This competition is always held at this prime time of the year and great catches are generally assured. The club boasts a huge proportion of International fishermen and any win or even placing in the club events is a hard won honour.

Chew had been fishing well leading up to Sunday. My friend Tony Baldwin had been on the lake on Saturday fishing his knockout against Paul Butler and Tony reported that the fish moved virtually all day to the small green midge. I was really looking forward to having a go at these fish, for they are usually really difficult to catch and they make for a very good and generally fair competition. Sunday dawned wet and windy, and the chances of the "little greens" being the main food item went down the M4 with the wind!

Still, I drew to fish with Derek Stenner who is one of our most respected members and a guy who has represented England numerous times, so I knew that I would be in for a good day. Derek is mad keen on all sports – but especially rugby and as we hadn’t shared a boat for a while we had plenty to catch up on.

After the first hour, during which time the wind increased and the rain became virtual monsoon proportions; we were sorely tempted to retreat to the lodge! We stuck it out, though opted to sit it out and chat rather than fish, as the forecast promised better for the afternoon. We covered the range of sporting analysis that you would expect of sports fanatics and by one o’clock we felt like having another cast or two.

We headed for Villice – simply to get some shelter, for it hasn’t been fishing well this season. A fresh weather front came through and the wind went from Southeast to Southwest and softened considerably. I persuaded Derek to head straight for the middle of the lake. Immediately we saw fish rising to flies and empty shucks. I put the dries back on and had a brown trout straight away; Derek had one three or four minutes later. Then a fish moved close to the engine, which I was on, and I covered it, to see the top dropper sipped down without hesitation. This was better…except that the wind then rose back to the intensity that it had been – though this time accompanied by sunshine instead of rain!

The afternoon was a dead loss and most of the boats headed for the dam area where the relatively fresh stockfish were more likely to be temped. Derek and I stayed out in the middle, but were not very confident. Other boats that we came across were struggling, though no doubt the guys that had stayed at the dam would have had good bags. During the last hour conditions again improved, with a good rolling cloud and easing wind. I took one more fish, as did Derek.

We returned for the weigh-in feeling somewhat embarrassed that we hadn’t headed for the dam and the possibility of a good catch. But then we discovered that fishing had been poor all round. Only Dave Monks had caught at the dam and with four fish he looked to have the match well in his grasp. Several other guys had bags of three fish, but amazingly, my three fish beat all comers – even Dave’s four! Derek and I were stunned. It just goes to show that you can never predict in this sport of our – good job too! Dries won the day – even though there were only a couple of short spells when they were the things to use. As my mate "Biker" says – for speed fishing on Chew, when it is right, you cannot beat the dries.

Tight lines,

Martin Cottis