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Author Topic: Ringstead Report - May 13th 2017  (Read 157 times)
bracken
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« on: May 14, 2017, 11:33:20 AM »

The Venue: Ringstead fishery, Northants. A scenic and very pleasant water within easy reach of a good road network.

The weather: A really nice day with a breeze which was tolerable to the old and infirm amongst us and enough to keep the fish interested and not frightened by the surface activities of fishermen. The sun was out much of the time but shaded by a light cloud layer to our advantage. Occasional very black clouds threatened heavy rain, which apart from a light shower early in the match did not actually come to fruition. (After the drowning some of us experienced at Drift last week this was Utopia)!

Nature notes: The countryside is now alive with various shades of green with the fresh leaves out on the trees and bushes. Conker candles are almost over on some of the Horse Chestnuts while the ash trees are yet to get their leaves. May blossom (hawthorn) is showing on many bushes and yet there are still some wild plums and blackthorns in blossom in some hedgerows.

The twitchers will have been keen to note the red kites flying around the lake throughout the match, but an even better spot was the white little egret that flew past several of us about thirty or forty feet away in the afternoon. I also spotted a pair of geese which I didn’t immediately recognise fly past and down onto the water at the bottom of the lake into Gary’s corner mid-afternoon – these had a lot of black and white on their backs in flight, possibly Egyptian geese maybe. There was a sighting of the inevitable cormorant as well as numerous mallard, Canada geese and a couple of grey geese.

I did wonder whether there were a pair of Ospreys in the air at the beginning of the match as they had  ‘cranked’ wings and the tails didn’t appear to be forked as they would have in a red kite their heads also looked to be quite small.

The fishermen: A mix of regulars and some returnees. At least three of the old stagers survivors of cardiac operations recently - (where have all the youngsters gone)? Carl was warmly welcomed in his new  status as a regular – it’s nice to hear the exchanges of rich NZ banter against a Mancunian drawl! Martin was there in his new status of being an extremely strong contender for this year’s Jim Clements trophy – at least I won’t have too much trouble describing the flies used through the season if he wins – (fritz blobs, small blobs grandiosely termed egg flies, and gert great snakes). These seem to work though but then again maybe he has discovered the value of aniseed and pilchard oil!

The Preston pair were present, and I was very grateful for Brian sorting out my leaky FT bladder enough to keep me on the water. (This bladder has a peculiar mind of its own – no problems for six hours on Drift, yet went down in minutes when pumped up in the car park at Ringstead a week later). Andre and Gary turned up looking very brown skinned, Andre’s colour emanating from playing in the children’s paddling pool in Tenerife last week, (as an excuse he said it was warmer in there), and Gary probably from rust in Wales. Dave M. made a welcome appearance, and it was nice to see that he lasted the day on the water very well with no apparent ill effects. Terry also gave his new cardiac plumbing a good check-up too. Darren reappeared for the first time in a while, taking a day off from his property magnate and computer scamming roles, which appear to interrupt his quiet fishing!? Ric turned up as a lonely Chemical twin, obviously so bereft at losing his partner that he forgot how to catch fish on the day.

Lupostie arrived with a selection of new kit, and a very decorative young lady professional photographer Beth, whom he had lured there on some dubious pretext, perhaps so that he could demonstrate Pete the Bailiff’s prowess at catching fish from the bank while the rest of us struggled on the water. Andre got himself involved as usual thinking perhaps that Beth had been provided just for his delectation and self-promotion, so you will have to ask him what went on in this matter.

The fishing: From my perspective this was a very unusual Ringstead day. Usually if you stick on a blue flash damsel, a black hopper or a black buzzer you are good to go for a bag full of fish. The heathens amongst us might just add an orange blob or a black and green wiggly thing to this list. Stick these on an intermediate line and the fish will throw themselves onto the hooks. Not on this day they didn’t!

Some of the old-stagers who know how to catch fish, soon discovered that the fish were moving up and down in the water and that this process was happening at fairly rapid intervals. Andre eventually opted to put a sink-tip line on so that he could check the various levels by either pulling slowly for deep or faster for higher water. This system did work out well for him and he quickly managed to snag three fish when I was near him. I also changed to a new sink-tip line, which initially refused to sink, and then briefly hooked a trout on a small black buzzer. This was the first touch I had had in the best part of two hours. Eventually I had to pull over to the shore to get some mud and ‘clean’ the sinking section of the line. I never had another pull despite putting on a selection of flies which would normally attract attention. Ric had by then joined us as well, and was having a dismal day despite his massed armoury of rods and a wide variety of flies. Mind you, I did discover that some of his selection of attached equipment consisted of empty bottles just for show when I asked for a little line sinkant.

It was getting a bit crowded around Andre, so I moved down from the deep pool to the reedy corner, eventually deciding to go back to a slow intermediate line and putting an orange blob on the dropper both to let the fish know it was there and that a tasty damsel was below it. After a demoralising half hour, the line suddenly tightened and shot off the stripping apron at an extremely high rate before a very aerobatic large blue trout kept breaking or jumping clear of the surface. This was a very nice big fish and appeared to be well hooked – I realised that it had taken the small orange blob. After two or three minutes of regaining line and it then being stripped away again on strong runs the line stopped and I could feel the fish ‘thrashing’ – then everything went slack, and sadly the lake was treated to a couple of the more basic words that children have taught me over the years. I think the point fly had become tangled in the weed bed and allowed the fish to rip the blob out.

Dave M. had told me that he had hooked and lost several fish on a black tadpole so I changed the point fly to a small nomad with an orange head. Some casts later I hooked and landed a trout, again on the blob. Gary by this time had joined me and had one fish on a damsel nymph fished on an intermediate line. He had also caught a small pike on a damsel earlier in this area. By now I had spotted that there were several fish showing under a big tree in that area and often finning the surface quite close to shore. However, I had also spotted and three or four occasions that a bit further out that an extremely large fish had showed itself and was obviously in the double figure category. I think Terry had also seen this fish as he finned away from the area after catching another smaller trout. By concentrating on this area I eventually hooked and netted two more trout and had several more pulls before it went dead. Everybody else had by now left the area and I was very lonely – although I could hear Andre bragging over by the lodge, so knew I had not been totally abandoned. Ric, Gary and Dave had all headed for the far corner below the lodge and there were apparently very few FT’s left on the water by 3.00pm. I decided to head back up through the deep hole and then across the top of the lake to return to the lodge. Brian and DC were fishing the hole and Brian had caught four fish mainly on a black suspender hopper. DC had caught one after working very hard. On the way back across the top of the lake I had to make a couple of wide diversions to avoid boats and on one of these excursions I had a slight take and then kept quietly figure of eighting, until a nice trout around 3lbs became hooked, and eventually netted after a tight fight where I kept it above the weed. All of the last three trout were caught on the small nomad.

I now entered the ‘start side’ of the lake and found that Carl was working hard to catch a fifth fish. It was a waste of his time really, because he already had four very good fish in the bag. These four beat Andre’s lucky bag, and the ones that Martin had sniggled out on an egg fly. Carl had rather defied the odds if he had caught his fish on this side of the lake as they would normally be smaller stock fish which was what Martin had apparently found. There were definitely some better sized fish on the other side of the water, as Andre and also I had discovered.

Talking to the members afterwards it was difficult to make an assessment as to which were the best flies or lines to use. Small and black would definitely figure in the team and some stated damsels. I used three or four damsel flies, which I would normally have great faith in, but never had a touch on them. For a short while the orange blob also interested the trout and may have been a draw to attract them to a black tadpole type point fly. Sink tip lines would probably have been favourite if the tip was a slow sinker. Slow intermediates were good, and if you were fishing over the weedbeds a floater with a medium to long leader would have done the job.

A good days fishing was had by BFTA members, although some would have been disappointed by their lack of a big bag. On this day, it wasn’t so much finding the fish as actually getting the depth right and then finding a fly which they would take. The fish were well distributed over the lake. Congratulations to Carl on winning and to Martin for his continuing progress at out-fishing some of the old-stagers. I suppose grudging compliments must also go to Andre for once again filling his bag under quite difficult conditions – He’s still a jammy B******* though!

Asides: I had a ring break off an Orvis rod when fishing Drift last week, so took the rod back to Stockbridge for a replacement under the 25 year guarantee. Orvis are usually pretty good for their guarantee work, but I was quite surprised to find that the current rate for repair work is now £45. (Although I was charged the old price). In the case of a ring replacement this would encourage me to do it myself in future. However, if a rod was quite badly damaged I guess £45 would be quite a cheap replacement, particularly now that the dollar exchange rate appears to be adversely reflecting Orvis prices. A Clearwater rod is now over £200 wheras mine was less than £140 when I bought it three or four years ago.

As a further comment on Orvis prices: as some will have by now realised I have great faith in their Mirage fluorocarbon line, I was therefore somewhat taken aback to find that in the latest catalogue, the new UK price for thirty yards appears to be nearly £13. In the USA the dollar price of this line was half the UK price, (about $9 I did have direct access to this a couple of years ago but sadly not now).

Undoubtedly some of the big name rods are very nice to use. However, I would be hard pressed today to thoroughly recommend even a well-heeled newcomer to spend some of the grandiose prices being asked for these ‘tools’ now that the guarantee requires a fixed price repair. There are very good rods out there for not much more than the price of the repair.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks go to Mrs. Foster and Pete the Bailiff for hosting our competition and giving us a good days fishing. Thanks also go to Andre for organising the day.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 11:48:45 AM by bracken » Logged
andre
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2017, 03:30:18 PM »

Well done Tony, some really good points coming out of yesterday's trip, the event was very well attended and the spirit of the competitors was excellent. Wardy has fitted right in, the banter from start to finish was top class and well done Carl on another great result.  And yes, I feel we should go out of our way to encourage more young female attendance, I was happy to flirt with Beth, some of the others who shall remain nameless, Darren and Wardy, would have done the same but unfortunately they tripped over their tongues trying to get in front of me !

Andre.
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bracken
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 03:02:17 PM »

Further to the above report:

I had occasion to gut and prepare the trout which I caught, and was astonished to find quite how many small snails they contained in their gut. These little black creatures probably explain why the small black flies were favourite bait for those who caught fish. They were particularly prevalent in the two 3lb fish which I caught, both of which I would have said were well-mended long stayers and not fresh stockies. I wonder whether there were rafts of these snails rising and falling in the water levels, which could explain to some degree why the 'take' level varied so quickly. There were also quite a lot of buzzer shucks on the surface in some areas, although little evidence of them in the air, so the nymphs of these could have been doing the same water level fluctuations under the surface.

Just a thought!
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andre
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 03:26:15 PM »

My fish were the same Tony, stuffed with little snails and small black buzzers.

Andre.
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buzzerman
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 03:39:27 PM »

You forgot to mention the lead Andre Grin
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andre
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 04:16:02 PM »

Not enough as Wardy beat me one less fish !

Andre.
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