The Veterans were called upon to aid our serving brethren in the Anglian water four-man team event so Del Spry, Ronnie Christie and I answered the call. A great opportunity for us to get back on the water, we were ably assisted by Jamie Thomas who fished with us and were lucky enough to have a Soldier Palmers B team out. As none of us were available to practice we were heavily reliant on the guys, some of who had stuck in two practice days. So a big thank you to them and Sean Hanlon for the comprehensive brief on arrival at the lodge.
It was grand to catch up with a few boys and I chewed the fat with Carl Nixon about his recent visit to the Rivers National on the Dee. Surprisingly there were only eight teams entered in this event and three of those were furnished by the RAF. I dare say with the Lexus final on this weekend at Chew and the clash of dates have not suited many. The day itself was bright and when we arrived there seemed to be very little wind. The cloud cover was forecast but it failed to put in any significant appearance. A few of our combined teams had drawn some of the RAF guys who were all keen to go off to a secret undisclosed area. The dilemma having not practiced myself was to stick with Sean’s brief or follow the lead. Watching the boat split the bulk of the RAF rods with the engine headed for the South Arm. Not for me though I turned right and into the main basin, I was fishing with Dave Kennell from the Greenwell Persuaders and he was content to try the basin as well. Dave had fished the previous Thursday and had taken a few fish from the East Creek area so if the basin didn’t pay off we did not have far to go. Several boats had plumbed for the middle of the basin but there was plenty of room for everyone to be well spaced out. I plonked us right in the middle no particular mark in mind just plenty of space and clean water. The first drift was a bit of a fairy tale really five minutes in I hooked into a double shooter and for the briefest of moments thought that I may land them both. It was not to be though but at least one had stuck around to receive their last rites. A few casts later another fish came and I wasted little time pulling it in before recasting. Then it was Dave’s turn fishing a midge tip his line shot tight and he landed his first fish of the day. Shortly after that, I hooked another double shooter again only one made it to the boat the other departing with my dropper and nymph to fight another day. Dave hooked another at distance and soon had it right by the boat. I cast my flies to where he had caught the fish and after a long pull the tell-tale bow wave gave the fish away. I increased the speed of the retrieve just waiting for it to lock up. Sure enough, the solid yank on the end of my line confirmed another fish. First drift and six fish to the boat, we were both pretty pleased with our efforts.
Looking around it seemed most others were not as fortunate and only ones and twos were being reported caught. As Del motored up towards me and I was on a very credible six fish for just two hours of fishing I was trying to signal him when the line was ripped from my hand. With barbless hooks, you don’t often get a second chance and sure enough, by the time I had tried to tighten up the fish had gone. As I was about to turn the boat round to head back up the drift I thought I would stand up and stretch my legs. I know what you’re expecting and that’s when the idiot fell in, luckily that did not happen. What did happen was a searing pain in my lower back which I have only felt once before and that was just before it went into a seizure, not pleasant I might add. I eased myself back down into my seat and Dave kindly offered me some Ibuprofen which was gratefully received. It was manageable enough and I was able to fish on and with five hours to go, I was pretty confident that the last two fish would come. They didn’t though and even after trying all tricks I only managed to conjure up one other offer for the day. Dave ground out another few fish to get a very credible six in total, he should have finished and certainly enjoyed more sport than I in the Afternoon.
The team had done Ok I suppose no blanks and we were all pleasantly surprised when the results were announced and we were third. The Soldier Palmers B had a credible showing in sixth place. Congratulations to Peregrine Fly Fishers and in particular Carl Nixon taking the only limit on the day.