After our recent experience being blown about Eyebrook (Beardy Bros on tour), I was longing for a gentle day on nymphs and dries. I booked a day afloat at Draycote which had been fishing well recently with fish high up in the water. As the day approached the weather looked perfect: cloudy with a gently breeze.
I set off at the crack of dawn and arrived at 7.30am. I had a quick chat with the guys in the lodge while booking in and they confirmed that the fish were still high in the water and taking small nymphs and dries. Perfect!
I was soon motoring out onto the water to set-up my first drift across the main basin from X-bouy down to Croft shoal. The wind was gentle enough that I didn’t need to set the drogue up. It was a little nippy so I started with a midge tip line to get the flies under the surface quickly, with a popper hopper on point and two diawl bachs on the droppers. Within the first few casts I had a missed take and then shortly after my first fish of the day to the diawl bach.
I was hopeful this was the start of a good day. Unfortunately, the weather and fish had a different idea. Within half an hour the sun had come out and the wind was blowing a gale across the reservoir. I persevered with my set-up and drift for another hour with nothing to show. Then I started to move around: I tried drifting into Toft and fishing the shallows, I tried anchoring in Biggin Bay and I went across to Rainbow corner to see if there was any action in the calmer, more sheltered water, all to no effect.
By this time I realised I was not the only boat moving around a lot, which suggested others were finding it tricky as well. Finally, with the wind getting stronger and the drifts quicker, I bit the bullet and switched to an intermediate line and pulling tactics. I found a few good drifts over the course of the day and managed to get six to the boat in the end, taking three to a Golden Invicta and two to a White Minkie. They seemed to want it stripped very quickly so there were a lot of pulls and missed takes through the day. Even so, it felt like a struggle and it was certainly hard work with the wind.
Checking the catch reports at the end of the day, I’d managed more than most on the boats. Although a couple of guys on the bank had found a hotspot and caught a bucket load.