Horror !! 1 Cast From A Blank !

Posted by Craig Barr on

Having fished Rutland for over 37 years, It is fair to say I have witnessed many of its mood swings, however its current mood is on a different scale, although there are ways to nick a few, if you are in the know!

From hero to almost zero in a week - how can that be?

I shared a boat with Shaun Jones just 10 days ago. The weather was what we anglers would describe as perfect, overcast, and light winds, though the sun did eventually break through. We headed to the dam wall, and was met with the odd fish showing. We both started with two dry flies, brown foam daddy on the point, and a size 12 big red on the dropper, with a 14' leader, 6' to the first fly. It did not take long and  fish nailed the foam daddy, followed very soon by several others, with several taking the big red too.

This rich form of fishing continued for several hours, with the fish readily coming up for the dries, however once the sun came through, a change of tact was needed.


I switched to the Airflo 12' fast tip line, enabling me to present my flies at a depth of approximately 6' as the sun had blatantly drove the fish down, as any action to the dries had totally 'dried' up!

I fished with a cast of 4 diawl bachs, all size 12. Thus to mimic the current length of the pin fry. This bought some steady action for me, though Shaun was unable to match the catch rate as he did not have the same fly line.

As the afternoon wore on the fishing distinctly came to a near standstill. It did not matter what we through at them, they were not interested. 

I have seen these tell tail signs before. I call it the transition period - the water is warming up, and the fish become less interested in what you have to offer, and you can sometimes feel you are banging your head against a brick wall!

I was lucky to be out on Rutland water 3 times this week - or so I thought !

My first trip was a day afloat with Scotland's Ewan MacGregor. We started our day on dries, again, like last week, we had great starting conditions. Just like the previous week, I headed to the dam wall, knowing it was holding a good head of fish.

We saw fish moving, however unlike the week before, we could not get any action on the dries, Ewan fishing a Grunter, and me a Big Red and Hares Ear cdc on the point.

We had one or two follow a booby popped along the surface on a floating line, however nothing connected.

I switched to a 12' fast tip line, then set up a team of 3  traffic light cormorants. I soon hooked up into one, however that was it, no more a further 2 hours in.

It was now 3.30pm and 1 fish in the boat, and truth be told, I was baffled as to what to do next! Yes, the boils are on, and full of fish, however its not my cup of tea, nor did I want to take some one all the way from Scotland on the boils!

Time soon moved on, and it was now 6.00pm, still 1 fish, however a blanket of cloud moved over the piercing sun, and just like someone had flicked a switch, some fish started to move. Still on the 12' tip, I switched to 3 diawl bachs and a small(size14) biscuit booby on the point. Stripping this fast across the surface bought fish up to investigate immediately. This investigation soon turned into fish in a very narrow window of time indeed. We landed 8 fish within the hours, falling to the biscuit booby and diawl bachs. 


Onto Wednesday and this time I shared a boat with John and Roy from Derbyshire, both whom caught over 20 fish between them just over a month ago!

This time, things were a little different. I soon sensed Rutland was on the turn, and you were having to pull out all stops to catch fish.

John and Roy fished all day without any joy, and like the day before, around 6.00pm the odd fish started to move. John, having a rest, handed me his rod, and I wanted to seize the moment. I switched John's point fly to a size 14 biscuit booby, and repeated my tactics from the evening before, and stripped it fast across the surface - within 20 minutes I hit 4 fish

Thursday, and I was back in the boat with Ewan MacGregor. It was cloudy, 11mph winds - perfect, or so you would think. After a slow day on the Tuesday, we started our day with a "wee dram - The Rusty Nail" and nice it was too.

We headed to the South Arm. It couldn't have looked more perfect if it tried, overcast and steady breeze.

We drifted across the whole of Manton Bay, both on dries, and not a fish to be seen. As we neared the shore, a brown of around 3lb, came out of nowhere and took my big red - One fast run, and it slipped the hook.

Several hours in, and no fish, we headed to the Green Bank. We saw fish move straightaway, more than we had seen in the last 3 hours!

We were lured into a false sense of security, as it seemed no matter what we chucked at them, they were not interested. As we neared Dalton's Point, we came across a few fish feeding in shallow water, just 15 feet or so off the bank. I reached for my 2nd rod, midge tip with 2 size 12 diawl bachs and a biscuit booby - several bow waves later, I finally hooked into one, only for it to shake the hook at the boat. We did several drifts across them, all to no avail.

We finally headed into the basin, the last saloon you may say. We drifted into X buoy, and unlike 48 hours earlier, it seemed dead!

With time running out, and 5 o'clock just minutes away, my phone rings, so decided to answer it. Now tight to the bank, I made my last cast, whilst still talking on the phone - would you believe it, it all went tight, my last cast - blank avoided!

This warm weather I am certain will slow it down even more. We see it year in, year out. The warm weather hits, the water temperature rises, and the fish respond by sulking, normally for around 4-6 weeks.

The water level is much higher at the moment, compared to normal, and the fish are still unusually close to the shores. The shrimps are abundant in huge numbers, and what with these, the fry and corixa in the weeds, there is no wander the fish are still hanging around the shores, despite the warm marginal waters. They are not however the easiest to tempt, and being so close to the shores, a boat is not always the best way to fish for them, as one bank angler proved on the Green Bank, landing two fish, as we looked on.

I cannot remember 3 days being so tricky for a long while - this said, the constant changing wind directions, big jump in temperatures of late, must have played its part.

To conclude, the fish seem to only want a fly on, or very close to the surface, pulled, or fished slow. Size 12 diawl bachs and a small biscuit booby worked best, and a week earlier it was a big red dry fly, and brown foam daddy. The fish that seem happy to take a fly appear to be those close to the shores, so when fishing do pay attention to the shore line, not really where you would expect to find them in the middle of July!


tight lines folks





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