GET HOOKED: Small victories are sweet at Farmoor
2:01pm Monday 30th September 2013 in Sport
THE local carp and tench have been all-consuming this season, and I knew after another fishless visit to the syndicate lake last week that a change would do me good. An invitation to a day’s fishing on a large trout reservoir last Sunday was impossible to resist.
My pal Ian was the host, and the venue was Farmoor 1 in Oxfordshire. I’d only been there once before, and it had been disastrous.
It was two summers ago, a hot cloudless day, and the fish had been deep and lethargic. Late in the day I managed to entangle my fly line in the prop of the outboard – a basic and expensive error, and one that Ian has chosen to remind me of more than once since.
Disasters notwithstanding, I liked the place and was keen to return to the two reservoirs there. Both are large, moody places with a head of brown and rainbow trout which – unlike some of the more exploitative put-and-take fisheries – don’t come with stunted fins or a dumb, suicidal attraction to big lures.
The Farmoor fish are discerning, and if you don’t give them something that matches their instinctive feeding patterns, you can be in for a long day.
We had expected to be fishing with ‘daddies’, the fly fisherman’s interpretation of the crane flies which are irritatingly prevalent right now, but there were none in evidence when we arrived and so a long process of working it out for ourselves began.
Nothing was rising, but the rainbows – many of which are of a good size, with an average approaching 4lb – like to chase the prodigious shoals of fry.
Close inspection of the upper layers revealed the vortices of feeding fish as the trout harried the little ones, and before long Ian and I had boated a couple of fish using small Minkie patterns. And then it went quiet.
Through the middle of a clear day we struggled, but at last light the lake awoke and our final tally was something like ten trout up to 5lb. It wasn’t a score to worry the professional anglers who frequent the lake, but compared to our previous visit, it had been an outrageous triumph.
I drove back to the Cotswolds with a wet net and, thankfully, just as much fly line as I’d started with. Sometimes in fishing, it is the small victories that matter.
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