Every time I’ve fished Draycote I’ve enjoyed it but over the last few years I haven’t managed to get there often. It’s a four-hour round trip, depending on traffic, so its at the edge of comfortable for a day out. Nevertheless, I decided I would book a day’s bank fishing early season, a week after opening day.
The reports from the first few days had been exceptional, helped by some unseasonably warm late-February weather. I was looking forward to a gentle day wafting nymphs around Toft but the weather had other ideas. A storm had hit earlier in the week and whilst the day I picked would be better, the wind was still going to be tricky.
I rocked up at 7.30am and, with a south westerly, decided to start on the south bank in Toft. Having not fished this area before I was surprised how shallow it was, so had to change my set-up from an intermediate to a floater to avoid snagging on the bottom. The wind was coming across at this point which made casting quite tricky and the floating line was being blown quickly into the bank. I struggled on for an hour with no interest before deciding to move on.
I tried a few spots around Cornfield but the wind was equally tricky and coming over my right shoulder. Even wading out to my waist, I couldn’t get much distance. With no sign of fish, I quickly moved further around to Dunns bay. There were a lot more anglers here, both on the bank and in the boats, and as I walked along the bank to find a spot, I saw rods bending. Here the wind was a little easier, albeit still coming across me from the right but I was able to get a line out. I kept things simple and had an orange blob on the dropper and a black and green minkie on point. On the first cast I had a tug and then landed my first trout a few casts later on the minkie; just a stockie but welcome nonetheless. I had several more missed takes before landing a decent 4lb overwintered rainbow who took the minkie again. It was good sport, with a lot of nips and misses but eventually I got fed up with casting into the wind and, as it was nearly lunchtime, decided to have a break round at Rainbow Corner.
There were no other anglers here and the conditions were completely different. With the trees behind giving shelter, there was barely a ripple on the water and it looked unpromisingly quiet. I had lunch and decided I’d give it an hour before moving elsewhere if nothing happened. I decided to stick with the blob and minkie as its a good searching pattern at this time of year and I’d know quite quickly if there were fish around. I got a couple of nips in my first two casts but nothing concrete, so I decided to change things down. I put a black and green cormorant on point, thinking that the colours would still attract but the fly was less aggressive than the minkie. There was also a small buzzer hatch so I put a grey boy buzzer on the second dropper and a black diawl bach on the top dropper. A couple of casts later and I had another fish. It had taken the cormorant mid-water and on a very slow figure of eight retrieve.
It was pleasant being out of the wind and whilst the takes were not thick and fast I had a couple of hours of fun fishing, catching another on the cormorant, one on the buzzer and one on the diawl bach. The fish in this area were all decent size and looked overwintered, especially the lump that took the buzzer which was around 4lb. I was still fishing a floater but the fish here were deeper and definitely seemed to prefer a slower retrieve.
So, not quite the nymph-fest I had been hoping for but another good day at Draycote.