Summertime Not So Blues

Fishing at this time of the year is a total pain in the a***!

It’s hot, too hot, the overnight temperatures are staying high and the result is a surface water temp of around 20C, algal blooms and trout that couldn’t give a rat’s eye for whatever it is that we throw at them.

I leave the ressies alone at this time of the year but every now and then the urge is too much for me to leave them totally alone. When I see a low rod average I take this as an opportunity to go out and prove that these fish can still be caught. And often they can!

So, at the weekend I hit Draycote Water, I haven’t touched the place since March, I’ve had far more important things on this year, which is a shame really as I really like Draycote, the staff are both knowledgeable and friendly, I get treated very well also the boats and the pontoon, everything is clean and tidy, immaculate even.

Tom making me a cup O tea


Super tidy boat

In the car park I see Ben Beckwith and Simon Lucas, two very capable guys but I notice a flaw in their plan. As they are both set up with Di3 and pulling gear.

Ever the helper outer I said, “Guys, take that off and put a floater on with dries. This, despite a good blow on the water… they looked at me funny, “ C’mon Steve, seriously?”

Oh how they would rue the fact that they never listened!

Sinking lines, NOOOO!

I let them get on and I go in to have a cuppa with the boys Tom and Alan, both good lads, ask them anything they’ll help out.

The place has been fishing hard, the heat, a brown algal bloom meant some days the tod average was up, some it was down, no two days were alike. Turns out later, the day I’m here it’s down!

Looking out over the water, as I get my shiz together, it’s a little bit more blowy than I would have liked, the wind coming over the tower dam and blowing down into Toft. I’d rocked up pretty late, so a lot of boats were out and it looked like, to me anyway, to a man they were all parked up at the boils, BOIL RAGE!! I’d be keeping well away from that lot if I could help it.

I set up two rods, both featuring floaters and dries, one with a team of three flies, close together and one with a team of two, far apart. One or the other would be the best bet, it would be a case of seeing what’s what when I was out there.

The cast that I have every faith in is my two fly set up, a big Carrot fly and a smaller Bob’s Bits, a fly that has accounted for most of my big fish across all the English reservoirs.

Double trouble























Dries or dries?






The fish finders

I head straight up to the top dam, looking to drift straight out to B buoy and deep water. The lake is not a good colour, like a strong pale ale, but at least the damwall is kind of protecting me a little, the water is rippled here not like the two foot waves down the bottom, so I’m happy to see what’s what.

I start with the two fly set up, but I see nothing moving, so just flick and fan cast every five seconds, and in no time at all, a trout sips down the Bob’s Bits. I knew it would work.

I love this fly, love, love, love it!

I drift this area for most of what’s left of the morning, from B all the way along to A Buoy, long drifts and with all of the water pretty much to myself…and I pull fish up, hook them  and even occasionally land them, they are finicky bollocks the day, before the sun gets out proper. I find that once the sun’s out, that’s you, you’re goosed on the dries.




When the sun does come out I have another little trick up my sleeve, one that works for me on most occasions here. The dries come off and I leave on the same long leader, to the end I attach my little Popper Fry. It’s early I know but it can bring fish up in shallow water.

I set up short drift, no drogue over the weeds at the inlet, this little area is a haven for little coarse fish, so it will often hold bigger fish, but they can be an a****** to catch!

It never took long for the first bit of interest, I short cast, give two long pulls on the line to RIP the fly through the water and then figure-of-eight it back.

The water behind the fly started to bulge as something decent locked on, keep going, look away, do not change what you’re doing, if you stop or speed up, forget it. I kept everything coming back to me at the same speed and finally a mouth open over my fly and it vanished in swirl of water and spray. Fish On!

It’s a better fish, a good, grown on rainbow, the fish I’d caught In the morning were smaller, small by last year’s Draycote standards anyway. The trout fight s well in the shallow water, tearing off like a bonefish on crack, but my ‘just enough to keep good pressure, but not enough to snap the line’ drag does its job admirable, and soon the trout is netted. A nice one, but one that keeps going belly up as I try to release it in the shallow water. It’s no good, it’s going to die so it’s shown the priest and kept for my neighbour who’ll have it for his BBQ on Sunday.

“20 minutes later I get a smaller one, more the size I’ve been catching, this one I can horse in quick, and it goes back to the water after a quick photo in the net…

Proper job



Popperfry guy

That’s it for that area, the sun is too high and too hot and whatever fish were there are packed up and moving on!

I do know that there are fish out to A and B buoy though so I change tack. A four fly cast, fished on my favourite Hoverer fly line, a slow sink inter that does a great job of fishing your flies higher up in the water column.

Point, is a Disabled Daddy, dropper, Hackled Cormorant, next dropper Red Holo Diawl Bach and on the top dropper a Biscuit Fab, simple stuff, Black bits of s*** just in case, and two foam filled flies each side to keep everything high.

I fish the water hard in the above two area for some time, I take another three fish and miss a few other super soft takes, I fish this back with slow figure-of eight, taking care to create perfect loops in my retrieving hand a good habit to get into, the better this bunch of fly line looks the neater and more measured your retrieve.


I head out past A Buoy toward the sailing club and see Ben and Simon, they’ve not been so lucky, they’ve had a very hard day of it. I tell them what I’ve been doing but that I have had to switch to twiddling now. I offer them my cast, they’ve just watched me land one so know it works, Simon takes up the offer and I head for home.

It’s been a tough old few hours, but I managed to get things working, and hopefully put the rod average up a touch that day, as it was pretty low form what I heard.



Disabled Daddy








Oh, dont get Sainsbury’s Roated Veg Pasta for your dinner, even with me buying and adding my own tomatoes, it was blander than several ‘Pro Team’ members facebook posts!

Blander than bland












That’s my last trip out in the UK for some time, Grand Cayman next week, ‘DIY Boning’, nope it’s not a sex act, it’s bone fishing without the rigmarole of a guide!

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