AMFC Round 1 – Bewl Water Bewl Water 23 April 2022

The Spring meeting of the Association of Major Fishing Clubs took place at Bewl Water in Kent on a blustery spring day. The cold north-easterly wind did not make it easy for the 56 anglers from 14 teams who ventured onto the water. Reports of fish in Rosemary Lane and Dunsters meant that the majority of boats headed for Bewl Straight. A few anglers headed for the Bowl between the draw off tower and Chingley; a few went down Hook Straight to Bramble Bay and a couple of boats headed towards Ferry Point to fish the bank towards Monty’s Seat. Most anglers appeared to favour a floating or intermediate line or one of several different sink tip lines, but a few sinking lines were evident in the boats.

In the bright sunshine of the morning fishing was slow with the odd rod bending and boats started to move further apart to try and locate the fish. There was little fly life apparent on the water, except of course at the weigh-in! The wind picked up to a steady 20 MPH with gusts to over 30 MPH and those anglers in the bowl of the dam were fishing in a quite a choppy wave. As the afternoon came the cloud cover increased and more fish started to be seen and caught. Most anglers were using the washing line technique with a booby or fab on the point, a blob on the top and nymphs in between. A lot of coral coloured flies, two-tone blobs, booby’s and fab’s, as well as Cats Whisker variations were evident on the day, and most nymphs seemed to be variations of the Cormorant or Diawl Bach.

As the afternoon wore on a few anglers started to find fish from Ferry Point along the Bewl Straight bank towards Dunsters. The fish were taking a Candy Booby, Cormorant, or Red Diawl Bach on a floating line or a 6-foot tip with a slow figure of eight retrieve. It was noticeable that the fish were close-in to the bank, so short drifts were better. As other boats saw rods bending, so the boat pressure increased and the trout spread out, with anglers starting to catch further out from the bank. Several anglers used a variety of intermediate and slow sinking lines with a steady draw, or a mix of draws and figure of eight retrieves to catch their fish. As more boats turned up, the fish seemed to move further along the bank onto the trees and bushes at Ferry Point. The wind direction was varying quite a lot in the late afternoon, but those anglers who could get a drift onto Ferry Point continued to catch.

In Bramble Bay anglers were catching on a floater or sink tip line fishing the flies very slowly, but the takes were very gentle, and many fish were lost. The cloud cover in the afternoon certainly helped, but the fish were certainly not ripping the fly line out of the hand. Most fish came to the colour on the top dropper or point, with the odd fish being caught on nymphs.

At the meal it was obvious from the discussions that a lot of fish had been missed and lost during the day. There was only one catch limit, and one other angler into double figures on the day, but there were very few anglers whose efforts were not rewarded with fish in the net. So Bewl Water did provide a good challenge for the anglers on the day, despite the weather conditions.

A word of thanks must go to John Caldwell, the AMFC Secretary, for organising and running the event and doing all the results. Your efforts are very much appreciated John, and we look forward to seeing you at the other AMFC events later in the year. Additionally, a big thank you to all Bewl Water Fishery Staff for another excellent days fly-fishing and of course the Staff at the Waterfront Cafe who provided a very welcome meal at the end of the competition.

Finally, a word of thanks to my boat partner, a first-rate angler, with many tales to tell, but who must remain nameless. Unfortunately, around lunch time his Rio Midge line snapped on the back cast, though we did manage to retrieve the line and flies. He also helped me net a double hook-up, which was greatly appreciated, but unfortunately his line got caught in the prop as we tried to get away from the bank in the strong wind. We managed to free the line from the prop, but he lost several inches from the tip of his floater. It turned out to be an expensive day for fly lines, but happily he did have a good days fishing and put a number of fish in the boat to help his team win their Group.

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