4-5 June All Services (Grafham Water)

Reports of the fishing at Grafham were good lots of fish and of a fantastic quality. An in form Grafham promised a great All Services match. The Army were to enter three teams of four as were the RAF who had been living there for the previous week. There were also teams from the police and the Civil Service, fourteen teams in all competing for the All Services Trophy. We had a number of anglers join us straight of the back of the Bob Church Classic and all three teams were available for practice. I fished once more with Aron Jones and we were given the Valley Creek area to look around. The day started well with Aron taking two good fish to 3lb the tails were perfection itself and the fish looked more like sea trout than Rainbows, lean bars of silver the stamp of the fish at Grafham.

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As we moved to the other side of the harbour I opened my account with a couple of rank stockies. I was of the mark though, with not much else doing we headed over to do a big drift out into the open water. Starting in Church Bay we drifted out towards the middle and every now and then would come across large pods of fish that would chase the flies all the way to the boat some would take others just moved off. Not a bad mornings work seven fish to the boat and it was time to go in for lunch.

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The other boys had gotten off to a flyer and the numbers being banded around were impressive. After lunch Aron and I went to one of the areas and before I could even turn the boat fish were trying to get on board. The sport was brilliant and with action almost every other cast it was hard to believe the fish had seen so much pressure. Paul Calvert passed us by and told us to go to another area which ended up being just as good. All in all, a great day’s sport with the afternoon giving some quite extraordinary fishing.

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I was optimistic that my bad run may be squashed on this one, the rumour mill said it was to be an eighteen fish limit. That’s a big number by anyone’s reckoning, I still thought I would manage double figures considering how it had fished the day before. I had drawn Dunc from the RAF who was after five days fishing looking a wee bit jaded. He was happy enough for me to drive so we set off towards the North Shore. The spread of boats was great ensuring we were not all going to be on top of each other.

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We arrived at a bay that I thought would be perfect as Aron and I had done very well there the day before and we had it to ourselves to boot. After two drifts though it became apparent to me this was not going to produce 36 fish today. A quick motor over to my team mate Aron to see how he was going did not fill my heart with joy. It was time for a big move. We motored all the way along the North shore looking for red hats but none were evident.

 "After two drifts though it became apparent to me this was not going to produce 36 fish today."

When we got to Sanctuary bay I spotted one red hat and closed in to get the score. 6-7 fish was the average after two hours. Time to pull our socks up, Dunc was into fish really quickly and brought many to the boat and managed to get two to the boat on our first drift. I managed to move a few fish but failed to induce a take. I dropped down a line changed my casts around but could not get it to work. Eventually, whilst near the end of our drift in the open water I managed to hook the second smallest fish in the water, the smallest having been taken by Dunc earlier. Still it was most welcome, as we went around again I managed a second fish and Dunc banged out three more.

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There were fish being consistently caught all around us but we were in a bubble of shit bad luck. Dunc got smashed and had fish after fish refuse his flies at the last minute. For my part I had take after take that failed to lock up.  After hooking a good fish that ran behind the boat and a great fight I had managed to get it to the front of the boat net in hand and ready the line just went slack. Dunc looked at me and I just smiled no words were needed, I put my kit down and sat with my head ready to explode. I decided to stop and have a sandwich, I have never done this before usually I am stuffing something down between drifts.

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After getting the second half of my butty finished I saw a fish rise within casting distance and got my flies right on its nose only to see them completely ignored. Life was crap, shortly after I got a short boost when I hooked and landed another fish. It continued to be tough for Dunc and I and it was made all the worse with the surrounding boats banging fish out left and right of us. Towards the end of the day I was back on the floater for the tenth time fishing the angle slowly as the match clock was running down. I had two sharp takes on the last drift but they failed to hang on. It was time to go in and I was grateful.

 "This has got to be a new low in match fishing for me, I knew I was having a ropey season but this was a different level."

This has got to be a new low in match fishing for me, I knew I was having a ropey season but this was a different level. I had a laugh with the boys at the meal with great banter and piss taking but on the long drive home the niggling doubts gnawed at me. Would I have done anything differently, well no other than catch sixteen more fish! I am in a rut there is no doubt and I just need a decent session to get myself back on the bike will Grafham be kinder to me in the Pro-Am next week? Fingers crossed!