14-16 Apr Anglian Water Northern Heat @ Rutland Water

The AW is the premier six man team event for Loch Style comp anglers and as competition fly fishing begins to get smaller it’s more important than ever to support this event. So straight of the bat thanks to Airflo and AW for continuing to run a really great comp.

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The Soldier Palmers (Army Team) intended to fish two teams in this heat but availability got the better of us and one team it was. The field looked strong with some of the country’s top teams taking part. We opted to have two practice days ahead of the event itself and I ended up in the North arm with the Team Captain Paul Calvert. Rutland was in fine fettle the sun was shining and a gentle breeze was coming from the south. The fishing was nothing short of spectacular loads of fish to the boat fishing straight through buzzers or the bung, it did not seem to matter. As the wind dropped off though things became a little tougher and we found ourselves scratching round for the odd fish here and there. The other boys were doing Ok with the other areas and we kept in touch by phone. A really enjoyable days fishing was had by most, but I think we were all looking forward to the next day where a bit more wind would help us cover the water better.

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Day two and it was a different day, 100% cloud cover and a decent ripple on the water. I was out with Del Spry so plenty banter was on the cards. We had gone south to confirm a drift that had produced a good stamp of fish the day before. After about twenty minutes Del took a fish right of the surface and promptly lost it. It’s because your shit I said…..lol. I was on the buzzers and it was slow going then one of the other teams boat dropped in about 100 metres in front of us and banged out a couple of fish. As we moved into the same area I took a couple of fish fairly quickly and we moved off. Over to the other bank and another fish to the boat almost immediately. I told Del he could join in any time! It got worse, for Del that is I could barely get my flies back at one point. Poor Del was hooking fish and losing them. It was great fun and we had a good laugh but time was wearing on and we had to meet the rest of the team for lunch so we headed off to Barnhill Creek.

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We exchanged the relevant information and tried to sift the good stuff out. I took Dell up the North to show him the drifts that had produced the previous day. The fish were there sure enough but had taken to the ugly stuff rather than the buzzers and nymphs that they had been chomping on. We went off to Oakham for a meal and a chat and to formulate a plan. A good meal was had by all and we returned to our accommodation to square our kit away for match day.

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Even with the success of the previous two days practice I was not feeling particularly confident. The wind had built up and I had not drawn the engine so my fate was in the hands of my boat partner for the day, Dave Eames. I know Dave from old and we shared a room together at an International some years back. Dave was happy enough to let me drive for the day and was keen to head up the south arm, so far so good. As we motored up the arm the wind was a trifle tastier than I thought. Looking at my rod with my bright orange floater running through the rod rings I started second guessing myself and we had not even started. As expected we did not have Old Hall to ourselves but there were only four or five other boats vying for position. Dave and I got into a good position and with the shelter afforded by the Old Hall peninsular I could just about manage the floating line.  My patience was rewarded and I took a fish on the first drift. Fish were being caught behind us to pulling tactics so when we went around I changed down to a DI5 and got the nasty stuff out. As we progressed into the bay a big hatch was on the go and only a few casts in I decided to change back. That’s when the badmin started! I somehow managed to tangle up my carefully prepared cast and it went from fishing cast to birds nest in a heartbeat.  

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After a relatively fruitless drift we decided to move, an hour in and only one fish in the boat. We moved round to Green Bank and there were members from both our teams there. After a quick chat with Paul who seemed to be getting regular sport I dropped down a couple of lines. The Sport came and at last Dave and I started to winkle a few out. It was a frustrating affair many of the fish were following the flies up and not committing and we were moving too fast to hang the flies for any period of time before they were behind the boat. Despite Dave’s best efforts with the drogue the boat was crabbing really badly from left to right. Still we managed to get a few to come aboard, Dave was fishing really well and was always one or two fish ahead of me throughout the day before a final spurt saw him finish with a double shooter. I was only on eight but was convinced I could still get the other six fish. The opportunities came but despite the fishes best efforts to be caught I managed to f**k it up. It was a piss poor performance and I can see a bad trend developing after last week’s similar effort.

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As I came to the dock Del was stood on the pontoon all de-kitted “did you get them?” eh no “Your shit…..lol.” Del is not wrong my confidence is on the floor at the minute, let’s hope I can find it before this weekend first round of the AMFC at Draycote. You know what they say if you fall off the horse you gotta get right back in the saddle! The team had done really well and I was disappointed and felt I had let them down. I am still berating myself now, I am sure I will be fine after eating two Mars Bars, don’t link your emotions to food Lindsay……lol.