For the last the last three years I have had the very great pleasure of being invited along to the EFFA (Confederation of English Fly Fishers Association) by John Gamon. The event is the clubs Spring meeting and was to be held at Pitsford water. I was fortunate that many of their numbers are ex-members of the Army Angling Federation, with John himself belonging to both clubs. Roy Dixon, Dave Morris and Al Ward were also in attendance. It was especially pleasing to catch up with Al, his work keeps him out of the country quite a bit. It was also nice to see a number of anglers very senior in years still keen to get out on the water. Amongst their number were Bob Church and Charles Jardine. My very first fishing rod was a Bob Church Boron.
Anyway, to the fishing, conditions looked fantastic a bit of warmth in the air and a light wind. Buzzer hatches were evident even in the car park with large swarms of flies resting on the parked cars. There could be no other choice on went the midge tip with a mix of crunchers and diawl bachas’. John had fished with his regular partner on Tuesday but had little joy in the big half in fairly horrendous conditions. So for the morning at least we would fish the small half after some advice from the warden. Many were of the same thought and some boats set up their drifts just shy of the boat dock drifting towards the nature reserve. John and I opted to fish away from the cluster of boats on the opposite side. John was fishing a floater with similar flies to my own setup. On the second drift about 50m from the bank, I spotted the tell-tale sign of my line sliding away from a quick flick of the wrist and my first fish was in play. The fight was short and the fish was slipped into the waiting net. That’s when I found I had forgotten my priest. John kindly lent me his home made and very effective priest. It has square sides so does not roll all over the boat when you place it down. It also seemed much easier to dispatch the trout with given its broad face. The first fish in the boat it was not long before two more followed. John then opened his account with a great fish of around 3lb. The wind occasionally gusted up which made line control a little challenging still with lunch on the horizon we stuck it out with the nymphs. By 1300hrs I had managed five and John had managed three fish to the boat. We were both pleased with our efforts after the main course the caterer brought round giant muffins. I resolved to keep mine until I had caught my last three fish. After everyone had eaten their fill the EFFA Captain gave a few words and introduced the guests or in my case the pest.
After a hearty meal both John and I opted to stick with the nymphs, there was no mad dash for the boats it was all very pleasant. Anglers had shared areas and methods at lunch and the small half saw an increase in boats. Most of them hugged the dockside bank though and John and I largely had the area we had fished in the morning to ourselves. After about forty minutes the wind had picked up, I decided to go to a fast sinker to pick up the last of my fish. John stuck with the floater but not for long he soon succumbed to the wind and switched to a flow intermediate but stuck with the nymphs. I had gone to a tried and trusted single booby. John started to pick up the fish again and after he had taken two I was wondering if I had made the wrong decision. The thought didn’t last long as my rod buckled over with a good fish. Before the drift was done I had another, one to come. John was making great headway with his bag as well and quickly got to six fish with a couple of hours left I was confident we would both finish. Number eight came and went not once but twice, they were coming a little short. A change of color and a short time later last fish slipped into the net. Although John had a little more interest the fish failed to stick.
The fishing had been excellent and the company more so, a thoroughly enjoyable day out. I do think the EFFA have gotten a lot right with their attitude to competition fishing, the atmosphere was very friendly and the format with lunch outstanding.