Summer fishing, particularly from the bank, seems to be a bit hit and miss most years but with the long hot, dry spell, this year seems especially so. I’ve been to Farmoor reservoir four times in the last month and experienced some very different fishing.
Beardy Paul had a rare weekend in Oxford so we decided to meet up at Farmoor on the Sunday morning for a quick session on F1. It was a warm, bright day but there were dozens of fish swimming around close to the bank when we arrived. We tackled up thinking we could have a bagful but, as ever, the trout had other ideas.
I went through my normal nymph tactic’s with two buzzers and a diawl bach on the top dropper, fan casting and covering the depths to no avail. Beardy Paul had an early one on a light coloured scruffy buzzer on the top dropper which suggested they were reasonably high up. Eventually, I had a few pulls on an olive buzzer and lost one but ended up with a blank after a good 5-6 hour session. Beardy Paul ended up with four, all falling to the same scruffy buzzer on the top dropper despite trying numerous other flies down his cast. They were feeding but on a very specific fly and it had to be at the right depth.
Father’s day saw me get a very welcome pass to go fishing. It also happened to be one of the hottest days of the year. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a free pass so I thought I’d give it a crack anyway. I shouldn’t have bothered. After six very hot and sweaty hours, I trudged off with a couple of little tugs to show for my day. To be honest, I wasn’t that surprised as it was bright sun, no wind and about 32 degrees.
A week or so after Father’s day, the weather had turned a little colder and we’d finally had a bucket load of rain. With a forecast cloudy day, I thought I’d take my chance and go back to Farmoor for an afternoon/evening session. It was windy, overcast and was under 20 degrees.
I’d tied up a couple of variants of Beardy Paul’s scruffy buzzer to try out. My version was a kind of gold ribbed hares ear buzzer: tied on a curved hook, with gold tinsel ribbing and a scruffy hares ear thorax. There was nothing happening on the surface, so I popped it on the top-dropper along with an olive and black buzzer further down the cast.
Well, that little fly caught me seven beautiful F1 monsters over the next few hours. Every one was taken around five yards out and all on the top-dropper. It looked as though the fish were holding further out but then darting into the weedy shallows to pick up food. Perhaps my fly had turned out to be a good representation of a hoglouse or snail. As the sun started to set, the sedge came out and I managed to pick up a couple on a sedge dry before darkness fell.
I should have known better really after a week of hot, sunny conditions but I’d been a bit stressed at work and needed to get out. Again, I went for a late afternoon/evening session hoping I might pick up the odd fish early on and then be ready for an evening rise later. But it was hot, sunny and there was no wind. And no fish! In six hours, I only saw sign of a single fish rising in the middle of the reservoir. I tried everything I could think of, at different depths, and moved positions regularly but didn’t have a single tug.
I think the water has simply got too warm and the fish are sulking in the depths and well away from the banks. Beardy Paul and I will be trying our luck from a boat at Bewl next week, so fingers crossed.