The Secretary’s Plate (Largest Fish) 2018 competition was held at Draycote Reservoir on 21st July in some of the hottest conditions ever experienced for this competition.

Six brave souls set out in 3 boats intent on capturing the single biggest trout in order to win the Secretary’s Plate. Armed with Di 5, 6 and 7 sinking lines seemed to be the only way according to recent catch information. Everyone took advice from the Draycote staff and headed out across the water to try their luck and test the advice that they had been offered.

The apparent solution to the problem was to have an excellent boatman, namely John Poote (with Keith Allison in support), and fish the ‘boils’. They managed to get amongst the feeding fish catching them on floating lines, the first two fish being taken on shipmans and big red dry flies. The remaining fish were taken on black buzzer, cruncher and green diawl bachs fished on the droppers and the point fly.

It is always a difficult decision deciding which fish to kill and enter for the competition. Keith Allison and John Poote killed their first fish about 10am thinking that, under the tough conditions predicted, it might be their last. This proved to be a little premature because Keith netted a further 6 fish and John Poote another 14 for a grand total of 22 to the boat.

In the meantime, John Gamon and Geoff Darby tried a different part of the reservoir and by lunch time hadn’t managed to get a fish to the boat. They fortuitously decided to fish the boils! When they arrived on the boils John had a fish first cast. As the day progressed so it became warmer but with a light breeze and John and Geoff moved to Rainbow Corner. Geoff took out his snake, realising this was a “virgin experience” he went on the ‘darkside’ and, fishing with a Di 5 sinking line, hooked a monster of around 4 pounds. Fortunately, he had an experienced gillie with him and it was successfully netted. Unfortunately, having already killed his first fish, it was returned after having received a lot of attention.

Unusually for both of them, and despite the advice from the Draycote staff, John Goldie and Bob Sharp failed to find the fish and completed the day without any fish to the boat.

The eventual competition winner with a 2lb 12oz fish was Keith Allison. However opinion has it that the plate really deserves to go to our Club’s specimen hunter Geoff Darby!!

The day was completed with a meal and a pint and once again a good day was had by all.