This page will be regularly updated with latest news from the fishery and our consultancy work, whether it's catches, wildlife sightings, a new project or anything else of interest.
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Added at 20:51 on Tuesday 07th July 2020
Lovely as the spring has been on Ashmead, without anyone disturbing the fish and the wildlife, it has been great to open the gates to anglers again, now that the Corvid restrictions allow. "Ashmead time" means a great deal to our regular guests and it feels right to have anglers back on the banks for the wetland, pursuing a brief encounter with an ashmead carp.
The carp spawned hard and well during lockdown and they have been feeding hard as a result.... We lost one of the large, older, commons called Rags though spawning stress but it is the nature of Ashmead that, with strong, natural recruitment, another fish or two will grow to take her place.
We would like to thank our loyal angling friends for their continued support throughout the Corvid lockdown and we look forward to seeing you all on the wetland again, now that the fishery is open.
Bill Phillips landed the big common called JC this afternoon and I had the pleasure of helping him net her. His smile captures the mood of the wetland just now and the joy of angling here... After the troubles of the recent lockdown, that is what it's all about!
Added at 20:59 on Saturday 04th July 2020
We’re open again and anglers are back in the wetland, which is great! I’ll pop up a post about the fishing later.
Right now, the thing that is making me smile is thinking back to Thursday and what is, for me, the highlight of the Ashmead year.
We were closed to anglers (as we are every week) and the oldest kids from the local primary school came down to enjoy some time pond dipping and learning about the freshwater environment.
I love this event but this year, after lockdown, it was especially good.... Just seeing the kids running around with their friends, laughing and getting wet and muddy was brilliant.
Most of them were fascinated by the wildlife we found and saw; everything from toads and newts to fish, warblers and dragonflies! They were a credit to the school and spending time with them was fantastic.
Our two youngest children went to the same village school and Alistair helped me show them the Ashmead wildlife.... Hopefully one or two of them will also become interested in nature conservation and perhaps this day in the wetland will light that spark!
Added at 08:34 on Saturday 13th June 2020
Part 2 of the Fallon's Angler Ramblings podcast from the banks of Ashmead and a battle with one of the wetland's largest carp...
Added at 10:32 on Tuesday 02nd June 2020
Part 1 of a two-part podcast recorded at Ashmead for the excellent Fallon’s Angler.
Recorded in the course of a single day, the podcast echoes the Nature of Ashmead in this reflective first part and the excitement of fishing for the huge Ashmead carp in Part 2.
Making the recording was great fun and I hope you enjoy
Added at 10:17 on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Trevor Sturgess with JC. Winter carp fishing at Ashmead can be a challenge, with obstinate carp that are hard to locate and a mud bath on the banks; all that just makes success sweeter when it comes...
Added at 10:07 on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Now and again someone sends me a photograph of Ashmead that makes me look at the wetland from a different perspective. My friend Martin Cox just took a series of winter shots that are so beautiful that they almost made me want to abandon the woodburner and my dram last night and rush down to the lake so that I could wake up to a frosty Ashmead dawn. Almost....
Added at 17:11 on Wednesday 23rd October 2019
A lovely time on the wetland, when the colours of the fish and the landscape change and intensify. The greens of summer are replaced with the yellow, gold and browns of the turning leaves and reeds and the fish take on a deeper, richer hue.
Added at 13:47 on Monday 09th September 2019
Last year, three anglers raised over £6,000 in an auction to support Ebonie, a young girl with a rare form of childhood leukaemia. Ebonie was Keith Jenkins' granddaughter and the auction prize was a two night session at Ashmead with my friends Terry Hearn and Chris Yates for company. Keith came along and I joined them for a night myself, whilst hosting the event.
The visit was made more poignant by the fact that Ebonie died in June, after years of fighting for her health, with the support of her remarkable and loving family. Ebs was just six years old. The funds raised will now go to support other sick children and to support cancer care, in a fitting tribute to the short life of a young lady who touched a lot of people with her bravery.
The anglers were Cully and Andy, who are Ashmead regulars and Tom, who had never been to the wetland before.
I phoned Tel a month ago to check he had the dates in his diary and he said he not only had them outlined in red pen, he wondered if he could get down early to tune in and find some carp.
I also phoned Chris at the same time and he had forgotten all about it. So I phoned him again three weeks ago and he had forgotten again. I phoned him for a third time on Monday and he said “Oh hell! Is it this week?” He cleared the deadline for Fallon’s Angler and arrived on Wednesday evening to find Tel and the three anglers settled in and fishing….
We cooked at the hut and had a brilliant evening before Chris came back to the house and we talked over a bottle of red until the small hours: Leney, Redmire, the Bishop, The Golden Scale Club, barbel and the significance of dreams….
Chris was brilliant with my son Alistair and they compared perch fishing notes (Alistair’s 3lb 7oz best is better than Chris’ best by some ounces!).
Chris and I went down to the wetland at the crack of eleven the following morning and we had a lovely day. Cully had lost a big common at dawn but that had been the only action.
Martin and Sharron brought a peregrine, a barn owl and an American kestrel over to meet everyone and we spent the afternoon fishing for perch and rudd. At one point Chris had to reel in because a big carp swirled over his patch of corn and he thought he was going to snap Mr Green’s rod, just a year after Edward Barder had restored it for him…. (Mr Green gave the rod to Chris when he first started fishing and it had lain broken and forgotten in a corner for years).
As Martin arrived Tel had a take and he landed a lovely 19lb mirror from Tom's. It was one of the young Ashmead babies that are growing through in the wetland and a fish that I’ve never seen before: We named it Ebonie.
Shona excelled herself with soups, lasagne, Somerset Pork and more cake than we could have eaten in a month! Each evening we ate at the hut, drank wine and chatted until dusk called us back to our swims. I fished on the last night and by the time the party broke up, it was dark and I headed for Three Ways, where I knew I could lower the baits onto a couple of good spots. I really wanted to be on the Old North where I had found a dozen good fish but the swim needed a lot of subtle weed removal to be fishable and it was just too dark.
In the morning the phone went and it was Tom, who had caught “a good common” from Wilson’s. Jenks came round to me and as I lifted my rig from the Three Ways margin a big bow wave lifted the water and headed off up the channel. I had been close!
I congratulated Tom and went on to get Tel for some photos. Tel was in Tom’s and I knew when I got there that he was in the zone. “I can’t come just now mate! They’re all over me…” he said, so I suggested we could hold onto the fish for a bit while he packed down and hoped for a last chance.
I walked back to Wilson’s and shared a brew with Tom and Jenks. Ten minutes later Tel appeared with a huge grin on his face and I knew he’d caught one. He didn’t say a word as we weighed and photographed the common for Tom (just shy of 34). The fish had two hook marks in her mouth; it was the common Cully had lost the previous morning in the Hut Bay!
Just after Tom slipped the common, back Tel said “Well, I’ve got one to show you too…. I’ve got JC in the net!” Everyone met for the photographs and the perfect session drew to a perfect close.
Chris and Tel were fantastic as they always are; not just giving their time to the charity event but giving of themselves to the three anglers. The conversations were funny, deep, and thoughtful in equal measure and the atmosphere was completely relaxed. It was just a bunch of anglers sharing time on the bank.
As for the three anglers, they raised a huge amount for a great cause and I think they enjoyed the wetland and time with two former record holders. You can’t get much more special than that.