24 May – Luffs

Luffs is an old Estate lake that has been a bit of a challenge for me. I’d lost some monsters there and I’m never confident of catching. Plan B was just a short walk away through the woods but I resolved to persevere with Luffs.

The weather forecast was for showers all afternoon but heavy rain at 7:00pm, it would be another Barbour day. The lake looked lovely, from the north bank I could see fish rising down the centre of the lake and in the margins along the south side. The west wind blew from the dam straight down the lake, easy casting. There were no flies hatching and very few birds feeding which I though was strange. I started with a Mayfly nymph, exploring the deep water along the dam but had no takes. I swapped to a weighted, dark GRHE but although it looked very realistic, I thought it was too dark to be seen easily in the depths. I changed to a paler fly but that was ignored. I could see dark shadows passing about two feet down so I changed to an unweighted fly. Nothing.

The sun broke through the clouds and the wind dropped, suddenly there were fish swirling everywhere but I couldn’t see anything hatching, very odd. I dropped a size 14 Partridge hackled nymph close to a rising fish, there was a tremendous wrench on the rod and the hook straightened. I’d chosen a stronger Stroft GTM tippet but the hook was too fine, I felt that my Luff’s gremlins had struck again. It was a good fish. I walked around the lake and cast to a fish rising close to a Willow tree but it disappeared. I wanted to continue up the lake towards the shallows but the Trout started to rise along the dam so I returned. After several fly changes I connected with a fish and was relieved to see it cross the front of the landing net. It fought hard and took a while to revive, the rising fish had departed.

I walked back to the car and was about to leave when the wind died, the sun shone and the Trout started to feed again. I watched the water but I couldn’t see anything on the surface. I thought the fish were probably taking buzzers as they emerged. I tied on a size 14 black fly with a white ethafoam wing which would float for ages. First cast to a rising fish produced a confident head-and-tail take and another fish in the landing net.

A few minutes later I anticipated the rise of a Trout on my left and dropped the fly into undisturbed water. As soon as the fly touched down a fish rose and took with a gulp. My premonition had been rewarded. It might have been experience, sixth sense or water craft. A fish had been rising in that area all afternoon and subconscious recall had kicked in.

It was 6:30pm and dark clouds were gathering to the west, I could see a violent storm approaching. Great sheets of rain were slanting down several miles away over the Rother valley, it was a good time to leave. I drove home in hail and sleet, very slowly along the country lanes. A generous glass of Lagavulin in a comfy chair was a perfect end to the day. The Luff’s gremlins had been banished.