I hold many fond memories at Toft Newton Reservoir, as this was the first water I always used to fish at the start of the season, when I was a teenager.(Some time ago now!)
Last weekend was the Fur & Feather match, and it was not about numbers, but about the heaviest brace of fish at the end of the day, allowing for anglers to seek the bigger fish.
As I arrived at the lake at 7.15am, I was surprised to be greeted by 8 or so cars in front of me at the gate. Toft offers a good depth of water at pretty close quarters, allowing the fish to come closer to the shores, than shallower waters.
The bank was busy by early morning.
I started with a two rod set up. A di-3 line with a Humungous, and tequila blob, followed by a fast glass with a black snake. I heard there had a been a recent stocking, and thought this fly choice would soon indicate if the fish were nearby - and they were.
My first half a dozen casts yielded 1 fish and several takes, but I new as time went by, the fish would soon move out from the shore line with the number of lines crossing them along the bank.
Fish started coming steady to my black snake on the fast glass, with a figure of eight retrieve. I soon worked out the fish were coming within the first 10-15 seconds of my retrieve. This told me the fish were taking the fly at the highest point, before it gained any depth with the sinking line.
With this in mind the fast glass soon became a floating line, not used by many from what I could see. The fish were now coming at a more steady pace, as the switch to the floating line, allowed two crucial factors. It stopped the fly sinking quicker, and more importantly, it allowed me to keep the fly in the zone of the fish for longer, by really eeking the fly back VERY slowly, thus keeping the fly in the "zone" for longer.
The "zone" was the edge of the ripple, that by midday, had crept some 35yards or so out from the bank. Using my Whychwood RS 7# rod, and 8# Rocket Connect series line, I was able to hit this zonal area.
By 1am I was on 10 fish, and the take rate really had slowed down, due to I believe, brighter conditions, and the gin clear water, not to mention rod pressure!
With the water being crystal clear, I felt a single fly was key, as the fish had undoubtedly seen a lot of flies in the last few hours and days. As the catch rate around me dropped right off, I managed to take another 4 in what was a tough afternoon session. Unfortunately for me, I didn't manage one of the bigger recently stocked fish.
I managed to talk long time friend, Tony Banks to fish the competition. Tony had travelled from Blackburn, Lancs. Unfortunately for Tony he missed the early action, due to, shall we say, not quite setting his Sat Nav correctly. Eager, and excited to get there, Tony left Blackburn at 5.15am, arriving at 9.15am. He decided by setting "Toft" into his Sat Nav, he would get there, however he arrived at Toft Golf Course near Bourne, Lincs, some 52 miles away !!
Tony perservered to the very end, and managed two fish, including one on his last cast.
Luck certainly wasn't on my side today being top rod with the numbers, with 14 fish, however unfortunate not to catch one of the bigger fish of the day. It was however an enjoyable day nonetheless.
Congratulations to the winners on the day..............
See the snake that took 10 fish...(click on the link)
If you have not fished Toft Newton reservoir, I can certainly recommend it. Under its new management, It is very well stocked, and from April onwards, offers some superb top of the water sport. The lake isn't so big, you would spend a day searching for fish, so from that perspective alone, well worth a visit.
Remember no two days are often the same, so what works one day, won't always work the next !
If you fancy a guided day out on Toft Newton, on one of there new Coulam boats, then drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org