Patience For Pitsford, & Barmy Blithfield

Posted by Craig Barr on

I think it is fair to say, though to be expected, the fishing of late has not been at its best on some of our biggest waters at times, due to soaring air and water temperatures, though Blithfield Reservoir certainly did defy those odds !

Conditions were perfect at Pitsford, but were the fish reading the same book?

After an hour, you just sensed it was time to role up your sleeves and get your head down, as after an hour in, neither of us had moved a fish.

If the fish are "playing" you are likely to get some offers to pulling. Both Garry and I had tried our favourites, yet we were still left scratching as what to do next, as our pulling tactics yielded nothing.

The water was warm, and is often the case, the fish will tend not to chase, so we new things needed to be slowed right down - what a difference this made!!

I switched to a Tequila booby on the point & Tequila fab on the top dropper, with two size 12 red holographic Diawl bachs in the middle, and a floating line.

Both Garry and I sensed that our only chance to catch a fish, was to let the fish come to our offerings at their own leisure, and that was to fish it static. It wasn't too long until we hooked into our first fish, taking the Tequila fab on the top dropper. A good fish it was too !


We continued to steadily catch fish throughout the afternoon, and the key really was to fish the flies as static as you could. Any movement and the fish just did not want it. From a drifting boat, try to cast across the wind (almost square to the engine). Fishing just 15' of line, you can fish it totally static, by simply drawing the slack line, as the boat drifts forward..well worth practicing, as it helps me to 10's of fish each year.(best in light winds)

Gary fished a midge tip line, whilst I stayed on the floating line. We ended up with 8 fish apiece, which was a good result in the end. After a slow start, we soon realised the fish were in no mood to chase, and not only that, your flies really did need to be still, and high in the water. For a time I tried 4 nymphs on the floating line, and my mind was telling me these are dropping too deep. I never got a pull, yet as soon as I put the two buoyant flies, back on the dropper and point of my cast, the fish came once more.


My next stop was Staffordshire's Blithfield Reservoir. I hadn't fished this reservoir until a few seasons ago, and all I can say is, what a gem. I have yet to have a bad day on there, as I have always caught good numbers of fish, none more so than a record catch for an England Lochstyle Eliminator in 2019,  66 fish ! Surely it couldn't get any better than that for the up and coming Scierra Pairs match...Could it??

As with all competitions I enter, I do like a day or two's practice, and sometimes I like to also have a visit the week before. This allows me to return home and think about the days fishing, and look if I could have done anything better, and also gives me an idea on the mood of the fish, and fishery as a whole.

My boat partner for the Scierra Pairs was competition rooky, Richard Lindsay. Richard has no lochstyle competition experience, so wanted to fish this particular match as he was able to fish alongside me -so we were in it together !

Richard does have the advantage of fishing Blithfield Reservoir regularly, being a season ticket holder. He told me the fish were very high in the water, and dare I say it, pretty easy to catch.

Richard started with a midge tip, Tequila Booby on the point, cormorant in the middle, and sunburst blob on the top dropper, where as I started on dries, fishing two big reds, with the trusty Ginger Midas on the point.

It was no exaggeration to say, Richard had 6 casts, and six times, fish raced behind his booby across the surface, without one latching on. I told him he needed to get the booby under the surface, as you could see the fish desperately wanted the fly, but simply couldn't get it as it moved across the surface. I advised the di-3 line, and the result was instant. As with the midge tip, the fish continued to race behind the Tequila booby, however the big difference being, after approx 10-15' the fly line took the booby under the surface, and it was at this point the fish pounced, and seized the fly, every time !

After watching the excitement of fish chasing Richard's Flash Attack Tequila Booby, and the dismissive approach from the fish to my dries, I also switched to the same tactic, with immediate effect.

This really was a red letter day, with us landing plenty of trout. later in the afternoon, as the cloud thickened, and temperature rose, I switched to dries, fishing a  black, claret and ginger Midas.

It was time now for some proper fishing, as the fish were readily wanting the dries off the surface. I steadily got into double figures on the dries, making it a superb day all round.



As we headed back to the boat dock, Richard suggested we fished in Rainbow Corner. As I was stopping locally that evening, just 10 minutes from the Reservoir, I thought we might as well....what a move that proved to be!!

It could only be described as easy fishing. Granted, it had been stocked there, however that was 4 days previous, and you wouldn't really still expect them to be hanging around. After just 10 minutes, I said to my partner " lets get out of here" it was obvious it was thick with fish.

The next morning was the Scierra Pairs match day. There was only one place we were going, as this match is all about getting your fish, and getting back to the boat dock as quick as you can.

5 boats, including ourselves, headed to Rainbow Corner. We parked our boat close to the shore, so we could see the other boats in front of us, and watch what was happening. We soon noticed 2 boats catching quickly, one 6o yds in front of us, and one to our left, drifting along the dam. Both boats were on 5 fish, to our 1, as early as 10 minutes! As the boat in front made its was back to the shore, I was quick to pounce, as both Richard and I knew, from the night before, the fish numbers intensified the further you went out. We shifted our boat a further 40 yards out, and I have to admit, and appreciate it is not everyone's cup of tea, it was crazy fishing, as we landed our next 9 fish in a s little as a dozen or so casts. Our set up was simple, but effective. We used a di-3, Tequila Booby on the point, and a Tequila Blob on the top dropper.

Richard and I caught up with the two boats whom had 5 fish quickly, and were the first boat back to the dock. Amazing fishing, but all over oh so soon. As several boats docked just moments after ourselves, it was going to be close, however with 2 larger fish in my bag, we sneaked into first place, to win anew Scierra rod each.

You may wander why it fished so well, when other bigger waters were, at times, pretty tough to say the least. Blithfield Reservoir had pumped water into the South Lake, and having recently been to Pitsford, the water was distinctly cooler, and I can only assume this was the catalyst to the excellent fishing on offer, as well as there being obvious big fish numbers in the lake, and having just recently opened to the public following Covid Regulations.

The winning flies for Pitsford and Blithfield can be seen by following the links below.  If you would like a guided days fishing at any Midlands Reservoir, including Blithfield, then visit our "Guiding" tab on our website, then get in touch.

We hope you enjoyed the read. Remember, what happens one day, wont necessarily happen the next.

With Rutland now soon on the horizon, I will be back with all tactics and methods used on the day.

Tight lines, Keep safe


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