Think like a match man

Gareth Jones ex­plains why it pays to have an adapt­able line of at­tack

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

PRAC­TIS­ING for a big match al­ways gets me ex­cited and with the Anglian Water Fi­nal just around the corner, it’ll be great to get out on Rut­land and see how it per­forms af­ter the pro­longed pe­riod of hot weather. Recent trips to Dray­cote and Eye­brook sug­gest that the water has turned over, with stronger winds forc­ing cooler water to the sur­face. But be­ing such a large water I know Rut­land will take a lit­tle longer to get the fish back up on top.

Small green midges

A quick chat with the rangers in the morn­ing al­ways brings re­wards. These guys meet ev­ery­one com­ing off the water and are a great source of up-to-date in­for­ma­tion. You never know what lit­tle snip­pet might help you in your day. To­day is no dif­fer­ent and Nigel Sav­age men­tions that there have been good hatches of small green midge. Look­ing at the trees around the lodge, I see huge clouds of small green midges that have hatched in their mil­lions. These are sure to be on the menu, hope­fully keep­ing the fish in the up­per lay­ers of water. As usual, de­spite com­ing from Wales, I’m early and head out for the Sail­ing Club – an area where a pal had seen fish mov­ing on the sur­face the pre­vi­ous day and close enough to the lodge that I could mo­tor back to pick up pho­tog­ra­pher Peter Gather­cole when he ar­rives. In the calm con­di­tions a small slick ap­pears be­tween B and A Buoys. I flick out the dries – small size 16 CDC emerg­ers – and miss sev­eral fish in quick suc­ces­sion. By the time I hit A Buoy, I’ve ac­tu­ally risen four fish and haven’t felt a sin­gle one. Not the best of starts, but the fish are mov­ing to green midge and are high in the water. All re­ports sug­gest that the Dam is fish­ing well, but I al­ready know this and – af­ter pick­ing up Peter – we de­cide to head deeper into the South Arm to see what we can find. As you can imag­ine the shal­lower water is less oxy­genated than the main basin af­ter the sum­mer, but half­way up the arm we find a small pod of good fish mov­ing quickly – again they look like green midge feed­ers. But de­spite my best ef­forts, I only man­age to break off on one of these!

Lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion

We work the area hard. With the hatch sub­sid­ing, and very lit­tle sign of any fish ac­tiv­ity, it’s time to make a call. Should we stay around for a cou­ple of good fish, or get some num­bers closer to the Dam? Now I’d like to say that I stick it out and catch a few lumps, but the need to prac­tice for the Anglian event has me tak­ing the long run down to­wards the Main Basin. Now armed with a team of a small Booby, a nymph and Foam Ar­sed Blob (FAB), we head down to­wards the Dam stop­ping off at X Buoy on the way. Just stroking the flies back across the sur­face, we soon have fish fol­low­ing the dis­tur­bance pat­terns. It’s such a con­trast to the dour fish­ing ear­lier, as fish now fol­low my flies al­most ev­ery other cast. These aren’t re­cently-in­tro­duced fish, these are fish stocked ear­lier in the sea­son, now en­joy­ing the cooler water and feed­ing hard in or­der to put on con­di­tion for win­ter. As a re­sult, they don’t slam into bright­ly­coloured flies, in­stead there are lots of fol­lows and very few takes. The way to

re­duce fol­lows is to stop pulling! Let me ex­plain. My pref­er­ence is to pull fast to get a fish to fol­low and then to just stop the flies dead a long way off from the boat! Af­ter an abrupt stop I like to watch the loop of line at the rod tip for any sign of a take. This works a treat to­day and con­verts at a very high rate.

Get an an­gle

Al­ways try to get some sort of an­gle on the fish. A fly pulled straight up­wind covers far less fish than a fly re­trieved at 45 de­grees across the wind. It’s also a more ag­gres­sive re­trieve as it pulls the fish off its nat­u­ral line of move­ment and forces the de­ci­sion on the trout’s be­half. I’ve been mess­ing around with a new clear Hover line and it’s cer­tainly hav­ing the de­sired ef­fect, al­low­ing me to pop flies across the sur­face with­out fly line wake and be­ing al­most in­vis­i­ble to the fish. I seem to be scar­ing far less trout, we just need to tease and ca­jole them into tak­ing the flies, with the long dis­tance hang be­ing very ef­fec­tive.

UV ma­te­ri­als

With good cloud cover, I like to fish flies that in­cor­po­rate some UV ma­te­ri­als, whether it’s the fritz in the case of

“Try to get some sort of an­gle on the fish. A fly pulled straight up­wind covers far fewer fish than a fly re­trieved at 45 de­grees to the wind.”

the FAB (see pho­to­graph, above right), or the rib on the nymphs or Hop­pers in the mid­dle drop­pers. I’ve read up as much as I can about UV ma­te­ri­als and spo­ken to a lot of top an­glers about how they af­fect the fish. But, while I can­not give any con­crete ev­i­dence about why they work, I as­sure you that they can be a game changer on any given day and are some­thing I rec­om­mend you try.

Wind ef­fect

The fish are in pods and we work along the south shore from the Church to the corner of the Dam. But with the wind blow­ing into this corner, food has been blown into that area late in the day. So, num­bers of fish here is in­cred­i­ble with as many as 10 fol­low­ing the fly at the same time and dou­ble hook-ups com­mon as I stop my flies in the pod of fol­low­ers.

Fish the con­di­tions

It was a quiet start to the day. I went from do­ing what I en­joy most to an ab­so­lute crazy fish-filled af­ter­noon us­ing Blobs, FABs and Boo­bies! To­day was a les­son in fish­ing what the fish want, right where they want it.

Gareth Jones feels the full power as a trout bores deep at Rut­land.

Rut­land Water is justly fa­mous for qual­ity rain­bows such as this.

Now the water has cooled a lit­tle, the fish fight much harder.

A per­fectly formed rain­bow and with a very sharp tail.

Gareth nets yet an­other Rut­land rain­bow that took the pop­u­lar FAB.

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