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Author Topic: Lockwood Beck report - March 15th 2014  (Read 2535 times)
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« on: March 16, 2014, 05:37:31 PM »

The venue: Lockwood Beck, Nr Guisborough, Yorks.

The weather:
forecast was for a dry overcast and windy day with gusts up to 27mph. However, there were about three hours of sunshine during the match, and although the breeze was tolerable until 12.30pm, it suddenly increased into a major 'hooley' after this time, which drove a couple of the older more infirm members off the water. This wind increase also gave one or two fitter individuals something to think about as well.

Nature notes:
This water is rich with a wide variety of wildlife. A young slow worm was picked up by a local angler on Friday afternoon, and safely returned after being photographed. A pair of mating oyster catchers were regularly seen on the shore opposite the lodge. There may possibly have been an osprey 'hawking' over the water on this same bank before launch, although this was a point of conjecture.

On the journey to the venue, signs of an early spring were now well advanced, with drifts of bright yellow daffodils on the grass verges and gardens and several varieties of bushes bursting with bright fresh green leaves – predominant amongst them the hawthorns, blackthorn and common elder. I was also surprised to see no less than three sparrowhawks fly across the road in different parts of my journey. Numerous dead cock pheasants were also seen on the roadside, probably having perished because of having their mind on protecting or gathering hens. A surprising number of badgers and foxes have also perished on the roads, either because they are young animals being driven out of their parents territory or because they were also searching for mates.

The rabbits are still in strong evidence around Lockwood Beck, with a mass of burrows in the scrub woodland by the toilets and prolific amounts of droppings all around the lake. Grey wagtails were also seen working the shoreline for insects, these are less common than the pied variety.

The fishermen:
Eleven well known members who had travelled from as far south as the Berks/Oxon border, a chap from Manchester, two regulars from Preston, a pair of sadly rare visitors from the Northumbrian industrial wastelands, some refugees from the M1 roadworks (and rob the motorist for speeding), 20 mile section near Chesterfield. A dear old sportsman from the lead mines at Doncaster and his companion - a man of uncertain address. The group was completed by sometime resident in Bronte country and his attractive new chauffeur, (or should that be chaufeuse)?

The fishing:
Having visited the water late on Friday afternoon and watched an angler fishing from the dam near the lodge catch 27, and then another regular member at the beck haul in a 5.1/2 pounder for weighing in, I suspected some of the above mentioned BFTA lads would have bagged up after an hour, also that a few bigger fish would have been amongst the bags. Gordon had  stocked about 500 fish as well, so life should have been relatively easy. It turned not to be easy at all! The bank fishermen on the shore opposite the lodge were catching on cats whisker variations, fairly close in to the bank. Our cats whiskers seemed to have keep off signs on them, as the fish didn’t want to know! After an hour and a half, I eventually hooked a decent 2.1/4lb rainbow on a dawsons olive nomad, fished as a dropper. Martin had caught a very stupid fish, on a best not mentioned fly, he called it a snake! It frightened me at 6" long and lurid bright orange, but it seemed to work for Martin, as he shortly afterwards got his first trout's equally ESN mate. (ESN = educationally sub-normal - a very non PC term these days, but better than writing he's THICK - sometimes translated to Dyslexic by Social Services)! Steve Frakes now caught one on a damsel, (a fly I would like to have seen, as Steve ties some very interesting damsel variations which I bet do not appear in your fly box)! He went on to hook several more on this and a Pitsford pea.

Phil was reported as having caught two by 12,00pm. I journeyed down to the small bays at the far end of the water, where the big fish are reputed to lie. If they were there, they treated my expensive cut throat cats with total disdain, (do you think I should mention to Mr Osborne about Caledonian fly tying lifting their prices by 140%)!? They equally ignored a fly which caught me an early bag full last year. Stevie N. had paralleled me down the opposite shore and had not even had a pull. We both then worked our way back to the top end of the dam, where by now Steve F. Ric and Brian were occasionally exhibiting curved rods bent into lively fish.

On the opposite shore down by the lodge, Dave C. had caught a couple on his twizzler specials and Dave M was in trouble with angina and sitting on the shore. Tony B. had by now also got two in the bag, with Dick soldiering on in fairly close company. At this stage Steve F had netted five and was by far the best, or luckiest, fisherman of all of us. Now the wind chose to lift to a very unreasonable level, with spray thrashing over our backs and heads and a good swell nearly up to the Toft standards of a few weeks back. Chest, legs and back problems, together with breathlessness, now forced me to head for the shore at this juncture - where I sat and had some lunch and a drink, and then watered some wild flowers before deciding to attempt the long and perilous walk back down the dam to the lodge shore against the wind. I was amazed and deeply impressed by the control and fortitude of both Ric and Brian in both moving and maintaining station on the water in these conditions. Stevie was also doing well, but rather reminded me of a cork in a whirlpool! Shortly after Ric decided to leave the swell and nip over the dam bank to drown a mole before he also portaged his tube and tackle shop back to the lodge in search of sheltered water.

After sitting for a while and getting my breath back, I launched in the more sheltered water and headed along the lodge bank where Phil and Dick had vacated their spots. By chance, by casting towards the shore tight under the bushes rather than away from the shore, I hooked into a big-un. This fish fought quite well, but was surprisingly quickly persuaded to turn on its side and be drawn to the net, where it soon became obvious there was no chance of it going in as the net was too small for the job! Oh hell! There was only one thing for it, that was to try and reach deep into the water under the tail and lift the head of the fish and then hope that most of it would be supported for a quick lift onto the stripping apron. This trick was nearly achieved when sod’s law stepped in, and the hook broke free - the fish dropped across the net frame and rolled back into the deep. Apologies to the vicar and those of a delicate disposition for the ensuing oath! The match winner was gone! Three casts later and a three pound plus fish was now attached for a lively while, but this also ended in a slack line and a curse. Tony B. now caught a fish near me, and I immediately had another on while he was playing it – the hook also came out of this one! By the time Tony B. was netting his fish I had got another one on, which I did net for my second of the day. A little later another one was hooked and lost – this is all becoming a familiar pattern to me in my old age and with the employment of barbless hooks. Six good fish hooked and played and two in the bag! The real choker was, that I had at last discovered the fish and also the fly I had tied which they really liked, and we had run out of match time. Just my luck! What’s even more interesting is that Dick and Phil had been sitting on a good shoal of fish which were mainly behind them, and I wonder whether they knew they were there?

Probably the best line was a slow intermediate or long sink tip, although floaters were taking fish too. My Hardy slow intermediate was by now at the bottom of Toft on its spool, with its mate - the one I lost there a year ago, (something I didn’t find out until last Thursday when packing the gear)! I must stop going to Toft - or perhaps rarely buying expensive lines! Despite the bank fishermen catching on Cats Whiskers and the predominantly white lures, the BFTA lads couldn’t get much success with them which is very odd. The most successful flies from the float tubes were either olive damsel nymph variations or something black and green, (or in Tony B’s case a black and blue cormorant which he favours on Lake Monteith). The home brewed ‘fly’ which gave me 40 minutes of excitement, was a simple black chenille leechy sort of thing, with a marabou tail and green eyes. I wish I had put it on much earlier.

It was very noticeable that the fishing picked up when the overcast returned about an hour or so before the end of the match.

In retrospect the overnight chill and changing wind direction had definitely affected the fishing. Further, it was apparent that most of the fish were close to the shore, and also shoaled up in two or three main spots. For those that found the fish and were able to brave the conditions after 12.30pm they did well, Brian and Steve F. are the prime examples here. Otherwise a lot of energy was expended searching for them, and desperately trying to find what they would take. Stevie N. and I covered a lot of water without too much to show for our efforts (the whole length of the lake and both sides plus much of the middle) - we are not usually short of takes, (not necessarily turned into full bags), but we can usually tempt some reaction from the fish. My informed guess is that the trout were not where we went for much of the morning and early afternoon! I was impressed by the success of some of the bank fishermen who obviously know the water and likely spots.

Congratulations to Steve F. for his win on this occasion. Those Chesterfield lads have cleaned up in the ‘up-north’ section so far this season, so perhaps the sooner we get back to the South some of us lesser mortals will stand a chance. That Preston pair are quietly there or thereabouts as well. We won’t talk about the man from Hawarth – he obviously has other things to distract him this season!?

Asides: Nothing untoward on the lake that I know about. I was told the rather disturbing story about the consequences of extra-marital relations in this neck of the woods! I’ll never look at a pair of bolt croppers in the same light again. The troglodykes here appear to have a primitive outlook on life!?

I wasn’t aware that you could keep elephants in a local hostelry bedroom, but it appears I was mistaken. They arrived at about 2.30am on Friday night/Saturday morning with much thumping and banging and creaking of floorboards, which physically lifted the bed on my floor. (No need for an alarm clock this morning – at 6.35am the bed lifted about 6” amongst some banging and clumping about)! Lovely! Further, at about 8.30pm Saturday night, the hound of the Baskervilles and its handler(s) arrived outside my door in the corridor. From the baritone level of its barking and the aggressive nature of its conversation, I gathered that it didn’t want a tickle behind the ears so kept the door firmly locked! I might have to reconsider my accommodation arrangements before venturing to these wild places again!

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Gordon and the club fishermen / women that we met at this delightful water, both for their welcome and tolerance of our company. We all enjoyed the day very much.

Several people have a share in the help the aged and infirm award this week, but Steve F. and Dave C. are particularly thanked for their quiet assistance.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 08:31:39 AM by bracken » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 07:24:01 PM »

Another superb report Tony. I would like to apologise to Steve Naylor for catching my last fish behind his tube. I was aiming for his bass bag but seeing the size of the fish he weighed in I'm glad that I missed. Congrats to Steve Frakes on the win. He and Brian really had to work for their position in the comp.
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