This is a copy of a letter sent to Trout Fisherman by Stephen Jones in response to a letter that was very critical of Grafham Water. I am sure that it reflects the views of many of us who fish Grafham.
Dear Trout fisherman
I’ve been a reader of your magazine for the past ten years and congratulate you in keeping it interesting with a varied content. I always read the letters page with interest and although I’ve not agreed with all of them, I’ve not felt the urge to reply until now. I am writing in reply to the letter written by Graham Dyke who last month gave Grafham Water a bad review. TF Editor, I’m surprised you let this go without a challenge given your relationship with Grafham, thousands of anglers must read this magazine and will be sure to avoid the place after such a negative review.
Dear Mr Dyke, if you’ve only been fishing for four years then I doubt very much you have the knowledge and ability to get it right at Grafham on every visit. I’ve been fishing Grafham Water for the past eleven years and still get it wrong often. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any fish there, just that I’m not quite there yet, a bit like you. You can’t understand why you’re not catching as many as previous years but no year of fishing is ever the same as things can change from season to season and you need to learn and adapt.
You asked a Lady in the shop what the rod average was, it could have been one of two ladies that work there and they are both lovely and helpful, but probably not as interested in fishing as us. Perhaps you’d have found the notice board that you passed before entering the shop helpful, it’s updated daily telling you the all important rod average, best areas and methods. It also tells you the day’s weather forecast just incase you haven’t bothered to check before leaving home.
You asked a manager if they were having a spot the ball competition, ball being replaced by a staff member, why be sarcastic? It’s true that Grafham have lost some quality staff but that’s life, things change, life goes on. John, Paul and Simon left to take up new jobs with more sociable hours, Alan and Ray have retired, something we are all entitled to do eventually, so what’s your point? All the Wardens currently on Grafham’s books are friendly, helpful and informative. They work long hours and probably get fed up with negative comments from anglers like yourself, but you need to remember that it’s not their fault if you’re not catching, more likely yours or the weather.
Stocking levels—not sure of the exact numbers but if they are important to you then just check the notice board at the shop. It’s true that they have been stocking smaller fish at Grafham and Rutland over recent years but absolute nonsense to state that your 7wt feels like a tow rope. Even the small two pounders are giving a good account of themselves at the moment and will easily straighten your hooks if you are too hard on them.
You think your two fish catch is fishing as well as average, if not better. Sorry but you are wrong and way off the mark. The rod average at Grafham this year has been as high as 10.3, it was 7.9 last week and was 5.8 w/e 17/7/16 with a season average also of 5.8. What’s wrong with that? I fished the Anniversary match on the 3rd of July, it was an eight fish kill match with no catch and release. It fished to an average of 7.9 and most anglers had caught their limit fairly early. I have had as many as thirty fish to the boat this season and just two weeks ago fishing with a partner we managed twenty to the boat. At the other end of the scale I’ve fished two club matches this year where I only managed one fish while others bagged up. That’s life, and that’s fishing!
I think it’s a shame that someone can write such a negative review of a water without really knowing it and potentially damage its custom. Mr Dyke I hope you enjoy future success at Grafham, but if you feel the urge to write to TF in future then why not write to the advice squad, you may get a reply from the likes of Rob Edmonds with some useful tips for fishing Grafham. If any readers were put off fishing Grafham after reading Mr Dyke’s letter ( Grafham Grief ) I’d advise you to reconsider as it doesn’t paint a true picture of this great venue. Ironically it rates 3rd place in the Trout Fisherman Stillwaters top 100 guide included in the same issue.
As we enter August I would expect things to get hard but no harder than normal. It can be a great month for dries and hoppers depending on the weather but don’t forget to pull your hoppers. On the other hand you may need a sinker but working it out is all part of the fun, it’s fishing! I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at Grafham for their hard work, their dedication and their friendliness. They work long hours to allow us to enjoy this great sport and for me, taking a boat out at Grafham always feels a privilege.