The Anglian water is the premier team loch style fishing competition in the country. This year due to dates and availability of team members the Soldier Palmers decided that the Bewl heat would be our best option. The team had excellent success the week before in the spring meeting of the Affiliation of Major Clubs. The team won the day overall and the kudos of top rod fell to our team captain Ronnie Christie. So with tails up four of the team managed an extra practice day on Thursday which was to prove invaluable. Ronnie and I were only going to fish the Friday for practice. It was good to catch up with the rest of the team on a Friday morning. A very still Bewl water greeted us and already it was very hot. I was to fish with Paul Lee and he was to take me around the areas where the team had caught fish the previous day. I had started on a fast sinker but the day and conditions demanded coming up in the water, so after an hour I changed to my midge tip and a team of nymphs fished washing line style. I had caught on the fast sinker, in fact, I nearly lost my rod to an overexcited fish that slammed hard into the fly. I was convinced however that the midge tip would be more efficient. Paul duly chauffeured me around the reservoir and I caught fish in all the spots I was taken.
Always nice to get a few before a match to lift your confidence. After overnighting at the local barracks we had a hearty breakfast courtesy of the cookhouse. The drive across to Bewl was uneventful with little traffic on the road on a Saturday morning. On arriving at Bewl a very different water greeted us the cloud had all but obliterated any sunshine and the wind was doing its best to pull the flags from the sailing buoys’. I was more than a little concerned that the day was at risk of going very wrong. We had a quick chinwag about the change in conditions and my fears were allayed. We had lots of areas where we knew there were fish and the methods we had discovered over the two days were sound. Dropping down a line or so may be the answer. I was lucky and drew the engine and control for the first two hours, I was also lucky with my boat partner an old Bewl hand Bob Shaw. I decided to start down Rosemary Lane, most boats headed up Bewl Straight but they peeled off to Ferry Point and other areas. By the time we reached the lane only three other boats had followed. There was a boat anchored up in just the spot I wanted to start my drift, bugger! Not to worry a quick shunt further downwind of the boat and we were good to go. Bob was straight into a fierce fighting blue trout first cast, here we go……..eh no not quite. The wind was swirling around and getting a decent drift was difficult. Bob had another but it dropped off. I was busy ripping my line in when my first fish ripped the hook from my line, A short while later while rolly pollying my line back after what can only be described as a comical cast my entire set up was taken from the braided loop. I managed to eventually get a fish in the boat and Bob had managed another. I watched a boat take what seemed like fish after fish, as it happened this was not the case but it sure seemed like it.
Around 1200hrs Andy Everitt came to see how I was going on, he was on five and reported Kitch had finished and to follow him back to the area. He drifted into the tree line and both he and his partner took fish close in. Bob and I made three drifts for not a touch, we had been getting action at Rosemary Lane so headed back. I changed to my trusty DI7 and started pulling and this worked in a fashion it was not a quick method but I would pick the odd one or two up. I hooked me forth fish virtually on the dam wall and was concerned to see a huge pike chasing it around. Luckily the fish came to the net mostly intact. Things had slowed right up for Bob and I was not feeling the love, we both decided to move further up Bewl Straight. We had hardly got out of the Lane when again Andy came to collect us. Both he and his partner were done, as I came around the corner several of my teammates were on their hands, all had their red hats on. I resolved to stay on the DI7 and after a fast and furious ten minute, I had increased my tally from four to seven. As usual, when I turned to go back round there was a fleet of boats to rival the Falklands Taskforce. It took the best part of an hour to catch the last fish, but I was most grateful anyway. As I was packing up Bob continued his catch and release policy and I think this was probably the fifth fish he had lost in play. The rest of the team had finished and were waiting on their partners, some managed some were unlucky.
After the results were announced we were rightly pleased with the way we had performed. The nearest team to us was nearly 40lb adrift. All six of the team were in the top eight anglers in the field. A sterling effort by all and one of the most satisfying matches I have had the pleasure of fishing.
The Internationalis only two weeks away I am sure the guys will have a great time at Bewl. Unlike previous years where the fish have been a little on the small side in comparison to the midlands waters. This year has seen some quality fish including that turbo charged Blue trout that are a pleasure to catch.