Boat Fishing Location Guide
This section details some of the places you should fish when boat fishing at Draycote. Clearly time of year and weather conditions play a major factor in choice of location so we generalise our advice here. We aim to publish a bespoke boat-fishing map here in a short while.
Boat Fishing locations
We list some of the main boat fishing locations generally working the way around the reservoir in a clockwise direction, starting at the boat dock.
Most boat anglers don’t realise how many fish they pass over when leaving the boat dock and head off for places further away. The boat dock itself is a holding spot for specimen fish and is also the place where much of the stocking of fish takes place. Many a match has been won with a last-gasp fish taken just before the match finishing time just off this area. On some occasions boat anglers have stayed in this area from the start of the day and caught huge bags of stockies. Drifts along Draycote dam work really well from May onwards and once the water level starts to drop there are weed beds off the dam that hold fry and insects.
The area just beyond the no-fishing zone at the sailing club is a popular spot for boat anglers. Bank anglers are currently unable to fish anywhere near the lodge, sailing club or overflow and some spots in this area can produce bags of fish from the start of the season right through the summer. Be aware that the construction work being done in 2023 will affect access in this area but there is still fishing to be had nearby.
For many DFFA boat anglers one of the most consistent spots throughout the year is A buoy and drifts from there. If you start closer to Rainbow Corner, a westerly drift will take you past the overflow and Hensborough. There is a channel at the overflow which always holds some decent fish, but this will quieten off if there is too much boat disturbance. In the summer, drifts from A buoy are great in south-westerly winds as these take you across the main bowl of the reservoir where you’ll drift over shoals of trout working their way upwind. Dry fly or washing lines with Fabs and nymphs work really well.
In the hottest conditions the boils are the main spot to try in the reservoir, but they can fish well at any time from May onwards through to September. The fish will be deep in the brightest and hottest conditions, but at other times you’ll need to search to find which depth the fish are at. We’ve taken fish here at any depth, from stripping popper fry across the surface, washing lines with crunchers through to DI7 and snakes.
One feature of the boils at Draycote is that they are stretched out over quite a distance, so several boats can fish them at the same time. However, the do get busy when the fish are there! There is no anchoring in the area, which is marked out usually by a series of small yellow buoys – and you will also easily see the disturbance of the water across a large area.
The Tower is a holding spot for larger fish and the place to go if you want to try for a specimen fish. There are restrictions on how close to the Tower you can get and you can’t anchor here, but ideally drift from the Tower along Tower bank or out to C buoy. If the wind direction is right you can start at the Tower and drift over the boils as well. Many anglers go for sinking lines and fry patterns to target the specimens, even using small tube flies. This area has the deepest water in the entire reservoir.
Before you set off make a good note of the location of the shoals at Draycote. They are areas of the reservoir where the water shallows up to a depth of just a few feet and hold weed beds and the attendant fly-life and fry. Musborough shoal looks like a crescent-shape when it appears above water on low-water conditions. It is half-way between Y and K buoys. Nearby, there is Middle shoal, with Croft Shoal off Lincroft Point. The shoals are always popular in very late season when boats anchor and fish fast-sinking lines and fry patterns in the channels. The Fur and Feather match at the end of November usually features a line of boats anchored in strategic spots around each of the shoals.
D buoy is located a distance off the corner where Tower bank meets Dunn’s bay. It can be a great fish-holding spot and drifts can work on most wind directions. In a south westerly a drift past D buoy will take you into Biggin Bay nicely. In a northerly you leave the shelter of Dunn’s bay, pass D buoy and keep going until you get no more takes. A good drift from late spring onwards.
The Old Pipe
This is a bank landmark at the bottom end of Biggin Bay on the north shore. However, this area fishes well from a boat as well. In early season it holds fish at a drop-off about 70 yards offshore, and boats anchored in the right place can pick up fish throughout the day, straight-lining buzzers.
Lincroft Point offers access to slightly deeper water near the bank, but in early season when the water levels are high bank anglers don’t have enough back casting room to fish there easily. It is often worth a drift past when wind direction allows. Some anglers anchor here in early season to straight-line buzzers. Croft Shoal is nearby and this area is rich in insect life, with currents funnelling foods for the fish into the deeper channel.
Toft Bay is relatively shallow and is known as one of the best areas for buzzer hatches. The prevailing wind usually takes you into Toft if you start your drift from somewhere like F or H buoy. In a northerly or southerly you can drift comfortably from one side of the bay to the other, working your way across the entire area in multiple drifts. Hotspots would be off the line of trees on the north bank near Gray’s Barn, at the junction between Farborough dam and the Swan’s Nest on the south side or close to the buoys that mark the nature reserve – no fishing beyond them.
Toft is not deep so floating or slow sinking lines cover most options. In stronger winds the waves can be quite high in Toft and these soon colour the water up, so stay clear in strong westerlies. The fish do leave Toft for deeper water at the height of summer, so it fishes best early season and then picks up again later on when fry are in the weed beds.
Farrborough Spit and Dam
The corner of the dam at Farborough was one of the best bank fishing spots on the entire reservoir until fishing from the dam was banned. This presents an opportunity for boat anglers to fish in shallower water in this area. The dam holds fry and shrimp so the late season fishing can be especially good, but a place to try at any time of year.