Latest Reports

Reports 2024 Season

Page Contents:

Click to Jump to Tuesday Evening Social fishing reports
Click to Jump to Norman Shippey  report
Click to Jump to Carr Cup report
Click to Jump to AMFC match reports
Click to Jump to Snowbee Floating Line report
Click to Jump to The Pilgrimage match report
Click to Jump to The Maitland Trophy Interclub match report
Click to Jump to The Bob Ayres Dry fly match report
Click to Jump to Hinckley Shield match report
Click to Jump to Arthur Sexton Trophy match report

Bank trip to Elinor. The Norman Shippey Memorial
March 2024

There are a number of indications that fish are getting caught and the most notable one today was David Moore laughing and obviously enjoying himself. Indeed David was having a good day. Planted firmly at the Dam end alongside Tony Smith they knocked out 8 each before lunch where the rest of the field were struggling.

Seventeen members had managed to get to the lake without getting a puncture – sadly that wasn’t the case for Paul Heavens who decided, after losing three hours, to go home and watch rugby.

This was Invicta’s first day out and one that we were lucky to be able to fish. This year’s phenomenal amount of rain had created a flooded, chocolate Elinor where the pontoons had been under water for weeks making postponement a possibility. However, on the day, the skies cleared for a beautiful morning and the water had cleared enough to give at least six inches visibility.

Apart from the obvious happy noises there were notable silences, of course, but we won’t mention any names, even though their reasonable excuse was that they’d walked all the way to the far end of the lake for very few fish. Members were all round the lake in the calm conditions, but it was the dam end that produced (isn’t it always), although some locals were having success at the opposite end, as Tony discovered later. There were some quieter successes. Alan Briggs found his buzzers on a washing line were working nicely and he focussed on that later. Elsewhere though it was ones and twos, with no obvious hot spots as the weather started to cloud over and the breeze developed.

Buzzers under the bung was popular, but also washing lines and damsels – but any method that kept the flies well up. In fact, most fish caught on the bung came to the top fly, often only a foot or so deep.

We all stopped for lunch and then allowed the low scoring rods to go out first in the afternoon. But, of course, the successful morning anglers continued to do well, and vice versa.

We finished at 4 where birthday boy Tony Smith’s 14 fish won him the day – richly deserved for effort alone having walked miles . Alan Briggs was a very close second with 12, and happy David third with 9. Others who did well were Tim Thomson with 8 and last year’s winner Matt Collerson with 7.

It was interesting that the three keenest bank anglers, and those who have already fished a lot this season, filled the top three places. Proving, once again, that the more you do, the more you catch.

A good rod average of over 4 with only one blank on a very friendly water where Brad and Jo Gifford continue to fight gamely against the weather. We wish them continued success.

Thanks to Neil who organised things and then went on holiday, and to Mark Searle for taking over.

We look forward to the first boat day on Wednesday 3 April at Pitsford.

Norman Shippey Day – Results 2024

Chris McCleod

Carr Cup 2024

Reports will appear here following each match.

Carr Cup Points #2 2024

Round 3 at Pitsford 7th June

We didn’t have great expectations of big catches as a Group1 AMFC the previous weekend had been very tough although some of us had practiced and found a few fish on the flats responding to dries but difficult elsewhere.

Not surprisingly nearly all the fleet started near the dam where the strong NW wind was manageable and it was good to see so many starting with dries and getting some action even if it was just a swirl.

Some got off to a good start, Gary had two in the first hour and Terry was picking up fish regularly with 5 in the morning, all on CDC yellow owls, which are the ‘go to’ dry at the moment.

It was a bit crowded on the Flats so it’s a good job we are friends and everyone motored with care to minimise disturbance. With few being caught boats moved elsewhere, Neil caught a brace in Brixworth Bay and Jonny and Rob both caught near the Sailing Club corner.

Keith stuck to his dries and picked up the odd fish through the day to net 4 all on dries on the Flats.

At 3pm David and Graham only had 2 fish in the boat and were about to try the Causeway but decided on one last drift in the overspill corner as it had been left in peace, it was a good decision and buy 4.30 Graham had two and David had his 8 after switching to a booby on the point and 3 small,skinny nymphs which took 2 or 3 each fished almost static.

Davids last fish of 2lbs had 6ft of fine leader hanging out of its mouth and an autopsy revealed a small yellow owl well down but free in its stomach and as the photo shows it matched the hatch of olive buzzers exactly with the addition of a large beetle. Asking around in the pub it has been identified as the fly lost when Keith was broken 6 hours earlier.

15 of us went to the White Swan where Neil announced the results:

David Moore 8, Terry Bayes 6 and Keith Gilchrist 4

29 rods had taken 42 fish, an average of 1.4 but it was telling that 76% were caught by 35% of the rods and nearly all in a very small area of the reservoir so a very hard day for nearly everyone.

The next round is at Grafham 0n the 6th July which is also the Presidents Cup.

Round 2 at Grafham 4 May

What a shock to arrive at Grafham on a warm sunny morning with a light breeze and so surprised we kept our fleeces and waterproofs on!

Pete Eville success on his first day with Invicta

A great turnout again 34 rods including President Bob and a welcome to Pete Eville fishing his first club day with us.

Most of the fleet split between the Gaynes and Marlow areas although a few started at Hill Farm and the Seat based on experience in last weekend’s successful Snowbee Floating Line.

As usual a few fish were taken early in most areas but then with increasing difficulty in spite of pods of rising fish which looked so inviting. Gary How, Mel Parrott, Fraser Jnr and Allan Sefton were catching close into the Gaynes corner with others drifting out across Sludge Point but with less success.

Steve Harding, Graham Bodsworth, Roger Swain and Alan Briggs caught well, mostly on washing line in the G-Buoy to Marlow area and Keith Gilchrist nipped over there later to take 6 fish in the afternoon.

Nearly all the fish fell to diawl bachs and muskins but Neil Potts tried a black snake near the willows and took 3 in rapid succession.

Fraser Jnr was easily the top rod with 13 trout taken steadily straight lining his nymphs while nearby Gary stuck to the bung for 8 fish as did Steve Harding and Roger Swain.

The catch was lower than expected at 3 per rod a reflection on the wariness of the fish. There are obviously plenty in Grafham and a good size too but fishing pressure has meant that most of the stock have now been caught at least once so it’s vital that we only kill what we need, fish barbless and release with care to maintain a head of fish. Better to have wary fish than not enough.

Fraser Jn.r leads the table with a maximum 100 pts, followed by Gary How 95,  Alan Briggs 80, Keith Gilchrist 75,

The next round is 8th June at Pitsford Water

Round 1 match, Pitsford – 3rd April 2024

At last, after a long wet winter, Invicta’s first boat trip of the year arrived with thirty two of us venturing out on to a very full reservoir in damp, blustery winds.

Thirty plus is an excellent turnout for any club and congratulations to Neil Potts and David Moore for organising such an enjoyable day. Enjoyable despite the, at times, difficult conditions. Fishing is good in settled weather and a low pressure system driving its way across the UK with squally winds, showers and a dropping temperature were not what we wanted. But that’s early season fishing and, hopefully, lots of freshly stocked fish compensate for the discomfort. We were briefed by Neil and the target was 3 killed fish plus 5 catch and release.

Most of the boats headed for the far end of the lake and spread themselves from Pitsford Creek, along the Pines, round Rigby’s Point and along Sermon’s. The odd fish was getting caught but most rods refused to bend, unlike in Stone Barn Bay where Alan Briggs and Tim Thompson had stopped. All alone, and without any boat pressure, they started picking up fish. Alan initially fished a fast glass but gradually came up in the water with a variety of flies to catch his 8 while Tim had the pleasure of watching. Alan has been in form all year – deservedly as he certainly puts in the hours.

Meanwhile elsewhere others were slowly putting together decent scores, with the snakes playing a big part. Fraser junior, Gary How and Dave Currie were catching but also losing fish. Sadly it was a day when as many came off as were caught. For no apparent reason, a seemingly well hooked and played fish simply dropped off meaning that many who would have had their 8 only caught half that number. Dave Currie was one of a few who also caught good brownies, but these only counted if 3 rainbows had already been taken. Dave sets a high bar for the biggest brownie caught in a club event this year, 6lb 11oz.

Jon Allen, for some reason, managed to see his rod, reel and line disappear over the side, only for Pete Webb to hook and land it later – unfortunately with no fish on the end.

One warning re newly waxed jackets. These can be so efficient at repelling water that pools of it can gather in the folds of a jacket as experienced by Chris McLeod when half a hoods worth of rain ran down his neck and back, entered his underwear circulating the nether regions (Brrrrrr!) and finally collecting in his wellies. Thank goodness for heated car seats.

We’d started at nine thirty and most were happy to come off by five – once again motoring through the tunnel on an exceptionally high Pitsford. David had organised sausage and chips at the White Swan in Holcot where most of us gathered for a good chat about what went wrong and what we should have done. Alan won the day – and the Graham Williams Trophy – just pipping Fraser by 13 ounces. Gary had 7 and Dave 6. All told 88 fish were caught at a rod average of 2.75 which wasn’t a disaster by any means.

So thanks to all for the organisation – especially encouraging the social side which is a great strength of Invicta. We look to the next round of the Carr Cup on Saturday 4 May which has been moved from the defunct Draycote to Grafham.

Chris McLeod

PS – Catch of the Day by Dave Currie

Firstly, let me say I caught it by basically cheating! OK given the wind and how comparatively late I threw the anchor over I’ll cut myself a break – I hate anchoring though. BUT it did allow me to try and present natural looking flies, and out of a cast of Diawl, Buzzer, Diawl, the fish picked out the crisp packet size 12. Usual dour, heavy fight, and into the net. Boat partner Andrew (Bate) told me he had a pair of scales, and to be honest I was expecting a rusted old spring balance, but no, out came an immaculate set of digital scales, so quickly off with the landing net handle, and on with the weighing -7lb 12oz. The fish goes back immediately and lazily swims down to the depths again. I weigh the net – 11oz – and I immediately think the fish wasn’t THAT big, so re-tune the bifocals to see the ‘dot’, Ok the net is 1lb 1oz, so 6lb 11 is the final reckoning. Eagle-eyed Andrew spots what fly it was on (I volunteer that anyway of course), and I’m so generous that I decide a few casts later to donate the fly to Andrew, and I do that by sticking it in his back so deep it has to stay there until close of play when of course he rightfully claims ownership

Caught in-between Sermons bank and the Holly tree.

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Invicta Snowbee Floating Line Match 2024

Saturday 27th April 2024 – Grafham Water

All Team Results 2024

Individual Results 2024

Team Order Results 2024

Report by Chris McLeod

The twelfth year of everyone’s favourite team match and twenty two, four man teams arrived at Grafham on an unseasonably chilly day but with high hopes of some great fishing.

Since the demise of Draycote and the Eyebrook, Anglian Waters have been under extra fishing pressure and the fishing had been reflecting that. The cold weather had slowed the buzzer hatches and the shrimp were not quite as evident as hoped. However, there were still plenty of fish in the lake and in a variety of areas.

It’s always good to see old friends and familiar faces, but sadly a minute’s silence was held for absent friends. That done and boats disappeared to all parts. Particular favourite areas were Hill Farm and Pig Bay, Gayne’s Cove and around the Lodge with Gayne’s producing the quick limits. Trout and Salmon editor, and eventual winner, Andrew Flitcroft finishing easily before lunch.

All were on floating lines of course, and once again it was shown that these can be just as effective as when one has a choice of sinking and tip lines as well. But others struggled. So at lunch at one o’clock gathered everyone into the Lodge for all the usual banter. Although one or two like to carry on fishing, the break is an important part of the day

The afternoon session proved, as is usual, to be slower than the morning. The wind had dropped, the weather brightened and the fish were definitely less cooperative. But fish were caught and score ticked over nicely, but it was cold and most were happy to get back to the warmth of the Lodge and the lasagne and chips, followed by apple crumble. Yum!

Best bag was Andrew Flitcroft, and he was also in the top boat. Tony Fox was most successful local angler and his team GWFFA Green were the best local team. A good result for Invicta Tickety Boo who came seventh. The most remarkable catch was our own Steve Harding who caught the biggest fish – twice, with two rainbows at 5lb 4oz each.

Thanks as always to Jane and Gary How who do everything before the match, and then to all the helpers, scorers and assistants from the Invicta club on the day, and the very efficient catering staff at the Lodge. Invicta are always particularly grateful to Simon Kidd and Snowbee for their continued support of this event. They have helped create something special.

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Bank trip to Elinor. The Arthur Sexton Trophy 2023

This was the last Invicta trip of the year and should have happened three weeks earlier, but was postponed after a huge amount of rain had flooded and turned the lake to chocolate. We’d hoped for good conditions to round off an interesting season, but as is so often the case, the weather turned a couple of days before. The unseasonable mild November became a proper winter day with a frosty start and a bright, cold, cloudless sky all day. Fish don’t like that and they don’t like sudden changes of pressure, and this was reflected in the scores.

Sixteen hardy souls ignored the adverse conditions arriving to a warm welcome from Brad Gifford, and full of hope. The lake is stuffed with fish and Brad is doing a great job improving things gradually, but he can’t control the weather. More than anyone he would have been delighted for us to have a good day. But it just didn’t happen. If anything, things deteriorated even further when a breeze blew up and the temperature dropped again. So the hoped for activity ‘when things warm up a bit’ just didn’t happen.

Odd fish were caught, on a variety of methods, during the morning, but most were thinking of lunch and a chat to find out how others had fared. Not very well was the answer. Lots of blanks , a few ones and twos, but very patchy. The only place that fished at all was the dam end where almost all the fish were caught.

After the break, where at least we were entertained by Ray Storer’s trick of turning mulled wine into soup, by picking up Gary’s flask instead of his own, we returned to the futile job of attempting to extract something from the water.

Ray had actually had three fish and lost another, so he was doing ok, and Matt Collerson played six, of which he last three, on an egg fly below a bung. Well, needs must and when nothing else is working that was a fair enough tactic. Two other anglers caught two fish each, Peter Brewer and Gary How, and there were four with one fish and eight blanks.

A dismal result fish numbers wise, but Invicta, being the club they are, actually seemed to enjoy themselves. There have been many times this season when we’ve said ‘it’s not all about catching fish’ and this was certainly one of those occasions. After the torture ended, car boots opened and out came beer, mince pies, chocolates, a variety of treats, and we had a good old chat where it was decided that Ray was the winner as he’d caught his fish earlier than Matt. He won a fruit cake which put a huge smile on his face.

So sixteen anglers caught fourteen fish at a rod average of 0.875. No one seemed to mind very much, they were more concerned about their blue fingers, iced up noses, frostbitten feet and numb thumbs.

Matt Willatt brought his son Joe who was amazingly patient and well behaved, especially as his dad didn’t land a fish and he probably wondered what it was all about. But we all assured owner Brad that the weather was at fault, he was not to blame at all, and that we looked forward to being back there for our first get together next season.

And with that we all said thanks to Neil Potts for his organisational skills, and then departed to warm showers and cosy sofas.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Chris McCleod


      Hinckley Shield 2023

Eight teams of six is a lot of bank anglers, and we all anticipated a very crowded Grafham bank for this annual inter club competition. The usual areas on the north shore had been producing some great fish, but the south, in contrast, seemed a non starter. So with southerly winds it was assumed we’d all be crammed into a few hot spots. Amazingly that was not the case. Anglers, which included our three Invicta teams, spread out from the Stumps, all along the north shore points to the Willows, and there was plenty of room.

Armed with a variety of flies, primarily lures and shrimps, rods started bending soon after the nine o’clock start. G marker produced quick limits for Tony Smith and Chris McLeod, and others followed at Cove Point and Hill Farm. Jonny Bromilow only needed a couple of hours, as did Alan Briggs. Gary How and Mark Searle were quickly called over to G having been in less productive areas – Mark had only had a single pull from Lodge Bank and Gary hadn’t managed to avoid browns. Unfortunately conditions were deteriorating and fish became increasingly hard to catch. Gary, after a long wait, finished with the biggest fish of the day at 4lbs 9oz. The fish were in perfect condition, lost all their stocky fat and hardly any cormorant damage.

Back at the Lodge weigh-in by 4 o’clock, our teams had achieved variable results. The A team had done well though with four limits, a four and a three.  This was similar to other successful teams and no one had any idea of the outcome. Invicta’s two other teams struggled, with the only other full bag coming from Fraser Duffy senior. The general stamp of our fish was good though. Apart from Gary’s big one, Tony Smith had the second biggest bag (losing by only an ounce) and given the very tight finish these better trout made the difference, and gave Invicta A the victory. A brilliant result in the face of very tough opposition – lots of England Internationals for example – so a great day for Invicta.

Thanks to the Elinor team who organised the day, to all who supported the event and especially Neil Potts who organised us – with his usual efficiency.

Chris McLeod


2023 Hinckley Shield Results – Summary

2023 Hinckley Shield Results – Teams

2023 Hinckley Shield Results – Individuals


Bob Ayres Trophy – Dry Fly Match

Ravensthorpe, 23rd September 2023

Top Rod, Alan Briggs.

I used to like Carol Kirkwood for all sorts of reasons, but when she forecast a beautiful cloudless sky for our day on restricted to dry fly only, I went off her a bit. But that’s what we had. Hardly a cloud all day, with very little breeze, on a water that hadn’t been stocked for a while, with the added difficulty of grumpy carp anglers.

Regardless of all this, twenty nine members ventured out with their foam daddies, big reds, Shipman’s, cul de canards, Midasses  and anything else that floated, to fish for the Bob Ayres Trophy. The man himself was in attendance accompanied and supported by the ever-patient and regular old-member carer, Steve Middleton. He’s very good and not really the grumpy old t**t that he pretends to be.

The day was organised by Neil Potts, having taken over from Mark Searle who we thank for his many excellent years in the job. Neil has already proved to be a superb organiser, so Mark was able to relax and enjoy the sun, sand and sea in Turkey. Neil was very precise about the rules – static, with the odd tweak maybe, but no pulling. A tactic that given the conditions was always going to prove tough, (although there might just have been the tiniest hint of an exasperated twiddle here and there later on?)

The day didn’t start well. We had an odd number which was no problem, but three or four engines refused to start, and no amount of bulb squeezing, choking, pulling and throttling would work, so Pitsford warden George was summoned and he set to work. Gradually everyone was accommodated but it was a good hour before all the boats were on the water.

Indeed, as Carol had predicted, it was a beautiful morning and the lake looked a picture. Most boats headed for the far side and started long drifts across the lake. Very few fish or insects were in evidence and there was little to encourage or guide the anglers as they all waved their rods about to keep their flies dry. The odd fish was caught including a lovely brown for the increasingly successful Sue Potts. A lot of the fish, though, were small, but each was greeted with relief, kissed and released back into the water. It’s excellent to see so many members fishing barbless and a trend that hopefully will continue. While catch and release is still a contentious issue and may have made the fishing trickier on occasions, it certainly reduces damage to both trout and ears.

Lunchtime was a very social affair as we all sat outside in the warm sunshine and ate our sandwiches. Those that were still blank, and there were many, had to listen to the tales of those few that had caught, with Alan Briggs leading the way on 3. Not much else had happened. David Moore did try to throw his rod away – twice, but without success, and one or two were asked to move when they drifted over a carp angler’s bucket load of boilie ground bait, but otherwise the morning was quiet. It is true that blanking and struggling for fishing inspiration is always easier in nice weather. We weren’t grateful for much that day but at least it wasn’t blowing a hooley or chucking it down.

After a very convivial break – and Invicta are good at those – we set off again. The afternoon continued as the morning with a little more action for some. Alan doubled his tally to land a spectacular, in the circumstances, six fish. He is the man in form at the moment with the ability to move seamlessly from dry to shrimp to three inch olive snake and back again. A great performance short casting his daddies which earned him the Trophy. There were five threes, three two and a dozen ones, but sadly eight blanks for a rod average of 1.34.

As we packed up, Tony Smith (who was already part of the m’ducks breakfast group) pulled out a cool box full of drink and goodies, so we had a bit of a party. This surprise event was an excellent end to the day and may be something the club should continue in future? A quid more on the entry cost is nothing but the additional social gathering certainly would be enjoyed. Thanks Tony, much appreciated, it rounded off a tough day very nicely.

Chris McLeod

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Maitland Trophy 27th August 2023

Invicta’s Top Rod, Tony Smith

We knew that the fishing at Grafham for the Maitland this year was going to be tough and it was! The recent stocking of 2000 fish did not help us, at all. Apparently they went at the Sailing Club and then disappeared! Three boats went out to “practice” on Saturday. We went around the lake clockwise and anti-clockwise looking for fish and methods that worked. Fish were found at Hill Farm, Willows and N buoy. They were either on the bank in a 1ft or water, in the weeds or open water. with Floating Line, Sink Tip and Slow/fast Glass catching a few fish. And this was reflected on Match Day.

 Many thanks for those who took part, especially as it was a Bank Holiday. The forecast for Sunday was gentle winds from the W/NW, overcast with possible showers in the afternoon. The was accurate apart from the word “gentle”. We did get a couple of very insignificant showers but the wind varied FORCE 3 -4. And being a Westerly gave 3ft+ swells on the water. The fishing drifts were a little “uncomfortable” but tolerable (compared to some of the conditions we have had to experience). The journey back up wind to restart the drift was very challenging. The boat had to be manoeuvred to avoid the swells but if that was not possible we had to slow down before the swell and then crash into the trough with a humongous “Thud”.

 We started at 9.30, prompt, after a very satisfying breakfast in the lodge. As usual boats went everywhere. I went to the North Dam (around N buoy), along with Tony Smith. He started catching on the Dam Bank with a Floating Line and Daddies, static. I was behind him in open water and catching on a slow glass with nymphs and roly poly. This I think was the strategy for the day – find some fish and a tactic to catch them – it was not easy!  I am sure we found the stockies around N buoy but they did not behave like new stockies, they were very finicky. No chasing with bow waves.

 We all returned for 17.45 and a fine lasagne in the Lodge. We waited in anticipation for the results. We knew we had not won but sadly we did not expect to finish 4th. GWAFFA won, Rutland 2nd and Mid North Hants 3rd. We only came 4th by one fish, 27 to our 26. We did pick up one prize and should have had a 2nd. There were spot prizes for 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th. This was very welcome by the participants. I picked up the prize for 10th. The other prize should have gone to Tony Smith for 3rd best rod. However his boat partner recorded the wrong time for his first fish. As there was a tie for 3rd place the angler who caught earliest fish took the prize. (Moto here is to make sure results are accurately recorded and get them corrected at the earliest opportunity).

 The event was sponsored by Wading Waters ( ) and AW. Wading Waters are a new retailer to the UK market. They were established in South Africa and have now started operation in the UK.

Andy Trafankowski – Team Captain

Maitland 2024 Scores

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Tuesday Evening Social Fishing at Grafham

Evening boat – after Round 6

Week 6

Not exactly a balmy summers evening, but at least the wind was mostly light this week and once on the water we dodged the showers. Nineteen rods this week caught 37 fish for a rod average of nearly 2. On the whole, provided you were in the right area, you felt like there was a chance of a fish. ‘Where was that area’ I hear you cry – well its not going to surprise many to hear it was Gaynes Cove – again. Post match chats were dominated by lost fish as always, but also why the North hasn’t been its usual productive self recently. Theories abounded of course, but until we catch a talking trout we won’t really know!

Chris Barratt did get a North shore fish, and on the first cast too, on the same blob he caught on the last time he was on the North shore, also on the first cast too! Look after that fly Chris. Top rod on the night was Matt Willett with an excellent 6, mainly on a small brown Minkie pinged at risers and pulled back. Matthew Allan snagged 4 including a bit of life-affirming action with a Big Red, and consistently good Keith Gilchrist also had 4 with Muskins on his leader.

The harbour staff got us tied up and away to the Mermaid very efficiently and with good humour. So, an evening where you had to be in the right place, and still have the fortune to find one of these now ‘hammered’ fish willing to bite.

David Currie

Week 5

After last weeks improvement in catches everyone hoped the better evening fishing would continue, how wrong can one be with the weather still having an impact the strong wind swinging round from a warm South West to a cold North West, this clearly reduced the number of fish taking fly from the surface and the wind at times made presentation tricky.

Twenty anglers drew for boat partners at 5.15pm and most were away by 5.30pm some choosing the Dam or Gaynes with a few going to Valley Creek. Dayood Sheik (overall top rod) catching a six on buzzers from the South dam, Neil Walsh and David Spall (not part of the League) had nine between them also
from the dam area. 33 fish were caught and gave an overall rod average of 1.7 fish per rod. All the boats were back by 9.30pm and most went to the ‘Mermaid’ for sandwiches, chips and a pint. The winner of the boat voucher was Wayne Allen, name selected at random by a member of the public in the bar.

Jeff Hickson

Week 4

We anglers are all optimists and a very wet afternoon didn’t deter 26 of us from turning out in the hope of a clearer evening. The westerly wind eased and the sky brightened as most of the boats turned left into Valley Creek while a few headed right towards Gaynes Cove , both offering shelter and recent good catches.

Fish were rising in the calm water tight into the corner of Valley Creek and fish were taken near the surface in spite of the boat pressure, although they moved out as the evening progressed. Jeff Hickson was away from the crowd in Gaynes and fished dries to take 5 fish. Back in Valley Creek Matt Allen and Jonny Bromilow were both catching with washing line booby and nymphs although Wayne Allen fishing nearer to the west bank was most successful with fish mostly taking a small booby. A lot of fish were pricked or lost in play showing they were a bit wary, something we are getting used to this season with all the extra rod pressure on AW reservoirs.

Although our finish time was 9.00, we all dashed for the harbour a bit early as a torrential storm arrived.

At the count, Wayne was top rod with 8, Matt and Jeff both had 5 and Jonny 4 , so the top 4 rods caught 22 of the 50 fish total.

Nearly everyone came to the Mermaid Inn which we filled and created a lively atmosphere. The lucky AW Boat voucher went to Tim Thompson.

It was good to have some newcomers at a Tuesday evening , Peter Costin, Reg & Kath Barber, most of whom caught and hope to see you all again next week when we fish until 9.30pm

David Moore

Week 3

The series thus far has been dominated by the difficult fishing but this week it was the weather that was to test our waterproofs with rain and low cloud all evening. The weather forecast also showed a deep low-pressure area moving in with a light northerly wind developing. The good news was the fish decided that in one area they were prepared to respond to the anglers’ offerings.

Sixteen anglers drew for boat partners at 5.15pm and most were away by 5.30pm some choosing the far reaches of Grafham down to the Dam / Gaynes and ‘G’ Buoy or across to Hedge end area. But as it turned out the boats that went to the area between the Harbour and Valley Creek found the fish in keen taking mood with the three top anglers catching here. Wayne Allen (overall top rod) catching a dozen on midge tip line size 12 hare’s ear boobies and diawl bach or buzzer, then David Currie eleven and Tim Thompson ten. David Moore had predicted that as he and a number of the other regular Tuesday evening anglers would not be present (due to fishing elsewhere) everybody would catch six fish, well it was close the rod average being 4.4 fish per rod., a big improvement on the first two weeks.

All the boats were back by 9.00pm and most went to the ‘Mermaid’ for sandwiches, chips and a pint.
The winner of the boat voucher was Dayood Sheik, name selected at random by a member of the public in the bar.

Jeff Hickson

Week 2

Following the week one’s poor rod average, expectations were much higher this week following the news that Anglian Water had stocked a further 3000 fish at the Sailing Club the previous day. The weather was also cooler and overcast following three or four very warm bright days, a recipe for better results.  

22 anglers turned up and the draw went promptly ahead at 5:15 allowing us to get onto the water in good time. We have an arrangement with AW that we can come in 30 minutes later than the posted “Boats in’ time. The board time stated 8:15 but ever observant David Moore noticed that on AW’s list for the season it stated 8:30 for this date, so we should have been allowed out until 9pm. After constructive discussing with management we now have the timetable for the series to avoid future confusion and it was agreed at 9pm until the 3rd June when it is 9.30pm for 4 Tuesdays.  

Inevitably most boats headed toward the areas either side of the sailing club and down towards the seat in the hope of finding a few ‘stockies’. Very first cast Jeff Hickson was into a fish followed within a couple of minutes by fish number two; things were looking good, but then it went quiet. It was clear that very few boats were finding fish, the one big change was a wind direction change to a stiff easterly and a big drop in pressure. The Fire Brigade anglers had fished a match during the day and struggled.   

Boats began to explore wider and David Currie fishing the seat and then valley creek managed to land 4 fish pulling a fast glass with two pink blobs to finish top rod. Following his lightning start, Jeff Hickson only managed to find one more to finish with 3 along with Keith Gilchrist and Roger Swain. Most of the field were less successful and half the anglers blanked leaving a rod average of 0.9, most disappointing. 

The evening rounded off with 17 of us heading for our usual trip to the ‘Mermaid’ for chips, sandwiches and banter where the results were announced and the draw for the AW boat ticket took place …won by the evenings organiser me. (Not a fix, honest!) 


Paul Heavens. 

Week 1

A rare mild and calm evening greeted 23 of us for our first Tuesday evening on Grafham Water and it was good to welcome some new faces.

We knew the fish had become a bit wary but showing in most of the popular areas and we set out with optimism. Boats spread out between Gaynes, Willows, G Buoy, Deep Water Point, Hedge End and Hill Farm fishing close in where fish have been feeding on shrimp and buzzers.

With a near flat-calm on the north shore most opted for a light touch either washing line, straight line or bung with lighter leaders and smaller flies than usual practice.

Fish were rising everywhere but proved illusive in shallow clear water, just the odd fish taken on buzzer, muskins, hare’s ears , shrimps and a few on small dries and even a snake but with no consistency.

Four rods managed 2 fish, Dave Currie, Jonny Bromilow, Jeff Hickson and Dayood Sheik, mostly from the north shore between Hill farm to G Buoy but the rest were ones and blanks for a total of 16 trout.

The Mermaid at Ellington was well attended and provided ample food and real ale in its friendly bar.

Roger Swain won the AW donated boat voucher. Big thank you to Paul Stephens for organising the evening.

Number fishing 23.

number of fish caught 16.

Rod average 0.70.


David Moore

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AMFC (Association of Major Flyfishing Clubs) 2024

The AMFC (Association of Major Flyfishing Clubs) is a series of club based matches.  Invicta like to encourage as many members to get involved as possible, and runs 2 teams. There are 3 groups and we have our A team in Group 2 and the B team in Group 3.

AMFC Group 3 Round 2, Rutland Water 12 May

Settled weather and 5 of the 6 team mates having done 2 days on Rutland during the week in an EFFA comp meant that we were pretty well informed before this Group 3 match at a blindingly sunny Rutland. As it happens, probably too well informed as there were a number of areas identified as holding fish, so we (and all the other teams) had to make decisions that on Rutland, with the motoring time involved, are hard to undo!

Methods were pretty much sorted too. If you were over a known shrimpy area (i.e. shallow and rocky) – fish a big snake! (only kidding – I meant an international rules snake). Of course I jest; floater and a couple of little beige ‘Hare’s ear’ beauties would winkle them out. If you were over deeper water or silt, a couple of small buzzers strung out or hung out (I might copyright that phrase) would work. The buzzer are getting a bit bigger now, but a sz12 probably covers all bases right now.

That we were going to be in the top 3 was indicated by 5 out of 6 ‘boat wins’, Steve Harding had a bit of a traumatic time involving a ruined Invicta shirt and a involuntarily shortened fly line (we’ve all been there), he also was overtaken in the boat by a partner eschewing the perceived current wisdom by pulling a pink blob / fab with cats whisker type booby on the point with pink eyes on a 12′ tip line, taking  6 fish within 3m to the bank at the seat in Yellowstone woods/Old Hall.

All the identified areas produced, though all teams were frustrated that the Church Bay aquarium had been largely corralled off by anchored pleasure boats, but Ray Storer managed to fish close enough to the fish to steadily pick up his 9, mostly on fabs on a floater.

Pete Skelton nicked some out of Old Hall and East Creek, I took some out of Normanton, but was kind and took my partner to the Monument to give him the ‘inside line’ (it was an Easterly), where I also nicked out a few, then to Whitwell to get the rest. Simon Peck used his weeks learning to sniggle a good 5 from the Church and Old Hall areas, and Alan could have done with another hour as was catching well late on at Yellowstone/Old Hall.

A consistent performance with all contributing saw us home as winners by a pound and a half. Good to see quite a few new faces trying comp fishing for the first time, and good to see a healthy, but not excessive number of browns being caught and of course returned as 2 lbs.

So that was the day, I won’t mention some of the sights out in the sun at Whitwell and Syke’s Lane, but it was like Brighton beach on a Bank Holiday, only more crowded!

Dave Currie, captain 

NB  Dave was Top rod in the match, onr of only two with a 12 fish limit.

AMFC Group 2 Round 2 on Chew Valley Lake 1st May 2024

Invicta A – David Moore, Chris McLeod, Lee Cartmail, Pete Webb, Roger Swain, Terry Bayes.

Our A Team headed off for a planned day’s practice before the competition only to be blown off Chew and having to ‘practice’ on Blagdon next door, not ideal for a team which only fishes Chew once a year at most and for Roger Swain in his first competition anywhere. Ironically Chris and I were also blown off Chew a month previously.

Blagdon was interesting, the 20-40mph gusty cold wind drove us all to the more sheltered top end which was just fishable by anchoring with the bung and we caught a few good fish alongside the Royal Navy team in the same predicament. The lake had a suprising blue-green algal bloom whereas Chew Lake was clear, water was 12’C compared with Grafham 10.5 C

Lee Cartmail, on his first time fishing for Invicta, had been delayed and drove bravely through the night from Middlesborough to meet us for traditional team breakfast in the Stoke Inn where we planned our day. Based on Blagdon we expected the fish to be high in the water and it was a flat calm and warm for a change so we opted for washing line or a bung at 6ft and higher or floating lines with straight-lined buzzers, muskins and DBs. The predicted areas were Picnic Frontage and behind Dennys Island but with the boats blown off for several days there was scant information even for the local Bristol boats.

The fleet split between Picnic Frontage and left of the dam with many staying in front of the Lodge where fish were showing but after an hour most abandoned this with only the odd fish taken.

Lee got off to a great start with 4 early fish to a floating line and dark Diawl Bachs while Chris McLeod took 3 on the bung nearby. My boat joined them but my partner caught 4 before I changed to a more buoyant FAB at 1pm and took 5 fish on buzzers in 90 minutes before they got wary. I spooned the first and full of black buzzers with orange cheeks so on went the ‘crisp packet’ which worked immediately.

Lee had 8 by now and Chris and Terry both on 4 or 5 moved to join the boats collecting off Denny’s Point. Roger had already taken 2 at Walley Bank and then had a great finish off Denny’s switching to a 6ft tip to take 5 on DBs and muskins drifting close to the trees while the rest of us picked up the odd fish.  We hadn’t seen much of Pete in the corner of the dam where he was having a nightmare hooking but losing a lot of fish, we all lost a few and some were big fish, Chris netted the best at 5lb-3oz.

We killed our first 4 trout and had caught 31 between us. Most bags weighed 10 to 12lbs which showed the quality of the fish, the heaviest to my partner, Bristol captain Andy Stones, at 5lb-13oz.

Bristol had obviously won and Fish Hawks next but we looked pipped by ounces for 3rd by FFLR Red but one of their six rods was just a local rod kindly making up even numbers and so we were in 3rd place and remain in top equal place in Group 2.  It’s important to have a full team for these matches and special thanks to our top rod Lee with his 500 mile return trip for one day’s fishing.

BRFFA (44) 112lb-0oz, Fish Hawks (34) 95lb-4oz, Invicta A (31) 76lb-15oz, FFLR Red (33) 76lb-7oz Royal Navy (28) 65lb-11oz.   FFLR Orange didn’t field a team.

Next round is Pitsford 29 June and it’s our turn to manage the match.

David Moore

Round 1 Spring Association Match – Grafham 20th April 2024

Team A

This is the first of the series of six matches held throughout the year, and one of the two that includes all the clubs from the three divisions. Two new clubs have joined this year which brings the total up to nineteen, and these are divided up so we have six in the top two groups and seven in group three.

Our A team, who fell from the dizzy heights of winning the top Group 1 a few years back, are looking for promotion from Group 2 back into that division. A tough ask because there are some very strong teams there.

Our B team is in the essentially more relaxed Group 3 and gives us the opportunity to introduce less competitive club members, or those who are less experienced, to match fishing. But it would be good to see them go up a Group.

So, having cleared that up we get on to the match itself, which dawned on a chilly Grafham with a brisk, northerly. Practice had shown that there were plenty of fish in a number of areas, and identified areas full of willing stockies as well as some better fish. Terry Bayes had a good seven pounder from Gaynes Cove for example Gary How had 17 and Keith Gilchrist took a dozen, all on buzzers.

So it was great to see lots of new names and faces alongside the familiar ones and start our campaign for the year. Eighteen teams of four (the Police didn’t turn up), with the pairings all mixed so you didn’t fish with someone in your own Group, set out to various ‘hot spots’ with their floating and ‘tip’ lines. As is the case this time of year, fish were in places related to where they had been stocked, and not always tight the banks. The North side was favoured, particularly G to the Willows, and Pig Bay. A slow start gradually picked up to produce reasonable bags at the 5pm finish. The target was 4 fish killed then catch and release another 8, which was a big number in the circumstances, but seven anglers managed it, including our B team’s bung expert Mark Mathieson, and also a good number reaching double figures. This included our own Tony Smith, who had 11. Most were on mainly floating and tip lines with washing lines, bungs and straightlined buzzers – so nice to see everyone nymphing rather than pulling

A slow start had gradually picked up to produce reasonable bags at the 5pm finish.

The Grafham Lodge provided the after match meal which was well attended and the results were excellent for Invicta – second in Group 3 and first in Group 2. So a great start to the season and an all round team effort.

Many thanks to the AMFC organiser, Jeff Hickson and to our own inimitable David Moore who has put in a huge effort to get Invicta’s teams, the fishing, the practices and the accommodation sorted for the year.

Let’s hope we can maintain the momentum throughout the season.

A team: Chris McLeod (captain), Keith Gilchrist, Terry Bayes and Tony Smith.

B team: Andy Trafankowski (captain), Mark Mathieson, Peter Brewer and Ray Storer.

Chris McLeod

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The Norman Shippey Bank Match 

Saturday 18th March 2023 Elinor Trout Fishery

Matt Collerson

The Invicta season now traditionally kicks off with a social day on the banks of Elinor, the 50 acre water just south of Oundle.

Usually the conditions are testing – cold, biting wind, Nene floodwater colouring everything up, and hopeless reports from the days before. This trip was the exact opposite. Reports had been very good with plenty of fish in the lake, and the weather set fair. With light winds fishing was possible from every bank and by 9.30 club members were all round with one or two rods starting to bend.

It wasn’t easy for all though. Some found it very tough as the fish were still shoaled up and the concentrations were in certain areas. The point just beyond the boat dock on the Lodge side always produces, especially the small bay just south of it. This is where winning bags have come from consistently and Mark Searle was making the most of it with his skilfully fished washing line, and later Matt Collerson nearby was racking up his score. Meanwhile new member Richard Purcell managed to tempt a real lump of a rainbow which weighed in at 8lb 2oz, this has certainly set the bar high at an early stage for the best rainbow of the season trophy.

But it wasn’t all down to location, as you had to focus on the margins rather than cast out towards the middle. A successful approach was to fish almost parallel with the bank, a few yards out and into shallow water.

Everyone stopped for a very sociable lunch and then continued on into the afternoon, although most left in good time to watch England lose in the 6 Nations. Simon Peck developed an interesting approach pulling an Apps type bloodworm for a good bag but others relied on the bung which proved deadly drifting it into the margins.

The weather remained overcast and the fishing improved for many but, although some did carry on, by the 3pm official finish time Mark hadn’t done quite enough to catch Matt who won the day.

A good rod average with only a few low scores on a water that is being very ably managed by Brad and Jo Gifford. Evidence of their enthusiasm is very noticeable, and Brad is always very welcoming.

Chris McLeod

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The Pilgrimage 2024

The history of this competition goes back over forty years when Invicta members were invited to fish against a Welch group of existing and ex international anglers. We were mere amateurs compared to the Llanilar group but watching them fish was a delight.

We were later joined by the Scottish Leslie team, again another group of international anglers and friendships were formed that still continue to this day.

For this years competition it was decided that we would measure the fish to prevent the terrible waste of good fish  that we have seen in other competitions.

Each pairing was provided with a Anglian Water measuring board and score board to record the fish length.

We chose to fish to a limit of 12 fish but the number did not matter since all the fish were being returned.  The beauty of having the measuring board in the centre of the boat meant that the boat partner could verify the length before recording it.

We found that it was better to measure the fish whist still in the landing net, using the net to control the fish from thrashing about. Such a simple procedure, the fish being out of the water for only a minute with no need for a time to recover.

On the match day 27 people fished and caught 209 fish giving a rod average of 7.74.

We made up three teams of 8 to determine the results and the scores were –

Invicta members   53 fish for a total length of 21.94 metres

Leslie (Scotland)    69 fish for a  total length of 29.15  metres

Llanilar (Wales)      74 fish for a total length of  30.92 metres.

Llanilar won the Rose Bowl for the match between Invicta and Wales and Leslie won the Diawa Shield for the overall competition winners.

The Best Individuals in the Invicta members were Terry Bayes (12 fish) who along with Dewi Rees won the best Boat prize and our own Sue Potts had and excellent 12 fish limit.

The best individual was Ian Dobbie from Leslie and he won the cash prize and the George James decanter and matching cut glass glasses. Ian had 12 fish to a length of 553 cm.

The Best Fish prize was shared with Dayood Sheik and Ian Dobbie, they both had a fish measuring 55cm.

In addition to the cash prizes we also had a draw for five bottles of wine, each bottle including a box of barbless hooks.

The Steak Night at the Wheatsheaf was good on Thursday and Lisa provided and excellent meal at the sailing club on Friday evening.

Measuring fish will be the format for future Pilgrimage events, and hopefully more clubs will adopt this approach.

I would like to thank all those who took part and hope to see you again next May

I have thanked Neil Atkins at Anglian Water for his help and support in arranging the event and also Pauline and Paul for keeping us all in line.

Steve Middleton

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