AMFC Group 1 Draycote 12-13 Sep 2014

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of images with this entry. The village idiot working the camera forgot to switch it back to automatic focus thus most of the photos I took came out blurred. This is a real shame because I did have some super shots of what is clearly some of the best fish in our reservoirs’ today. Draycote is a fishery which is quite literally on fire. The fish density and quality is absolutely jaw-dropping.  Due to the Interservices and various other commitments, it was a rag tag bunch of old soldiers and even our much-appreciated sponsor Steve Lawes that turned out on Friday to help the team practice the water. Steve had done very well the week before with our B team who all bagged up in the Grp 3 outing. Also along to help out was Dean Rudd, Jamie Nairn and late arrival Sean Hanlon. I paired up with Del Spry and we decided to start at Toft and work our way up. The RAF only had one boat on the water with Phil and Paddy fresh from their victory in the Grand Max, well-done boys great effort. As it happened Del and I pulled in about 60m behind them we were both high in the water Del with a floater and me with a midge tip.

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I know fishermen are prone to exaggeration we have all done it, maybe not on purpose but we have done it! I am going to relate the first hour of fishing as I recall it and I have not exaggerated this for the purpose of the blog. Every other cast made by Del or myself was met by a big bow wave behind the fly, a take, a fish on and off or a fish in the boat. After an hour we had brought twelve fish to the boat and lost countless others. I have never experienced fishing like it if Carlsberg did fishing this is what it would be like! Amongst the fish were full finned bars of silver reaching 4lb, not a Skerritt in sight. Ahead of us, we could see Phil and Paddy enjoying the same kind of sport, brilliant. As we pulled the drogue to maneuver around some anchored boats the big cheshire grins on our faces said it all. Safely round the pleasure anglers, we stuck the drogue out in Biggins bay after three casts each Del turns to me and says “Its gone off”. We both laughed our arses off, it did, however, slow up for a while. We went back round to Tofts to the Dam side and Del switched to dry fly with instant success, I switched to dry fly only to be met with an instant tangle, so that didn’t survive contact, back to the booby and nymphs. We met up for lunch with the others who were struggling a little except for Steve who just carried on from the week before. We passed along the information and put the guys in the area we had enjoyed much success. Del and I headed to look for alternatives; we picked up the odd fish here and there and eventually reached the tower. I had a really nice fish with the nymphs and there was a lot of activity from some pretty big fish chasing fry. We spent ten to fifteen minutes trying to tempt one to no avail. We met Phil and Paddy would have been down to Rainbow corner they reported the water was colored up so we gave that a miss. We went back up to Tofts for the last hour and fish were plentiful, not quite as quick as the morning but steady away none the less. When we got in Sean Hanlon had been to the tower and pulled out a stunning fish (shown below). So one of the best days fishing that I can recall but an early start was taking its toll and we retired to Bramcote for the evening.

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The match day was near identical to the day before with light winds and overcast conditions. I gave the team a quick brief and told them they were in for a treat. A combined age of nearly 350 it was going to be interesting. I drew Andy from the Queen Mother who was more than happy for me to take the engine and go where I liked, very kind. As predicted every boat hurtled towards Toft at maximum velocity, unfortunately, the pleasure anglers had beaten us to the punch and the most productive part of the water was occupied with anchored boats. As the rest of us tried to squeeze in around the boats I could see someone into fish already. I had opted to fish in open water for the first drift hoping for a gap to open up so I could shoehorn my way in. I only had five minutes to wait before the first take. I had been gleefully telling Andy about the fighting quality of the fish and was surprised when the fish I had hooked put up little resistance. I got it in the net it was of a reasonable size 2-3lb but shaped like a boomerang its head at an almost 40-degree angle to the tail. Still, it was a match it got chapped and bagged. The fishing was a lot slower than the day before probably due to the Spanish Armada going over their heads, still they were coming. I managed to get tucked into the back of the anchored boats and another fish came. Andy then got one before we had to turn around and carefully motor back down as we were going to have to fish up the same water. I was rewarded with another fish which in an inexplicable moment of stupidity I managed to bludgeon over the head with the net and the fish escaped. Not to worry it was only half ten loads of time. I turned the boat to once more creep back down the drift when I noticed one of my fellow competitors motoring up like he was towing a water skier right between the closely anchored boats and straight for me. I resisted the temptation to hurl abuse at the angler and peeled away to find fresh water. It is little wonder comp guys get so much stick when they behave like that, and from people that should know better!

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Anyway I calmed myself down and moved up to open water the fishing was not fast but a fish to the boat every half hour,
there was no rush. I bumped into Ronnie who was doing Ok and I could see Dean Rudd way up in front of me who I assumed was also going well. Sitting on six fish I noticed the anchored boats beginning to move away from Toft for lunch no doubt. I needed no further encouragement; I was round and into the slot, I wanted to start with and the last two fish came within ten minutes. Half one and my day was finished, what a great shame, my partner still had six to get and it looked like it could be a long afternoon. Surely there must be a better way of deciding matches. I watched Ronnie finish up his day a short while later and as I was going over to give Del the news he indicated that he was done as well. The rest of the team worked hard and Peter Harrop nailed his eight fish in the end. The others were a bit unlucky and it was not to be their day. Andy finished at half four and we went in for a well-deserved cuppa. The meal at the Green Man was excellent and we waited for the results produced by Chris Bobby, Rutland had won the day and the division as they can no longer be caught. The Queen Mother came last and can no longer stay in Grp 1 so the division has been decided before the last match. I don’t recall that ever happening before, it’s usually down to the wire.

If you are looking to go for a day out on a boat you could do a lot worse than Draycote!