


John came down to the bottom beat and in the next couple of hours had caught a 2lb brown trout having spotted a very sparse rise and caught on a dry fly. In the meantime, I did my best to fish the lower bend pool without much hope owing to the fast current.


After lunch John stayed on the bottom section and I walked the top section of the beat and found much of it unfishable, the river was running too fast. There was nothing for it but to try the bend pools again. After combing the lower pool without luck, I moved and fished down from 100 metres above the upper pool into water up to 2.5m deep. A final cast upstream allowing the flies to get down deep into the pool produce a take and a 12” grayling. With dusk coming on we tackle down, but, bearing in mind the conditions, grateful for a fish apiece.


John caught on a #14 Griffiths Gnat and me on a #16 Perdigon tied on a Hanak superb jig hook

with a 4mm black tungsten bead dressed with peacock ‘thread ‘and flo orange tag. 

Davie McPhail has a You Tube video of this fly.


The beat at Houghton Gardens is a Test carrier, about 1.25km long and divided by deep pools where the river turns about 120 degrees. The bottom section is 8 – 12 metres wide and top section 6 -8 metres wide. 


Bob Sharp

Mark Robson and
John Poote on Farmoor
18th April 2024


We arrived good and early due to the shortened fishing day.  A bit brisk for April, only 5 deg with a light north wind but clear skies.  I was glad of the new bib n brace from this year's sales. There were about half a dozen boats but there wasn’t a concensus of where to start. There weren’t any fish showing but a lot of buzzers hatching, so we headed out to the tower and gentle drift across the middle and round a couple of times. We picked up an odd fish but nothing regular. Spooning a fish they were on small buzzers and soon a pattern began to emerge of what was catching  - small olive buzzers.

The wind was dropping and preparing to change direction to the west. A change of tactic - tying up to one of the buoys mid way on the causeway and fishing into the wall. The fishing started to pick up. John had the right setup - anchor tip and free lining 4 buzzers.  I quickly joined in and the catch rate was starting to increase. As the wind direction steadily moved more westerly we had to get off the buoy and anchor in closer to hold our casting line along the wall. circulating up the wall and it became common for us both to have a fish on at the same time, resulting in a bit of ballet in the boat on occasion when fish ran and lines crossed.John might have regretted his 3 olive buzzers after the third double hookup, but we got them all in, even managing to handline in one when his previous rod repair gave in under the strain. At the end of the (short) day with a 4 o’clock finish we had 34 to the boat.Some great sport and hardly time to eat the sandwiches we had brought. A recce mission to the pub for the May club day, accompanied by a swift half of course, and the day was finally done.

Mark Robson

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