A weekend of sport at the Arundell Arms
Having helped run the RodsOnRivers website for over two and a half years now, I thought it was about time that I booked a weekend to go fishing down in Devon at the infamous Arundell Arms. The Arundell Arms as many of you will know is recognised as one of the finest fishing destinations and fishing hotels in the UK and I wanted to see what it was all about, after hearing so much about it...
Firstly I was advised to book well in advance as the hotel and the fishing (although they have some 20 miles of it) gets booked up very quickly in peak fishing season. So, all booked on “The Arundell Arms Fishing Break Package” which included two nights bed and breakfast as well as fishing on the Saturday and was in my eyes excellent value for money.
I headed down to Devon from London on the Friday night, arriving late that night we were greeted by the absolutely charming night porter, who showed us to our room so we could get some rest before the fishing in the morning.
As we walked into the breakfast dining room it was clear to see that everyone in there was here for the exact same reason we were and that was the fishing! After a delicious breakfast I nipped down to meet David Pilkington and have a chat with him about what would be the best plan of attack for the day. Unfortunately the River Tamar was actually very high, so we decided it would be best if we left the Salmon rods in the back of the car and took a 3#, a box of dry flies and headed up to beat 17 on the River Lyd and Lew around 4 miles north of the hotel itself.
We arrived at Beat 17 on the Lyd, got into our waders and headed down to the river. As we wandered up the river it became clear that the 9ft 5# (our second rod) wasn’t going to be used for the rest of the day, so I left that on the bank at the bottom of the beat and we carried on upstream with the 7ft 3# casting at rising brownies every step we went.
Amazingly after all the rain the previous day and week the river wasn’t too high and was actually very clear. We waded upstream slowly, casting at small pots of water, slack water and faster water for small brown trout. This was exactly how I was brought up to fish, so I felt right at home... For my other half Marina Gibson, upstream dry fly fishing was a relatively new experience, but being the very competent fisherwoman she is, she managed to pick it up within about three casts and before I knew it she was down on her knees casting perfectly under trees, bushes and catching brownies with ease.
By the time we had got to the top of the beat, it was lunch time and we enjoyed a picnic on the bank reliving each moment a brownie had had a wild swipe at our black and white Klinkhammer as it drifted down stream after being carefully placed upstream of a likely lye in the river.
In the afternoon we headed over to Beat 17 on the River Lew, where the fishing became very wild and much harder with overhanging trees, bushes and a much thinner stretch of river. Still we waded upstream again for the afternoon, I lost a number of my beloved Klinkhammers in trees and bushes before I decided to hand the rod back to my better half who carried on up the river with ease, to my frustration!
We found a lovely fish of about a pound rising right under a bush and with a tricky cast Marina somehow managed to rise him, but as quickly as it hit the fly it was off the hook again, but an amazing moment none the less and it certainly got the heart racing for a moment or two.
At about 6:30ish we wandered back down the bank of the River Lew and up to the top of Beat 17 on the River Lyd again, to see if there was anything rising on what I thought was the best bit of trout water I had seen during the day. Sure enough as we started to wade up the river, there were rises everywhere in front of us. About 15 minutes later Marina had caught 4 brownies on the bounce and we thought we would call it a day on a high and head back to the Arundell Arms for supper.
We had time to get changed and have a Gin & Tonic at the bar before we went through to the dining room for supper. The food was absolutely fantastic, as you would expect from their infamous Head Chef Steve Pidgeon, the waitresses’ were all smiles and always asking how everyone had got on fishing that day, which made it a lovely relaxed atmosphere to be around. After dinner we went through to the Lounge area where we caught up with some other fisherman and as always exchanged stories of the fish we had caught and the one that got away.... A few more Gins went down and it was time for bed and the end of a very memorable days fishing.
I was very impressed with the Arundell Arms, the fishing they have available is diverse and extensive, the hotel is immaculately run and I loved how the whole place revolved around fishing and country pursuits. I would definitely recommend you head down and visit this hidden gem and see what Devon’s finest fishing hotel has to offer you...
Click here for more information on how to book your weekend away.