Well, it’s been a long winter not even had the solace of a few days on the Grayling the weather for want of a better word has been shit! For one reason or another I have not been in a boat since last May. Most of my fishing has seen me concentrate on the rivers, so it was with some trepidation that I took up Ben Worley’s invitation to share a boat. We were going to go to Farmoor only just over an hour for us both. The forecast looked windy though and Ben suggested Ravensthorpe. I have never fished this venue as I usually find myself at Rutland or Grafham.
To the day itself then finding the fishery was no problem and even as I was walking towards the lodge clouds of buzzers were already in flight. There was a light ripple on the water and one of the regular visitors was kind enough to point me in the right direction. Ben turned up shortly after and we were soon in the boat setting up. Ben had enjoyed a great day down at Chew Valley the week before pulling a DI7 all day. Today though he was keen to give the buzzers a go from the off! A brave decision I opted for a more traditional approach and reached for my DI7 and a box of boobies.
We motored directly across from the fishing lodge and dispatched the drogue out the back of the boat. Ben had barely a chance to straighten his floating line before being met with a sharp pull. I had only made a few casts when I was into my first fish of the season as it came to the surface it looked half decent. I will never know though as it dove for the depths and the hook peeled free. What a great start no fish in the boat but the promise of a great day ahead.
I very quickly concluded that the DI7 was far too quick for the water I was fishing and changed tactics to a DI3XP line. It was an inspired change and the added addition of a couple of new patterns I was trying out brought instant success. It was carnage and I was quickly into plenty of action. I must take my hat of to Ben who held his nerve and stuck with the floater, it would pay dividends later in the day. It seemed like we were the only boat from the half dozen that were out that was drifting. The remainder seemed content to anchor up at the top of the wind. Which meant that we had the whole bank to ourselves.
The fish were in fine form and some of the takes were dynamite. I was trying out some of the new Airflo Sightfree Supple at 8.7lb, I was most impressed with its strength and it landed several fish to 4lb with no problem. Ben was starting to pick up a few fish with the addition of a FAB on the point of his cast and fishing washing line style the fish were starting to come regularly to the buzzers. He had tied up a couple of really interesting patterns that I will be stealing for the YT Channel. We also tried some experimenting with barbless hooks catching fish then letting the line go slack to see if they would shake the hook. Strangely enough not many escaped in this way and the fish that were lost did so when being played properly.
As the day wore on it was plain to see that Ben’s set up started to gain the upper hand with the fish zeroing in on the buzzers. I was idle and it took me a while to switch over but I did succumb in the end and switched to a floating line utilizing the washing line and buzzers for a bit. I did catch but weirdly on the fab I was fishing. Ben and I swapped rods so he could have a play with the Wychwood Competition RS for a bit. He had only made a handful of casts when he took a fish and you guessed it on the buzzer. We had enjoyed a great day’s sport never staying on the fish and moving every drift to fresh water really scored for us. As the afternoon was drawing to a close the wind picked up a little and had a fresh bite to it. We had taken around forty fish to the boat which is not too shabby for a first day out. It has really wetted my appetite for the coming season and I am really looking forward to it. I intend to do some video tutorials on tackling large Stillwater’s. Not quite sure how I am going to manage it on my own but will give it a go.