Dominic Garnett reports that rising star Sam Edmonds had a pulse-racing encounter with a 30lb 2oz pike on Grafham Water, a fish that tailed his fly right to the boat in shallow water before making a grab. Smaller predators are also showing, however, such as Martin Smith’s superb 3lb 12oz canal chub that took a liking to his streamer pattern, appropriately named ‘Martin’s Minnow’.
Carp waters are also proving to be viable targets this year, with plenty of anglers switching to the fly rod. Thomas Finney has been catching some excellent fish on flies such as Blobs and deer hair mixers, including a 23lb common carp. Naturals can work too however, as International fly fisher Phil Dixon proved with a cracking fifteen pound mirror on an Apps Bloodworm at Seighford Lakes, Stafford.
Trout waters are another interesting possibility with and several anglers have been picking off quality coarse fish. 2013 winner Geoff Hadley caught a 3lb 8oz bream on a Damsel, while the Angling Trust’s Paul Sharman took several nice fish by sight fishing with buzzers at Arlington Reservoir. Meanwhile Andy Lush capitalized on a mayfly hatch to take several nice Bewl Water rudd up to 1lb 12oz on dry flies.
At the smaller end of the scale, dace and gudgeon have also been a welcome presence, with Marcel Karssies picking off some cute fish on tiny beaded nymphs to prove that fun isn’t always about pounds and ounces.
All of these entries will be judged by a panel including Matt Hayes and John Bailey- who are on the lookout for ingenuity, fun and skill, above mere pounds and ounces. This year’s prizes include exclusive T-shirts and a bumper selection of ‘Flies for Coarse Fish’ from Turrall, designed by Dominic Garnett for various species.