Beardy Paul and I have fished the World Bank Masters competition at Farmoor for the last few years. When Iain Barr announced it would be at Elinor this year we decided to give the pairs competition a go (more to follow) on the Sunday and have a ‘practice’ day on the boat at Eyebrook on the Saturday.
The fishing had been good throughout the previous week with the warm weather turning the fish onto buzzers. We arrived to a glorious, sunny spring day with very little wind; hopefully a perfect day for some gentle nymph fishing. So, on went the floating lines and we motored out to the west side, just off the Hawthorns. The bank anglers seemed to be catching plenty and there was almost no wind so we dropped the anchor.
I started with a straight-line nymph set-up with buzzers and diawl bachs. Beardy Paul had similar but with a blob on the point. We both expected to be straight into fish, given the bank anglers behind us were into fish regularly but it took a while until Beardy Paul boated the first rainbow, which took the blob. I picked up a fish on a red diawl bach and Beardy Paul picked up another three on the blob but it wasn’t really the nymph action we were hoping for. As the bank anglers were still doing well it looked like the fish were patrolling about 15-20 yards off the bank and we were too far out.
We decided to try the opposite bank at the Three Trees as the slight wind was pushing into this area and would give us the chance to fish closer into the bank. We anchored up about 30 yards out so we could cast into the bank and draw the flies back over the drop-off. I stuck with buzzers but with an apps bloodworm on point, counting down through the depths. I had one on the apps a little deeper and Beardy Paul had another on the blob but otherwise it was quiet, so I changed to a black and green cats whisker on the point to see if I could induce a take. That seemed to do the job as I was into a fish quickly but then it went quiet again until my line went tight and something heavy bored down into the depths. I thought it was a big brownie at first but when I managed to get it up to the surface I noticed it was a pike. It was probably 7-8lbs so not massive for a pike but a big fish to land on trout fishing gear!
We stopped for lunch and to re-assess out tactics. We’d caught 9 trout which is not a bad morning but we both felt we hadn’t really got into them properly. So, after a quick break, we motored down past the island where the rangers said the better fish were. We tried on the west bank by the Chestnut but it was dead calm and after a quiet half hour we moved across to the the opposite side by Olivers Copse.
With no interest in the first twenty minutes I wondered if we were fishing too shallow. We’d seen a lot of hog lice in the weed on the anchor so I put a beaded PTN on point with a couple of diawl bach’s. Again, I counted the line down and the first cast that got to 20 seconds tightened up immediately. That was when the fun started. We had another 15 fish between us over the next few hours, some falling to the beaded point fly, others to the nymphs on droppers. We finally found the right position, depth and flies.
So, by the end of the day we had 25 to the boat. Not quite the buzzer-fest we had been hoping for but a fantastic day at a lovely venue. Time for a pizza and a couple of beers while we got our tactics sorted for the competition the following day.