The husband has three hobbies: programming, painting miniatures and fishing. It’s a pretty tame set of hobbies, and none of them involve going out on the piss, so I’m pretty lucky.

We’ve been together for over 11 years, and over this period I’ve been night fishing twice, plus a fly fishing lesson when I got caught up in the romance of Salmon Fishing in The Yemen. LOLz all round, but who doesn’t love Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt.

So, for the most part I am the dutiful spouse who listens and responds when there is fishing chat, but I don’t partake.

However, I do love holidays. And I love planning. And because I love him, and he loves fishing, every year I plan a fishing trip for us.

We often go on these trips with the in-laws (his Dad fishes as well), so they have become a really lovely way for us to spend a full week together with the added fun of being on holiday. And now we have Rafe, we get extra time to ourselves, and they get a lot of time to stare adoringly into his eyes.

So far we have been to:

And for this year:

  • Phocle Lake, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire (2020)

There’s a theme emerging…

Sumners Ponds

We fished at Sumners for a week in spring 2016, and stayed in Moorhen Lodge with my in-laws. I’m told that even though the fishing was good overall, it was too busy at the weekend with the fish not feeding in their usual places due to the extra noise and activity.

However, the lodge facilities were excellent and we had plenty of space for two swims off the decking next to the lodge. Pretty swish, and very excellent for the mother-in-law and I as we got to chat to the men instead of being abandoned for the fish.

There was also a good restaurant/café on site where we had a lovely meal while watching a band one evening, and there are a number of other lakes and ponds to fish on. But if quiet isolation is what you are after, Sumners is a little too mainstream.

Would recommend, but you might want to go mid-week.

Mill Farm Leisure

We went away on our own this time as I was pregnant and we knew it would be our last fishing trip before the baby. We hadn’t told anyone at this point, and my first scan wasn’t due until a fortnight after the holiday, so it was a lovely special trip just for us.

Mill Farm is quite isolated and sits in the middle of cabbage fields with very little else nearby. Staying in Willow Lodge, we had our own jacuzzi and sauna, and a large decking area with private swim to enjoy. I could chat with Sam from the tub while he fished, and we were fairly hidden from the other lakeside lodges across the water.

Sam’s Mill Farm report is as follows:

Caught tons of small carp, 1lb – 3lb ish, and some little rudd.

Lots of fun, easy fishing.

sam ruffle coles

We took a trip to Skegness one day, and then visited Batemans Brewery another. The weather was lovely the entire time we were in Lincolnshire, and we really enjoyed the peace and quiet of the flat cabbagey landscape.

Would definitely recommend!

Phocle Lake

The River Wye is famous for barbel and chub (or for trout and salmon if you fish for game), and Sam has had it on his fishing bucket list for a while now. After googling ‘river wye holiday cottages’ he found Phocle Lake, a perfect spot for lake fishing, with an easy drive to the Wye for river fishing.

The cabin we’ve stayed in twice has two bedrooms with en-suites, a large open-plan living area, a jacuzzi, and even more importantly… an enclosed decking area with lockable gate! This was essential in 2019, not so much in 2018! ?

All three lodges have private swims, and ours also has a little shaded island with a wee bridge to walk across. And I could watch the fishing from the hot tub while Rafe napped in the adjacent bedroom. Perfect.

For both holidays there was lots of lake fishing success, but nothing on the two 2018 Wye day tickets. Sam’s Dad caught one fish, but Sam caught diddly squat:

The water wasn’t very well oxygenated because of low rainfall. They actually closed a lot of the Wye for fishing a couple of weeks later because of this.

Sam ruffle coles

That’s his defence anyway. ?

In 2018 we also visited The Whitebrook to try their tasting menu (they don’t do à la carte), it was our first evening away from Rafe and I was still breastfeeding, so there was lots of pumping prep for the night out!

Just over the border in Wales, The Whitebrook is a Michelin starred restaurant hidden in the woods, and luckily for us, it was accessible by taxi from Ross! It was an epically long meal and I was so knackered by 10pm, and we didn’t leave til 12.30am, but it was great! And we were ‘us’ for an evening. ❤️

2019 was a better year for river fishing, and Sam and his Dad caught the following over two days:

I hooked and lost two barbel, but then caught one. Dad caught a bigger barbel, and maybe one or two chub.

The second day we didn’t get a sniff, and decided to just call it a day and come home early.

SAM ruffle coles

Back at the lake, the fishing was excellent as expected, and this year Rafe got to meet his first fish. ?

We went out for another date night too, this time to the Moody Cow Pub in Upton Bishop, only 20 minutes walk from Phocle Lake. We had a lovely and casual – but really excellent meal, and enjoyed a walk home down the dark lane back to the lodge. We even met a toad on the way. ?

And as you can imagine…

We would definitely recommend a stay at Phocle Lake!

And we are crossing our fingers for our trip there in July. ??