‘Flyaking’ is the name given by fishing anoraks, to the pursuit of fly fishing from a kayak. It is great fun… you are very close to the water and to the fish – and the stealth of the kayak allows you to get very close indeed to the fish. Well that’s the theory anyhow.
Now to put it into practice. Camping at the beginning of April in the UK can be a very chilly affair, especially on the edge of Exmoor, and with a teenager in tow. But I was determined that we would go fly fishing with the kayaks come what may.
John Ingham of the Anglers Afloat kayak fishing forum, had arranged a flyaking meet at Wimbleball lake near Dulverton on the edge of Exmoor – and this was the ideal opportunity to meet up with old friends and catch some trout.
I had made up some fly rod holders for some mates, and thought I would make a few more and give them away at the Wimbleball meet.
They are simple but effective (normal rod holders do not work with fly rods and these things allow fly rods to be placed in an existing flush mount or a RAM tube)
Anyhow, we were blessed with amazing weather, and as we approached Wimbleball, the scenery was simply stunning…
Having spotted some fishing kayaks already on the water, we were eager to set up, and get out there. We met up with Michael (Axor) and Steve (Lureman) and paddled out to meet John and Ian and Jan. Later we spotted Marcus (Donk) who was chilling out on the side of the lake. Everything was good.
Axor had his fishfinder switched on, and we were amazed as he was shouting out the depth of water only a few meters from the bank… 20 feet, 30 feet, 50 feet deep ! Wow, that is some depth close in.
The breeze has picked up, and a few buzzers were starting to show – but no signs of fish on the surface. We saw a couple of fish caught from a boat and they were definitely using sinking line tactics. So we paddled ashore and I swapped the floating line for a sinker.
We drifted close into some trees, hoping for a brown trout – but gave it up as a lost cause. The wind was running parallel to the bank, so we decided on a drift which would take us across a point and into a small bay. I was fishing a small black lure on the point and a homemade flexifloss buzzer on a dropper. Within minutes of the drift a rainbow slammed into the fly and took off at a rate of knots. Its airbourne antics were being captured on video by Connor, and it must have jumped out 8 or 9 times trying to shed the hook. Finally we netted the fish. It has taken the small balck buzzer on the dropper.
We paddled to the bank to take some pictures and to spoon the trout to see what it had been feeding on.
Black buzzers and daphnia – matching the hatch spot on !
We then made another drift and Connor hooked another rainbow trout.
Again on the buzzer. But then disaster struck – the tip of my Greys fly rod snapped in two as we tried to take some pictures – oh bother (or something like that !).
So we decided to go back to the camp site and have some food, with the aim of going out in the evening to catch another trout on the spare rod.
Evening came, and the wind died away completely. The water was like a mirror, and the peace was only broken by the occasional trout breaking the surface of the lake and sipping in some unseen insect.
Connor managed another trout, using a floating line and fishing a single shipman’s buzzer ginked up to float on the surface.
We returned to the camp site and had a BBQ in the darkness – a fantastic end to the day.
The next morning was chilly, but the sausages, bacon and eggs soon warmed us up.
We decided that we had caught enough trout and we would have a bit of an explore along the banks of Wimbleball lake. It really is a great place, with loads to do, including a trail (good for bikes) and an adventure playground. There were also some amazing sculptures…
As we were leaving we spotted Ian and Jan sailing into the distance on their kayaks…
A big thankyou to John for organising the weekend, and the South West Lakes Trust for making it all possible; Wimbleball lake is a great venue in stunning surroundings – other water companies could learn alot from their enlightened approach, and the way in which they engage kayak fishermen in particular.
The video sums it all up nicely I think….
More information on Wimbleball lake…
Information on Fly fishing at Wimbleball lake…
John Dawson http://www.johndawson.co.uk/