Latimer Park Flyfishery Birthday Treat

July 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

My longtime friend Peter’s offer of a birthday treat, as his guest at Latimer Park Fishery, was gratefully accepted this week, following his report of three good fish he’d caught  before 9 am the previous day. Collected from my home and transported to this little jewel in the Buckinghamshire countryside, we arrived at 10:30 to be met by a dour faced bailiff, who told of very few fish caught by members that morning.

The priority for Peter and I was to enjoy the day for what it was, a day out in good company at a picturesque venue; catching fish would be a bonus. A slight ripple gave us confidence, Peter setting up with a red nymph, his successful fly of the day before, while I opted for legged gold head Hares Ear nymph, to be slowly worked back, off the bottom on a figure of eight retrieve. The two Latimer lakes are formed from dams across the Chess, which flows out of the chalk above the nearby town of Chesham, the river running in it’s channel down the centre of the upper lake, requiring a good cast to find the deeper water. There was little surface movement and no response to either nymph, so it was time for a change on my part to a buoyant Deerhair Sedge, the same fly serving me for years on rivers and lakes, when the fishing got hard. On a long leader, tipped down to 6lb breaking strain, I cast to the centre and waited in vain for a rise to this tasty looking morsel. Plan B, twitch the fly back to me, three inches at a time, every minute. Five minutes into this regime, a nose emerged on the surface observing the fly, another twitch and the line sank as the sedge was sucked in. A steady lift, pulled the line from the surface, making a solid contact, before catapulting the line back at me, as the hook lost hold.

Another missed fish for me and Peter changed over to a dry fly, getting into a trout straight away, which he then lost. This exciting, but frustrating interlude continued, until Peter was at last playing a good fish to the net. This 3lb rainbow was knocked on the head and another two pounder shortly after released. The guest rules are that we could catch seven fish in total, killing our first fish each, then the last fish of the day, whoever takes it. I was now feeling left behind, and was relieved to see a positive take of the fly, lifting into a big fish, that tail walked away from me and came off. Retrieving the line, a curled end to the tippet, showed that the line had parted at the knot, taking my favourite sedge with it. Together we had taken many a fish over the years and now it was gone. Tying on a replica, my next cast saw the fly vanish seconds after it touched the surface and I was playing another good fish, that just refused to come in, realising that I’d hooked it in the gill plate, which allowed the rainbow to swim away from me.

Eventually this fully finned, 20 inch, three pounder was on the bank, following what seemed a ten minute fight and during which time, Peter had hooked and landed yet another rainbow, which he released. This left us another three to take and with the wind swinging round, making casting difficult, we retired back to the club house for some lunch, topped up with plenty of banter with other club members.

During lunch the wind had dropped to nothing, leaving a flat calm with no apparent surface activity. We decided to change tactics to fish with small nymphs 18 inces below a yarn indicator. Arriving at the bankside, we could see from strings of small bubbles, that trout were feeding among the clumps of blanket weed on the edge of the deeper water and targeted this area. My first cast saw an instant, but hesitant response to the Diawl Bach nymph, the indicator bobbing and dipping, before gliding under, to be missed on the strike. Peter was having the same trouble and we both missed many unmissables, before I twitched back at a bob of the indicator and felt the solid pull from my second fish.

This perfect, recent stock fish was barely hooked in the nose, a sign that curiosity, not hunger had resulted in a visit to the bank. I held the fish in the cool water, until it was ready to swim off, the fight taking a lot out of this plump rainbow. The fun continued with plenty of offers and missed trout, during which time the sunshine had resulted in more blanket weed floating to the surface, making the static indicator tactic the only reliable method.

My third rainbow was hard won and fought like a demon, at one time spinning away from me and wrapping it’self in line and weed, torpedoing around the shallows, before I bullied it into the net. Peter had also hooked a fish, our joint seventh and it was this two pound rainbow that was taken. Static, or twitched artificials had worked on the day, the fish not interested in following a lure, or nymph, most of those members, who slogged away retrieving, going home fishless.

All in all an enjoyable day and certainly a birthday treat with a chauffeured cross country drive home. Thanks Peter.