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Author Topic: Steve Parton Memorial Match - Sept 13th 2014  (Read 1867 times)
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« on: September 14, 2014, 02:47:27 PM »

The Venue: Thornton Reservoir near Leicester. This match was one of the annual championship competitions held between Thornton Boat Fishermen and the members of the BFTA, in memory of Steve Parton, who is widely regarded as the ‘Father of float tubing’ in Britain.

The weather: A very pleasant day with a light breeze and varying degrees of sunshine and slightly overcast skies.

Nature notes: I passed a very bemused looking fox on the way to the water and was grateful that it decided to return back from whence it appeared rather than play ‘chicken’ across the road. A kestrel regularly worked the water’s edge and flew across us on the lake. It was lovely to see both mature and young dabchicks on the water after remembering the concerted attacks the carrion crows were making on them earlier in the season. Great crested grebes, pochard, mallard and I believe a wood duck were also seen. There is still a large flock of Canada Geese living around and on the water.

This year the swallows and House martins have returned to Africa very early. In the week leading up to the 6th of Septemeber we briefly saw several groups of 30 to 50 birds flying over the house for a few minutes before they disappeared to the south. After the 6th. They were all gone. However, there was a small group over the lake before launch hawking after the flies and splashing onto the surface of the water. A good hatch of caddis flies was coming off the lake throughout the match.

The fishermen: The Thornton boat anglers are by now all very familiar to the majority of the float tubers and regulars at the lake. The float tubers travelled from far and wide to fish. John D. abandoned his gin palace in the Hebrides to be present. John E. travelled up from Trowbridge and Dave C. travelled South from Preston with Brian. Martin came down from Manchester and two Northumbrians again escaped from the environs of Consett. A seriously crippled old fool came North from the Berkshire borderland, having weathered a serious amount of ear-bashing from the resident dog-walker when he rolled out of bed, (literally), at 5.30am. Statements such as ‘surely you are not going fishing after the state you’ve been in for the last four days’ followed by ‘don’t you dare say you can’t walk the dog or do any jobs I want done around here’ etc. etc. There was of course no mention that the severe incapacity and serious back pain were caused by a persistent demand by her to move a 3cwt sand pit last Tuesday! This demand backed up by the granddaughter wielding a spade with menaces!

It must be stated here that many of the BFTA ‘A Team’ had abandoned England for Ireland, the Caribbean and other such exotic places. No loyalty from some people is there? However, we are very grateful indeed to all of those who made the effort to turn up and fish for the Trophy. We even managed to get little Jim out and dust the cobwebs off him ready for the water – he can still drive a tube around a lake brilliantly, but appears to have forgotten why! Sadly Jim blanked, which from our past experience of his prowess with a fishing rod is very unusual. Steve W. managed to get a rare Saturday off to join us, but sadly his float tube appears to have suffered deterioration from under-use this season. The main bladder irretrievably burst after an hour! Now Steve was one of our main hopes - being a Thornton season ticket holder and thus infused with local knowledge. He is also an excellent fisherman so was sadly missed on the water.

The fishing: Once again not easy! The trout were in the main quite deep and did take a bit of persuasion to take anything we offered them. However, the perch were easily persuaded to take just about any fly. I had three on three different flies, (including a perch fry imitation), in about two minutes – I later had two more to hand in a different part of the lake and shook another off. Martin also had three to hand as well. Perhaps we should fish a perch competition next year!? The most annoying perch was the one which took the trailing leader fly when I was unhooking its mate from the top dropper. It took me a few seconds to work out why I could not re-cast the flies!

In general the trout we did catch were good sized fish and in my limited experience they fought hard too. Gary was unfortunate enough to lose a fish around 6lbs having got it to the net. I believe Andre also lost a good fish towards the end of the match as well. The second fish I hooked, stayed very deep and was definitely big and in total charge of the fight. I never saw it, and eventually the barbless hook came out, much to my annoyance – sorry Vicar! One of the boat fishermen had a superb bag of four fish, including a beautifully marked and top condition brown trout. These were caught on a cats whisker booby. Another boat had managed to anchor above a shoal in front of the dam and were reportedly catching their bagful’s on a grey buzzer fished just above the bottom. I caught both my fish on a black nomad variation. Brian caught one on a damsel nymph and Dave C. caught his on a cats whisker. A Hi D was the best line to use.

I did try fishing buzzers and dry flies for a while when a few fish were showing in front of the dam. This was a fruitless exercise! John E. fished hard for his one fish and took it by the stones, as did Martin for one of his. All three of us traversed the Markfield arm, (as did Jim later), I did have one vicious pull possibly from a trout, and three or four lighter tugs which I suspect were perch. The most productive area for fish was along the edge of the dam. I was told that one of the boats was catching fish on a gold headed daddy, I tried one to no avail. The float tubers covered the whole lake between them and it was noticed that the boats were constantly moving station, except for Norma’s craft which was heavily anchored on a shoal and didn’t move throughout the match. My second fish came from the neck of water above the car park by the entrance gate. I also covered rising fish here without eliciting any response.

The Consett pair had a difficult match. Dick spent a lot of time in Green bay, (where I had my first fish and a couple of other pulls). He eventually left the area without catching and completed his duck opposite the lodge at the end of the afternoon. As for the other far northern refugee, he managed to destroy a float tube loaned to him by a kindly old gentleman, and then hijacked a rowing boat which he proceeded to row through the fishable area by the dam before throwing away one of the oars as being an unnecessary encumbrance. He then reconsidered this rash decision and thrashed the water avidly in his attempts to retrieve it. By this time the float tubers were finning away in all directions and totally disowning any knowledge of this chap causing mayhem in their midst. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he had caught a few fish to redeem his reputation! After the match our captain pointed out that this guy was a ‘Double Blanker’ – at least that is what I thought he said, but I am deaf and couldn’t request that he elucidated because there were ladies present!

I blame the demise of the float tubers this year totally at the door of their Captain. Although it was noted that the ‘jammy b******’ managed once again to get the top weight of the float tube group. Mind you that’s not saying much as an an old cripple once again ran him a close second.

This was a great days fishing held in a spirit of great bonhomie, joy and goodwill. Steve P. would undoubtedly have loved to have been present and joined in the fun – I reckon he would have got top bag too! Fond memories!

Many thanks to all who took part and made this such an enjoyable day. Thanks to Ifor for the drinks and allowing us to fish the match.

I would also like to thank Andre for both organising the day, and for supplying the very welcome after match food. Personally I would like to thank Steve W. for rescuing me at the end of the afternoon and carrying my tube back to the car and also aided and abetted by Martin for ensuring that I got a hot dog to finish the day with some sustenance.
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 03:39:10 PM »

good report once again Tony, weather was great, fishing was hard, breakfast at the newly re-opened portacabin was super, hotdog was fine but it knocked the edge of Brian and I kfc so we gave it a miss (what is happening to me, refused a pudding at Thryberg, only had one hotdog at Thornton, no kfc) luckily by 8pm my appetite returned and I manged to force down a large sausage and chips and gravy. well done the boat people well deserved win, looking forward to next year.
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