The wind was so bad that Bob Handford, fisheries manager at Bristol Water, had no option but to cancel the boats. Fortunately I have other work to fall back on when such events occur, but if I didn’t I would be hard pressed to support a family.

This time of the season boats are fully booked and, even though I have a couple of clients wanting bookings on either Chew or Blagdon, there are just no places available. This means either bank fishing or boats on different waters. This is fine…except that our reservoirs are the main reason for getting bookings, so alternative venues do not really come into the equation. I am off on a bank trip tonight and luckily have picked up a cancellation for tomorrow’s client.

When the wind keeps getting up like it has this week it is very difficult to determine at what depth the fish are feeding, if indeed they are actually doing that. Take the weekend of the first eliminator (I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago): the wind was so strong that drifting was almost impossible, and the only control that one could get on one’s flies was by using a fairly fast sinking line. However, as there were a reasonable amount of buzzer hatching, it was most probable that the fish were feeding in spite of the wind. By using the sinking line most anglers were going below the depth fish were at, and hence only a few of the anglers caught any (fourteen of the thirty plus anglers in the event).

A couple of days later I was on the lake again and the wind was cold so I fished my nymphs deep. First drift I saw at least five trout feeding on the surface. The team of nymphs I had on were all designed for fishing at depth and thus, even though I covered those trout fairly accurately, I didn’t invoke a response from even one fish. I soon changed to dries and caught the next trout I saw moving. But the fact is that I had opted for deep nymphs due to the cold wind, yet the fish don’t always find things as we do!

The first of John Horsey’s European Open competitions was fished at Chew on Thursday of last week: the day when temperatures reached record highs! Imagine the way competitors felt bearing in mind that up to then most fish were well down in the water. There was great debate about depth and style of fishing, but by the end very few of the field actually "cracked" the right method for the day.

It looks like that fine sunny May day was a bit of a "one-off" as we have pretty wild and windy conditions around this weekend. I hope I get afloat and put some of my recently tied flies into action. More news on our fisheries next week.

Tight lines,

Martin Cottis