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Author Topic: Eyebrook Report - April 21st  (Read 272 times)
bracken
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« on: April 22, 2018, 10:44:17 AM »

The Venue:  Eyebrook Reservoir, just north of Rockingham on the Northants / Leicestershire / Rutland borders. This is now an excellent fishery under the present management and is well stocked with good quality fish which fight well.

The weather: Very nice. Sunshine, with a gentle breeze gusting to around 13mph according to the forecasts. The threatened rain only arrived as a light shower when we were packing up at the end of the match.

Nature notes: The warm weather of the last week has encouraged a tremendous change to the flower and leaf growth in the countryside. Primroses have quietly been replaced by large patches of cowslips on the grass verges. The yellow theme has now been strengthened by the strong colours of dandelions everywhere and the occasional sighting of gorse bushes in full bloom. The ‘road’ leading to the reservoir itself had a tremendous swathe of celandines growing under the wooded are just before the lodge. These were opposite a spectacularly massive swathe of various types of daffodils on the other side of the road. I have also had reports of some early bluebells being seen. On my journey to the water the hedgerows are now resplendent with masses of white wild cherry blossom, which now supersede the previous weeks blackthorn show. (Which this year suffered badly from cold winds, snow and frost – this may be bad news for those who make sloe gin).

A skylark was in the air singing near the carpark. There were a pair of carrion crows nesting in the tree in the small field beyond the car park. A swan had also made a nest just beyond the disabled area and was sitting tight – interestingly a grey goose was keeping it company without being chased off. Pairs of red kites and buzzards were regularly seen over the water and woods around the edges around the dam. I did think I saw an osprey in the afternoon while sitting by the car watching points – but I could be mistaken.

The area by the dam was not overwhelmed by flylife. However, Steve reckoned that the bay  was smothered in hatching buzzers.

The fishermen: seven regulars, and a poorly old git who occasionally turns out now for a float about just to keep in touch. I was pleased to see that John E. had escaped the clutches of the SW faction for a day, (it appears that their Sunday meetings interfere with his Church commitments)!? Carl and Darren arrived from the East and the Preston lads had managed to drag themselves away from an impossibly generous breakfast. The chemical twins had also got away early and arrived ready to go for the win. Carl was the last to arrive and I couldn’t possibly write down what the speculation of reasons for his late coming were – but I do reckon Darren could get a new job writing for Gentleman’s Specialist Magazines!

The fishing: Very interesting. All the locals headed for the boats and disappeared quickly down the far end of the lake out of sight on the horizon. A few bank fishermen took to their cars and also headed off that way – although a couple who may have been short of petrol stopped at the bay, and a couple more went towards Robbo’s cabin on the opposite shore. Steve F. D.C and Carl headed towards the bay as did Darren. John E. got in his car and said he was off to Robbo’s cabin to launch – he might have beetled off to Rutland Water for all we know as he was not seen again until weigh-in.

Ric, Brian and I chose a gentler approach and headed off across the dam with Ric. taking the widest line. It was not long before he was into a trout. While watching his consummate skill and technique for landing it, I also hooked a lively fish which eventually came into my net. Shortly afterwards I had another and realised Ric. was also playing a fish which was going well. Being too busy to look I heard Brian say that Ric. was into something big. (It later transpired that this was a 7lbs pike). Brian now politely enquired what I was using so I told him it was a damsel nymph on a DI3. He changed and was soon into a fish himself and then shortly afterwards another. We then left Ric. To his own devices and criss-crossed each other half way up the dam. At this point I had my montana viciously ripped off the dropper, nearly pulling the rod out of my hand, so put a small cat’s whisker on instead. This was a bad move as I never had another pull for a while – I changed back to another small montana and second cast had another fish. It’s odd how some combinations work and others repel fish from taking. This third fish was the smallest I caught, and had been badly mauled by a cormorant, it had a hole in its side and quite a gash in its belly, even so it fought quite well but I judged it better to finish its suffering.

I was headed for the willows on the opposite shore where I had caught a lot of fish the last time we here at the end of last season. Unfortunately, a couple of boats had noticed the activity and now went where I was heading so I had to fish further out. No matter, I soon had another very nice fish, bright silver close to three pounds and a hell of a job to get into the net on a WT 5 fly rod, (it fell off the rim three times but amazingly still stayed hooked). This fish had taken the montana with some gusto. A little later I hooked another similar fish from a spot about 100 yards further over, it also gave me a hard time getting it into the net and certainly tested my Helios to its limits. I saw Brian catch another one and could also see Carl playing a fish in the distance. By now Ric. was searching the dam edge. I knew there were fish around him because I had seen a couple of very nice trout head and tailing on my way past. These fish were not interested in my offerings though.

It was now about 11.40. and my right wrist was giving me hell and my back and right leg started to let me know that they had had enough. I contemplated changing over completely to buzzer fishing and did make a couple of casts with the rod I had already set up for this, but quickly managed to wrap a dropper into a bird’s nest – I thought it best to change back to the other rod and get another before motoring back to shore, so that’s what I did and bagged my last fish just before 11.55am.

I dropped the motor to a vertical position and thought I would go and see how Ric. was doing and try not to get in his way. I had spotted his rod bending, I thought on several occasions, and assumed he had bagged up and was now releasing trout. I was astounded to find that he had in reality only got the two in the bag that I had seen him land early on. He had apparently had a lot come off – I assume from small buzzers. I now motored back and played about with various settings to see how they worked. (More in asides below).

At the end of the match, it was apparent that black or olive buzzers, diawl Bach’s with maybe a red holo flash, and damsel nymphs had accounted for most of the fish. A slow sinker fished slowly with a damsel on the end definitely accounted for a lot of the trout taken. Buzzers on a floating line also worked very effectively. I do think however that where you were on the lake may have played a part in what tactics were best. My damsel was a goldhead olive red flash version, Brian and Darren used small slimline versions with long tails. A black and green montana also had some attraction for the fish who really hammered it if they wanted to take it. When talking to a local regular fisherman at the water after the match, he was astonished that several of us had caught any fish in the dam area, and even more astonished to find that we had not caught them on buzzers. Apparently fish were virtually unknown previously this season in this area. All I can say with some authority, is that there were fish all over the place in this sector and in quite good numbers. Further they didn’t appear to me to be shoaled up either. I would also suggest that several of those caught had been in the water for quite a while looking at the condition of them.  I know Steve after the match had a rant about ‘fluff chuckers’ and philistines not using buzzers when there were so many about, but actually I saw very few in the dam area, either in the air or shucks in the water. Ric. may have seen more. I suspect that the buzzers were more prominent in the shallower areas of the lake.

I failed to establish what flies Ric. and Carl were using to catch their pike on – probably not buzzers!

Congratulations to Steve for winning the match with a bag of very nice looking fish. He claims that they were the first six which he caught. That old cripple didn’t do too badly either in the couple of hours he was on the water. The interesting one was the pair who came third, Brian and Dave who both weighed in exactly the same weight to gain a balance in their private match. Seventy fish caught for eight anglers cannot be too bad a record for any water. I also have no doubt that this bag could have been increased If I had stayed out for the whole match and that John had joined us in the ‘fishy’ areas.

Asides: I can now state with a high degree of certainty that the shape of fishing rod handle for arthritic fishermen is quite important. My two favourite Orvis fly rods have different shaped handles. One is fitted with a half wells shape and the other with a cigar shape. After an hour of fishing with the cigar shaped handle I was in considerable discomfort, (and I was wearing a wrist brace). The half wells handle on the other rod, which I was predominantly using when we fished Thornton, gave me very little trouble over the course of several hours. I guess the 'bigger and fatter is better' tenet applies here.

After landing and packing my kit I now had about 3.1/2 hours to sit and watch points. It was a bit boring really because I hadn’t got binoculars and float tubes are very tiny on such a large water. I did see Carl get into another fish, but in reality didn’t see much other catching activity at all. What I can deduce from my observation is perhaps quite pertinent. The Savage tubes which Brian and Darren use are actually quite difficult to see on the water, especially against the background of a bank. The Guideline Drifter which is used by DC, often me and a couple of others, is actually very easy to see a long distance away. The bright orange stands out well. The fat cats used by Steve and Ric. Can also be seen because of in their case the orange sponsons, but they are not quite so prominent as the Guidelines. The tubes which Carl and Gary use can be seen reasonably well. Does this matter? It depends whether there are a lot of boats on the water who may not be used to having FT’s around, and could run you down in perhaps dull weather. Or, if you get into trouble and blow your whistle on a large lake and need to be seen in a hurry. It’s interesting that nearly all of the early float tubes we know from the inception of the BFTA in 1993, all had orange backplanes, but this seems to have been less prominent in designs for many years. I guess that my navy blue Snowbee Prestige would be virtually impossible to see on a dull or rainy day. Perhaps food for thought here!

I do remember fishing on Roadford and being able to see over vast distances the bright yellow or orange caps that we had to wear as a mandatory item before getting on the water. These undoubtedly worked and would be a simple solution to the problem.

During my watch my attention was caught by the sun flashing on some shiny metal on the far horizon. This turned out to be the oar shafts on Darren’s Savage FT. I reckon the lad deserves a medal for rowing back over virtually the whole distance of the water. ((He still had quite a lot to say at the end of it too, so wasn’t breathless). Quite a testament to the viability of using oars on a FT which I always had doubts about.

I still prefer my motor system. It’s a bit heavier and more hassle to get on the water, but in use it has certainly helped my failing body a lot over the last 15 months. Yesterday I was trying out a front mounted system, partially to see how it worked and partially to give some feedback to Andy Ward who is also ready to try out his version of this system. It does work very well in reality. Yes it does get in the way of the rod when you are fishing, but not desperately so. With the tilting transom mount I kept the shaft and prop out of the water when playing and landing fish, so they could not have got tangled around it. Getting to the controls and steering it is very easy. My mount design places the motor about a foot in front of the crossbar, so it does give room to swing feet and fins – but it could go a bit further forward, (as I did clip the prop on the edge of a fin on a couple of occasions). You can easily lift or lower the vertical height of the motor, but the nearer the surface it gets the more wake it produces. I used a LiFeO4 golf battery taped into a plastic bag on an arm pocket for this test, so had to cull a few fly boxes, but otherwise no problems.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Ifor and his merry band of men for hosting us – we had a very enjoyable day.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 11:36:19 AM by bracken » Logged
wardy
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2018, 12:03:50 AM »

No it wasnt a buzzer that my 20lb plus pike fell to.......... it was a size 14 red diawl Bach!!
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bracken
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2018, 07:50:46 AM »

Astonishing! I'm amazed it stayed in long enough to get the fish to the net. Now you are going to tell me that you were using a WT3 rod and a 2lb leader!
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buzzerman
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2018, 04:46:13 PM »

Regarding buzzers there was no shucks or visible signs on the surface where me and Dave were fishing but I can tell you they were definitely feeding on them 19 to the net and numerous lost and pulls about every cast. As you often say Tony locate the fish and give them what they want, personally catching on buzzers is the ultimate for me.
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