It was a biting start to our Frandy session: a brisk north-westerly, accompanied by the wintery sun – never the best combination! It felt like it could be a long, tough, cold day’s fishing. There was a certain reluctance to leave the warmth of the fishing hut: the log stove was in full swing and the bacon rolls were on the grill. At this time of year Frandy is a popular venue for the bank anglers and they were already congregating along the South Shore.
Ken mentioned that the fishing had been getting progressively tougher as the week went on, and that the boat anglers were finding the going tougher, but there was still the occasional decent catch. The shallower waters of the South Shore had been seeing the best of the fishing, and it was little surprise that lures, and in particular the hot headed damsel, on a variety of lines had been successful.
Our 6 boats spread along the South Shore, from as far as the little island down to the jetty, and set up drifting down towards the dam wall. There were actually a couple of fish moving close in to the bank that seemed to be mopping up the odd buzzer. This weekend I was the single angler, so it was going to be a busy day, managing the boat, drogue and keeping the boat on an honest drift; this was easier said than done. The brisk wind was pushing the boat consistently away from the shore, so it was just a matter of working away, trying to keep the boat in the fishy areas, which seemed relatively close in.
I had set up with a DI-3 and washing line, but Ken mentioned that the fish were still reasonably high in the water, so a fast glass or even slow glass if the weather calmed down, might be better. The issue with the DI-3 over the day was the hidden hazards of sub-surface branches and rocks. It turned out to be worth sacrificing a few flies though, to get the flies working quicker. Most of our boats were repeating drifts along the South Shore; in particular, John McGonagle and Trevor Gibson were having a good day with their hot head damsels doing the damage.
I was getting the odd fish to a variety of patterns… a black Cat booby, black nymph and in particular a black/gold dabbler on the top dropper. I was having long periods with little action, but there were a couple of hot spots along the way, where there were little pods of fish. I was eventually beaten back by all the effort, then thought better of it and headed right to the top of the water for a bit respite. The conditions up there were almost pleasant in comparison! I bumped into Dougie Skedd and Allan Everington. They said fishing had been very quiet, but seemed very happy to keep comfortable. Not long after, Peter Fionda and our guest Angler, Davy Syme headed in our direction. I hooked and lost one fish in that area whilst negotiating a sausage roll. There was nothing else for it but to head back into the teeth of the conditions and tough it out. That eventually paid dividends – the fish had not moved far. It was a case of not a lot, interspersed with a bit of frantic activity.
Our 11 rods ended the day with a respectable 35 fish, which, given the conditions, was a pretty good effort. Special mention to Trevor, who, after a challenging first couple of outings, is back on form, with 8 fish. Also, well done John McGonagle, with an equally impressive 6 fish, all to that hot headed damsel, red head, blue tinsel flash tail. Not everybody’s idea of a damsel, but a very effective pattern at this time of year.