Rut­land browns

Iain Barr catches a mag­nif­i­cent brownie that re­minds him of the good old days

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

THE end of the last Rut­land Wa­ter sea­son (which ended in Jan­uar y 2017) was ar­guably the best I can re­mem­ber in the last 35 years. In the 80s, Rut­land was fa­mous for its big brown trout, which of­ten came to lead core line tac­tics and large lures. Last sea­son saw a brown trout bonanza on all meth­ods and more big browns over 5lb than I can ever re­mem­ber. It re­ally ex­celled from Oc­to­ber and it was hard to avoid the browns. On some trips, where I was catch­ing 25 f ish, more than half were browns. To avoid them, we fished in the shal­lower wa­ter where the rain­bows fed heav­ily on corixa, while the browns chased the fr y that sat off­shore.

To­day’s ses­sion

Well the abun­dance of browns, all of which were re­turned as most ap­peared out of sea­son, have put Rut­land back on the map for its qualit y large brown trout! I took a day af loat with Peter Gather­cole on the hunt for res­i­dent fish with Buzzers be­ing the cho­sen method amid calm wa­ter at the top of Rut­land’s North Arm. We head right for the top, top end of Bur­ley to be pre­cise, and on the slow glide through the waves f ish pop up all over. I care­fully turn the boat above the f ish to en­sure we drift down to them and in­cred­i­bly we never see another trout. This is a sign that these are res­i­dent f ish, be­cause they’re eas­ily spooked by the en­gine. Freshly stocked f ish are not usu­ally too both­ered by boat en­gines, es­pe­cially as we had crept up care­fully so as not to scare them.

Favourite set-ups

My set-up con­sists of my favourite Buzzers with a Cruncher on the top which I al­ways f ish. This gives me one pat­tern f ish­ing higher in the wa­ter and I use this as my in­di­ca­tor f ly. I don’t mean a bung, I mean as an in­di­ca­tor that the f ish are ris­ing in the wa­ter col­umn if sev­eral f ish start tak­ing it. The Buzzers will then be swapped for lighter nymph pat­terns. We drift through the area of ris­ing f ish conf ident we will still catch but a lit­tle deeper than planned. Not a sin­gle of­fer. The wa­ter is shal­low de­spite be­ing some 100 yards from the shore and ver y clear. We head to the Tim Ap­ple­tons side of the North Arm and it isn’t too long be­fore we have some action. Two beau­ti­fully-marked rain­bows of about 3lb come in quick ses­sion, both tak­ing one of my early-sea­son favourite Crisp Red Butt Buzzers at ap­prox­i­mately six feet down.

Key to suc­cess­ful Buzzers sport

The abilit y to f ish Buzzers static is key to some of the best Buzzer sport. You’ll catch fish on Buzzers that are moved slowly but you’ll catch more – and bet­ter qualit y f ish – if f ished static. The method I’m us­ing to­day is to cast them out and al­low them to free-fall for about 20 sec­onds, then ever y 10 sec­onds there­after, I per­form a ver y long but slow draw, which makes the Buzzers rise and then pause – al­low­ing them to free-fall again. It’s im­por­tant to keep a tight line with­out mov­ing them when free-fall­ing, but al­ways watch the end of your f ly-line

“The flies are on their de­scent when the line sim­ply tears off with the most ag­gres­sive take of the day.”

for move­ment. We’re lucky as the fish slam the Buzzers hard. I set up with my stan­dard 22-foot leader with four f lies us­ing 8.5lb new G5 A irf lo f lu­o­ro­car­bon. A cou­ple more rain­bows fol­low be­fore we move fur­ther down the bank then make the long move to the top of the south. We head down the shore line to­wards the Trans­former where a boat is an­chored just 20 yards from the shore­line. I’ve good eye­sight and I see both an­glers play­ing a f ish in what can only be four or f ive foot of wa­ter.

Trans­former me­mories

The Trans­former brings back many dis­tant me­mories as this was one of my dad’s hotspots, well over 35 years ago. I re­mem­ber run­ning the banks as a child and I was soon rem­i­nisc­ing with Pete over some of the qual­ity f ish I’d hooked and lost here and how this was one of my dad’s favourite spots for evening rises. Fr y time was also good near the ‘tree in the wa­ter’ which is still there to this day. We drift the shal­lows just east of the fence that runs in by the road and two quick, lively rain­bows come to the net – both tak­ing the Cruncher on the top drop­per. These fish were feed­ing higher in the wa­ter col­umn so I start to ‘short line’ (cast­ing short so that the f lies don’t get time to sink be­low the f ish) be­fore chang­ing the f ly set-up. I’m soon forced into a change as the next cast rips out my hand with such ag­gres­sion that the top two f lies are gone. With a bit more colour in the wa­ter here, I step up the f lu­o­ro­car­bon to 11.2lb G5. It may seem heav y but its sup­ple­ness and f ine di­am­e­ter make it still fea­si­ble for good pre­sen­ta­tion. First cast I have another lively rain­bow of about 2lb 8oz which took another favourite – the Black and Brown Rut­land Buzzer. This fish is landed and we near the shore­line so I put a cast par­al­lel to the bank across the en­gine into about four feet of wa­ter. The f lies are on their de­scent when the line sim­ply tears off with the most ag­gres­sive take of the day. I’m con­vinced that the fish pick up the static Buzzers, feel the hook and bolt giv­ing the almighty arm-wrench­ing takes we

wit­ness. Watch­ing a trout take an adult buzzer from the sur­face in a lazy headand-tail mo­tion, I sim­ply don’t be­lieve they nat­u­rally take the pu­pae with such ag­gres­sion.

Big brown

I quickly feel the weight of the f ish as it tears be­hind the boat into deeper wa­ter and soon no­tice that it’s one of Rut­land’s in­fa­mous brown trout. I give an early es­ti­mate of 4-5lb as it turns 10 yards away while start­ing to tire. With an 8w t rod and 11.2lb tip­pet I con­tinue to bully the f ish as it nears the boat. Peter catches a glimpse and says it’s nearer 6lb and for some rea­son I ease up! I reap­ply the pres­sure and this most mag­nif­i­cent fish lies in the net – sim­ply stun­ning. I can’t re­mem­ber the last brown I killed out­side a com­pe­ti­tion and this isn’t go­ing to be one so it’s quickly pho­tographed and re­turned. I watch it bolt into the deeps. Tak­ing a mo­ment to ab­sorb the ex­pe­ri­ence, I rem­i­nisce the past days on the shore­line with my dad who’s to blame for get­ting me ad­dicted to f ly­fish­ing! With a beam­ing smile and full of sat­is­fac­tion, I don’t care if my line fails to go tight for the rest of the day. With one more drift and a cou­ple more old sto­ries about the bank that faces us we mo­tor to the top of the South Arm look­ing for more res­i­dent f ish. It isn’t to be. One fish of about 3lb gives the weak­est f ight I’ve ever had from any trout! It had been in a while with near-per­fect sil­ver f lanks but it lit­er­ally took on the deep hang and just wal­lowed to the net! That was all the South A rm action. Still mar vel­ling about the big brown, we head to the Sail­ing Club, which of­ten pro­duces res­i­dent brown trout. The wind picks up so I opt for another good tac­tic for large browns – two Hu­mun­gus lures on a Di-5 line. Only stocked rain­bows come from here to­day as sev­eral guides have their clients f irmly an­chored and they’re f illing their boots. A short trip near the lodge where big browns of­ten also hang out yields more rain­bows. The day be­longs to the ma­jes­tic big brown. The ag­gres­sive take, the f ight and the time to rem­i­nisce on the ver y shore I played as a child make this a spe­cial f ish to me and de­spite by best in-sea­son brown be­ing 8lb 2oz from Rut­land, this 6lb 12oz fish wins hands down.

“Peter catches a glimpse and says it’s nearer 6lb...I reap­ply the pres­sure and this most mag­nif­i­cent fish lies in the net – sim­ply stun­ning.”

Browns dom­i­nated late sea­son last year on Rut­land and they’re show­ing well this year too.

Iain en­joyed fran­tic action to his Buzzer set-up at Rut­land. Bet­ter fish come to static Buzzers.

A mag­nif­i­cent 6lb 12oz Rut­land brown brings back me­mories for Iain Barr.

The big brown bores deep un­der the boat. Iain plays it hard.

Iain’s 6lb 12oz brown is safely re­turned to Rut­land Wa­ter.

A long pull on the line lifts the Buzzers up, al­low­ing them to free-fall down again.

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