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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 tony@fishabilityuk.org 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.


11.02.17 – Flyfishing on Hants / Dorset Border

First trip out with a fly rod in 2017 will be to Rockbourne Trout Fishery at Fordingbridge, Hants.

Rockbourne Trout Fishery is located in the New Forest just on the edge of the picturesque village of Rockbourne. The six lakes are spread over 55 acres of unspoilt woodland and pasture land with the river Sweatford Waters running through the valley and on into the Avon. The lower reaches of the river are classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty and  indeed Rockbourne is one of the most peaceful, secluded and beautiful spots to fly fish in the country.

Each lake has its own individual character and requires particular fly fishing tactics. Each lake has variations in depth ranging from 3 meters to 5 meters. Lakes are bordered by mature trees and in part by reeds, all providing excellent sport.

Spring fed, crystal clear water provides abundant natural fly life and excellent opportunities for stalking trout. The springs feeding the lakes ensure near constant temperature and thus year round sport.

The lakes are always very well stocked with excellent quality, fighting fit, rainbow, brown, blue, liliac and sandy trout in addition to arctic char in winter. Fish are held in stock ponds with fast flowing water before being stocked in the lakes and are supremely fit and lean, weights generally run between 2 ½ and 10 lbs, with stock fish up to 20 lbs, and the fishery record currently stands at 19 lbs.

Brekky lunch and tea supplied.

Space for 6 rods. RSVP to Tony please.

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!




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.