This wednesday, I’ll be mostly floating in 10.86 km² of water

This morning I woke up with a plan – not the usual plan of sneaking out the house before anyone had the chance to ask me where I was going, head down to the river and fish until the inevitable “are you coming home, you’ve xxx still to finish!” (replace xxx with a part complete DIY task, there are many to choose from!).

No this mornings plan was to a) head off to Starbucks for a take away coffee & breakfast for me and Mrs NEFF, and b) spend sometime on the web, catching up on the fine arts of reservoir fishing.

It’s been almost 20 years since I last captained one of Anglian Waters fine fishing boats out on Rutland Water, and that was usually a once or twice a year treat as a change from the usual small still waters I used to fish down in Lincolnshire.

Fishing the small stuff baby

Since then, my fishing has been exclusively river based. My gear has become much more refined, smaller and less of it. The heaviest rod I use is a #3, with 6x line (sometimes 5x if there are 1lb monsters about!) and the hooks usually from a whopping size 14 to a microscopic 22. Everything fits in my Orvis Safe Passage Tri-Pack – if it doesn’t fit in there it doesn’t come with me.

Back in the day, I had tackle bags, big rods, big nets, cool boxes, reel boxes, the list goes on. Now all that stuff has gone, along with the gaudy lures, and dries big enough to scare the River Derwent trout so bad they’d never look at a floating insect again!

So why I hear you ask, after setting your stall out for river fishing, would you go back to tackling a reservoir again? (what, you didn’t ask? Oh. Well strap yourself in, I’m going to tell you anyway…)

You’d like me to do what?!

Two weeks ago, whilst enjoying the amazing hospitality of my US college’s over in Minneapolis, I received an email from Kielder Water. The email talked about how Kielder had recently won ‘Tourism Experience of the Year’ and how they really wanted to get the message out to people in the north who maybe weren’t aware of the range of activities on offer there. They referred to the Epic Experiences Kielder had to offer.


The reason they’d emailed me, was down to this blog you’re reading now. They wanted to know if I’d be willing to have a day on Kielder, in a boat, fishing for trout with dinner at the Boat Inn – dinner would be my one of the trout I’d caught earlier in the day (clearly Kielder water have got the wrong impression from this blog, and mistakenly think I might actually catch something!). In return for such a fabulous day out, they’d like me to write a blog post about my day, the experience (hopefully an epic one!) and how much I enjoyed it.

Obviously, I had to think about it long and hard before agreeing (that may not be entirely true), who wouldn’t want to take them up on such a generous offer. They were also 100% happy with me divulging, in the interests of full disclosure, exactly how the day had come about – the only thing I wanted to make sure of before I accepted.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

So here I am, coffee in hand, bacon butty almost gone, reading up on the latest thinkings on Reservoir fishing. Apparently it’s quite normal to have 4 (four!) flies on one leader. And the recommended strengths for that leader sound like it could be used to hold the Queen Mary in dock. Later today I’ll be sitting down and tying some buzzers, hoppers and Bibio’s, with maybe a few gold head GRHE’s thrown in for good measure. I can’t bring myself to open the long since forgotten box of shiny stuff (that’s where all the Marabou, tinsel and other such paraphernalia required for tying lures is kept) – I’ll stick to the more traditional approach.

I also need to dust of my Hardy Demon #6 – this will be it’s first, and probably only outing of the season, better make sure she’s looking her best.

I’m booked in for this coming wednesday, and according to the BBC (who NEVER get it wrong) the weather for wednesday looks pretty damn good for fishing. If any of you have been to Kielder recently, or ever, and would like to offer me any words of advice – I’m all ears, please use the comments below.

Obviously, there will be a blog post sometime shortly there after – and I’ll make sure to write it as I saw it, warts and all (I may leave out any embarrassing boat related issues, lack of fish, near drownings etc) but other than that…

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