British Float Tube Association
August 18, 2019, 12:27:24 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Next up Eyebrook August 10th & Pairs Competition at Toft. Both to be confirmed.
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
Author Topic: Steve Parton Memorial Report - October 8th  (Read 1195 times)
Forum Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 1152

« on: October 09, 2016, 12:56:41 PM »

The Venue: Thornton Reservoir near Leicester.

The Occasion: The Steve Parton Memorial Match. A competition held in memory of Steve, who was a founder member of the BFTA and a tremendous driving force behind the activity of float tubing in the UK. This was the fourth annual match to be held at Thornton. The teams are BFTA float tubers matched against a team drawn from the boat fishing members of the Thornton trout fishermen.

The weather: Autumnal! Cloudy and fairly cool in the morning breeze but sunny after midday – the breeze fell away slightly when the sun appeared.

Nature notes: Thornton can be an interesting place for wildlife and this day was no exception. The most unusual spot was at least one and possibly another two Ospreys flying over the water around one pm. This was slightly unusual, as most of these migratory raptors have left for their wintering grounds in Africa by now. These would have been young birds who are left to their own devices to find their way. Several great crested grebes and lots of tufted duck were seen diving on the water. The hen tufties being a drab chocolate brown colour in contrast to the striking black and white drakes of the species. A good sized flock of mallard and also the large flock of resident geese were present too. The geese were mainly to be seen in the field opposite the lodge in the afternoon. The mallard regularly flew low over the float tubers in the morning, resulting in itchy trigger fingers of those of us who shoot.

The fishermen: BFTA members from all over the Country formed our team. It was good to meet Jim again and see that he can still handle himself well in a tube. The Preston lads were present to continue their own private competition amongst everything else. The lads from Chesterfield, a postman from Luton, a refugee from Manchester, a couple of locals and a couple of escapee hospital patients joined some other keen types to enjoy the day.

The fishing: An interesting day was had by all! Catching fish proved to be a challenging activity for most of us and beyond our capacity for some of us.

Ifor in his managerial role advised us that the fish were after fry and that a floating line or at best a slow intermediate would be all that was necessary. Favourite places would be down the dam and along the stones, and perhaps over the weedbeds in the Markfield arm. The fish must have been listening to this and decided to hug the bottom and clear off somewhere else, because numerous boats and several float tubers had a fruitless three or four hours in these areas. I eventually caught up with Andre under the wood bank and politely enquired whether it was a four fish ticket between all of us that we were going for; upon which question he responded that he already had three in the bag and had lost a couple of others! What on I enquired? I might have known the answer before asking really, a sweet susan booby on the dropper of a six foot leader fished on a Hi D line dragging the bottom. So much for local advice then! I was given a sweet susan and proceeded to emulate this Thornton members tactics – they didn’t work for me is all I can say. I did hook a fish and lose it after a couple of goes, though it was definitely not on the sweet susan, but a green tadpole jobby which normally works well anywhere.

Ric was fishing near me and had also had nothing by this mid match hour, and then he joined the ranks of success by landing a fish on a ‘golden damsel’. Now you and I have damsel flies in our boxes, but I guarantee you will not have a Ric style damsel fly! I long ago learnt that these two Chesterfield lads will tell you they are fishing damsels but they certainly don’t appear in Bob Church fly tying books. The only commonality they have with yours, is a hook (good quality), some tying thread (nicely and neatly applied), and a fluffy marabou tail. As Ric told me, the fish prefer his lures to all others because of the high quality of the tying. A modest (but accurate assessment) from the man himself!? This golden olive damsel has a purple fritz body – I bet yours hasn’t! I bet it doesn’t have 3mm booby eyes on it either! Whatever, it certainly attracted these difficult trout, because Ric finned past me before the end of the match having bagged up on it and winning the BFTA competition as a result.

In the meantime, a few casts after I joined him Andre hooked another fish on the diabolical set-up and netted a very feisty three pounder. This completed his bag and he cleared off for an early cup of tea and a lie down. He came second in our competition. Dave C, had been here there and everywhere over the lower lake, then joined us alongside the wood where he caught a fish. His fly was a cat’s whisker (very) variant – tied as a booby! Brian had knocked him back into second place in their private match by catching two fish – at least one on a green zonker.

By now I had had five good pulls on a sinking line near the bottom, but none had connected. Gary had caught one fish and had also had some pulls around me, but again to no avail. I put my failure down to a combination of incompetence, misery - because of a wader leg full of very cold water, and downright bad luck, with maybe a smidgen of slow reflexes after an unwanted three month layoff. Without realising I was fishing near him, (or even that he was present), Jim had caught a fish in this same area and was working very hard to get more. Apologies Jim, I must admit I wondered who was in the second Sparton float tube and being deaf didn’t hear you when you apparently spoke to me.

Andy W. and Martin had tootled off down the arm near the lodge at the beginning of the match. Andy emerged at the end of the afternoon with a weighty 2lbs 14ozs single fish to win him fourth place in the match. Martin had just had a pleasant float round, but with even less excitement than me. Steve eventually managed to exploit the shoal under the wood and attracted a fish to his bass bag – I believe on an orange blob. Kevin Hart (one of the original founder BFTA members who was fishing with us as a guest), netted a 3lbs 6ozs trout for the best fish of the day.

In retrospect the fishing was definitely hard going. Ifor was correct in that some slow intermediate lines did work – Ric was using a DI 3. However, Andre was the first to bag up and was using a fast Hi D. I used a reasonably weighted DI shooting head and counted it down for quite a long time before retrieving and did get pulls, wheras higher in the water I got no response at all. Earlier in the match, I worked the dam, part of green bay and all along the stones into the Markfield arm with a midge tip and eighteen foot leader and never had the hint of a pull. I did ensure that I fished this set-up at several levels too, to try and work out what depth the fish were holding – maybe they were not there.  

In essence there were twenty competitors in boats and float tubes taking part in the Steve Parton memorial match. In total the boats landed sixteen fish and the float tubers eighteen. Therfore not a massive catch rate, giving a rod average of around 1.7. A total of just over 76lbs of trout were weighed in, giving a respectable average fish weight of just under 2lbs 4ozs.

The float tubers did well for Steve. He would undoubtedly have been proud to note that we have now won three times out of the four competitions held since his sad departure. This is quite an achievement for a disparate team of float tubers who are not that familiar with the water and who are additionally pitted against Thornton regulars who should be very good on their own territory. Perhaps there is a quiet message here about how good the members of the BFTA are in general as fishermen. Be proud of your achievements lads.

Apart from Ric calling our Chairman a very rude name which I couldn’t possibly repeat here (it sounded a bit like peanut head to a deaf person), I cannot think of very much worthy of mention here.

You may have noted from the above that I had a very wet leg during this match. This was nothing to do with old age and incontinence, but actually another pair of relatively expensive waders giving up the ghost. This pair are Vision Ikon zip fronts and have less than a seasons use. The left leg first leaked on me at Elinor when I fished with Andy Ward last week. I tried to find the source of the leak at home before coming to Thornton, but everything appears fine. It isn’t! They leaked worse than ever, and I was seriously soaked from the thigh down with considerable water in the stocking foot. I spoke with Ifor prior to the match, and he reckons that breathable waders are not really designed for float tubing. I must admit that no matter what they cost they don’t seem to last long. However, my previous Vision Rapidor zip fronts lasted at least two to three years before starting to get a bit damp inside. Surely it must be possible for waders to last longer than this. More expense!!!! This pair are going back to Vision, but I doubt that they will be very sympathetic. Andre told me that his Vision Ikons leaked after five outings too. I’m now hard pushed to recommend any wader for float tubing!

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Ifor for once again hosting this auspicious Steve Parton Memorial Match.

Thanks to Andre for organising the match and providing soup and bread for the contestants. Much appreciated by all.

Many thanks to Jeanna, (Steve’s wife), for once again attending this competition and presenting the Trrophies. We very much appreciate your support and friendship.

Forum Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 617

« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2016, 07:44:57 PM »

Welcome back Tony, knew the gift of the clipboard wouldn't go to waste, nice to see a proper report.

Congratulations to the new champion Ric another good bag again yesterday to finish the season on a real high. No longer the nearly man, name on the trophy - top man !

Pages: [1]
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.13 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!