Anglian water’s Grafham hosted the 28th Bob Church Champion of Champions competition on 27th September. A strong field of 96 anglers from the UK, Norway, Belgium and for the first time Poland, were invited to compete for this FA Cup of Fly Fishing.
Conditions were near perfect albeit a little bright but that hasn’t affected the fish on Grafham this year as they remain high in the water.
My game plan was to target bigger fish feeding on shrimp in the margins and stay away from the fleet of boats that were targeting smaller fish in the open water near the Dam and Willows.
Having practiced 2 days before I had taken some belting fish to 5lb in just 3 foot of water in the sailing club bay to sludge point near Gaynes Cove.I couldn’t believe my luck when all boats went racing by leaving the whole shoreline to myself! Surely people had found these fish but I felt the good head of fish at the dam had sucked them in. These big fish were by no means easy but I felt with less boat pressure and the sheer average size would give me the advantage over the 8 hour match.
It wasn’t long before my partner, Andy Axon was into a 3lb 8oz rainbow as it tore in to a shrimp pattern I had given him in the sailing club bay. He’s relatively new to this game but mad keen so I recommended he change his set up and switch to a floating line and a Candy Blob and Shrimps which I duly gave him. I have got him on 8lb G3 fluorocarbon and it didn’t let us down! He was also using the new Airflo Blitz fly fishing rod which I had recommended him. We were like twins! Same rods, lines, tippet and flies!
It was a slow start but after 11 o’clock they started to come steadily to the shrimp and blob. As we were in shallow water the trick was to short line as if we were dry fishing so we didn’t disturb too much water and ‘line’ the fish.
By 1230 we had our 4 better fish, Andy actually taking a 5-2 lead at one point! He executed the hang perfectly and this was the trick as most come close to the boat. This included over 6.5lb of fish in a crazy double up that saw the boat beached in the reeds and me reaching over Andy to net his 2nd fish on the point! Great angling Andy!
A move to open water saw me take another 6, fishing two Candys and Crunchers in the middle, still on the floating line, all but 1 taking the blobs and a coral booby as I was targeting Daphnia feeders.
With just 20 mins fishing time left and sat on 10 fish we had one last drift near sludge going in to Gaynes Cove. In a crazy spell I took 6 all over 3lb in the last 20 minutes short lining the floating line with 3 shrimps and the candy blob. Andy took a 6th on a claret bits. The perfect day was complete!
Was 16 enough…. as I had heard of 9s and 10’s when I was sat on 4 fish? The weigh in soon revealed that 16 was the winning margin and with 4 fish for near 14lb I had the best fish too of 4lb 10 with a 14lb clear margin to 2nd place which went to Ray Maylon with 12.
It’s good when a plan comes together but teamed with the right flies and the right kit for the job, it makes a tough task a little easier.
Tightlines, Iain Barr.