Without wanting to sound like a masochist, sometimes I enjoy a difficult days fishing. I suspect its the challenge; searching for the right location, right depth, right fly and right retrieve to finally catch the quarry.
My last trip to Farmoor certainly provided the right conditions for a challenge! After a difficult period over the hot summer (well managed by the fishery staff), the water at Farmoor had finally cooled enough that the trout were starting to feed. After not fishing there since July, I was looking forward to a day back on the bank of F1. It was misty when I arrived but this soon burned off to reveal bright sun, no wind and remarkably clear water.
The fish had been taking nymphs high in the water so I started on the west bank with a floating, washing line set-up, with a popper hopper on point, black buzzer on the middle dropper and a diawl bach on the top dropper. I fished this for half an hour with no interest and no sign of fish. I swapped to a straight line buzzer set-up to get a bit deeper and started to fan cast and count the line down. After another half an hour, I’d let the cast sink to a 60 second count and still no interest.
I decided to move further round to the north end where I finally saw some fish, high in the water. I changed back to a washing line but used a sugar cube emerger on point. On the droppers I used a combination of flies which have worked well for me in sunny conditions; a black and pearl buzzer and a pearly hares ear. I the bright, clear water, I watched as fish swam up to my flies and turned away in disgust. I also noticed that they were very easily spooked, the smallest movement on the bank or a heavy line sent them away. By this time, the sun was high in the sky and getting hot. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve fished in mid-October with a tee-shirt on!
Time for a change. I moved round to the south-west corner which has been a good spot for me before and was pleased to see pods of 4-6 fish swimming up and down just below the surface. I changed my set-up well away from the bank. If they were so skittish then maybe the flash in my patterns was putting them off. I dug through my fly boxes and put on the dullest black buzzer I could find, along with a normal hares ear nymph and a sugar cube on point to keep the line high in the water. I crept down to the bank, cast out and then kept low, barely retrieving in order to keep the flies in the water with the minimum of fuss. Second cast out and my line suddenly went fizzing through the water as a lovely silver rainbow hooked himself on the black buzzer. As with all fish at Farmoor, it fought like stink but finally came into the net.
I stuck with the same approach and had another fish shortly after, falling to the black buzzer again. I had only just released it when two anglers appeared and decided to fish within ten yards either side of me! And there was only the three of us on the whole of F1! They were obviously buddy’s as they decided to hold a conversation by shouting across me. Needless to say, the flighty fish disappeared, so I packed up and moved further down the causeway.
I noticed the wind had picked up a little and was causing a ripple on the edge of F2. I decided to take advantage and threw a line out, only to be rewarded by an immediate take and my third and then fourth rainbow to the net on the black buzzer. The slight wind subsided and the action slowed down so, again, I decided to try something different. I went back round to the corner but this time on the other side to the two anglers. I change my set-up to target fry feeders with a muddled minkie on point and silver Invicta on the dropper. I started retrieving slowly with a fast figure of eight but with no interest so I moved to a quicker strip. This was immediately rewarded with a few nips and a missed take. A couple of casts later, I watched through the clear water as my minkie swam into view with a rainbow following quickly. I was ready to strike when a huge brownie appeared from the depths, chased off the rainbow and engulfed the minkie. Once it felt my strike, it took off like a torpedo, quickly taking me down to nearly the end of my backing. I gradualy managed to get some line back on the reel and fought it for ten minutes, only for it to snap me off.
I stayed in that spot then until the light failed, having fun with the fry feeders, even if I didn’t manage to get any to the net. So, only four fish, but I was happy with that in tough conditions where other anglers didn’t seem to be catching. On top of that I almost had a trophy brown.