Okay, so unfortunately, ‘red hot’ relates to the weather rather than the fishing but an interesting end to a difficult day.
Following two of the hottest days of the year so far, I had an unexpected free day and decided to go fishing. I popped up to Farmoor first thing in the morning, hoping to get some action early on before it got too hot. The news from the fishery staff was not promising with very little caught over the last few days. There was a free boat, so I decided to go afloat rather than chance a hot day struggling on the bank.
With temperatures of 27-29 degrees forecast with little wind and bright sun, I knew it was going to be difficult but I motored out hoping I could entice a couple. To cut a long story short, I tried everything between 8am and 3.30pm without so much as a bite: floating, intermediate and sinking lines; nymphs, buzzers and fry patterns; lures and dries. From what I could see, no one else was catching either.
As the afternoon wore on, the clouds gathered but it remained hot, humid and still. I decided to hook up to a buoy close to the bank at the north end. As I attached the line I noticed something floating in the water and leant over for a closer look. It was a massive, bright red buzzer, just hatched and floating on the water. As I watched I saw a few more struggling in the flat water. I hunted round in my buzzer box, dug out a couple of red epoxy buzzers and tied them onto a long leader with red/brown diawl bach on the top dropper. I cast out, let it sink for thirty seconds and started a slow figure of eight retrieve. I suddenly felt a small tap, the first action I’d had all day, followed by a violent take and my first rainbow was in the net; result!
I continued with this set-up for a while, with no other takes, and then, with time running short, decided to try some red dries to imitate the midges I’d seen hatching earlier. I tried a ‘big red’, a red shipmans and a red bobs bits with no joy. Finally, for my last few casts I put on a red/ginger Griffiths Gnat I’d tied a few days earlier. First cast and the fly was sucked down gently by a rainbow which belied the gentleness of the take by racing off into the distance and taking me down almost to the end of my backing. After a lovely fight, a decent 2.5lb rainbow was netted and released.
Happy with two trout on a very difficult day, I decided to call it a day. The interesting thing was that this was not the first time that red buzzers had caught in these conditions. A few years ago, Beardy Paul and I had a day on a boat at Bewl in similarly hot, sunny, summer conditions. With one fish to the boat all day, we trudged back in with other disgruntled anglers who had struggled as well. But the talk was about a boat which had been catching well all day on red buzzers. We were all perplexed at the time; why would trout be feeding on bloodworms (the larval stage of the midge which is generally found on the lake bed)? But, apparently, in some conditions, there are bright red adult midges. So, perhaps worth having a few in your box for those difficult, hot, sunny days.