Every year we go away for 3 days on an epic fishing marathon. Last year we went to Eyebrook and loved it so much we decided to go back. The weather was looking almost perfect (last time we nearly froze to death in the tent) and the catch reports spoke of good buzzer and nymph action. The previous year we’d had a fantastic day on the boat buzzer fishing so we were expecting good things again.
On the Friday we had half a day on boat booked. The weather was looking good with only a small shower forecast and winds that were just on the strong side of breezy. Almost perfect. We headed out to a few good looking spots but didn’t get much action. Strange really as looking around at the water and the conditions you’d have said it was ideal. While drifting across the middle of the water the skies darkened and we thought we were in for the quick shower that was forecast. If only it had been a quick shower. For the next few hours we were battered by a torrent of rain, got soaked to the skin and had 2 inches of water sloshing around in the bottom of the boat. We almost felt like calling it a day but we decided to motor up the top North end were fish had been caught over the previous few days. There were a few boats up there so we tucked in a tried a few drifts. The water was a bit cloudy here, probably due to the wind and waves chopping things up, but we carried on and Beardy Neil managed to hook into a nice fish on a buzzer. Finally, we thought we’d found the fish. Over the next few hours and into the evening we caught well on buzzers and FABs and dries later on when a good few fish started rising. Then it all went very quiet. Not the beautiful evening rise we were hoping for. Still, we had some excellent sport, especially on the FAB, and some fish on dries. 18 fish to the boat for an afternoon wasn’t a bad start.
On Saturday we were back at Eyebrook for a full day on the boat. Conditions looked a bit better, thankfully with no rain forecast! We set off and tried a few different spots without much luck. Everything looked good, plenty of fly life around but nothing we put on would tempt them. We tried buzzers in all colours and sizes, crunchers, Diawl Bachs, loads of different nymphs, hoppers and dries…nothing. So, in a effort to keep my flies up in the water and knowing it had done well the previous day I put my pink and yellow FAB back on the point and we headed up to the North end again. The very top end where we’d been the previous day had really clouded up with a lot of debris in the water so we tried further down in clearer water. We still struggled to find and connect with any big numbers of fish but Beardy Neil managed to pluck out 2 nice rainbows on various buzzers over the afternoon and I managed 14 fish on the FAB. For whatever reason they couldn’t resist it even though I had all sorts of other flies on the line at the same time. It was a very hard day in the end. Not the buzzer fishing bonanza we were hoping for. Talking to other anglers at the end of the day told us the same story with boats coming in after catching only a few fish. So to catch 14 on the FAB was very pleasing.
After a few beers around the fire we finally decided to forego another morning at Eyebrook for somewhere different. We had an interesting morning at Elinor the previous year so we decided to give that another try. The morning was sunny and pretty warm with quite a difficult breeze. As we were bank fishing we had a bit of walking to do to find a good spot but eventually we settled in on a bank with the wind coming over our left shoulder. The water was crystal clear and quite shallow so I got the waders on to help get a bit further out. I don’t get to get in the water like this very often but when I do I love it. There’s something special about being in the water and feeling connected to the environment more. So, after its previous 2 days fish count I decided to not put the FAB on again and went for a straight buzzer approach. We could see the odd person catch but not a lot. Conditions looked perfect again but again it was proving difficult. We’d talked to the ranger who’d said it had been fishing ok but mentioned how funny the feeding had been and how the fish hadn’t been taking what you’d expect at this time of year. Maybe the warm winter has an effect on fly life cycles. So after a few hours trying on various flies and with 1 fish in the bag by Beardy Neil I decided it was time to try the FAB again. Almost instantly I was into a fish. Then over the next few hours I had another 9! Again I tried various other flies on the droppers but the pink FAB cleaned up. Beardy Neil caught another nice fish on a dry but nothing more. Sorry Beardy Neil, but the FAB really did clean up!
So, it wasn’t the frantic nymphing trip we’d hoped for but we had a fantastic time. One year we’ll get the timing right and have 3 days of non-stop buzzer action. Some day! Even though the weekend in general was a bit tricky the FAB clearly attracted fish that weren’t interested in other flies. I’ve had a lot of success with it this year on my local lake as well and its become my go-to fly for washing line style fishing. Lets hope it carries on catching fish. With 35 fish over the weekend, most of them on the FAB, it proved to be a real winner.