After not being able to get out on the water since Christmas, I’d finally managed to book a day’s fishing and I intended to make the most of it. I was sure that, with a week’s careful planning, I was going to have a killer day:
- Having checked the fishing reports on a number of fisheries, I’d picked up on the fact that the bank fishing was best on the bank onto which the prevailing wind was blowing. The simplest explanation I could find was the wind was blowing the available food into this side of the water. There was another explanation around warmer wind and the thermocline but I couldn’t quite get my head round it.
- The reports were also heavily biased towards black and green colours with lures, nymphs and buzzers all catching. I’d spent a bit of time tying up a few black and green holo-buzzers and weighted black and green marabou patterns (tadpoles, cormorants, Viva etc).
- I kept an eye on the weather – prevailing wind had been from the north (so South bank), it would be cold first thing (go deeper) but warming up around midday with some sun (perhaps a buzzer hatch).
So, armed with my plan and brimming full of confidence, I set out to Haywards Farm. I’d chosen this venue by Theale (close to Reading) as it had a catch and release lake, which is my preference, and was also next to the Sportfish Reading store. I wanted to get a new landing net, so thought I could kill two birds with one stone.
The day was almost perfect; a cool morning with cloud cover and a slight wind, creating a small ripple. The lake was relatively shallow so I tackled up with a floating line and long (ish) leader of around fifteen foot. The water was crystal clear, so I decided to start with something small and natural and went for a hares ear nymph, beaded to get it down towards the bottom. The south shore of the lake had a lovely little promontory from which I could fish across the water into two bays and let the line float across. I started off methodically, fan casting across and trying to cover as much water as possible. After twenty minutes with no action, I tried the other bay and then changed to a black and green nymph. After another half an hour, I tried an olive nymph, then a pheasant tail. I gave each change a decent length of time and tried different depths, retrieves and locations but no joy.
With the sun coming out around mid-morning, it started to warm up and I noticed a steady stream of midges flying around. I hadn’t noticed anything coming out of the water but it seemed sensible to assume there could be buzzers in the water. I opted for a black and green holo-buzzer to start with, casting across the wind and letting the line drift across the bay with a very slow figure of eight retrieve. Over the next two hours, I tried every colour and size of buzzer I had with different weights and depths but to no avail.
Getting a little frustrated, I took a break for lunch and had a re-think. For the two hours after lunch I tried a range of dark and light lures, with different retrieves, depths and even an intermediate line. I even tried a range of natural bug patterns and roamed around the whole lake, trying different areas but still nothing.
Fishing can be a frustrating hobby at times. I felt like I knew what I wanted to do, the tactics that made sense in the conditions and tried everything in a methodical way. But perhaps sometimes, that’s just the way it is. Pub time!