The annual competition for the Ray Bull Trophy (heaviest bag) was held at Farmoor 2 on 27 May 2017. The day also included the annual BBQ providing a brief interlude from fishing.

A total of twelve fishermen entered the competition and departed from the marina at 8.30am in six boats to try their luck. The weather was cooler than on previous days and there was a strong breeze from the south. Most boats headed initially for the south bank, which offered some shelter from the breeze, or the south-east or south west corner. After the previous spell of hot weather, fish were expected to be feeding a few feet down from the surface. This proved to be the case, with fish being caught early on between 4 and 8 feet down. Stuart Foulds caught a 3.5lb fish on the first cast on a pheasant tail nymph fished static. Initial, successful techniques included midge tip with holo crunchers, buzzers and Diawl Bachs, washing line with blob on the point, washing line with heavy nymph on the point fished static.

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 was initially quite slow to get going. The breeze strengthened and became more blustery making control of the flies more difficult. Most anglers returned to the south bank area which offered some shelter. Later in the day some fish moved higher in the water and were caught in 3 to 4 feet of water on buzzers. The breeze moderated in the late afternoon and allowed fishing on the south west bank. Here they suddenly switched on about 5.30pm, taking static buzzers.

Noticeably, bank anglers on the south bank were making double figure catches on blobs and buzzers fished static. It was clear that most of the fish were feeding close to the bank, just out of reach for boat fishermen due to the strong wind.

The day ended with the weigh-in at 18.00. All anglers weighed-in fish up to the catch limit of 6 fish. The winner of the Ray Bull Trophy was Peter Proctor, who weighed in 6 fish for a total weight of 7.3 kg (16lb 1oz). Runner-up was last year’s winner, John Goldie (chef and BBQ Master) who weighed in 5 fish for 6.4kg (14lb 2oz) and in joint third place were John Gamon and Geoff Darby who tied with 6 fish each and 6.2kg (13lb 11oz). A total of 55 fish were taken by the twelve competitors with many more caught and released including a fish of approximately 5lb.