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Author Topic: Toft Newton Report - 15.2.2014  (Read 3563 times)
bracken
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« on: February 16, 2014, 11:54:06 AM »

The Venue: Toft Newton Reservoir, Nr. Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. A large concrete bowl of water built higher than the surrounding countryside. This is the home of the fabled ‘concrete bowl’ trout fly – the dressing of which causes many an argument amongst ‘purists’!  This is a venue renowned for its windy conditions. The fishing is always interesting, there being a good head of rainbow trout and some browns in the water. A few very large fish are present and there are some tagged fish, which are worth money / prizes to their captors who have paid the fee to win if they catch one. The lake also holds an interesting stock of coarse fish, including good sized perch, pike and the occasional bream or carp. (Some pictures of these can be found on the Toft Newton website gallery).

The weather:  Not brilliant, but not as bad as in the West Country, Somerset Levels and South Midlands, where a float tube would be a welcome form of transport on most days. Unfortunately the weather forecasters need to get some new anemometers! The forecast was for winds of 17mph gusting to 36mph – the reality was nearer 35mph gusting to nearer 50mph. At least the rain didn’t appear other than a few spots, which were in reality subsumed by the airborne spumes of spray! The wind was supposed to drop as the match went on – It didn’t, but got worse!!!

Nature notes: A few tiddled off coots and ducks were lurking in the centre of the reservoir too frightened to take to the air. A small covey of English partridges were seen in the surrounding meadows.

The fishermen:  Mostly comprised of a hard-core of regular attendees at the meets of the last few seasons, and all excellent fishermen. A new member Andy also joined us, and was very welcome.  He is a brave man indeed to have entered the water on this day for his first outing. (It can only get better Andy)! Dave and Brian had once again travelled from the North West, as had Martin. Tony B. had intended travelling  from the Northumbrian wasteland past the enormous Anthony Gormley scrap pile on the roadside,  but obviously ‘chickened out’ when he saw the weather forecast. Perhaps he was blinded by the remnants of the coal and slag dust heaps blowing around!?  (We should see him at Sweethope between the clouds of midges later in the year)!  A couple of the East Anglian members also came across the dykes to join in the fun. Steve F. and Ric were present – I’m surprised they haven’t built a log cabin here, as they have spent most of the Autumn and Winter weekends at this site practising for the occasion. (Did I mention anywhere that Ric is an expert small perch specialist on this water)? Stevie N. had travelled from the romantic Bronte Country to be with us after a belated start to the day. Tony P. had unusually left his travelling home behind, and stayed the previous night in a Travel Lodge – the management of which had clearly been to the Michael O’Leary school of finance and customer relations! (Who the hell has the weird Visa card other than a Ryan Air customer – 2% on the bill at the final checkout if you haven’t got one - scandalous!?  Check in early and that will be another £10 please)!

The fishing: Seriously windy with a good swell and flying spray, meant that many fish would have had to travel fast to hook themselves to a rapidly moving lure. Mostly they didn’t bother!  Under-surface flies were the order of the day and it just depended on how deep the anglers thought they were. A Di7 was tried but failed fairly miserably,  wheras a more slowly sinking intermediate was the choice of others. Long leaders on floating lines also accounted for fish. However, the favourite, most successful line would appear to have been a midge tip, followed by a very slow sinking intermediate. Most of the fish taken were caught on orange blobs, although my one and only fish came to a black and green size 14 cruncher and another fish hooked itself to it briefly three casts later.

Darren caught his three fish on a buoyant orange blob and had the takes when the fly was rising. Stevie N. hooked his six on the blob when it was on the dropper, the fish wouldn’t take when on the point, (or indeed  any of the other dozen flies he tried on the point either). Ric had a very nice fish to start the day, and then slowly worked his way to a final bag of four, but the big fish was good enough to win him the competition. Steve F. after a slow start, soon sussed the method and quickly netted five fish before disaster struck. The seam on one of his sponson bladders burst causing a very rapid deflation, fortunately he was very near the shore and made it to the side without further mishap. He also had lost five fish by this stage, including another very large trout. Darren magnanimously then lent Steve his tube so he could go out and catch the sixth fish. It was at this stage when fishing from the shore that Darren caught his three fish. Unfortunately Stevie applied the ‘no bank fishing’ rule and disqualified him for this after the match – I thought this was a bit harsh in the circumstances, and if it had been down to me would only have disqualified him if he had been beating me at the end! (I’m very fair honest)! Martin had a good day and I think caught the first two fish of the day near the valve tower before floating off down the other end to catch three more. Dave C. and Brian made a fairly late run at catching a pair of fish each before giving up half an hour or so after me. I must state here that I was full of admiration for the way in which both of them were able to drive and manoeuvre their tubes in the wind. Andy Mac excelled at the one fish catch, by weighing in a 5 pounder caught towards the end of the match.

At the end of the match every one of the nine members had caught at least one fish, which in the very rough conditions was a commendable effort. Ric won the match and Stevie N, (who bagged up first), came second. Thus setting the pace for the new Championship.

 Rarely have I been out in such awful churning water that I encountered by the black pipe, when unfortunately the wind increased considerably about half an hour or so into the match. Darren and newbie Andy had been driven onto the shore at the far end by this time too. I didn’t really have enough strength to control the tube,  I guess the swell was a good three feet near the shore here,  but there appeared to be an undercurrent intent on turning the tube away from where I wanted to be.  Not nice!  When deliberately heading for this area at the start of the match, I was surprised at the speed the concrete section joins were being passed, and put this down as one possible reason as to why I was not getting any takes. Dave M. had arrived with Phil P. and taken a look at the conditions and decided it was not safe for him to go out, which in the event was a very wise decision. The wind increased after launch. Phil’s very large float tube would also have been difficult to control near the downwind shores and in the middle of the lake too, so it was probably as well that Dave took him home. After fighting the water for four hours, my back and knees had given out and the first signs of cramp, together with an increasing breathlessness, caused me to finally make a sensible decision and give in. To give an indication of the wind strength by this point, I nearly got blown off the rim edge several times while carrying the tube back to the car – tubes make good sails! I also had the misfortune to have a ‘streamline’ drying box open accidentally - the first I knew of this was seeing about a dozen favourite flies disappearing at high speed into the countryside never to be seen by me again.

Asides: Steve F. showed us a new take on some boobies to start the day – I’m sure the resulting fly may be shown on the website one day soon. I’m not sure whether Stevie N. will show us the ones he started the day with though!?

When Darren was questioned about choosing to fish from the bank, he commented that he was more used to pushing a mouse around rather than driving a float tube in a gale. I should have taken him up on this, he could gladly have a go at pushing the mouse survivors around in my loft as they don't seem to like the wind and rain outside either.

There were some big trout evident in the water. When struggling back under the wall from the black pipe with my tube, I stopped briefly to chat with the one and only bank angler. He put out an admirably long cast, which as the fly landed, disturbed a very large rainbow right next to it - which then made a spectacular splashy rise in protest. It was in this area that members also hooked their big trout so a good shoal appeared to be present. (Nearly all the fish caught, apart from Martin’s, came from the same section).

Darren and Steve F. get the ‘help the aged’ award for this week. Many thanks lads.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Andy Hutson for hosting us on this challenging day and for having the faith to let us loose without reservations. Thanks also go to Andy and Jason for the first prize ticket they awarded.

PS. If anybody picked up a small streamline ventilated drying box in the car park with a magnetic base plus flies - it is probably mine as I no longer have it! I would appredciate it back at some point please if you found it. Cheers!


« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 10:38:57 PM by bracken » Logged
davec
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2014, 03:05:19 PM »

great report as usual Tony. Well done Rick. I am now completely knackered after that comp. but hope to recover for the next one. Just one little bit of friendly advice, if you ever travel North to Preston you will find it in the West not East.
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bracken
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2014, 05:50:41 PM »

Apologies for misplacing your neck of the woods Dave - correction has been made! I also claim being knackered as an excuse for the typo. Mind you anything North of Birmingham tends to blend into the 'foreign' category for us Southerners, but I must admit to having passed Preston by on a few trips north to your home country, so do really know where to find it. Although I understand I may need to bring a passport after September!? (I must admit I do like the Scottish system of not charging / robbing you for an EA licence though).

Actually I had to rapidly post the report without having any chance to correct it, we have had 12 power cuts since I returned home last night (seems it was a bit windy yesterday and disrupted the cables), so I had to get the report on in a brief live power interval before it failed again. I'll try harder next time.

I was amazed at how well you were moving around the water in the gale yesterday. Perhaps I ought to try for gout in exchange for my wrecked back - it seems to work for you!
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martin
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 04:46:19 PM »


Good report, Tony.
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