Due to ongoing back issues, the start of my fishing season has been pretty disrupted. A very early half-day at Farmoor and a tricky boat session with Beardy Paul at Bewl has been my lot. So, with my back starting to feel better after some medical intervention, I was keen to get back out on the water.
I’d been keeping an eye on the catch returns and F1 (the catch and release section of Farmoor) had been fishing very well after an unusually slow start. The conditions were not ideal, bright sun forecast all day and a brisk northerly wind, so I decided to get an early start and hit the fish before the sun got too high. I parked in the main car park and walked round to the north bank where there was some shelter from the wind. The water was amazingly clear and there were a few buzzers flying around.
I set-up on a floating line with a size 10 grey boy buzzer on point, size 12 black quill buzzer on the middle dropper and a black diawl bach on the top dropper. After a few casts I was into, and then off, my first fish but I got one to stick not long after having taken the quill buzzer with a lovely arm-wrenching take. I noticed the buzzers were a lighter colour so switched the top dropper to a red-holo diawl bach which generally seems to do well this time of year and it didn’t let me down, accounting for the next fish. Another followed quickly when I switched the point fly to a red varnished buzzer.
The interest started to slow down then but after noticing a number of fish mooching around on the bottom just 5-10 yards out I started casting parallel to the bank and letting the flies sink deeper. This tactic accounted for another three rainbows before it suddenly died at around 11am. After a fruitless half an hour I decided a change of location was needed and walked up the bank to the far north-eastern corner where there were a few other anglers. There was a mad half an hour where we all caught multiple fish and then it died off again.
I had one other fish by the tower before deciding to have a go on F2, off the causeway before I called it a day. The wind was much stronger here and started gusting left to right, perfect, I thought, for drifting nymphs round. I put a bead headed pheasant tail on the point to get the flies down quicker and had a delicate bite almost immediately. This was followed on the next cast and then another two shortly after. I knew the fish were there but I was trying to drift the flies round in the wind which was causing a big bow in the line and I couldn’t set the hook quick enough with the soft takes. Instead, I cast diagonally out along the wind so I could retrieve slowing with a tight line. This proved a good approach as two rainbows swiftly followed. In retrospect, I should have put an intermediate line on to get the flies down quicker and reduce the impact of the wind but I was travelling light with just a floating line.
So a lovely half-day session, some good fish to the net and I had scratched the buzzer itch. The season just hasn’t started until you’ve had those arm-wrenching buzzer takes!