Throughout the summer, when fishing has been particularly tough, most of the fish caught have been feeding predominantly on bloodworm. Over the years I have fished on Chew I have rarely found that the fish have been so preoccupied with this food source. I believed throughout July and August that the predominance of the bloodworm could really only spell one thing for us anglers – namely that we would encounter some good late season buzzer hatches. And so it has happened!
I have been away in France for a couple of weeks and on my return I have discovered that on any cloudy day – especially one with little wind, the big red buzzers will hatch in vast numbers and this inevitably brings the trout to the surface to feed!
Fisheries manager, Bob Handford, organises a competition in August for teams of six anglers made up from just those fishermen who fish the Bristol Waters on a regular basis. He organised this event first in 2001, when it was won by Bath and District. This year saw top Welsh team Tightlines Direct squeeze home just in front of Blagdon.
Most of the Welsh anglers had managed a practice session in the week leading up to the event and knew where and on what the trout were feeding. This proved valuable and most of the Tightlines team headed straight for the boils area around the dam. Lee Senington, with his knowledge gained from working in the office at Woodford Lodge, also headed for the boils and gained yet another top spot – are there any events this season in which he hasn’t appeared "in the frame?"
Blagdon were not far behind, but an uncharacteristic small bag of fish from captain John Braithwaite meant that the team couldn’t catch Tightlines. Sorry that I have no pictures from this event, but it took place when I was away. Average catches were high and fish were caught on either dries or nymphs high in the water. It is great to look forward to going afloat knowing that the fish will be up in the water.
I have had a couple of trips since my return and I am pleased to report that dry flies rule at the moment. I joined Paul Weiss on Thursday and took fish steadily on each of the small dries that I presented. Most of my fish "came blind" – in other words, I hadn’t cast at fish. This is usually a sure sign that the fish are cruising high in the water and looking for buzzers that are about to hatch. Paul caught fish throughout the day – again mostly on dries, though he had a couple on nymphs in the brighter parts of the day.
Major Clubs success for Bristol Reservoirs.
It was my turn to represent the BRFFA in the most recent match in the Major Clubs league. The latest round was on Grafham Water and reports were that it was fishing pretty tough. A couple of our team were to fish the Fly Dressers’ Guild Competition, which was on the day before, so we would get some up-to-date information. I also contacted Invicta Club chairman Chris Mcleod who is on the water two or three times most weeks and is therefore in a good position to pass on information.
Everything pointed to the fact that we were going to find catching fish tough – and the weather certainly didn’t give us any assistance, with changeable winds all day and mostly an unclouded sky! The thirty-six anglers set out displaying a host of dark (sinking) lines. Just one fool had a floater on at the start – yes – yours truly! Chris Mcleod had suggested that the three fish that he caught on Friday took nymphs on a floater, so I thought that was good enough for me.
I was the most surprised angler out there when I caught a trout after barely half an hour – obviously THE stupid fish on the lake, but not more than twenty minutes later, it was joined by another fish. Not such a daft idea after all! My partner Kevin Taylor, who has a season ticket and had put in a lot of time on Grafham in recent weeks, was surprised that the floater worked. He eventually put one on himself, and used similar flies to mine. It took him all of ONE cast to catch a fish! So much for blob and booby fishing!
I ended up with four fish, two of which were lovely looking trout of about three and a half pounds; Kevin had two "belters". Amazingly, the Bristol team won the day with consistent "bags" of trout (the six man total was a respectable 27 fish) and now sit in third position with one match to go. Not long ago it looked as if we might be relegated, but now we could conceivably end up first! If only the Bristol club took this event as seriously as other clubs!
Time to get back to the tying vice.