Category Archives: News

04.03.17 – Flyfishing on Albury Park Lake

The March event for FishabilityUK, with a flyrod, traditionally sees us at Albury Park by kind permission of the Duke of Northumberland fishing over the beautiful waters of Park Lake. The lake had been recently refilled and stocked after the winter recess, and was fit and raring to go.

Clients today included some new faces to flyfishing, along with some old friends who have been fishing with us since we started up in 2012. We were delighted to welcome Paul Oliver, currently undergoing rehab at nearby Headley Court, along with Dean Chilcott, attending the 6 week course at Combat Stress, Leatherhead. We also entertained veterans who came in to fish with us today from Chatham, Littlehampton, Alderholt and the New Forest.

Weeping willow coming into bud – lovely to be fishing as spring was springing today. Pleasantly mild, and a dry day too, a bit better than last time out at Fordingbridge, 3c and snowing!

Instructor John Blanks puts Dean through his casting paces in the morning.

Fishing chitchat with Dog on the point, a dominant fishing spot, with plenty of room on the backcast.

Rainbow trout were hard to come by today, staying deep and out of sight most of the time. This one fell to a pink lure fished at about 1.5 metres down. No surface movement to speak of today.

After supplying a superb breakfast of bacon rolls, Paul Sheppard, member at Albury Park gets a line out across the water.

Here’s JT, also a Park member, in charge of the excellent barbecue lunch, ably assisted by his sidekick Phil Waller. Great nosh guys, many thanks.

Dave Uttridge, resident at Mike Jackson House, works his nymph back through the mid depth, to a gallery of local wildfowl.

Paul Oliver, right, bags his first rainbow.

At this event, we also compete for the Steve Fisher Memorial Shield. Steve was a member here, and also an extremely keen guide and great friend to FishabilityUK who sadly passed away two years ago this week. His son Jacob presents Dean Chilcott with the trophy to the best improver today. Great casting Dean, many congratulations.

Many thanks to all guides, instructors and chefs for making today a great learning, gastronomic and social fishing event!

Next time, we shall be lake flyfishing a bit further afield, in Devon in May, as a response to some local interest down in those parts. If you fancy a day out on one of Dartmoor’s fine fishing venues, then please drop me an email at [email protected] and we can build you into the day plan. Full instruction given, as always, if you are new to the sport.Watch here for further details.

TH.

11.02.17 – Lake Stalking in Hampshire

Flyfishing in February is fraught with risk. Heavy rain often finds the venue in flood, whilst too much cold weather renders the lake surfaces icy and unfishable. Previous seasons have seen a number of trips postponed at this time of year.

We managed to fulfill a trip this year, but only just. We drove down in snow showers to west Hampshire to fish the delightful lakes at Rockbourne, starting temperature -1c and defintely the right clothes and not the wrong weather to make the most of the opportunity. We had three residents from Mike Jackson House (Alderhsot) with us today, and although conditions were extremely challenging, we ended up having a great day.

Rockbourne is a collection of small clearwater stalking lakes close to Fordingbridge, lying on a tributary of the Hampshire Avon. We were made very welcome by owners Peter and Lynn  Spratt and staff, and after pre-fishing briefing and excellent bacon rolls in the chalet, we started staking out fish in the exceptional clarity. Fishing alongside us today were Poole and Wimborne Flyfishers, who were having great fun in an early season match.

Ian Hayward (Poole and Wimborne Flyfishers) bags up

Ian Hayward (Poole and Wimborne Flyfishers) bags up

The six lakes at Rockbourne have individual and distinctive character, with a presentation of excellent quality trout of various spoecies stocked on a daily basis. Rainbows, browns, tigers, blues, sandies and even some arctic char! On our visit, the bag totalled over 100 fish, with the average fish bagging up at 3lb 8oz ! Impressive.

Longacre Lake, the quiest and most remote location, where our veterans pulled out a nice brace

Longacre Lake, the quiest and most remote location, where our veterans pulled out a nice brace

Lovely rainbow at 3lb 6oz taken on stalking bug

Lovely rainbow at 3lb 6oz taken on stalking bug

Mick Fitzpatrick, now resident in Fordingbridge, took a brace on GRHE

Mick Fitzpatrick, now resident in Fordingbridge, took a brace on GRHE

We were very grateful for catering laid on today by the fishery, bacon rolls at pre-fish briefing was followed up by a stunning chicken and asparagus pie. Top noshing!

Lunch in style

Lunch in style

Our three veterans on the day landed 5 out of 6 rainbows on their limits, a creditable performance given their limited time out on our local waters with a flyrod, and the cool temperatures which never climbed above 4c. Brrrrr!!!

A great brace for Mick at 7lbs 10oz

A great brace for Mick at 7lbs 10oz

Our grateful thanks again to Peter, Lynn, Simeon and Jeremy for a brilliant day which our veterans thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks also to Poole and Wimborne Flyfishers for their support during the day. We shall be back!

Next time out – Saturday 4th March – Albury Park – lake flyfishing again, fishing for the Steve Fisher Trophy. 10 confirmed participants so far, please send your appplications to fish to [email protected]

This is especially a great event for first timers with a flyrod, and there will be plenty of guides on hand to show you the ropes. Hope to see you there.

TH.

 

20.12.16 – Fly Dressing evening at Mike Jackson House, Aldershot

It’s always nice to travel around and meet some new veterans who may be in the frame to come along on one of our fly fishing adventures. Mary Norton at Mike Jackson House invited me over to Mike Jackson House in Aldershot last night to run through the basics of fly dressing and tie some flies. These could then be used on a fishing trip or two next season maybe?

In the Fly Dressing Lounge

In the Fly Dressing Lounge

After a quick resume of how the charity works, we set about assembling the vices and necessary tools required to tie a basic fly….a Pheasant tail Nymph.

The tools were supplied by Veniard’s of Thornton Heath, London, whilst Mark Hamnett, Managing Director of Partridge Hooks had kindly donated a few hundred hooks to start twiddling on. We also had a box of varied materials to plunge into, kindly donated by local anglers. Excellent!

Hooks, tools and materials for PTNs

Hooks, tools and materials for PTNs

Getting to grips with tension of the thread, masking the hook point in the vice to prevent fraying of the thread, not building up too much bulk on the abdomen, and the dreaded whip finish knot were all stumbling blocks along the way.

Attaching the thread to the hook

Attaching the thread to the hook

During the evening, our 4 particpants started to appreciate what a complete fascinationfly dressing can be, and were well and truly hooked by the end. Haha.

Tail on, now for the abdomen

Tail on, now for the abdomen

The guys did admirably well, and ended up with flies that will certainly get rods bending next spring.

Pheasant Tail Nymph or 'PTN'

Pheasant Tail Nymph or ‘PTN’

The Pheasant Tail Nymph is a good general pattern for imitating the prehatch version of the buzzer and the pond or river olive.

As our coasters suggested – Keep Calm and Tie Some Flies 🙂

Upcoming flyfishing events in 2017:

Saturday 11th February Lake Flyfishing in Hampshire

Saturday 4th March Lake Flyfishing at Albury Park, Guildford

Wishing our friends and colleagues a Very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year and see you on the bank again soon!

Tony.

 

 

10.12.16 – Grayling Fishing on the Itchen

Grayling - The Lady of the Stream

Grayling – The Lady of the Stream

Our latest trip out with a flyrod took us back to the River Itchen at Winchester. A mild and dreary day with rain approaching gave us a sufficiently good opportunity to fish for the Lady of the Stream, and on our arrival at the waterside, we were cheered to see a good hatch of olives, a bonus for this time of year.

Fish were moving well to them in the mild conditions, around 12c today, and a great water clarity, thanks to the recent spell of cold, dry weather.

River level was much lower than on recent visits, and concerns across the South are already being raised over impending drought conditions for next summer’s fishing prospects.

Mick Fitzpatrick casts over some likely water, guide Chris Howitt

Mick Fitzpatrick casts over some likely water, guide Chris Howitt

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear

Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

Although fish were moving well through the day at the surface, takes to dry flies were somehow impossible to achieve. All success today came to the nymph, almost entirely to the GRHE. Best approach was with a tungsten headed pattern to get the fly right down. Using a pair of flies confirmed the ability to fish the floor of the river, with the fish hugging the bright Itchen gravel.

Lovely quality Itchen grayling

Lovely quality Itchen grayling

Rain intensified at around 3pm, and we knew we had seen the best of the day’s sport.

Grateful thanks to our hosts and guides today, and also to wish our charity friends and clients a Very Merry Christmas, Tightlines and a Prosperous 2017.

Next up with a flyrod, Saturday 11th February, venue tbc. Thereafter, Saturday 4th March at Albury Park GU5 9JA.

TH.

 

08.10.16 – Lake Flyfishing in the Test Valley

We have enjoyed a really lovely summer in 2016, and the warmth hung on just long enough for us to enjoy a fabulous day out in the Test Valley between Stockbridge and Romsey. We were giving a complete fishing package to veteran clients from Mike Jackson House, Aldershot and Tyrwhitt House Leatherhead, whilst targetting rainbows and browns in very clear water, and plenty of obstacles to claim a stray backcast.

First of the day

First of the day

We kicked off as usual with a FishabilityUK breakfast bap, whilst running through the day’s briefing, safety aspects, and how to get the most from the water.

dscn2403

We could see plenty of fish moving around, feeding confidently, so prospects looked really good, as did the fishing log reports in the well equipped lodge.

Small nymphs and dries should be doing the trick today, and as it turned out, small daddies and GRHE,  down to tiny stalking bugs all brought very satisfctory results with 12 fish coming to the net through the day.

Dave and Phil, both ex-bomb disposal, dealing with the finer points of the backcast

Dave and Phil, both ex-bomb disposal, dealing with the finer points of the backcast

We enjoyed 1:1 guiding, with experienced anglers kindly giving their time up to support the cause and share the love of the sport. Everyone repeatedly commented that the venue was quite enough by itself to manufacture complete relaxation and seclusion.

Phil Hall runs through some his favourite leader ideas

Phil Hall runs through some his favourite leader ideas

A fine bag of 4 included this 5lb rainbow for John Pattison

A fine bag of 4 included this 5lb rainbow for John Pattison

The fish quality was brilliant, extremely hard fighting quality with a full set of fins

A cracking heavily spotted brownie

A cracking heavily spotted brownie

An appointment with a gammon joint

An appointment with a gammon joint

Size 16 Lead Speck 'did' for a few fish

Size 16 Lead Speck ‘did’ for a few fish

Weather was just right – 17c, mostly cloud, a glimpse of sun now and then, and showers so light, they didn’t even get our clothing wet. Perfect for flyfishing.

Many thanks to our guides who provided such a great day for our veterans today.

Next up for flyfish trips – Sat 10 December (River Itchen on the grayling), Sat 12 February 2017 (River Itchen again for grayling), Sat 4 March (Albury Park, Steve Fisher Memorial Day).

Tightlines til then, TH.

 

25.08.16 – Carp on the Fly at Newdigate

Beautiful seclusion at Newdigate

Beautiful seclusion at Newdigate

The latest fly outing for Fishability UK  took us to Dean House Farm in Newdigate, to fish Charlie Frost’s ‘Centre Lake’. This fishery complex has 9 different lakes on 3 different farms with various stocks including Mirror, Common, Ghost and Crucian Carp, Roach, Bream, Golden Orfe, Tench, Catfish & Pike.

We were invited to fish alongside Dorking Flyfishers, who were acting as guides, and there were high hopes of connecting with a few very large carp. The Ghosts and Commons go to 20lbs here, with Mirrors introduced up to 30lbs . 8-9 weight rods are the best performers, fishing on 10lb line is ideal.

Fish Spotting - "Those fish are just out of my casting range :("

Fish Spotting – “Those fish are just out of my casting range :(“

As with much of August this year, the afternoon was hot and sunny with air temp around 28c. Plenty of fish were showing, which was before we started catapulting out some Chum Mixer pellets to confirm surface activity for the evening. Too much feed, or just enough? Time would tell!

Dog Biscuits

Dog Biscuits

We were using dog biscuit flies – bundles of deer hair stacked and flared around a size 10 buzzer hook – and cast in amongst the surface feed. There were some very big fish cruising near the surface, with the occasional rise from one, but a lot of activity came from fry of many different species getting in on the surface bonanza.

The tried and tested method is very simply – to cast out your fly and just leave it – but watch like a hawk and strike when the surface bulges!

Watching and waiting

Watching and waiting

We had four veterans along for the afternoon/ evening session, all of whom had fished with us before over the years, so not too much casting help required. We served up plates of cold buffet at 6pm up along with copious amounts of brew to keep the liquid balance right. It was a sweltering temperature in which to fish, indeed there had been a couple of cancelations due to this!

Inspite of many near misses, I am afraid there were no fish to veteran’s rods this evening, although Dorking weighed in with a few fish, best being a Mirror estimated at 15lbs for Bill Roffey. However, all our guests remarked on what a superbly peaceful and well presented the location was, and we look forward to a return here next summer, if not before.

Into a nice one

Into a nice one

7lb Mirror Carp for Dave Smith, Dorking FF

7lb Mirror Carp for Dave Smith, Dorking FF

Grateful thanks to Newdigate Farms, especially Charlie Frost and Charlotte McGinnis, and to Dorking Fly Fishers for their help in setting up this event.

Next up for Fly anglers with Fishability UK, lake fishing for rainbows in Hampshire during October. Further details to follow.

TH.

 

 

FishabilityUK form partnership with Care after Combat

LOCAL ANGLING CENTRE DONATES FISHING GEAR TO
HELP VETERANS

Poingdestres Angling Centre in Southampton have donated a range of fishing equipment to charity Care after Combat, in support of ex-serviceman.

Whiteley, Hampshire, August 9, 2016 – An associated Charity Fishability UK, who takes Veterans fishing, have found that Britain’s most popular participation sport is very therapeutic for ex-service personelle.

Care after Combat, who are committed to providing professional assistance for the well-being of Veterans and their family, are thrilled that Poingdestres, one of the counties foremost fishing tackle outlets, has agreed to donate a large amount of fishing gear to the Veterans they support.

Steve Poingdestre and Jim Davidson shake on it

Steve Poingdestre and Jim Davidson shake on it

Care after Combat Executive Chairman, Jim Davidson OBE, has been fishing since he was aged three years and still hasn’t caught anything, said; “As most carp fishing anglers look like SAS men anyway, it’s only natural for the fishing community to want to help our Veterans. I’m particularly thrilled my favourite fishing tackle shop, Poingdestres, has joined our quest to make the lives of our Veterans a little easier… I just hope they catch more fish than I do!”

After recently making a sizable donation to the charity, Care after Combat hope to build on their relationship with Fishability UK, to work in partnership with them and local angling centres, such as Poingdestres, to encourage the ex-servicemen they help to try carp fishing and join the fun.

Steve Poingdestre, Poingdestre Angling Centre Owner and Manager said; “Jim’s made us aware of Fishability UK and as a regular customer our ours, we are pleased to support this incentive and Care after Combat on their journey to help Veterans. I am personally passionate about helping ex-servicemen get their lives back and carp fishing is a great place to start.”

 

Care after Combat is a UK registered company limited by guarantee and a charity registered with the Charity Commission in England & Wales (1159342).

As well as being an official UK charity, Care after Combat is committed to: providing professional assistance for the well-being of Veterans and their families, supporting the reduction in numbers of re-offending Veterans in the criminal justice system; assisting Veterans with alcohol and substance misuse problems. Its Trustees include a number of high profile personalities, including comedian Jim Davidson OBE, Falklands Veterans Simon Weston CBE and the legend they call ‘Goose’, classical singer Katherine Jenkins OBE and Andrew Griffiths MP.
www.careaftercombat.org
0300 343 0255

# # #

 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Caleigh at 07887 246 003 or email at [email protected]

 

27.05.16 – Fishing the Mayfly – Vale End on the Albury Estate

We hit conditions just perfect for an evening’s mayfly fishing at our regular haunt at this time of year, Vale End Fishery on the Albury Estate.

After a topsyturvy winter of widely fluctuating temperatures, the mayfly hatch, true to form, began on 10th May as it always does, and was peaking as we visited for an evening of fishing and barbecue supper.

Visiting us this evening were three residents from Mike Jackson House, Aldershot – Mick, Dave and John – whilst more familiar faces from Tyrwhitt House Leatherhead included Sam, Dog and Bill.

WP_20160601_001

Once mayfly hatch from the nymph into the open air, they are destined to live for just one day, anglers need to be on the ball with the appropriate patterns, and if the conditions are right! Our evening was 20c and cloudy, just perfect, and fish were plopping at the surface feeding on fly all evening through to dusk.

DSCN2085

Peace and solitude at Mill Lake Vale End, as Dog gets into some serious concentration on his emerger pattern.

DSCN2083

A hearty bbq of bangers and burgers was served up at aound 1830 for added sustenance into the evening. Such is the entrancement of flyfishing, that it’s not long before the guys are back on the water fishing away again!

DSCN2086

DSCN1454

Two rainbows were taken by John during the evening, and some fabulous little wild browns were showing, like this fine plump specimen – full to the brim with mayfly!

DSCN2087

Steady retrieve with a mayfly nymph was a good method, but most responses came to the floating fly, or ‘dry fly’,

Another successful evening;s entertainment came to a close at 2130, and we all headed home after a splendid dose of recreational therapy.

Next up for fly anglers at Fishability UK – Carp on the Fly, Thurs 25th August, Surrey/Sussex border. Further details to follow, RSVP for now with interest to [email protected] Thx.

TH.

 

 

28.04.16 – Training evening Aldershot

For those of you keen to come along and flyfish at our events, you will firstly need to learn how to cast a fly!

Here was an ideal opportunity for veterans in the Aldershot area to come along and learn the ropes.

Going through routine casting manouevres

Going through routine casting manouevres

We met up at Mike Jackson House and progressed to a patch of open ground approved by the Garrison Seargeant Major for a casting demonstration and hands-on workshop.

John soon got the hang of throwing the line back to make it 'ping' forwards!

John soon got the hang of throwing the line back to make it ‘ping’ forwards!

Engage low gear now, on a very steep hill in the Garrison

Engage low gear now, on a very steep hill in the Garrison

Later on we retired to the House to go over basics in learning to dress your own trout flies, with a view to attending our next fly event – which will be Friday 27th May at Albury near Guildford GU5 9BE.

Back in the warm, and after a curry, thx Mary, Pheasant Tail Nymph was on the agenda

Back in the warm, and after a curry, thx Mary, Pheasant Tail Nymph was on the agenda

The finished article -  a Pheasant Tail Nymph

The finished article – a Pheasant Tail Nymph

For those of you interested in attending Vale End on the evening of 27th May, RSVP to [email protected]

Thanks!

12.03.16 – Flyfishing in Albury Park

By kind permission of the Duke of Northumberland, we found ourselves back at Albury Park Lake for our March flyfish gathering. We were also remembering Steve Fisher, instructor, guide and great to friend to many of the veterans who have fished with us over the years. Steve sadly passed away very unexpectedly last March.

Fishing a freshly flooded lake with brand new stock, prior to the season’s start at Albury Park, it was like visiting a brand new fishery!

The day had dawned foggy and just above freezing, and it took until late morning for the gloom to lift and the sun to appear.

Sun trying to break through the foggy start

Sun trying to break through the foggy start

After so many rainy or windy days with the charity lately, it was very pleasant to eventually be fishing in the sunshine.

Mick Fitzpatrick with his rainbow, taken on a Damsel

Mick Fitzpatrick with his rainbow, taken on a Damsel

Fish came to the net steadily during the morning, but fishing became much harder in the afternoon, as the sunshine drove the fish deeper. Anglers chose to keep to floating lines and fish slower and with a little more fly weight.

DSCN1957

We fished for the Steve Fisher Memorial Shield in the afternoon session, with Mike Jackson House resident John Pattinson catching the largest rainbow. We were delighted that Wendy and Jacob Fisher were on hand to present John with the Shield, and the event will now become a fixture in the FishabilityUK calendar.

Wendy Fisher presents the shield to John Pattinson

Wendy Fisher presents the shield to John Pattinson

Another hard fighting Albury rainbow battles on Park Lake

Another hard fighting Albury rainbow battles on Park Lake

Another great day out, and as a postcript to this event, Wendy then proceeded (13th March) to run the Bath Half Marathon in Steve’s memory, and to raise funds for Fishability UK, which was a very touching tribute. To donate,  you can text £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or any amount that you wish to:-
WEND00 (followed by the amount including the £ sign). To 70070
after WEND its two zeros by the way. If you could remember Steve a donation to FishabilityUK would be greatly appreciated.
Cheques made out to FishabilityUK would also be received with thanks.

Next up for Flyfishing with Fishability UK – Casting Improvement and Fly Dressing at Mike Jackson House from 5pm on 28th April in Aldershot; late May we shall fishing the Mayfly hatch again, Carp on Fly in July, back on the Itchen again during August, and Loch Style boat fishing in the Midlands in October. Dates to follow, so watch as these events are posted on this website.

Thanks.

TH.