The annual competition for the Ray Bull Trophy (heaviest bag) was held at Farmoor 2 on 19th May 2018. The day also included a BBQ prepared by our celebrity chef, John Goldie supported by John Pearce whose wife prepared the traditional CFTFFC tiramisu.

A total of fourteen fishermen entered the competition with 10 fishing from the 5 boats and 4 fishing from the bank. The weather was warm and sunny with a very slight breeze from the south west creating an almost flat calm. Boats headed out in various directions initially towards the east side/south east corner or the south west corner. There were a few fishing showing at the surface and but mostly fish were expected to be feeding a few feet down. This eventually proved to be the case with fish being caught between 4 and 8 feet down. John Reid opted to fish a team of buzzers down to size 16 fished static and was almost immediately into a nice rainbow. John’s approach was simple – cast out, leave it alone, have some conversation and make sure you hang on to your rod at all times! John’s boat partner (Stuart Foulds) opted for nymphs (Hares Ear, PTN, Diawl Bach) and lures (damsel, montana, minkie, etc). Several fish followed and occasionally gave a pull to the minkie, eventually biting off the tail! After John Reid connected with more fish, Stuart changed to small, black buzzers fished static and was soon landing fish to the boat.

John Gamon and Peter Proctor opted to fish from the south west bank with buzzers and blobs. Peter eventually caught on a buzzer using a very slow retrieve as did John Gamon.

Geoff Darby opted to fish crunchers from the boat using a slow retrieve and managed to land two rainbows including a 3.5lb + fish.

The fishing proved tough and by lunch time 7 competitors had been unable to land a single fish. Other fishermen on the bank and in the boats were also finding the fishing difficult with a Welsh contingent searching aggressively to find fish.

An excellent BBQ lunch was prepared by our resident chef, John Goldie, which included beer and wine, culminating in the delicious pudding of tiramisu prepared by John Pearce’s wife. After a convivial lunch and exchange of information on the fishing tactics and conditions, everyone turned their attention to the fishing once again.

The afternoon’s fishing started quite slow as the conditions were at their brightest. John Poote and John Goldie opted to fish in the south west corner with John Poote fishing small buzzers on a very slow retrieve. This proved to be a successful technique and he landed 5 fish. John Goldie managed to land an additional fish to the one he had caught in the morning.

John Reid and Stuart Foulds decided to try the south west corner near the old jetty with John continuing with the team of static buzzers. Stuart opted to try an olive minkie on a Di7 and managed to land a well conditioned rainbow of about 2.5lb. John and Stuart moved out into more open water where John landed his fifth rainbow. Stuart rturned to fishing a team of small buzzers and caught his 5th fish on the last cast of the day.

Keith Allison finally managed to land a rainbow on a shipman’s after a frustrating day.

7 competitors had a very tough day in the bright, mainly calm conditions and were unable to find any fish.

The day ended with the weigh-in at 18.00. 5 competitors submitted their catch for the weighed-in. The winner of the Ray Bull Trophy was John Reid, who weighed in 5 fish for a total weight of (10lb 8oz). Runner-up was John Poote who weighed in 5 fish for 10lb 2oz, in third place was Geoff Darby with 2 splendid fish for a total weight of 6lb 8oz and in fourth place John Goldie with 2 fish for 5lb 0oz. A combined total of 23 fish were caught by the fourteen competitors which illustrates how difficult the fishing was in the bright, still conditions. The most successful techniques were clearly fishing a team of small (#14 or #16) buzzers, black, with or without orange cheeks, fished either static or on a slow retrieve.