Rutland - Shrimps V Buzzers ! Which One Won The Battle?

Posted by Craig Barr on

Every year I look forward to the visit of Irish angler Nick Hannon. Nick has joined me for the 3rd year in a row now, for a 3 day adventure on Rutland Water. We have had some ridiculously good buzzer fishing the past two years, however this season, a new food source was on the menu, the SHRIMP ! Could it now become the new March & April food source?

As we headed out onto the lake, we decided on the sailing club bay, as a SW wind gave us nice shelter, for either our buzzer or shrimp set up casts. As we came through the bay with nothing, we approached the point. As we neared, I saw a number of fish moving - the shrimp way ! There more speedily swirls on the top, indicated it wasn't the usual buzzer head & tail, it was a more rushed swirl - a definite shrimp feeding motion.

I was fishing my shrimp set up at this point. A Flash Attack Foam shrimp on the point, and two Hybrid Hares ear shrimps on the two droppers.(size 12's) My first descent cast across the point, and all went tight !

This fish and a further two, took our new UV Shrimp nymph. As the fish were in shallow water, unfortunately we didn't get a lot of time on them as the wind took us quickly into deeper water.

Our next port of call was gibbets, where, just like the sailing club, sheltered from the wind, fish could be seen moving, close in. (a key factor for shrimp feeders!)

My line tightened up once more, or maybe two or three times more. This time on another new pattern to the Flash Attack Hybrid Shrimp range, our foam shrimps. I was simply casting at rising fish,  drawing any slack line tight, then leaving the fly static, in the vacinity of the rising fish, and it would just go tight tight !

We decided to go buzzer fishing, therefore headed to Hideaway Bay. As we approached we could see boats lining the small wall area, many of whom seemed anchored, so we opted to come down the side of the willows, leading out of Cattle Trough Bay(into Hideaway Bay). As we rounded the corner, we were caught in the shelter of the wind, and just like the Sailing Club & Gibbets, it was here we found moving fish! It was a distinctive degree or so warmer out of the wind, and this slight warmth triggered fly hatches, in turn, drawing in the fish. 

Nick & I boated 8 fish here in a 40 minute spell, all on a floating line and a team of 3 & 4 buzzers. It was fantastic fishing to say the least. Stark contrast to what we could see with the anglers, fishing in the tail, of the cool freshening wind ! DAY 1, we landed 15 fish to the boat.


Day 2 was a different ball game all together. The shrimp feeders seemed non existent this time, so we were left scratching our heads after a couple of hours with just 3 fish in the boat, straight lining buzzers on floating lines!

The previous days starting points produced very little, so we decided on a move into Manton Bay, near the bird hides( 50 yds out of course!). The wind was much fresher, and very noticeably cooler too. When my lines not pulling tight, I naturally start to question why. The day before fish were moving -why? It was warmer, and there was fly life on the water as well. The perfect recipe to encourage fish to the surface. Fast forward 24 hours, and it was cooler, and no fly life - only one thing to then then, right? Fish deeper.

I changed lines to a 6' slow tip, with a 20' leader & 4 size 10 buzzers on the cast. Now, fished very slow indeed, the flies were very noticeably coming back much deeper. You know what's coming next. BANG ! I took 3 over wintered fish 50 yards out from the fence(200 yds down from the bird hides). All 3 took the buzzer, fished on the point, including a  stunning brown of approx 3.5lb.


The wind by now had got up to 16mph +, with big white horses now rolling across the lake. I had noticed two boats in the distance, repeating a drift, left of Old Hall, as we looked on from Manton. Repeating drifts in this big wind, told me one thing, they must be catching ! As we neared them, both boats were giving it "big licks" (pulling fast) and you couldn't rally blame them given the wind speed. Me on the other hand, was till holding my tip line and buzzer cast, whilst Nick was on a floating line.

When faced with a strong wind, and fishing with a floating line, or similar, casting in front of the boat, suddenly becomes very difficult indeed, when trying to keep up with the line. If you are right handed, sat at the engine end, you are now at a huge advantage (imo). It certainly proved the case with Nick & I, as I landed 20 fish to Nick's 5. Here's the difference.

Cast your line, across the wind, but only 15 yards. Anything much longer and the big waves will get control of it and start to pull it away from the boat...follow me? A short line across the wind, say just 15yds, a 6' slow tip, 4 size 10 buzzers, and you're now going to cut through the swell, much better than a floating line, thus anchoring your cast pretty much where you just cast it. To keep up with the moving boat, a fast figure of 8 retrieve was needed, and it was fast, however the line was still across the wind at this stage, and fishing ! It was fish after fish, drift after drift, and it was fair to say, Nick couldn't believe what he was seeing.

Nick also eventually swapped to a tip line, and did start to catch, however lost a lot more than I did, as he was casting straight down the boat, and was forced to pretty much pull his line, rather than figure of 8 it, simply because of the speed of the drifting boat.

We had an epic 1.5 hours fishing. The stand out buzzer was the one shown above. This took over 20 fish between Nick & I throughout the day, including the 3 crackers from Manton Bay.

Look out for sheltered water if it is windy, as this is where moving fish could be found. One day they were readily taking the shrimp flies, however the next, distinctively the buzzers, so look to change, and don't rule out changing your line either - it made a HUGE difference on day 2.

Tight lines to all


#flashattackflies #greysflyfishing #TrustyourInstinct

For the top catching buzzer, search code HHB43 on the website.

For the foam shrimp, search code HB6 




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