Farmoor 1 in Oxford is gaining a reputation for its ability to produce grown on trout of superior quality and OnlineFishing.TV presenter and full-time fishing guide Nick Hart has been making the two and a half hour journey from his home in Devon to sample some of the fantastic sport that this catch and release venue has to offer. 

During a recent trip Nick, star of the Nick Hart’s Fly Fishing School Series, hit the jackpot when an enormous brown trout appeared close to the margins and showed signs of feeding. 

Several attempts were made to get the massive fish to eat but staunchly ignored until Nick extracted a Mini Minky from the box of James Warbrick-Smith, a Farmoor specialist who has caught several specimens to double figures.
Nick said: “As James passed me the fly I just knew it was the one.  I have fished with James all over the world and he has the ability to tie meticulous flies that have “eat me” written all over them. 

“The fish had entered a bubble line created by a pipe running treated water back into the lake, so by using the current I was able to get a really natural presentation of the tiny baitfish as the highly mobile mink fur wafted in the current. 

“Farmoor is home to many species including coarse fish and we had seen several fry near the margins during the day.  The brown could not resist my imitation and without hesitation accelerated and snaffled the fly.
“We could not control our excitement as I set the hook and line began pouring from the reel,” continued Nick. “First and foremost I was keen that we got this fish in quickly to ensure that it could be revived and returned as soon as possible.  I am lucky enough to spend a huge amount of my time guiding people and see my fair share of fish, but my heart was pumping hard throughout the fight and when it hit the net I could not contain my emotion.  What all the ‘whooping’ and ‘hollering’ from far off must have looked like I don’t know!
“Lewis Hendrie, an up-and-coming young guide, was also with us and it was left to him to expertly net the fish.  Then by using an SLR camera and our i-Phones the two guys were able to rattle off some shots in a matter of seconds.  With pictures in the bag we all sat looking at the fish in astonishment as we gently revived it in the margins.  The brown had taken less than five minutes to land and was in good health.  We were all elated to see it power away into the depths.”
Farmoor stocks brown trout at around 2lb, so this specimen was a true grown-on giant that has spent many years gaining weight in the depths of Farmoor. 

However it is not its first mistake as the same fish had been previously captured at a weight of 17lb 7oz. Judging by the overall length and girth of this fish it weighed every bit of that. 

However Nick was keen to see the fish go back alive and felt that the extra trauma of recording an exact weight was not worth the risk to the leviathan’s health. 

In Nicks words: “It was just a privilege in its own right to see this fish and I owe a massive vote of thanks to my mates James and Lewis for all their help in ensuring we got a record of the fish.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience made all the better as we were out on a day out together and a fishing moment that will live with me for the rest of my days.  This brown eclipsed my previous personal best reservoir trout and I don’t expect to beat it in a hurry, if ever!”

Link: Nick Hart’s Fly Fishing School:

Nick Hart’s Fly Fishing School series is now available on DVD on special offer – visit