Too bright? Too cold? Water too murky? I debated our lack of success with a fellow angler. Probably all of the above reasons. In my case, I have to add very rusty fly fishing skills, bordering on the comical. My fly box’s stash of Blue Flash Damsels were all ‘fed’ to the hungry tree branches. Bad casting made a mess of my leaders. I constantly trod the spare line into the muddy banks. Even the spool of my reel fell into the water, at one point.

‘Storm Katie’ made a washout of most of the Easter Weekend; the forecast was for mostly dry, if blustery, weather. I had a clutch of the Albury Estate’s pink Fish Tokens which expire at the end of March, so I was taking my chances with a gap in the weather at their Weston fishery on bank Holiday Monday.

In contrast to my previous visit to this location, the water was cloudy, meaning no trout-stalking opportunities. I tried a number of flies: Viva Marabou, Blue Flash Damsel, Apps Bloodworm, Blob Twinkle Orange. Nothing took an interest until I tied on a Cat’s Whisker Gold. This mini-lure attracted three fish:

The first surprised me by biting just as I prepared to re-cast. No hook-up. The second held on just long enough to put a bend in the rod. A third trout put up a strong fight. I thought I had him beaten. The net was already in my hand when the rainbow made one last dash. The fly pinged out from its mouth. A single short, but loud, swear word rang out across the lake, startling the fat pheasants.

The duty bailiff dropped by to see how I was fishing. He suggested trying a smaller pattern if the fish were making tentative takes. I switched to a Black and Green Nugget Buzzer. The combination of the fly’s heavy bead-head and my intermediate line must have fished very deep. I snagged three unlucky anglers lost leaders, all of which I dragged to the bank, their flies still attached.

Alone on the lake, I made a few last casts at sunset. No fish to show for five hours of casting was a poor effort, but still good to be out and awakening dormant skills.