Battling the blues
Holbury Lane Lakes is under new management but Peter Cock will is pleased they’re continuing their reputation for quality, hard-fighting blue trout...
Peter Cockwill is pleased that Holbury’s new management still offer blue trout
IDON’T get to visit the Romsey area ver y often but ever y time I turn into the entrance for Holbur y Lane, it reminds me so much of the f isher y I once managed. It’s partly because this is ver y clearly a much-loved and cared-for water, with a loyal band of customers who obviously feel at home. How else do you explain that many of them turn up to f ish, talk about it, have a coffee, wander off, maybe catch a f ish, come back and talk some more and then make plans to come back again soon. Dorjee Ghorak is now the manager and it’s a genuine pleasure to see how he is making his mark on this well-established complex of lakes. A familiar character on southern f isheries, Dorjee has ever y intention of maintaining the Holbur y reputation as a water where there will always be the chance to catch a blue rainbow along with some special browns and rainbows that supplement the high stock level.
Fed by the Dun, a River Test tributar y, the chalkstream water gives the lakes a lush environment, and supports a wide diversit y of f ly life. The clear water will certainly let you see the f ish, but it truly pays to be ver y careful if you like to be selective because there are all sorts of deep pockets, overhanging trees, sneaky corners and out of the way places. Trout that have maybe been
“Fed by the River Dun, the chalkstream water gives the lakes a lush environment and supports a wide diversity of fly life.”
pricked by a f ly or have seen too many f luff y goldheads soon learn to keep out of the way and you just have to chill out with the casting and make sure you spend more time looking. The last time I dropped in to see Dorjee was with friends over from Guernsey. Kevin and Sarah Saunders take a couple of holidays in this area each year and have become regular visitors to the f isher y. Their home water, the reser voir on Guernsey, is a tad bigger than the Holbur y lakes, but it’s the water clarit y and Dorjee’s zany humour that they come to experience each year. Today is no different as both Peter Gathercole and I love to have a laugh and so long as it’s at my expense then everyone seems happy!
Lovely blue trout
On this visit, we are able to see Environment Agency sanctioned work in progress to improve access on the Dun for f ish to by pass the old mill pool and also to see the old growing-on ponds being rebuilt. This will be so useful for the f isher y to have rainbows, blues and browns on site for trickle stocking. As per usual, it’s my job to catch for Peter’s camera and I really feel that I’ve done my bit with a lovely 3lb 8oz blue out of the Island Lake, but of course he wants more action shots from the other lakes. Always happy to oblige, we then take a good look around and I have to say that there’s so much to look at, with a big variety of trees and meadow grasses along with all manner of wildlife. Spotting a kingf isher is a highlight on any f ishing day and up near the Long Lake where the
Dun passes by is an excellent place to stand quietly and keep watch. It’s on this lake that Peter is busy photographing anglers opposite us where the backdrop is perfect, while I can’t resist keeping an eye on the water. Something is going on because more and more fish are rising and yet I can’t see to what. Logic says that it must be a sporadic buzzer hatch. This is October with most hatches over and virtually no daddies this year, but occasional heav y under water swirls indicate that it must be something coming to the surface.
Change of tactics
My set-up on the narrower lakes, when I had been using a size 12 weighted nymph to cast at sighted f ish, had been a 12-foot leader and f loating line on a 5w t. But now I want a longer leader with a skinny Quill Buzzer. It’s an easy job to cut off the tippet section which is attached to a 2mm silver ring and add a new piece to make the leader up to 15 feet. First cast and the leader slides away when the Buzzer had only sunk a foot. It’s lovely when you make a tactical change and get it right immediately. The decent thing to do then is to let Peter Gathercole have my rod. He’s actually a better caster than me at turning over a long leader and happily it then takes him lots of casts to f inally get a take, which of course gives me lots of opportunity for ‘comments’! His f ish turns out to be a real jumper of a rainbow at 3lb-plus, and, being such a good sport, he gives me the job of making the f ish go into the right place so that a classy netting shot is in the bag.
There’s a group of guys who come here known as the ‘Thursday Boys’, and they ver y clearly enjoy each other’s company and it’s really nice to share the f isher y with them. In addition, I meet up with Peter Permain who used to run a fishery called Felix Farm and it’s good to talk over the last time we met some 15 odd years ago. Unless you are a real loner or a bit of a grump, it’s this sort of camaraderie that makes for a great day out and both Peter and I leave Holbur y with a good feeling that all is well for the future and Dorjee will undoubtedly continue its legacy. He is being ver y capably helped at times by Dieter Dent who is the long-ser ving instructor for Holbur y. Just make sure you book him for help when he’s not dragging cut timber out of the lakes or helping with restocking. While we were here, a batch of blue and sandy rainbows came in from Damerham Fisher y and they really are lovely ‘extras’ to any venue. Our dull and overcast day wasn’t the best for looking into deeper areas, and autumn’s leaves on the water really do block light penetration, but I did spot one of the bigger browns which would have been at least 6lb. It cruised around quite openly for a few minutes but I wasn’t quick enough to get a nymph into its path before it spotted me and was gone. But I will be back.
“First cast and the leader slides away when the Buzzer had only sunk a foot. It’s lovely when you make a change and get it right immediately.”
Peter Cockwill Peter Gathercole
Some of Holbury’s ‘Thursday Boys’ have a chat. Another quality blue trout fell to Peter’s offerings.
Decent blue trout are a feature at Holbury and Peter was happy to take advantage.
PETER’SBUZZERSET-UP Floating line 15ft leader in total 9ft tapered leader Mini ring 6ft tippet of 4lb fluorocarbon Skinny Quill Buzzer Dorjee (left) is a well-known face on southern venues. Part of the EA improvement works at the fishery.
The Buzzer had sunk only one foot when it was eaten by a rainbow.
The iconic monument at Holbury Lane.