I could not practice for this so considered myself unavailable, we had entered three teams and one of the anglers dropped out. I volunteered for match day only, always a bit of a gamble. When I spoke to the guys that had been out the day previous they said the rain had been monsoon like the day before. It did not look to be shaping up much better for the match day. The good news though was that the fishing had picked up considerably from the AW Northern Final. For those that follow the blog you will know that was not much fun. This was my first trip on a stillwater since then so my hope was high that I would manage few fish.
After a bit of a cake and arse party to start with, the boat draw had to be redone the start time was moved back and then moved back again. We were finally sent on our way, the Captains brief ringing in my ears “Turn right and catch eight fish” sounds good….lol. My boat partner for the day was Chris McLeod from the Invictus Select team. He had also kindly stepped in to help the Army teams practice a very experienced angler I am sure he would have added much value. He was happy enough to let me take the engine a decision that I am sure he would regret later when he is applying plasters to his waterproofs.
After a brief chat we decided to head up towards the dam it was a little worrying to see only another couple of boats follow, but hey ho. I had opted to start on a slow glass as the fish were very high in the water, Chris had stuck on a midge tip. To be fair despite the rain it looked very fishy and as with most starts to the day I was very optimistic. The sport began almost immediately as Chris had a trout rush up and chase his point fly only to turn away as he ran out of line. It was my turn next but the fish got bored before it even got near the boat. Only a few casts later Chris was playing his first fish and he swiftly brought it to the boat. I had a fish before Chris had managed to put his flies back in the water. What a fantastic start, Chris soon added a second fish to his bag as I hooked and lost one.
When the wind got up a little the sport seemed to slow down somewhat but as soon as it dropped a little the fish seemed to be everywhere. The sport was hectic with follows and takes constantly, there was a short spell off about ten minutes where neither of us had seen a follow or managed a take. We jokingly said maybe it’s gone off PMSL. No these fish were proper on it, every now and then then the wind would get a bit blustery and Chris would find himself picking my flies from his dome. I am sure it kept him on his toes. After a very quick start I was pretty pleased to catch Chris up and by about 1330 we were both sitting pretty on seven fish each. The boat had gone a bit quieter as we were both keen to get the last one.
I hooked a fish and was feeling pretty chuffed but the feeling was very brief as the fish was on then off. Not long after Chris hooked one at distance and was busy playing the fish, my flies were almost back to the boat when the rod buckled over. What a great way to finish…..quack quack, my line went slack and the fish was gone. A 1337 finish for Chris and a reasonable bag of fish to boot. I kept hooking them and they kept slipping the hook, well most of them. One fish which I watched take one of my nymphs before running for the exit bent out the hook. Now in the normal run of things the teddy would have been out the cot lying beside the dummy that would have been spat out after losing the first couple of fish. Today though I was not even slightly bothered it was great and I didn’t want to stop fishing. All good things come to an end though and my last fish hit the bass bag at 1430.
When we got back in there were already many finished, little did I know at the time was that everyone in the match would finish. I have fished comps for over twenty five years and never known a match where the entire field bagged up! It’s quite remarkable really, usually regardless of how easy the fishing is some poor sod has a bad day and does not manage to finish. Every angler eight fish and I dare say if they had a similar day to Chris and I the same again caught and lost, amazing!
The venue is absolutely on fire, if you have been thinking about a trip to Rutland water don’t put it off any longer get there this weekend.