Grafham Water - June 2009 (Part 1)
I was lucky enough to be able to spend 3 days fishing Grafham Water last week. I was part of the RAF Fish Hawks team practicing for and competing in the 1st Round of the Anglian Water/Airflo International Competition. 8 of us practiced for 2 days and the team of 6 fished the competition day. I was one of the 2 anglers nominated from the beginning as a traveling reserve, and that was the way it turned out on the day of the competition.
Map of Grafham here:
On day 1 I fished with Simon Gaines, a 2 time Engalnd International and the 2nd name on the RAF team sheet for any competition. We were detailed to search out the western end of the reservoir during the morning session. I nymphed while Si pulled, and I took an early fish just off Hill Farm Point (on the peach blob). With nothing else showing, we tried Savages Bay without success. Just off July Bank, at the corner of the Nature reserve, my string was pulled hard while Si was on the phone! It was a lump of some kind, but very quickly it became obvious that it was not a trout but a zander, estimated at between 5 and 6 lbs. Click here for the picture. Having tried a few other areas we ended up in the Lodge Bank/Valley Creek area just befor lunch where I got a double hookup (1 landed) and Si a fish. At luchtime it became apparent that the guys further East had been hammering the fish, so we looked forward to the afternoon when we would be fishing the Pylon Point to The Seat area.
In the afternoon Si nymphed and I pulled with Di 7, Blob, Cormorant, Red Head Diawl Bach and booby. We drifted from B to K to E, and I picked up 4 fish on that long drift, all between 3.15 and 4pm. We ended up with drift near Deep Water Point, where Si took a fish on the buzzer. As we debriefed it transpired that the reservoir had gone quieter in the afternoon, but the north shore still fished well enough.
On Day 2 I was out with Phil Thomas, 9 time Welsh cap and Captain in 2007 for the Spring International on Rutland Water. Phil started off nymphing and I was on the Di3, fishing from Pylon point into Church Hill Cove. I took a fish early on the pink and sunburst booby, and then another 3 later in the drift. Chganged to a sparkler booby - no difference. Phil was broken on the bung, and then picked up fish straight lining. As we went round into Pig Bay I moved up to the slow glass and the fish were chasing the blob/booby across the surface, phil changed to puuling and immediately took 3 fish. At lunchtime we had 7 each and they were good quality fish. In the afternoon we fished the dam end of the res, with little success, picking up a couple of fish around G before finding recent stockies off sludge bank. Phil had a couple more betwen the sailing Club and the lodge, and we were in early to debrief for the comp the following day.
The morning dawned wet and a bit chilly. The 6 guys in the comp had picked up some good draws and all were looking forward to the day. Al Gamble and I departed in the reserve boat around 9.30, heading for G Buoy ahead of the comp fleet of 27 boats. We had little success early on, but as I switched up to a fast glass my 2 fly blob/booby combination began to attract attention and I had 5 fish in the boat be 1.30. We saw some of the team, Tony Slater had 6 early on, Mal Bruce 5 but Phil and Dave Newing were struggling on 1 each. I took my 8th fish at 3.15 and a while later saw Si Gaines who was stuck on 4. Gave him my coral booby which had taken 7 fish, and immediately he moved fish, but they would not stick. Al put his predator line on and took 3 quick fish on the the tequila boobybefoe we moved off to Pig bay and then Hill Farm Bay. I ended the day with 11 fish in the boat, with a good few more lost, too.
We got in to find Dave Newing and Tony Slater, Tony having finished at 1pm and Dave just after 5pm. The rest were still out, but we knew that captain Paddy had finished with 8. It was difficult to know how well we had done, but eventually we worked out we had 46 fish - 4 limits and 2 7s. In the end, that was the highest number of fish caught by any team and was good enough for 3rd place out of 9 teams and a place in the next round. Team Loop UK won, with Ospreys 2nd. Draycote and Grafham Water Fly Fishers also qualified. High profile casualties were the Rio Masters, Rob Edmonds' team.
This was an exceptional 3 days of fly fishing - can't wait until next week!