A Priceless Moment When a 5lb+ Brown Engulfs Your Fly 3' Away

Posted by Craig Barr on

Rutland Water offers such a diverse way of fishing at any one time. Whether you want to fish a dry fly, or fish a DI-8 with a tube fly, the odds are you will catch a fish, and as some people have found out this last week, it could be 2lb, or even 10lb !!

My first day of 3 in a row, was with Warwickshire's Andrew Wheildon. Andrew had visited Rutland 3 previous times, and hadn't landed a fish. We were greeted with a bright day, and at times, flat calm conditions.


We started at C3 Buoy, located 200 yards off the Normanton Church. A gentle breeze pushed us back in the direction of the lodge. Our set up was pretty simple, a fast glass with a Tequila Booby on the Point, and Tequila Blob on the top dropper. This set up has caught me plenty of fish since the fishing commenced at Rutland in June. 

It wasn't too long until I hit into a fish, followed quickly by two more. Andrew at this point was still in search of his first fish, however I new it would be a matter of time before he latched into one.

When Andrew got hold of one, it soon slipped the hook, followed by another one. A little bit of guidance on keeping the line tight, soon proved fruitful as Andrew landed his first ever Rutland trout.

Mission complete, Andrew and I decided to head to Rutland's North Arm, in search of a big brown. We decided to try by the tower, a known big brown hot spot.

After 20 minutes all was very quiet, until Andrews rod arched over, and I mean arched over !! I jumped up and scrambled alongside him, net at the ready, only for his line to go all slack. Whatever was on the end, albeit brief, was one of those moments "who knows".

As we left the water, it was a case of, what could have been!

Day 2, and I was sharing a boat with Luton's Gary Humphrey. The wind had shifted from the previous day, now blowing from the West. Knowing there was a lot of fish off the Normanton Church, I positioned the boat 2oo yards out, and drifted inwards.

I started once more with the same set up from the day before, fast glass, Tequila booby and a Tequila blob. Quicker than the day before, we started to catch fish steadily.


As the day progressed we had worked our way along the Normanton shore, bagging over 14 fish between us. The fish remained very high in the water, and were very willing to chase, in explosive style, the Tequila booby across the surface, and nail it once the line took the fly under the surface.

Day 3, and I was again, with Gary. This time the wind had swung 180 degrees, and was now South West, but more importantly, we had some cloud cover.

Knowing the fish were very high, I changed my set up to a midge tip line and 3 cormorants, supported by a size 12 Tequila fab on the point. We started the day at the South side of the dam, Fantasy Island, after hearing there was a "few" fish in the area.

Well, it wasn't long until I tightened up into fish number one, rapidly followed by Gary getting his first.


The cloud cover certainly helped, as the fish kept on coming. I took 3 on the Midge tip, and Gary took a further 3 fish on the di-3 sweep line, and a Flash Attack Tequila Booby.

As the day wore on we moved to the yaucht frontage, and fished in open water, drifting across to Spud Bay. I decided to fish deeper at this point, as things had somewhat slowed. If you know fish are there, but they are both not visible, or pulling, do try deeper, it can, at times, make a big difference, as we discovered.

I opted for the di-5 forty plus, with the intention of fishing 2 boobies. A di-3 would keep these too high, and a di-7 would be too much, and i'd be forced to pull them, something I didn't want to do.

I had a sparkler booby on the point, and a Tequila booby on the dropper, 12' apart on a 16' leader. A slow figure of 8 retrieve is all that was needed in the light wind, to keep in touch with it. That one drift yielded 5 fish, as well as 3 other hard pulls. I estimated the fish were now taking at around 12'. Gary changed his tactics, and he too got in on the action.

We went on to land 20 fish for the day, as well as put the world to rights! Midge tip, di-3 sweep, and di-5 lines proved succesful, as we found the fish moving both up, and down in the water columns.

 These 3 days led on nicely to the Scierra Pairs final. There was 2 areas holding a good number of fish, the Normanton shore to the dam, and the Yauchts to Spud Bay.

My partner and I, whom is new to lochstyle competition fishing, started our day at the saling club. Just 15 minutes in, and I was in, then not, as a double up busted my cast. Great start !

It was fair to say we lost our way a little, as we just didn't settle in any spot for long, as we hunted down the pods of fish, we new were out there.

Now 12.15pm and just one fish in the boat, we decided to go specimen hunting down the South Arm. On our way across the basin, a fish lepted out, so I instinctively spun the boat on the spot, cut the engine, and launched my flies in the general direction - you guessed it, I got it. Now this was right in the middle of nowhere, no where we had practiced. We proceeded to fish, and 20 minutes on, just 100yds short of the tower, we now had 5 fish in the boat - all to pulling Tequila Boobies and blobs on a fast glass. What was nice, was there was not a boat in site, as most were relatively tight to the shore. 

We took the boat 200 yds back up wind, and headed down the middle again. What was to come was special....In the gentle ripple, just 20' in front of the boat, a big fish, head and tailed in slow motion, right in front of our eyes. We both saw this fish, and went "Jeeze". My flies were already in the water, and I new they were not to far from it, though maybe 10' in line with it, but behind the rise. I naturally, stripped the flies in, with the intent of cating upwind of the rising fish. As I did so, and about to lift the flies up from the water, I saw a dark object coming up behind it, as did my boat partner. My heart was in my mouth, as the fish swaggered up behind my Tequila blob, and in slow motion, in very clear water, just 3' from the boat, opened its mouth and engulfed the fly - BRILLIANT ! I struck very hard, by this point the fish was heading south at a rate of knots. It finally came to the net, much to our relief.

.As this area dried up, we headed closer to the shore, where we noticed a few fish were now getting caught. If you studied the water close enough you could see a change of ripple, like a shoal of course fish were swimming tight to the surface, only it wasn't coarse fish, it was trout. This was something I had noticed over the previous day, so was eagle eyed looking out for this tail tell sign of fish, and boy did it pay off for us, as we took 3 more fish in quite quick succession, by targeting this altered ripple movement.

Like all good things, this soon came to an end, as more and more boats joined the party, and the chasing fish became less willing to do so. As the wind dropped a little, I noticed more and more fish started to rise properly, and by this I mean, were feeding off the surface. A closer inspection of the surface I noticed small midge on the surface. The once chasing fish, chased no more, as can sometimes be the case when they are on the natural feed. I covered several fish, and not one bit of interest. Time for change.

The fish were still extremely high in the water, so I switched to a tactic I once used to devastating effect on Chew Valley, 12' leader and 4 flies. Two Biscuit/Yellow fabs, and 2 size 12 red holographic Diawl Bachs. The intention was to fish the flies high, and static, and it worked. I took the last 4 fish of our day doing this, casting only 15 yds to the side of the boat, keeping the line straight at all time, and just waiting for it to pull tight.

I have to admit, sitting on just 1 fish at 12.15, then finishing with 13 fish, and finishing 14th place out of 55 pairs, was overall a good day in my book.

Some of you may have frowned when reading I caught the cracking brown on a Tequila blob, well I have a history of doing this with quality browns, and there has been a distinct connection with all 3 of them. I had a 7lb 6oz brown once at Rutland In John Horsey's Lexus competition, this took a blob fly, and I also had a 15lb 12 oz brown trout from Chew Valley Lakes that also took a blob fly. Each of these 3 fish took the fly as I got it right past there noses within a second of them rising. Their predatory instinct got the better of them each time, as they didn't want this fly to escape them. Therefore, if you see a fish rise, it pays to get your flies in its path, as you just never know what could be on the end of it.....

Rutland can be a tough place to crack, however it offers some of the best fishing around, and at this time of year, unrivalled quality browns are about in abundance. This last weekend alone saw several browns into double figures being caught, as well as numerous browns up to 8lb. Big rainbows have also been coming to the net, so if you want a chance of a specimen, now is the time to get yourself there.

If you would like a guided day out with Craig, then drop an email to craig@flashattackflies.com and we will contact you back.

To see the flies that gave us a 10 fish average over the 5 days on Rutland this last week, then click on the links below.






Remember, what happens one day, doesn't always happen the next.

Tight lines


Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.