Top UK match angler and Airflo consultant Iain Barr shares his recent back end fly fishing success on the reservoirs. For super sport this autumn, keep on fishing!
If you’re looking for a big fish or a personal best, this is often the time of year you’re likely to encounter it. Temperatures dropping trigger the instinct for the trout to feed heavily for the lean months ahead and fry and shrimps are full of protein and just the diet required to pack on the weight.
In the last month I have made several trips to Grafham and Farmoor Reservoirs and the fishing has been off the scale in terms of numbers and quality. In 4 trips between the venues, 2 on each, I have netted 131 fish up to 6lb, nothing short of incredible fishing!
Grafham, renowned for it’s killer shrimps has been in excellent form for weeks and it’s continuing! Large quantities of fish are tight in the margins feeding heavily on astronomical amounts of shrimp! Don’t make the mistake of wading in before fishing the very edges – If you have more that two foot of water in the edge don’t wade in at all. Most trips I have fished stood several feet away from the waters edge and barely cast more than 10 yards of fly line all day. Hot spots have been the dam wall where I enjoyed some frantic mornings with Airflo’s Gareth Jones, anywhere on the North Shore and Gaynes Cove. Top patterns have been my Grafham Killer shrimps, crunchers and diawl bachs in size 12.
Last week I had a morning in the boat harbour at the lodge and here the fish were hitting the fry. I fished from first light and had 13 fish before 11:00am and fish tipping 6lb using a Black and Silver Humungous fished with a slow fig of eight on the new Airflo Forge Floating line, out soon. At only £29.99 this is a cracker so grab one when it comes out! I’m also hugely impressed with the new G5 fluorocarbon. It’s supple and finer makeup allows for better presentation of the smaller flies and makes it even harder for the fish to see and I’ve been using the 11.2lb for nymphing and 13.1lb for lures without any issues at all, it’s incredible stuff!
If heading to Grafham, it’s worth setting the alarm early to be there for first light. Call the lodge and buy your ticket before you go as the lodge doesn’t open until 08:00am and if recent form is anything to go by you could land a dozen or more by this time, it’s been that good!
Farmoor 1 has been explosive with so many fish in the 3-5lb bracket. I landed 50 in just one day before 15:00 with fish rising all day around me taking advantage of a late small red buzzer hatch, first I’ve seen in October for many years! Surprisingly they were fairly hard to tempt on dries as I took 5 in an hour but covered plenty. I switched to a candy fab on the point with nymphs and the disturbance of the fab had the fish in a frenzy! There is nothing more exciting that having bow waves coming from all directions after your flies and this is just how it was. If there was a red letter day in fly fishing, this was it! I switched to a fab and booby, all on a floater as you can’t beat fish chasing across the top. If I’d put a sinker on to make the boobies go under earlier on the retrieve would have no doubt caught more but there was no way I was stopping the exhilarating fun of fish bow waving my flies, often for 20 yards or more!
The fish seemed to be all round the lake from the margins to right through the middle. Fishing the wind lanes certainly proved productive so head for these as a first bet. There were some seriously big fish where the boats launch from and having caught a couple they had sticklebacks in them. A minkie booby or floating fry with a candy fab bounced across the top was the way to go for some frantic sport. The fish may well drop in this cold snap so be prepared to drop with them and an Airflo Di3 should be sufficient. Fish will start to move in as the water cools and I’ll definitely be heading back!
I will be hosting a big cash prize competition on Farmoor on the first weekend in March. Singles on Saturday and Pairs on the Sunday with up to £15,000 up for grabs! Details will be available on here and Iain Barr’s Fly Fishing for Trout Flies – Home and Iain Barr World Bank Masters on facebook very soon. It will be the first 200 paid entries who fish, no heats and 100% of all entry fees will be given away in the cash prize fund and plenty of tagged fish tackle and cash prizes open for anyone to catch over the weekend! The Elinor Bank Masters will still be going ahead with up to £3000 up for grabs, provisional date 16th April. Again, this will be the first paid 100 entries and 100% of entry fees will go to the prize fund.
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