Is Rutland Becoming The New Grafham?

Posted by Craig Barr on

Pre-season, there was a lot of talk of the fishing at Rutland would fish slow from the shores due to the low water levels through the winter, however the complete opposite has happened, catching some folk out, whom didn't renew season tickets, believing bank fishing would be a no-go. So, why is this?

Say hello to the shrimp!! I have fished Rutland a lot this last 4 weeks, and a lot of the fish just have not shifted from the shores, no matter where I have fished, North or South. These critters seem pretty prevalent now, and the fish are harvesting them daily.

On my last visit to Rutland, I landed 34 fish from the boat, though I may as well have been on the bank fishing, as I was that close to the shores!  The fish are ridiculously close in, and I have found If I am fishing in 5' of water, I am too far out. 

Is this the new norm for Rutland now? I guess time will soon tell. My next visit is on the 16th May, so will give an update, and once the Airflo Spring International has passed this weekend, I will reveal the shock tactics used to boat 50 fish in two visits!

On the 15th of May, I was at Grafham Water, fishing alongside wale' Adrian Moyse, in preparation for his next day match.

The wind was a fresh Northerly, so we headed straight for the North shore, to seek shelter. We started in Pig Bay, and we were instantly into fish. I was fishing a 6' tip line, with a Tequila Fab and buzzers, and Adrian was on similar tactics. Within 15 minutes we had landed 5 fish. The majority were taking the fab, suggesting our nymphs were too deep!

We moved on to Hedge End and it was pretty much as you were, as we caught almost instantly once again. As we drifted close to the shore, I spotted fish sipping in the surface, just feet from the bank, and I mean feet ! Unfortunately, a North wind isn't the best for these shores, as it pushes you out from the bank, so once we got 30 yards out, we took the boat back into the shores.

Some of these close feeders are Grafham's finest, as they gauge on the shrimp & abundance of buzzers along the margins.


As we watched these fish moving just feet off the shore, we identified our tip lines would be too deep for such shallow water, so changed to floating lines, followed by a change of flies to hares ears and diawl bachs, with the fab on the point - the Washing line method. 

We picked up several crackers here(above) on a mixture of the nymphs and fab.

Ade with a cracker taken on a hares ear just 6' from the bank amongst grass growing out of the water !!


We moved on down to deep water point, and it was, yet again, business as usual, fish feeding close to the shores. Just cast your line at an angle across the water in front of you, pull everything tight, then just keep in touch with it, and wait for the YANK !

 G buoy was just the same, feeding fish close in, though there seemed to be a good head of fish into the bay area too. Business as usual here, again with the floating lines, foam shrimp, hares ear and tequila fab, all taking fish.

Another Grafham cracker, this time falling to a Flash Attack Tequila barbless fab.

The foam shrimp taking some of the fish, available at Flash Attack Flies.


The hares ear that took a dozen fish and more.

We landed approx 30 fish for the day, with the vast majority coming to the floating line, fishing in an average of 7' of water. The water is gin clear, so fishing so close to the bank, don't cast long lines along the shore, as you will spook everything in sight. Just cast 12-15' and fish it slowly back to the boat - don't forget to hang your flies, as we had several raising the nymphs up to the boat ! Rod used, Wychwood T2 10' 7# and 9lb Ghost Mode flurocarbon.

There were a lot of fish across all North shore points, and in any light winds, you'll probably not need to venture much past the points of the North shore, and a floating line, with a team of nymphs supported by a fab or small booby.


I hope you enjoyed the read. If you would like a guided day, on Rutland or Grafham, then please email,


tight lines

Craig Barr


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