AMFC Autumn Match 2015

All week I was looking forward to getting back to Draycote, it is, without doubt, one of the best fisheries in the country. That said Rutland and Grafham have had fantastic seasons as well. Anyway I digress, Draycote’s really good. I started my day in the Willoughby Café which was pretty empty considering all the divisions were going to be fish today. I bumped into a couple of the Hanningfield lads who had practiced and they were singing the praises of the water.  The lodge seemed a little busier than usual and this was probably due to the 0930 start which I did not know about until the hooter went off. Remember back in for 1730!

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The reservoir was a flat calm and the big yellow blob in the sky was still chasing the last of the morning mist from the waters surface.  I fished with Tony Starling from Grafham, He told me he was 76 but I did not think he was much more than 55 I think he blagged me…lol. He had not practiced nor I but a couple of our team had been out the previous day and the consensus of opinion was ‘A’ Buoy was the place to go. With not even the beginnings of a breeze and the sun bright in the sky, I was not overly optimistic. Still as the fleet of boats made their way to their spots I could see a number of fish rising, go figure. I had elected to start with a 3 sweep and a combination of blobs and sparklers. Second cast a sharp tug, o it might be Ok wishful thinking of course and after half an hour I had not seen one fish caught. No change after an hour and boats started to drift way under the power of their engines I might add as the pond was still like a pancake. Time for a move over to the tower but this was more for my sanity rather than the thought of bags of fish. We were only there a short while before opting to go back to where we had at least seen a few fish.

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A few dozen flies and a number of different lines later I decided to give the bung a go. Not three casts in it dipped slightly and I lifted into a spirited if a little small fish. Two hours in I was just grateful to get something to the boat. By twelve o’clock though things were looking up, a steady breeze was building. Now we were covering a bit of water and the promise of a little cloud cover beckoned the dries. I had been told pre-match that the foam daddies had been doing the business. I had tied up an approximation but to be honest, was not convinced.  I swapped between the daddy and some hoppers which I much prefer. We had just started our drift and there was a pleasing boil under my flies a quick count of two and the fish was off like a bullet. It was a good fish I caught sight of the tail it was shovel like in appearance. I quickly got my line onto the reel as the fish shot behind the boat. Playing the fish on the reel it eventually tired and made its way to the boat. I put my net in the water to meet the spent fish only to watch the head of my landing net part company with the pole! I managed to retrieve the head of the net but could not get the fish into it. Tony came to my rescue and netted the fish for me. It was a peach of a fish perfectly formed and in the 3.5lb bracket, I was well chuffed.  Tony was king enough to share his net for the rest of the day.  Tony was quick to change to the dries and was soon into fish himself.

A few dozen flies and a number of different lines later I decided to give the bung a go. Not three casts in it dipped slightly and I lifted into a spirited if a little small fish. Two hours in I was just grateful to get something to the boat. By twelve o’clock though things were looking up, a steady breeze was building. Now we were covering a bit of water and the promise of a little cloud cover beckoned the dries. I had been told pre-match that the foam daddies had been doing the business. I had tied up an approximation but to be honest, was not convinced.  I swapped between the daddy and some hoppers which I much prefer. We had just started our drift and there was a pleasing boil under my flies a quick count of two and the fish was off like a bullet. It was a good fish I caught sight of the tail it was shovel like in appearance. I quickly got my line onto the reel as the fish shot behind the boat. Playing the fish on the reel it eventually tired and made its way to the boat. I put my net in the water to meet the spent fish only to watch the head of my landing net part company with the pole! I managed to retrieve the head of the net but could not get the fish into it. Tony came to my rescue and netted the fish for me. It was a peach of a fish perfectly formed and in the 3.5lb bracket, I was well chuffed.  Tony was king enough to share his net for the rest of the day.  Tony was quick to change to the dries and was soon into fish himself.

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As the sun started its decent it became increasingly difficult to see the flies due to the bad light whereas Tony on the point had clear sight of his flies. Initially Tony was a little eager and missed a number of chances as I passed along some sage advice about waiting the same thing happened to me. We agreed to call each wanker if one of us missed a fish. I think Tony was called wanker more than I….lol. As the day was drawing to a close Sean Hanlon one of my team mates had finished and urged me to move further down the drift. I duly obliged and as I was turning back from deploying the drogue Tony lifted into something a bit special. The fish drove hard for the depths and it was all Tony could do to hang on. The fish had run him into his backing. I reeled in a retrieved the drogue then grabbed Tony’s net to help out. The fight lasted a while but Tony’s tenacity paid off and he was rewarded with a cracking Rainbow with a lovely full tail. The fish weight in just a few ounces under 4lb, there were bigger fish caught that day though.  I had finished with five and Tony had six we had both had a great day with plenty sport and a good deal of banter. The meal in the evening was very good from the café above the lodge, but £4.65 for a shandy really!!! We knew before we started we could not win the league nor be relegated so it was a third place finish with Rutland winning the league and the RAF second. The AMFC is a fantastic way of getting into comp fishing, it’s mostly a nice bunch of guys that are more than willing to help out and give advice where needed. Why not represent your club next season?