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Author Topic: Steve Parton Memorial Match Report - 17th Oct. 2015  (Read 1611 times)
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« on: October 18, 2015, 12:24:28 PM »

The venue: Thornton Reservoir near Leicester.

Nature notes: This water has a huge flock of resident Canada geese whose presence could not be missed throughout the day. There are also a small number of greylag and or pinkfeet geese to be seen amongst them as well. Numerous, very well grown and fit mallard also cover the water in small groups or pairs working the margins. It was lovely to see a few of the small dabchicks, (little grebes), had survived the persistent attempts of carrion crows to predate them when they were babies. I also spotted a kingfisher fly over the lake and head out over the dam in the afternoon as well as a heron.

The weather: Rain free, sometimes cloudy and sometimes sunny. The wind picked up considerably around lunchtime and it occasionally proved a ‘rocky’ ride near the dam. It ameliorated considerably towards the end of the match making for an easier ride home for old cripples.

The fishermen: A dozen of the reliable types; some of them not so well known and some of them seen at nearly every match and other meet’s throughout the season. At least three previous BFTA champions were amongst them. Andre’s rollicking at the end of last year’s match seemed to have had an effect on turnout and effort this time - although the world has yet to meet our strongest team! Members travelled from all over the country but mainly the midlands and the north, (I’m gradually getting attuned to Geordie accents – as well as quiet Scottish and North Liverpudlian influence)!?

The fishing: Seriously hard! Rainbows tend to be gregarious fish, one can normally rely on catching a fish and then getting others in the same area from a shoal of their companions. Not on this day! The fish were scattered far and wide and seemed to be mainly singletons. It wasn’t until quite late in the match that anything resembling a shoal was discovered by float tubers – it was located in a place by the wood and Markham arm - which was not where it had been a week before.

The test day by Andre and Steve F. last Saturday, had found fish, (and some big ones), along the dam and in green bay, where they had been feeding on sparklers and small black and red buzzers. Some of us duly tackled up with these flies, floating lines and long leaders and – caught nothing! A change to intermediate lines with cat’s whiskers, nomads and other dependable flies also elicited nothing for some of us. Eventually Gary caught a trout near the dam on a small damsel fished from a sink tip line. Dick caught one on an intermediate line dragging a cormorant. Tony B. caught another in the same area between the concrete blockhouse on the dam and the car park. Eventually I caught one on a damsel top dropper from a floating line in green bay, and Andre had another there on a small red eyed damsel fishing an intermediate line. Dave C. proudly announced his traditionalist roots by catching a fish on his ‘one sinking line suits all’ and a baby doll! Each to his own then! Steve F. was fishing fruitlessly in Green Bay with everything he had got on board, and had not even had a pull. Later Ivan finned back very close to the dam wall and informed me that he had had two on a black booby fished on a Hi D. line. (How the hell he kept it clean of the massive amounts of blanket weed there I will never know – but it appears that persistence works well).

All of this information didn’t suggest much of a pattern to me. I suspected that the fish were not far down, but Ivan, Dick and Dave had to an extent disproved this idea. I fished all along Green bay down to the lonesome pine with a floating line and 18 foot leader variously armed with damsels, cat’s whiskers, a black green and silver cormorant, blakestone buzzers, crunchers etc. Nothing was the result! I now made a serious tactical error as it later transpired. Instead of going across the Markham arm to the wood, which was devoid of any boats or float tubes at this time, I gave in to the posted local knowledge and decided to let the wind drift me back to the dam, but this time dragging a small unweighted damsel point fly and a couple of very small black buzzers, without retrieving. This didn’t work either! Andre caught another as I got there, again on a damsel from a floating line. At this point I changed my intermediate line for a midge tip with a slow sinking five foot end and a sixteen foot leader. The only red flash damsel variation I had readily available, was really for use on a much heavier rod than I had with me, but for curiosity I tied it on and put up with the horrible casting and occasional tangles that ensued.

When lobbing out my latest weapons, Ric finned by in the by now quite windy conditions. I asked him how many he had got. I think he misunderstood the question, because he answered something about the weather forecast in Rockall I think! We then went our separate ways and I followed Andre up past the blockhouse towards the car park. I now had a good pull and a fish wriggling on the end for a couple of seconds. In the meantime I had been told Dick was up to three in the bag, courtesy of his cormorant. Gary had two and had put back a nice brownie, and Andre had also now got three. With renewed enthusiasm, I now passed Andre as he changed flies and rods and promptly caught a fish a few feet past him without him noticing. Twenty minutes later I was quite lonely as everybody had got fed up and disappeared, Andre back down to Green Bay and then across to the wood where Gary, Dave, Ric and Steve F. had gone as I think had Dick and Ivan. I now had fish number three opposite the road sign near the car park end of the dam. I did eventually get another pull near the blockhouse - but that was it for me.

When by the stones I had spotted Brian fishing under top end of the wood, bright red float tubes show up well in the far distance it seems. He was apparently having a stellar day catching on what he loosely describe as a green fritz damsel, (damn great blob thingy if it’s like the last one I saw him fishing), and a green and black zonker, a la Dave C. He had apparently hooked and played thirteen fish, which is by far and away the most for anybody on this day. Dave C. had reverted to his zonker and increased his bag to three. Andy had fished a new fly for him – (something that Martin assured  me was a buzzer after passing through the same swim I had at Blagdon, he catching two nice rainbows when I had taken three substantial pike on a small damsel), a snake fly! I must admit that at the time I thought a four inch buzzer was a bit large even for a Northerner! Andy had three trout before lunch, when he had to retire hurt, so had a very successful session. Tony B. had secreted himself away somewhere and increased his bag to two by the end of the day. Kevin H. had apparently had nine fish in the net, but I never got the chance to find out what on or where. He was by the dam a lot of the time but I suspect they didn’t come from there.

At 2.00pm Ric had not had a pull. At the end of the match he had four in the bag including one of over five pounds, which won him the match. These all came from down the Markham bay end of the wood and succumbed mainly to boobies. Interestingly Ivan also caught his four pound plus fish on a black booby. This gained him a place above others with three fish in the bag.

What can be learnt from this days fishing? Fish are not entirely predictable and what happens on one day will not necessarily happen the next. The scuttlebutt was that sparklers and small black buzzers were favourite for filling the bag. I don’t think either one of these flies accounted for even one fish amongst the BFTA members. Neither were the trout caught, apparently too fussy about what they would take – a four inch long snake fly doesn’t bear too much resemblance to a size 12 or 14 red eyed damsel nymph. Boobies suggest that there were bigger fish willing to feed just above the bottom. Apart from Dick, the intermediate lines were not too successful at finding the depth, and pure floaters with short leaders didn’t score highly either apparently. I suspect that the fish were at a much greater range of level than they were when we fished the competition here a few weeks back. However: the one overarching factor here was the ‘first find your fish’ before you can catch them. Along the dam the fish were singletons and some of them were very hook shy.  If they pulled and were cast to again, none to my knowledge ever came a second time. If we had found the shoals along the wood earlier, then who knows how many fish the float tubers would have caught? I suspect a substantial number of the final bag was caught in the last hour or so of the match. The one fly that did seem to rise above the others was a damsel nymph, particularly one with some red in it.

In summation: This was a very enjoyable days fishing, despite the early frustration of finding the fish hard to come by. The atmosphere and interaction between all involved, (boat fishermen and float tubers), was very pleasant and co-operatively helpful. Even the weather for once this season was reasonable. Steve P. would I think have enjoyed fishing with us on this day, and would undoubtedly have ‘steamed’ all over the lake to find a quicker answer to catching fish than most of us achieved! He was something else again in a float tube.

Asides: One of the interesting things I have noticed between the successful float tubers over the years is how many of them tie their own flies. Many of these are ‘non-book’ creations. Some of these flies work consistently well, others occasionally work supremely well at one venue, and then apparently nowhere else. In reality the creations may not all be beautiful or tied to A* grade standard to work very effectively. However, there are some supremely skilled fly tyers amongst us whose ‘normal’ standard of fly tying is absolutely superb. I occasionally joke about some of them in these reports, but in reality I am in awe of their skill and only wish I could replicate it. Of the many who fly tie well, I am seriously impressed by the buzzers that Ric and Steve F. tie. They are beautiful, slim and highly finished. Tony B. is another superb fly tyer over a range of the more traditional flies and buzzers. Andre and Russ are good too. If you ever get an opportunity to see some of their work, take it, you will not be disappointed! Steve and Ric have both given me flies over the years, and I am highly grateful to receive them and thank them very much. I often think they should be put on display rather than used as ‘disposable’ tools of the trade! Dave C. is  extremely good at zonkers which work very well in the water, (the couple he gave me at Elinor worked far better than any I have tied since), and they lasted longer. My blobs never seem to come out how I would like them to, but the chemical twins have these sussed too - as indeed has Martin who has good skill at tying fritz versions.

I would also like to thank Andy here, for donating me a Martin’s favourite yesterday, namely a snake fly. I had never actually had the opportunity to inspect one before, and found it quite an interesting tying challenge. I must say that I would have a bit of trepidation trying to launch one of these on a 5WT rod though.

Acnowledgements: There are many people who worked hard for this match to be the success it was. I would like to thank all of them on behalf of the BFTA. Andre in particular put in a lot of time liaising between the boat fishermen and float tubers amongst others. He also supplied and organised some of the hot food – as did Lorna. We all appreciated it very much after a cold day on the water and thank all involved in this.

Thanks go to Ifor for allowing us to fish this venue again.

It was lovely to see Steve’s wife Jeanna and members of her family again,  who came down for the third year running to present the Trophies to the winning and losing teams.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 12:40:02 PM by bracken » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2015, 09:45:12 AM »

I only had two fish Tony lol three would have been nice as this would have supported my partner more oh well a great day all the same.
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