British Float Tube Association

BFTA EVENTS => Competition Reports 2018 => Topic started by: bracken on May 15, 2018, 01:03:54 PM

Title: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: bracken on May 15, 2018, 01:03:54 PM
The Venue: Stithians Reservoir, somewhere South West of Redruth, Cornwall. This is a large water about 274 acres in reality, but feels and looks much bigger.

As with many SW waters it is approached with some trepidation by sensible ‘up-country’ drivers, who have to drive down barely tarmacked cart tracks complete with the unmissable potholes now prevalent in the UK since the reign of Chancellor George Osborne!

This lake is heavily used by sailors and wind surfers, so fishermen in float tubes have to use a degree of caution as to where they fish if they wish to survive the day! Many of the other users are children undertaking water-sports training and are not expert at avoiding small obstacles in their way! Be warned!

The Occasion: The Cornish Open Competition, in conjunction with Snowbee.

The weather: Somewhat mixed. Sunny in the morning with a strong breeze, this was forecast at about 9mph but was obviously higher when on the water. Around 11.30am the wind rose in intensity and produced a noticeable wave action on the water surface. Clouds also started to appear around this time. Just before 1.00pm the heavens opened with a vengeance, producing some extremely heavy rain squalls for much of the rest of the afternoon until just before the finish at 4.00pm - when the rain abated, the wind dropped and the sun reappeared for the weigh-in.

Nature notes: Mainly cormorants and ducks were spotted. A mallard with a large brood of young ducklings was seen.

The fishermen: A small contingent of ‘up-country’ regulars and a good smattering of Cornish familiar faces from previous years – some of the latter are extremely competent fishermen. For those unfamiliar with the Cornish term ‘up-country’ this basically means anybody coming from the North or East of the Cornish town of Rrrr-drooth - (Redruth to you and me).

The Leicester pot-hunters were present, as was a failing old gentleman from Oxfordshire. A specimen hunter from Trowbridge, and a Kayaking Dartmoor walker from Devon. The Cornish set included a very competent fisherman who can make a Mercedes car sound absolutely atrociously loud. Drifter, who was in charge before nipping off to see the queen for tea and biscuits, Chris who was apparently in charge of pasty picking, Colin who was renewing his memories of what Cornwall looks like, and some other fellows who can be found floating around on Drift when the weather is good. Fourteen in all.

There were supposed to be others present, but some of them were obviously flummoxed by the necessary cartographic skills required to find the place, and the Mancunians who apparently preferred the comforts of NHS beds to a pleasant day floating around in a gale while submerged up to their waists in cold water.

The fishing: This is a very large water. There was some speculation that the stocking ratio appeared to be about one trout to six acres or so. I’m sure this is not the case but on this day it was quite hard to both find and tempt the trout. Drifter did find a few not far from where they had been stocked by the sailing club. He braved the chance of a quick death by sailing boats, and stubbornly proceeded to hook and lose a few at the net in this area for much of the match. Kevin eventually located a shoal by the entrance to the dam arm and snagged five of them by ripping his lure back quickly through their midst – this tactic hooking enough fish to win the day. I think I caught the first fish of the day, a lively blue, when approaching the buoy line when being blown down to the causeway across the end of the lake. This was a bit of a problem as it was essential to net the trout before it was one side of the buoy line with me the other – which as you may imagine would have been a tad problematic when being driven at speed by the wind. I just managed it as my legs caught the buoy rope. Lucky or what? Ruan later spent the afternoon just the other side of this line catching his three fish to take third place. Colin and Chris spent time admiring Ruan’s technique and thinking to themselves that they wished they had some of his special flies. Both were also able to inspect my fins out of water at this point, because I had developed chronic cramp in the thighs – very painful and not to be recommended! It was now that I wished dearly that my motor was on the FT and working. (The trip to Cornwall over the result some of Mr. Osborne’s austerity affected roads, had ripped the wire clamp and some wires out of the motor head and I couldn’t get it to go before we started – or in fact since! A bigger job for another day when I have a bit more time).

Andre and Gary plus a few of the local lads, had headed South down the reservoir and were by now spread across its width, slightly North of the dam arm entrance, but I never saw a rod bent when I was watching. Gary at least, eventually moved back up by the causeway. I got out and had a bite to eat, and also sort out a couple of knots in my leader before going back on the water. I had already lost a blue or rainbow over the far side of the lake before getting cramp, I now completed the misery by hooking, playing and then losing a brown just as the monsoons started. Time now for me to get out and finish for the day just before 1.00pm. After putting my stuff into the car and having a chat to Colin I decided to spend a short while in the café warming up with a cup of coffee and to watch points from there. The super monsoon now arrived and I was glad to be inside, albeit surrounded by screeching small children and attractive young women. The window glass looked like waterfalls at this point.

At the weigh-in it transpired that Kevin had won the competition with five fish, albeit quite small examples. Andre had some nicer fish to come fourth, and Gary had three respectable examples to place him into second place. Ruan had a bad day and only finished third. Another Cornish stalwart Vaughan finished in ninth so had a dire day by his standards. John had spent the day specialising in catching brown trout so failed miserably to get any championship points. I’m glad he came though!

As for flies and lines: an intermediate line appeared to have taken most fish and a damsel nymph seemed to be the best fly. However, I did hook three fish and am pretty sure that they all came to a black and green montana nymph. I did hear others claim black and green worked for them. It’s almost a certainty that Ruan was using a black and green fritzy affair to catch his fish!

The fishing was undoubtedly hard. The fish stock levels are not massively high for the size of water and on this day the fish did appear to be in small groups or singles. The weather undoubtedly affected the catch rate too. 26  browns and blues + 9 browns for a group of 14 generally very competent anglers works out around the rod average for this water, but these guys would generally do better than that.

Asides: Unfortunately, my cover was blown by a Cornishman who instantly recognised me as an England trout team Champion – this greatly amused Andre and Gary. I just stayed quiet and kept my head down! The same guy told Gary that there were big carp in the lake. Gary later said he saw people in white coats walk the gent quietly away!?

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Dave Williams for his efforts in organising this Championship. Thanks also go to Snowbee for the prizes. Chris and his wife are thanked for collecting and distributing the pasties to the hungry horde. We would also like to thank the staff in the café for coming in early to provide the excellent bacon butties for us.

Title: Re: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: andre on May 15, 2018, 03:51:24 PM
Well done Tony good report. Gary and I fished the bank opposite to where you caught. We both had plenty of pulls and lost another rainbow each during the afternoon. The fish were definitely not shoaled, you had to work up and down the whole bank. Both of us were on black based flies, I caught on Steve F's Black Diawl Bach and Steve N's Black and Green thing, the fish I lost was on a small Montana. I think Gaz was pretty much the same, he was on an intermediate mine came to the floater.

All in all it was a well organised day and the company was, as always, very pleasant. The girls were 12 miles away on the coast in Porthleven, they had a brief shower at lunchtime and were basking in glorious sunshine all afternoon - Cornwall !!!

Thanks to Drifter for organising, already looking forward to next years event - hopefully on Drift.


Title: Re: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: GaryC on May 15, 2018, 09:01:32 PM
Must admit I was not expecting to get Hailed upon whilst fishing in Cornwall in mid May
Both me and Andre where shaking with the cold mid afternoon
Nice report Tony and as always it was a pleasure to fish with an England international

Title: Re: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: stevieN on May 16, 2018, 10:01:43 PM
An England International !!! Well you kept that quiet for a few years !! I may have to get my rods out and pit myself against the best of the best !!

Steve N

Title: Re: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: davec on May 17, 2018, 08:46:48 AM
You will have to update them first Steve we use carbon fibre ones now.

Title: Re: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: bracken on May 17, 2018, 04:42:31 PM
I look forward to that Stevie. Can you remember where you left your rods after all this time?

Mind you, you might have to be quick to join me on the water, I can hardly hold a rod any more! People tell me that retirement from fishing is in the offing!

Title: Re: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: martin on May 17, 2018, 08:53:17 PM

Let's hope that's still a few years off yet Tony. You will still be coming  to the get building up your fitness and that could add a few years. Best of luck.

Title: Re: The Cornish Open Report - Stithians 12th May
Post by: andre on May 18, 2018, 01:28:41 PM
Talking of health issues Ivan has been in hospital again, this time a mini stroke ! told him to give up the party lifestyle and grow old a little more gracefully just like me !