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Kind conditions, but few hungry troutThere was something in the air as I turned the corner into Birkum Lane, something sweet and fresh, which gave the promise of a pleasant spring waft from Zephyrus and a delightful spring day. And it was to be so.
Why? I wondered. Why should this day be special? Why was there no foul stench as I pulled into the car park?
Flat calm and fresh
View at the dam end
And suddenly it dawned on me: Barney wasn't coming! There was no methane circulating and no bodies lying prone on the grass, gasping for air.
Barney notwithstanding I was a little concerned about the lack of wind. The lake looked like a millpond with hardly a ripple. Brian the bailiff told me that we would struggle, and quite honestly we did.
Bryan with a nice rainbow
Cat purrs with pride at his 3-pounder
However, during the morning, one or two of us managed to catch a fish or two. Shane 'Cat' Calton managed a nice 3lb rainbow and Bryan Baron had a brownie or two on dry flies.
The expected hawthorn hatch did not materialize. Although there are plenty of hawthorn flies in and around Rotherham at the moment, Press Manor fishery is at a fairly high altitude and the blossoms as a result are late. Give it two weeks however.......
So at 12:45 pm it was lunch as usual at The Three Horseshoes, a pub with a reputation for providing excellent pub grub. I'm sure a few of the guys from the south were shocked at the low price of the meal and drinks. I have paid nearly double for pie and mash in London and it wasn't as good as this Derbyshire pub can turn out.
Honestly, it was a nice meal!
Ed enjoyed himself
After an excellent meal, we were soon back at the lake to fish for The Andy Wright Trophy. The late Andy Wright was a superb fly dresser who entertained us with his fly tying artistry on earlier Press Manor fish-ins.
The competition is very simple, we fish up to 5:00pm and on this occasion, the first angler to reach 6 trout caught and released or the most up until that time is the winner. As I thought, it was going to be very hard fishing indeed, but Bryan Baron, a previous winner, stuck to his guns and managed to catch three fish to win the match. Congratulations to all the others that managed a fish or two. It wasn't going to be easy.
Ron presents Bryan with his trophy
The goings-on that were taking place along the west bank of the lake might just raise an eyebrow or two. Sean Meeghan arrived, fished with Graham's rod and on several occasions managed to put his fly up a nearby tree and it took all the climbing skills of John Warrener, a Derbyshire local, to retrieve the flies.
Ed, Graham, Dave Chilton and Spiders, Sean and Jon probably did more sunbathing and larking about than they did fishing, and Graham took some very rude pictures with my camera when I wasn't looking. He even took one of me relieving myself but I made sure he didn't get that one when I emailed the pictures to him.
Although the fish were not obliging, the little gathering of us had a lot of fun telling jokes and taking pictures with my Nikon D300.