Last Wednesday was the first fishing trip of 2015 for the Roundhay Fly Fishers and as always, Tanfield was chosen as the opening venue. I was quite excited about getting out to do some rainbow fishing which surprised me, and probably surprises you if you follow my blog, because I did go through a stage of disillusionment with fishing for stockies. For me the outing begins the night before with sandwich decisions. What happens here can shape the outcome of tomorrow! Perhaps I should expand and give you a scenario. You’ve not had an offer all morning so you break for lunch. You’ve been looking forward to those badass sandwiches you spent ages making last night, followed by your favourite crisps, chocolate bar, fizzy pop, cup of coffee. Yeah. I feel good, mm-mmmm. Back to fishing full of renewed vigour. You rethink strategy, carefully choose a different fly, cast accurately, retrieve with some intelligence about what you’re trying to imitate or achieve. All that positive energy is transmitted from food > energy > performance. The alternative is that same morning without an offer, not looking forward to your lunch, eating only because you have to, returning to fishing even more miserable, fuck it I’ll just keep that same fly on. Angry casting, exacerbated faults, poor presentation, robotic retrieves, another blank. Misery. Death.
I began the day with honest intentions even though I did put up 2 rods straight away, one with floater/buzzers and one with slow sink/lure. The wind was supposed to be Westerly all day so I trundled down to the North West corner with a view to putting out buzzers with a comfortable tail wind and letting them swing round with the ‘current’. I got there and the wind was all over the shop so sacked that idea off and went round to the South East bank where I’ve had some good sessions in the past.
I fished pretty hard with 2 buzzers, one red and one black. The red I thought would do some good as John “Northy” the human fish finder was having a whale of a time on the opposite bank with his red buzzer. I tried static, slow retrieve, figure of eight, sink and draw. No offers. ” Maybe you should just try get a fish under my belt with the lure rod” said my Id. I didn’t argue. 2 casts later an offer, followed by a fish on cast number 3. “Yeah, good work Bobby” said my Id. “Now go get another, you can always switch back to the floater later”
I carried on fishing the Tanfield Twat right up until lunch was called and had a good number of fish but knew today would not be a trophy day for me as John’s lead was unassailable by now – if only I’d got out of bed earlier! Lunch at Tanfield Lodge is great as we can all get plotted up in the big comfy hut with its wood burning stove and have a good catch up and plenty of banter. And yes, I very much enjoyed my packed lunch!
Post lunch I had a few more fish from the same spot but then the wind, which had been all up in my face for most of the day got worse so I went walkabout. By the way, the fish in Tanfield are still scrappy buggers. I tried to get some pictures but it’s tricky on your own, here’s the best photo I got!!
I sat behind Colin and Stu for a bit and relaxed in the sun – it was a revelation how calm the other side was! You can also see how clear the water is at Tanfield albeit with a lovely turquoise tinge which brings me onto another point. I was wearing my new Dame Edna over-glasses polaroids and boy does it make a difference – maybe as much as sandwiches! You definitely see more of what’s going on without the surface glare and if you see fish chasing your fly it gives you extra confidence.
I sauntered further along and found a spot alongside John where I could wade out enough to give me plenty of back cast room. I was still on the lure rod and began picking up more fish but with the 5 o’clock <our club rule> cut off time approaching it still seemed unlikely I could ever get near John’s total. Yet somehow I managed to draw level, we were both now on about 15 fish each and the game was on! I caught fish, he caught fish, the lead swapped places all the way up to about 5 minutes before our self-imposed when I caught 2 in a row that clinched the trophy. Surely one of the most thrilling spectacles ever seen on a club outing :-D!
Of course, once the adrenaline wears off you remember that all you’ve been doing is fooling creatures with a tiny brain into taking your fly, dragging them around a lake then hoying them back in purely for your entertainment. It sounds kinda bad when you strip it down to the basics like that but it’s just something we are compelled to do. I’ve said it before though, maybe a day will come where my conscience decides I cannot do this anymore.Anyway soul searching aside, another good day was had at Tanfield and with the Fly tying Trophy also mine this year I’m going to see if I can get some more although this run of good luck cannot go on forever!
Coming up next…a thrilling return to Walton Hall and a review of the Wychwood Viewfinder fly patch-box thingy.