Graham Pearson asked me to fish this match which is a team organised by Graham against the Confederation of English Fly Fishers. I had missed out on the Bob Church Classic the week before due to a back injury. Although my back was still not quite right I decided to give it a go sponsored by Ipbrufen and paracetamol. The weather looked exceptionally good overcast and light winds perfect! Speaking to a few of the boys in the car park the fishing had been up and down one minute folks would be fighting fish off with the oars. Another day guys would be scraping round for an offer, which would it be today?
It was great to catch up with a few of the Confederation guys and few other old soldiers. I had drawn Peter De Kremer, he had practiced the previous day and was happy enough to take the engine. I had seen several fish topping before the boats had left the dock and was hopeful that the fishing would be pretty good. We sped towards the right side of the dam in the flat calm. As we approached several fish could be seen smutting through small pin fry and we both began to fish expectantly. Due to the wind bouncing off the dam the boat moved haphazardly around. Peter did an excellent job of keeping us in the zone so to speak. Despite our efforts though we managed only a take each. Time was pushing on and after a couple of fruitless hours we decided to find a friend.
We arrived not far away amongst a few other boats and I spotted Al Owen who had managed a couple of fish. He explained hoe he was getting them deep, so a quick change to a five sweep and I was soon bored out my tiny skull! I don’t mind fishing the the ugly stuff early season but surely the middle of June …..come on. After half an hour of so I did not so much get a take, it was more like the line just going a bit heavy. As I pulled in line the rod buckled into a pleasing arc, the fish had been deep, very deep. As I brought it up to the surface the arc in the rod disappeared and I could just make out the tail of a nice fish swishing back to the depths. That was about all she wrote for my fishing that day. No other follows or takes, I would have to go back a long way to find a day’s fishing less memorable.
More of note was the superb company of Peter a passionate angler who lives no fat from Rutland. He reported some pretty outstanding fishing to be had up there with tales of fish close in feeding on the shrimp. As I was going up to Rutland that evening I was all ears. As the skies began to darken around the water Peter caught a fish on the midge tip, happy days. It was the first bit of action in ever such a long time. Shortly after as spots of rain found their way to my face Peter had another perhaps things were going to turn. Turn they did, the rain started to fall in huge sheets and the rumble of thunder could be heard in the not so distant distance. We wound in an high tailed it to the bank. Another angler had beaten us to it and watched as we beached the boat on the South shore. From the bank I could see fork lightning streaking out towards the ground. Sitting out in the middle of a lake waving a lightning conductor around was not my idea of a good time. We waited patiently for it to pass. A lack of wind was hindering this and I suspected this was in for the day.
The weather seemed to subside a little and Peter and I agreed that it would be safe to venture back out. As we were returning to the area where Peter had taken his two fish we could see the launch speeding round the boats and knew it was all over. Mark Haycock approached us and explained that there were three storms surrounding the water and we were to return to the dock, good call. As we returned it was evident that it had been a very tough day. I was in good company joining several of my team mates with the big donut! The match itself seemed to be a very close affair with only one fish between the two teams. We would not know the results until after the meal.
The meal was in The Lion Hotel in Buckden, only a short drive from the water. It was a three course meal and very good it was to. It was great to catch up with fellow anglers sharing stories and opinions about fishing. I was particularly pleased to see John Seaton who seems to be making the most of his retirement from Anglian Water. Less pleased to see him drown a decent whiskey with lemonade mind but I can work on that…lol. The results were super close but as luck would have it the professional team ably led by Graham had won the day. Nobody likes not catching fish but still I can’t help but think how much I enjoyed the day. After the meal it was onwards and upwards to Rutland for three days to attend the Army Championships.