As the Watch Water ventured its way into spring, I have been reminded constantly of why this is such a special place to come and fish.
One morning you arrive at the fishery just like any normal day taking in the scenery with the Ewes in the field and the Geese on the water. The next morning you arrive, you are greeted all the way down through the farm to the reservoir by newly born lambs and yet more Geese on the water. This is why I love this time of year. Spring brings new life and new beginnings with freshness in the air. We have also been lucky enough to have quite a few sightings of the Ospreys at the beginning of April and I have had one very special sighting of a Peregrine near Greenlaw.
This spring has also brought a lot more fly life with better weather to the Watch Water. As a result there has been no April Fools this year, The water has been fishing extremely well. Don't get me wrong though, we have had some difficult days as well! But, the Angler who is willing to move about the reservoir to find fresh water or area's with a slight bit of shelter, have been more successful on the difficult days.
With the warmer weather that spring has brought us, there is a lot of Buzzer activity and lake olives. Fish have been taken quite regularly on dries since the start of April. Charlie Punton Jnr had a great day in really blustery conditions returning 9 to a Shuttle Cock Emerger. Other dries that have been doing the business are small Hawthorne flies or small hoppers, Yellow Owls and small Olive Double Deckers.
When the fish have been nymphing, especially over the past week and a half they have been seen rising head and tail. This is always the tell tale sign that the fish are feeding quite heavily on Midge Pupa, i.e. emerging Buzzers and During these conditions the washing line method has been proving its use.
Basically for the washing line I fish a floating line with two Buzzers. Usually Black and Olive with a big Dry Fly/ Bung acting as an indicator on the point of your cast. In a flat calm I fish it near enough static. If there is a slight ripple then I retrieve with a figure of eight at snail's pace making sure I keep in contact with the flies. If the wind picks up I will fish a Booby on the point instead of the dry teamed with a 3 or 6ft midge tip.
When the fish have been down in the water Column during the mornings whilst the temperature has been a bit cooler, Pulling lures has been the method of choice. The fish have shied off Black and Green lures and are chasing more attractive "In your face" patterns such as Orange Fritz/ Booby, Cat Booby, Normal cats Whiskers and Yellow Dancers. Tequila Blobs have been working quite well too. I tend to go with a Booby/ Blob combo in the morning on a Fast Glass/ or Slow Intermediate line. However, some anglers have been fishing just as well on a Floating Line, straight lining with a Cruncher on top, Diawl Bach on middle and a cats whisker or yellow dancer on the point.
The biggest thing to take out of last month has been that the fish are not far out from the bank at all. The key thing for me is to keep on the move and be mobile. You have to remember that the Watch Water is an actual Reservoir and not a concrete bowl. With this in mind the fish tend to move in and out of the drop off zones. So the depth of your flies and the line that you are using can sometimes make the difference.
If you are unsure of which area's to start off from then make sure you stick around for a coffee and a quick blether in the lodge before you head out and we shall be sure to point you in the right direction and give useful advice on methods and flies to suit the conditions on the day.
There has also been some Big, Big Fish taken out of the water. Congrats must go to young John banks for catching his personal best Rainbow at 9lbs, Charlie Punton for catching an 11lbs Rainbow and Dez Thompson for also catching a personal best Rainbow at 13 and 1/2 lbs. A special mention must go to Craig Young from Dalkieth for finally catching one of the red tagged fish. The Red Tag pot has been building up since last year and Craig walked away with an 8lbs Rainbow and £280 in his pocket. Well done that man!
Also special thanks go out to Ellem Fishing Club, the oldest fishing club in the world who have continued to support this fantastic fishery through thick and thin. All club members really enjoyed themselves last Tuesday with 35 fish weighed in, including a 7 lbs Rainbow. I have to say that all club members are a credit to their Fishing Club and are true gentleman. I look forward to having you back next year guys and also seeing many of you throughout the rest of the season.
Lastly I would like to remind you all that we have two competitions in May. We shall be running the Open Bank Competition on Saturday the 10th of May and our first Junior Bank Comp the following day on Sunday the 11th. Please see our competition section for more details. Also I would be very grateful if you could please spread the word regarding our Junior competitions. We are trying to encourage as many youngsters into angling as possible and hopefully this is something to keep them interested.
Finally I shall leave you with a few fishy pictures from last month, There a few right big Clonkers there.
Ellem Club Weigh in
Ellem Fishing Club, full of tradition and a great bunch of guys