Anglian Water Northern Final 08 – 10 Jul 2017

Fish fest, Fishing bonanza, trout soup and carnage are just a few of the desciptive words that you will not find in this blog update. Hard as bleached white dog shite would be more like it! One lad was heard to say on the morning of the match that he would rather smash his genitals with a mallet than spend eight hours on Rutland, and I dare say there would have been a queue behind him. It was tough and that’s under egging it.

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I had heard that it was not fishing so well and expected a bit of a grinder but when I turned up at the lodge a few of our guys had been out on the Friday. Jamie Thomas had joined in with the RAF league match and managed his 12 fish limit as had his boat partner and several other anglers. This news cheered me up no end and it was with much enthusiasm that Ronnie Christie and I tackled up ready for a great days sport. It became evident after the first three hours without so much as a follow that our initial optimism was misplaced. Ronnie was persevering with the method that Jamie had used to great effect the day before and I was working either side of it. Ronnie eventually managed to get one I managed one as well just in time to go in and have a chin wag with the rest of the guys.

The mood was one of much hilarity, you know the kind when things are so bad if you don’t make light of it you would cry.
So we had a laugh ate some chocolate and headed back for part two. It was dire and between Ronnie and I we did not get another bit of interest to the boat. There was much scratching of heads not just in our team but some of the other teams we could see coming off the water looked none too pleased with their days graft. We headed into Oakham for a bite to eat before heading back to Whittering (where we were staying). Although we had all brought tying kit we had identified very little to be tied so we tucked into a bottle of Whisky Ronnie had brought along and chatted through the day. There was not much to say and we thought that another day may add some more pieces to the puzzle.

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The next day I was paired up with Jamie Thomas and we headed up to the Dam in the hope that the fish had come back on. Jamie did catch something that looked like a trout but it was much smaller…..lol but at least he had one. After several drifts we decided to push further back into the basin where Jamie managed to hook a much better quality fish. Maybe they had pushed back from the dam. We will never know as within ten minutes we were completely surrounded by sailing boats and it was time to look elsewhere. When we arrived at elsewhere there was **** all fish there either. It was time to go in and report our findings to the guys. I had stuck my wellies and salopettes on as there was some rain expected. This seemed to amuse the boys no end as the temperature soared to 26 degrees. My neoprene wellies where making my feet swell and they were the size of small grapefruits. I spent the rest of the day fishing in my bare feet much to Jamie’s disgust although much more comfortable it did not improve my fishing. In the Afternoon we headed up to the tower in the North Arm and I did get a bit of sport and even managed to hook a fish which I lost almost immediately. Still the water clarity was better here and I managed a few half-hearted follows. The upshot of the day was I had not managed one fish to the boat, morale was pretty low.

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In the evening we chatted through the very short list of options and tied a few patterns up that might work. The car park the morning of the match was much more subdued than is usual for such a big match. It was fairly evident that everyone had toiled over the previous two days and we were in for a long day. I had drawn Tom Davis from team Vision and a quick chat with Tom confirmed that there were only really two options the basin or the North arm. Tom had drawn the engine and to be honest I am glad the decision was not mine to make. Straight from the off the vast majority of the fleet headed up the North Arm with only two or three boats heading into the main basin. Tom and I had a particularly slow boat and despite getting off to a good start we were soon being seen off by several other boats. As they peeled off and started their drifts we left them behind heading further up beyond Dickinson’s. Tom and I fished the weed beds for maybe half an hour but I was not feeling the love and neither was Tom. So we headed over to the tower to join the happy throng, Tom spoke with his dad and it was clear we had not missed much. It was only a gentle ripple when we arrived and I opted to fish my fast glass quite slow to get a bit of depth. I was a bit surprised when the rod buckled over near the end of the retrieve with a good fish attached. I can’t recall playing a fish as carefully in a long time but they were all going to be precious today. As I drew it towards the waiting net I could see that the Cruncher it had taken was barely attached to its top lip. It was with a huge exhale of breath when I slipped the net under the fish and the hook fell away another five seconds and I fear it would still be enjoying swimming round Rutland.

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The next drift I managed another fish just slowing down the retrieve it had taken the same nymph. Within the space of ten minutes another fish graced my bass bag, three in the bag and it was not even twelve o’clock. Things were going great, I felt that I was doing the right thing and my confidence was growing. I hooked another fish a short while later but after a brief fight that the fish got the better of I was still stuck on three. Tom who had switched hooked what I assumed was a good fish as it tore off across the front of the boat. I got my line and rod out the way and stood with the landing net at the ready. Unfortunately we did not get to see that fish as it came unstuck from the hook whilst fighting deep. I was gutted for Tom as well as myself as we had both lost fish within five minutes of each other. Still we had a method and it was working, was working and that’s the key. The truth is we just had a purple patch and were lucky enough to get a few fish to the boat.

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Although we both had the odd follow and the very odd take only Tom managed to add to the boats tally getting one out the blue and thankfully saving the blank for Tom. I hooked and lost another and managed some half-hearted takes but it was all pretty poor. There were plenty of anglers around us and it was fairly clear that nobody was smashing it up, the weigh in was going to be interesting. As a team we had managed eleven fish, which might seem rather low but actually it was a really good effort considering the conditions. We were carrying a couple of blanks as did most teams the Ospreys carried five blanks which is mind blowing considering the quality of anglers in the team. The best bag was Lloyd Pallet with four fish for 10lb 7oz. Bob Fitzpatrick from Stocks Falcons did manage five but they were a little light and that was beaten by three other fours. Sixteen blanks from a field of 33 anglers with a rod average of 1.75 that just about sums it up pass the mallet this way!