The continuing adventures of the Fluff Club, Episode 60 *


Well-known member
Nov 9, 2009
South of England
“… as alert as a tree stump…”- Woody Allen

The Fly Dressers Guild couldn’t hold its Spring Bank Competition in that season, due to that new ‘C’ word, but re-arranged it after lockdown, once again to be held at the excellent Elinor fishery. The Fluff Club’s tiny competition section entered the Professor, the Admiral, and the Inspector, with Whytee as sub, just in case. When I awoke, very early doors, I felt really crook with the second severe dose of a bad cold and cough. I thought about pulling out, but that’s not the team ethic, and the whole point of our entering competitions is for experience, so I drove the 143 miles, grimly, not at all looking forward to the return trip later.
The competitors assembled, albeit fewer than usual; we could see nearly all the boats were already out and plenty of other anglers ranging the banks, but there was more than enough space for all. I expected it to be tough, what with a brand-new moon tonight and wind from the north-east, but a few of the competitors had fished yesterday, practising, saying the fishing had been good. It was easy to see where: the boats were all off the Dam or along Brookside, anchored just sixty metres or so out from the banks, casting towards the shallower margins with sinking lines and retrieving into deeper water, whereas the guys (and gals) on terra firma were unable to replicate that. One guy, in a boat off the Dam, was simply hammering trout upon trout, including at least one double! He hailed from closer to the Urals than us, but was happy afterwards to tell us he was catching “on anything, damsels, snakes, blobs, all colours, it doesn’t matter what”.
I had a floating line outfit to try ‘the washing line’, and an intermediate one for pulling. I swapped rigs and flies constantly until after an hour when another snagged piece of weed turned out to be a four-inch Roach. At the next peg along the Dam bank, Lee Hooper (our illustrious organiser) caught a couple of Perch. In the same swim, later in the afternoon, the Inspector also caught two Perch, except his went one- and two-pounds. Throughout the day the water’s surface around this area intermittently shattered with big Browns hammering into the shoals of fry, porpoising and exploding clear out of the water. Great Crested Grebes were also in on the action, surfacing from time to time with small Roach in their beaks, then swimming away, to return in an hour to repeat the feasting.
Sadly, I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’, becoming a tad despondent. Thank goodness I was the sub! At about the mid-point I decided to walk around to see how my three FC homies were faring. I discovered that the circumference of Elinor is a long walk in chest waders and wading boots, secondly, that if you aren’t concentrating, those wading boots will snag in the rough and you’ll pitch heavily, headlong onto the sward. My haemostats, on the lanyard, were buried to the hilt by my fall. Thank providence they were hanging point down!
Come the reckoning, there were several blanks, but North Kent branch won comfortably, their top rod, Ian, with nine trout. Heinrich, Surrey branch, had eight, including the biggest of the competition, at three pounds something. For the Fluff Club, the Inspector had snagged one to add to the Professor’s brace. The latter also said he’d dropped two fish; I reminded him this has definitely becoming a thing, once it was the Admiral who specialised in the long-distance releases! Anyway, we didn’t bother the top teams, once again.
I can take a blank, a skunking, as long as I learn something from the day. Unhappily, I didn’t. My mojo just didn’t fire-up. I wasn’t fishing, but going through the motions, cast after cast, interminably re-tying rigs and droppers, switching and changing flies, but that vital element, confidence, was missing, and had taken motivation and focus along with it.
Sorry this is a shorter account this time, scant of detail and information. Elinor is a lovely fishery, well worth a visit by anyone. Caution: at this time of year you are likely to encounter a fly-by of a gazillion Geese and run the risk of a splattering!
Hanggang sa susunod.

*in which the names of the participants are pseudonyms in an effort to be as inclusive to others as possible, in an attempt to attain the widest readership. I will be grateful for any comment the reader cares to make. Thank you.

P.S. These accounts are also available with photos at