West Tanfield 18/04/2012

Yesterday was the first outing of 2012 for Sturmgruppe RFF  and perhaps predictably the weather was rubbish, a rude contrast to the false spring we had last month! Nevertheless we managed to muster 10 of our number. Myself and Stu even managed to get there for a very respectable 9:30 in the morning. It seems some of the group took the A1 route to get there and found their usual turn off for West Tanfield had been blocked off (permanently?) which necessitated a lengthy trip to the next turn-off. Worth bearing in mind if you’re off to Tanfield for the 1st time in a while.

I’d put quite a bit of prep into the day, tying the flies I posted about last night and making some rather bad-ass sandwiches. These kept me going with their Double Gloucester, jalapeno and pepperoni goodness.

I spent the majority of the morning fishing from the ‘spit’ and only managed to attract a couple of swirls to a team of buzzers and a pull on a lure whereas people on either side of me were hooking into fish. Figuring it was time for a change of scenery I upped sticks and set off walking round the lake, doing a meet and greet with the rest of the club. I eventually settled into a spot on the North West corner of the lake which was a bit harder to fish because of the wind direction (Easterly) but had the benefit of more fish activity. I hooked and lost a good fish on a buzzer then nothing else happened until I whipped out the Tanfield Twat on an intermediate line at which point things got substantially livelier.

The Tanfield Twat

In about 10 minutes I landed 2 fish, lost another and had several plucks. The 2nd fish was a belter, it’s hard to see from the hasty snap I took with my phone but it was a real broad specimen knocking on for 3.5lb, maybe 4lb and in excellent condition. Please note my hand isn’t actually touching its eye!!

I had to leave the action for lunch, there being a tradition that we all down tools and take lunch together on these outings. Can’t say I was too disappointed though because the warm, cosy fishing hut seemed rather appealing. It was pissing down again and getting bloody cold.

What a morale booster the hut was! We got the wood burning stove going and ploughed into our provisions whilst our clothes dried out…a bit. Even so, a couple of our group decided enough was enough and said their farewells for the day.

After lunch I went straight back down to the same spot and had another good stint, landing another 5 fish and losing several more.  They were all on the Tanfield Twat, although to be fair I couldn’t see the point in switching to anything else, maybe any fly would have done! For reference the fly is tied on a (rather large looking) Orvis size 12  hook, black marabou tail with a few strands of holo-tinsel, black chenile body, garish fluo yellow collar and perhaps most importantly a tungsten bead head. I invented it for this trip to Tanfield, I will tie a load more,  and undoubtedly it will never work anywhere ever again, particularly  Tanfield.

By about 5 I think we’d all had enough of the weather and slowly but surely we all seemed to migrate back up to the hut, despite several hours of daylight remaining! Conditions aside though, it was actually a good day out for the club because just about everyone caught plenty of fish (Kevin took the trophy with 11). What’s more, they were cracking fish, really powerful, well defined markings and as firm as a choirboy’s buttocks ( I make an assumption here).









5 thoughts on “West Tanfield 18/04/2012

  1. chris

    the tanfield twat! hahhahahahah like it! had a nice brownie out the other day to a shuttlecock buzzer. that was in the rain and the biggest wave iv seen at tanfield. (would be classed as a ripple at leighton)also had 11 rainbows. only got there at 4 but probably the best time to go in my opinion for the evenin ticket. very fit fish though arnt they, he,s upped the stock average this year too. 🙂

  2. Daphne Porter

    The Tanfield Twat looks very interesting, I don’t tie flies any more, but would love to have some of these, I am going to Tanfield with friends on 9th June. If anyone could tie me half a dozen I would be very grateful, and will send a cheque in advance so that you don’t think I am pulling a fast one. Incidentally, I have been reading your piece on Leighton, very interesting – I worked as one of the bailiffs there in the nineties. I also read that you haven’t fished Thornton Steward, you should go. I was there a few weeks ago with Swale Ure and Nidd branch of Salmon & Trout Ass. teaching 17 youngsters to fly fish, they had 15 fish between them (one lad had five) the weather was appalling but they had a good day.

  3. chris

    i would go on the natural side at tanfield daff. lures will catch but buzzers and cdcs etc are the one for tanny.

  4. Scotty

    Excellent Blog, thoroughly enjoyed reading about this trip.
    A friend and I tried tanfield for the first time last Wednesday 5th September. The weather was crystal clear. I unfortunately blanked but my pal hooked into 1 as the light was fading.. I’d be grateful for some photos of flys that work here, for our return trip, and also any advise on perticular colours that work well in the water.

    Many thanks
    Scotty urban.

    1. Bob Post author

      Hi Scott

      There’s a picture of one of the successful flies in the blog, the lure I named ‘The Tanfield Twat’! It’s a lot nicer if you can catch on more natural patterns though, so I’d always go armed with some black Shipman’s buzzers (sizes 12 and 14) which sit in/on the surface and some black sub-surface buzzers (again in 12 and 14) – some with pearl rib and some with very fine silver wire rib. Also have a couple of daddy long leg patterns, a fry pattern and some size 12 gold-ribbed hare’s ear nymphs. That way you got several bases covered.

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