The weather looked a tricky one for the Guiding & Tuition team as we prepared for a busy Saturday of tuition at Draycote. With the water temperature sitting at 21°C for most of the week, and starting to creep up towards 25°C throughout the day, it was going to be a testing time for both Lee & myself.
As Guiding & Tuition Manager, I was hosting the first of the new tuition days aimed at the boat angler. Running to the same popular format as the bank tuition days, the principal difference being that the actual fishing portion of the day is done from a boat. This enables participants to be shown the correct way to safely drive, handle, anchor and drift a boat.
With it being the first such day I had limited the places to just two anglers. Both Maria & Ben had never fly fished following an introduction into entomology, trout and fly tackle both were eager to learn to cast. I armed Ben with a Redington Vice 9ft 6in #7 teamed with a RIO Single Hand Spey loaded onto a Redington Behemoth. Maria was kitted out with the slightly shorter 9ft #7 Vision Onki with matching Onki reel loaded with a RIO Grand #7.
After an hour-long casting session on the pontoon I was pleased to find myself watching both Ben and Maria casting lovely straight lines of sufficient proficiency to catch them fish, if not today then on subsequent trips. Ben wanted to leave in time for the football, so we re-scheduled for an early lunch break after which the pair couldn’t wait to get out onto the water.
Before the serious business of fishing began, I demonstrated the correct routine for starting the boat before Ben was given control and took us out onto the water. We headed out to the top dam wall where I then demonstrated the correct and safest anchoring procedure following which both Maria and Ben took it in turns to deploy the anchor by themselves. They had been attentive, and it was nice to observe both mastering the operation confidently. I then turned the attention to drifting tactics detailing the reasons behind drifting, with emphasis on drogue deployments. This incorporated the pros & cons of both single and double point drogue. So, with a drift set up & drogue set, it was time to get down to the serious business of fishing.
Whilst both Maria and Ben had really taken to the casting like ducks to water, I explained that due to the heat wave the water temperatures had risen to such an extent that all the fish had dropped down to the depths. As such, the best tactic to get down to present a fly at their level would be to fish a fast sinking line, back drifted behind the boat. My choice for the day on both rods was therefore a RIO Deep 7 which has a sink rate of 7/8 seconds. This would drop the flies down through the water column and keep them at the depths where I believed the fish would be holding. On heading out to the fishing with Ben at the helm I had noticed that the boils were switched off so over to B buoy it was. After the first drift and only one pull to the boat a change was needed. Luckily a quick glance in the direction of the boils showed that they had been switched back on. So, without hesitation I instructed Ben to motor over to boils. However, it was disappointing that after an hour, and no fish to the boat, it was time for Ben to leave us.
Once Ben had been dropped off it was Maria’s turn to skipper the boat back over to the boils. After one more run down and with no signs of action, I decided that a change to drifts off the tower might prove productive. Indeed, this soon proved to be the correct call as on the very first drift Maria experienced a rod bending take which resulted in her being attached to a very angry rainbow! After a few anxious minutes her first fish was safely in the landing net. Not only was it a first but it was also a lovely overwintered, full tailed rainbow that had hammered into her olive snake booby. A little way down the second drift and it all happened again & a smiling Maria was admiring her second catch – another lovely silver fish. Over the next hour the action continued, and Maria hooked but unfortunately lost a further 4 fish in play. Despite this, she was rightly proud of her achievements and is well and truly “hooked”.
A great start to the new boat tuition days and were looking forward to hosting more throughout the coming months across all sites. For more details please visit http://www.flyfishtuition.co.uk/prices/
While I had been out running the Tuition Day, In-House guide Lee was also on the water with a client who was looking for local knowledge and expert advice to hopefully help him while out competing in the forthcoming England Qualifier. As previously mentioned, with the hot weather all the fish had dropped deep. Lee was the perfect choice for this guided session as he is an absolute master of sunk line fishing and knows all Draycote’s deep water and drop offs like the back of his hand.
The client had expressed that he wanted Lee to fish alongside him, so they could both bounce ideas and try different methods. The fishing tactics were simply get deep quick and stay deep for as long as possible. Lee opted to go for the Airflo Booby Basher. This is a long-integrated shooting head with a 55ft 400grain level head that needs to be cut to suit the rod. As such, the head sinks very quickly, and due to the heavy head, casts like dream flies achieving great distance and keeps the flies in the zone.
The tactic worked a treat with both Lee and the client getting lots of action and fish, while targeting the deep water with boobies. The icing on the cake, however, was when half way back on the retrieve lee’s rod buckled over and he was attached to a large feeling trout, after a long battle. With the fish staying deep Lee boated a fantastic rainbow in the 6-7lb bracket a great testament to Lee’s ability to control a sinker and his knowledge of where the big fish live in the hot weather.
Tight Lines Tom Bird
Guiding & Tuition Manger