Angling Trust Loch Style Match Grafham report by John HardyWayne Jones
When the Autumn match series first came out with the idea of fishing a series of matches over the Autumn and Winter that culminated with a Spring final, the Renegades and I were all over it. With the effect of COVID-19 pandemic, there has been little lock style competition, add to that the simple fact of global warming and the need to move to the cooler times of the year for our chosen quarry, I thought “total winner”. Sadly, due to the lack of take up of which I am sure there are many reasons, AT decided to move the series to a single one off at Grafham Water.
Three of the team decided to fish the competition as a team, practising with two boats over two practice days before the comp. Due to the lack of matches this year, it was easy to give it two days on the water with your mates. Practice days had told us one thing, the fish regardless of bright sunny conditions where high and we estimated this to be no more than 12 inches below the surface at any time. Dries could work early moving onto small boobies and nymphs fished on a fly line with no more than a 1 to 1.25 inch sink rate per second. Areas where also well spread, Savages to the West and the willows to the East with drifts across the middle around one of the following buoys R to Tower, Deep water to B and D across the basin to Sludge.
Match day saw us split. Mark Rose would go to Savages and Sean Hanlon and I would go to the willows working together to try and locate fish that we knew were from the bank at the willows all the way through D buoy and across the Basin to the far bank. Tactics were simple, slow glass, two red headed hairs ears and two tequila fabs from Wayne Jones Fly Shop, no big stuff and nothing fished fast. From the off it worked 2 to 3 fish an hour losing the odd fish. Key points, watch the water all the time constantly fan casting at range, cast at anything that even looked like a fish, be ready to move to fish that are moving, if your boat partner got one you would too. In short be ready to exploit any opportunity.
The match was fished 10:00hrs to 17:00hrs in the spirit of how it should have been. Team AT did a great job on site doing all the stuff that need to be done well to set the conditions for an excellent match. Anglian water staff where good keeping us all safe and at times reminding us of what was required. In times of the Corona virus that was very commendable, as we all learn to operate safely in a COVID-19 safe space. Everyone should be commended for the great turn out and good atmosphere. It was also great to see ladies fishing and a good sprinkling of new faces, please keep coming and asking questions.
The final thanks must go to Andy Taylor, without him this would not have happened. If these times are teaching us anything, it is to get out there, do your part, keep everyone safe, be kind to each other and enjoy your competition fishing.
See you at the next one.