Farmoor Reservoir washout

May 15, 2014 at 8:31 pm

When my friend Peter said he’d booked us a boat at Oxford’s Farmoor 2 Reservoir in mid May, I had visions of vast hatches of flies from a calm surface on a balmy day, a far cry from our previous visit in the middle of October, when the wind had tried to blast us from the reservoir.

What greeted us on our arrival was much the same as before, a cold gusting wind whipping up the surface. The day before all boat bookings had been cancelled due to the wind, but today conditions were safe enough for a few of us to venture out.

Heading south, we tied up on a buoy 50 yards from the bank and began to fish, I with a bloodworm nymph 4 ft beneath a floss indicator, while Peter fish a team of three flies on a 20 ft leader. At this stage the wind was manageable, with the waves giving life to the static nymphs and minutes after tying up, Peter’s rod arched over with a good fish.

The long leader limited Peter’s ability to bring the fish close to the net and the rainbow dived under the boat, before exhausted, it was brought into the boat.

This 2lb 8oz rainbow was in perfect condition and had taken a buzzer. Twenty minutes later Peter boated it’s twin, while I had seen no sign of a fish, changing my setup to a three nymph rig. Another hour passed before Peter’s rod bent over and sprung back. A fish had hit a nymph so hard, that the leader had snapped like cotton. Meanwhile I’d missed a take on a Blue Flash Damsel and decided to set up my heavy No.9 rod with a No.10 HD line to fish a streamer lure on the bottom, but abandoned the idea, when the wind began blow a gale, rocking the boat to the point it was impossible to stand to cast.

It was time to move to the lee of the windward side of the 160 acre water catchment, arriving at the start of the causeway in time for a heavy shower of rain to halt activity for another twenty minutes. With no buoy available, we put out the anchor, only for the wind to blow us away from the shore. We decided to cross the reservoir to another buoy and tied up, again being rained on as the heavens opened. In between showers, the sun would return and fish began rising to clouds of small flies. I’d changed to a Deer Hair Sedge on the point and a Diawl Bach nymph six feet from it, managing to miss a trout that head and tailed away with it. Later I watched the line arching away from the boat and struck into thin air. Missed again! Seeing this, Peter set up with a Pale Olive and minutes later a boil at his fly resulted in another rod bending fight, much to the annoyance of myself, who was still on a blank. This was a recent stock fish of 2lb 12oz, again in perfect condition.

An approaching cloud system, which suddenly gave out a flash of lightning, followed immediately by a clap of thunder, had us stowing the rods quicktime, letting go on the buoy and attempting to start a reluctant outboard motor. The other boats also had the same idea and we queued to tie up at the jetty, just in time for a wave of hail and rain to put a final seal on a washout day for me. The other boats had also struggled, one finding that the only method to work for them was to troll lures behind their boat with the drogue out, managing to take five rainbows between them. Driving back down the motorway, through a wall of rain, we discussed the possibility of another visit in the near future and for me the jury is out on that one.