The Gift, Grafham Water 27 Mar 2014

Every day that you get to go fishing is a gift and we should all appreciate that, but some days last longer in the memory than others! For me yesterday was such a day, I had arranged to go out with Steve Cullen for some pleasure fishing at Grafham. A bit of a busman’s holiday for Steve, the weather was due to be wet wet wet and I don’t mean the band! I was hoping for a bit of sport on the buzzers Steve opted to start with the bung but I thought to get warmed up and to locate the fish it would pay to start with lures. We had enjoyed a breakfast in the Wheatsheaf in Perry and were fuelled up ready to go. The pub was busy with several policemen that were having a match that day. I was a little dismayed to hear that they were allowed to anchor, but hey ho they paid the same as me. Steve and I decided to give the comp boys a wide berth and as they all headed for the dam and Gaynes Cove we slipped across to the north shore and Hill Farm.


There was a boat with a single angler anchored of the point and we gave him a wide berth and slipped into the bay. It was very sheltered and there was no need for a drogue. The first few casts produced nothing but as the boat slowly moved towards the edge of the shelf I had a solid take but missed it. Steve also failed to strike when his bung dipped and missed a fish. Better wake up then, the very next cast another good take that stuck this time, and what a great account it gave of itself but it was soon subdued and in the net. First fish of the day and the best part of 3lb with a well-mended tail, what a great start. I am not a big fan of trout but every year I take some for the pot in the hope that my pallet may have changed so the fish was chapped and stuck in the bass bag. Another soon followed, a recently stocked fish but in really good nick. Steve began to pick them up on the bung as well and we both missed numerous takes. We had another couple of drifts both taking fish and despite the weather forecast the day was warm and pleasant. A bank angler appeared of the point and was immediately rewarded with a fish. Time for a move, so we headed to Hedge End not a big move but far enough away so as not to bother anyone.


So we have been fishing an hour and things were going well, Steve on the bung and I pulling nasty’s on a DI7. It was about to get really interesting though, in the gentlest of ripples we started to see a few fish move. Steve was getting more attention than I with the buzzers, don’t get me wrong here they were still coming but not like the buzzers. Time to change rigs so on went the buzzers and it can only be described as carnage. In the distance we could see the fast approaching storm and hoping it may skirt around us I started putting my kit back on that I had only half an hour before been shedding like a Labrador on the new cream carpet! I was just in time as the first rumbling of thunder rolled over us and then came the flash of sheet lightning. The rods went down and we sat in the bottom of the boat to wait it out. Anyone who carries on fishing in an electrical storm needs to have a chat with themselves! Fortunately, the storm did not last long but in its wake, it left a strong northerly wind which even with the right kit on cut through you like a knife. The floaters had to be stowed and we both re-rigged Steve with a DI5 and some very fetching new flies he had tied. I stuck on my trusted and dare I say proven DI7. I have often found right after a storm the fish can really come to life and this was indeed the case this time. Steve was bringing fish to the boat with nearly every cast, they would rush up behind his fly swim round it some would take some would just swim away. I, on the other hand, could not buy a take. I did not want to change lines so opted for the next best thing, I reluctantly took the candyfloss off and tied on a booby blob. An inspired change and fish came in short order. Just as the follows and takes were drying up I said to Steve, one more cast each and that last cast was really worth it producing my best fish so far this season. As you can see from the photo the fish had a cracking propeller on it and it made good use of it. The boat was getting ever nearer to the bank and I had seen the fish jump and knew it was worth having. Steve kindly reeled in and grabbed the not too clever excuse for a net that we had in the boat. After what seemed like a long time Steve eventually netted the fish. It was quickly dispatched before we moved away from the fast-approaching bankside.  Safely out of harm’s way we stopped and photographed the fish what an absolute stunner!


We had more than enjoyed our time at Hedge End but it was time to give those fish a break and we moved off towards the dam. The left-hand side of the dam was very crowded with anchored boats and was probably the place to be. When you're drifting though you can do without obstructions so we thought we would give the other side a go. Talk about landing on the money, immediately Steve was into a fish then I got one and it was not long before we were both switched to buzzers again. The fish did not seem to mind the change of offering and just kept coming. At one point I had two on at once, on buzzers that’s never happened before, to be fair I only landed one as the other fly was ripped from my leader. We were having a great day but the clock was wearing on and as it steadily approached 4pm Steve suggested a £1 on the next fish. It’s funny how everything goes quiet the banter stopped and we were both concentrating intently on what we were doing virtually simultaneously we both hit fish……… Steve lifted into the air and where’s my quid pal?

We called it a day and headed back to the lodge what an absolutely fantastic days sport. We enjoyed four seasons of weather and the fishing was immense!