The Candy Man Draycote Water 07 Mar 2014

This report is a little late as I have been laid up with an attack of gout. Did not even know what gout was but for those of you unfamiliar with the ailment it looks like you have been bitten by something and have taken an allergic reaction to it. The upshot is it hurts like someone driving six-inch nails through your feet removing your ability to stand upright. Anyway, before I was struck down so to speak I managed my first day of the season in a boat. I am very fond of Draycote it’s only an hour forty-five from the house and I have had some great days out there. I had been looking to get a day out with Steve Cullen for a while but the high water and busy schedules’ ruled out a day on the river. Steve is only ten minutes from the water so we agreed to meet up at the Willoughby Café for some breakfast. We had enjoyed some really great days weather wise and as I sat in the car with the rain bouncing off the windshield I was rueing the fact that we should have gone on Wednesday, which was beautiful. We need not have worried though by the time we had finished our fat boys’ breakfast the rain had abated and blue skies were on the horizon. A little blowy but nothing to be concerned with, I was really looking forward to the day.

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I had agreed to write an article for Steve’s mag Today’s, Tomorrows, Complete Fly Fisher, can never remember the name of the bloody thing! It would help him out and as you can see I don’t mind jotting down the inane drivel that passes through my brain. Steve had been suffering from a bad back no joke (for him that is), so I took the engine. Neither Steve nor I had any interest in anchoring over a big shoal of stockies and elected to look for some overwintered fish. We had roughly agreed that the article would be based on fishing the single fly and we would see how the day progressed. Steve had taken some good fish this time last year up by the draw-off tower so we decided to start there. We were not disappointed and in pretty short order the first fish of the day came to the boat and it was a beauty of a Brown Trout a little lean but fin perfect. The very next cast saw the line dragged from my hand as one took on the drop a Rainbow this time. The next cast I had another but it was not to be and the fish had won that fight. So not bad for a start, Steve was getting in about them as well and the bank anglers of which there were plenty were also enjoying their share of the early season sport. We went back around for another fish but the bankies were edging their way towards us no doubt attracted by the number of fish being caught.

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We decided to move across to the other side of the water where again we were into sport almost instantly, I had a fish on and off then Steve got one to the boat. As we were drifting towards the little dam a couple of bank anglers were really pulling them out really close to the margins. We decided to leave them in peace and headed off down the reservoir. We had, of course, reached stockie territory and were having a great drift that said Steve picked up some lovely silver rainbows with huge great tails. I picked up recently stocked fish that were in very good condition and gave a great account of themselves. It was only a matter of time however before a boat motored over and about fifty meters’ from our drifting boat dropped anchor and chain unceremoniously over the side. In years gone by, they would have gotten a piece of my mind but I am older and wiser now, well older anyway. I navigated around and pulled in fifty meters’ in front of the anchored boat. It gave me great pleasure to immediately catch another fish and I think Steve had a couple in short order. We had not finished our drift and the offending boat had lifted their anchor and moved off. The day progressed really well plenty of fish around as there always is at this time of year. If the wind had not been up I am fairly convinced you would have caught these fish with buzzers and nymphs. The winter has been so mild this year I won’t be surprised if I am not on a floater the next time I go out.  

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