Renegades Go WestWayne Jones
Way back in March, Wayne rang me about a competition he was thinking of running, wanting it to be a good hard match but with a spirit of friendship; I was hooked, and Renegades started to plan their visit to a place that no one had ever been to or could even pronounce.
For those that don’t know, Clywedog reservoir is a reservoir near Llanidloes, Wales on the head-waters of the River Severn. The construction of the reservoir was enabled by an Act of parliament, and its primary purpose is to supply fresh water to the English Midlands, it is 9.5km long (41,000 acre) and at its deepest it is over 200ft deep, holding 50000 megalitres; but then again it does rain a lot in Wales! Although this sounds daunting, it would be fair to say that it doesn’t feel like a massive reservoir, even though it is. The reservoir can be broken down into two basins, three arms and the cages, all of which on their own are much more manageable.
The team decided early on that we needed a recce, time in recognisance is seldom wasted and so the decision was made to get on the water for a day within 10 days of the match. We had to keep the dates loose due to ever changing covid restrictions, so when Wayne gave me a ring to confirm the date the recce went in without any drama. The main take away was DRIES!… no problem, us Renegades love a bit of dries action… not!
We decided that we would do 2 days practice before the 2 day match. We felt happy in just two days we would cover all the water as our work rate is high and we love to pull. So the team started to roll in on Wednesday from 14:00hrs to 01:30hrs (Pabs). Sean and I managed to get a quick afternoon session in at the Dam, Poppies, and Big Dam Bay. What we had done before the match was spot map the whole lake using numbers not Welsh names, as none of us could speak the local tongue and it allowed us to break the reservoir down even smaller. The session was amazing, with fish everywhere and they wanted it “full power”; pull until you can pull no more on a Di7. In 5 hours we had 40 fish and we never did the same drift twice, it was amazing.
Practice day one saw our team split with no boat allowed in the cages. We already knew the cages would keep giving, we needed to find fish in other areas on methods we are not known for AKA dries. We found fish everywhere, from a DI5 pulling peach boobies to a floater fishing three dries. The Bigger Arm was bumping, as was the Dam and across the middle at the Popular Bank.
Practice day two saw a change of plan, 1 boat would stay at the cages with boats rotating every 3 hours between the North, South and cages with the cages boat always controlling what was happening. What became clear was the cages where going to keep giving regardless of how much they took a pounding. I have never seen such a small area take such a pounding but keep fishing, in the same boat one of you could be on dries and the other a Di5 sweep slow figure 8 back to the boat.
Match day 1 and the plan was quite simple Di5/Di3/Fast glass and floaters later, areas where cages, A buoy, Chapel Bank, Chapel Basin, Dam and Poppies, moving to the Popular Bank mid afternoon and everyone on dries. Flies where pretty simple; peach boobies, cormorants with silver or red bodies, small eyed orange boobies and later moving to CDC’s, flatbacks and black bobs bits all in 12’s or 14’s. Pab’s started well taking a drift though the cages and then moving away to A buoy and then Danas Point. Mark started slower but then started catching along the Danas Bank of the cages on dries hard against the bank. I took a kicking on the first drift going down 5 nil along the side of the cages, and it took a while to pull it back over the next couple of hours. Into the afternoon and the boats started to move around a bit with some of the team moving North to the Popular Bank and drifting across the top of the Popular Bank on dries. 5pm came and we all headed in, we’d had a good day and were third overall on a massive learning curve with a third of the fish caught on dries!
Match day 2 and the plan was the same but we knew we where going to be moving North and switching to dries earlier than match day one… and so it was. Wozzer started slow arriving at Popular with 4, over the next 3 hours he would catch 6 on dries finishing on 10. Sean would move North to the bank East of the moorings taking 8 on dries and finishing on 16. Mark would also have a good day catching fish off the popular steady finishing on 12. Kitch would dig in again as he had on day one and ticked them off, one by one. Again 5pm came and we all went in to weight-in, we had done better than day one finishing 2nd, but would it be enough? In the end we finished 3rd behind Change (2nd) and the Welsh Hawks (1st).
Wayne and the team did a cracking job in organising and running the match. It’s one thing to run a match but do it under restrictions and in the spirit of the sport is much harder. If your team gets an invite next year, I would take it, this is one not to be missed.
Wayne thanks for the invite, see you next year