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Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

QI have just started boat fish­ing on Chew and Blag­don lakes us­ing a float­ing line with Buzzers. Al­though I have had rea­son­able suc­cess catch­ing a few rain­bows I would like to hook a big brown trout. Could you sug­gest a good method, fly and line I should try? Michael Bloom­field STEVE CULLEN REPLIES: There are those who spe­cialise in catch­ing these elu­sive fish, but, given the time that needs putting in, they are few and far be­tween. Un­like the rain­bows that you’re catch­ing browns are of­ten on their own, so you’re of­ten fish­ing for a sin­gle fish, hard to do in a very large body of water. They are catch­able though, but you must change tack com­pletely if you want to have any kind of suc­cess. Don’t get me wrong, a float­ing line and Buzzers has ac­counted for an aw­ful lot of big brown trout, but this is def­i­nitely more luck than it is judge­ment. Browns are elu­sive crea­tures and they are lazy, un­like rain­bows which are con­stantly on the look­out for any­thing that they can get their mouths around and tend to be con­stantly charged up and ready to go. We need to look at three ar­eas in or­der to have any kid of suc­cess with big brown trout and they are pat­tern se­lec­tion, fish­ing depth and lo­ca­tion.

Pat­tern se­lec­tion

When it comes to flies, go big or go home! As men­tioned, you will oc­ca­sion­ally catch big brown trout with con­ven­tional flies and tech­niques but it’s usu­ally down to luck. For me, it would be big black flies, and I’m talk­ing three inches min­i­mum. I love the Hu­mun­gus tied with big dumb­bell eyes and the rea­son for the big eyes is sim­ple. Big browns will of­ten fol­low flies right to the boat. When you stop the re­trieve with nor­mal flies the fly sits there, and the trout ghosts away. But with large dumb­bell eyes, the fly plum­mets back down in the water and the browns will of­ten nail it when it has this dra­matic change in di­rec­tion. It’s a very good tech­nique, of­ten called the ‘hang and drop’, but you must wear po­larised sun­glasses so that you can see what’s go­ing on.

Fish­ing depth

Early in the year, I tend to fish deeper when af­ter brown­ies as they are of­ten not far from the bot­tom. The rea­son is that this is where their food is. They will pre­date on coarse fish and of­ten mooch about for easy pick­ings off the bot­tom. Like I said, they are lazy. So, look to fish fast sink lines right up un­til Au­gust, then switch your at­ten­tion to float­ing lines in and around the weedbeds, again with Hu­mun­gus or even bet­ter a Float­ing Fry pat­tern, they love those!


Lo­ca­tion is cru­cial. Brown­ies love struc­ture, any­thing that gives them some­where to hide and/or at­tack from. So look to fish your flies in and around struc­ture, boat jet­ties, sail­ing boat moor­ings, tree stumps, old riverbeds and the dam wall – you get the picture! But as men­tioned above, for me the cream of brown trout fish­ing (and by far the most con­sis­tent time to catch them) hap­pens from Au­gust to the end of the sea­son when I’d be to­tally fo­cused on weedbeds. Bear in mind that most brown­ies are sexed fish as op­posed to the sex­less rain­bows, so they are look­ing to pack on weight pre-spawn­ing. They are also ag­gres­sive and will fend off any­thing that an­noys them, hence the big flies. Fish the out­side edge of the weedbeds with the Hu­mun­gus. Big brown­ies will pa­trol here as the smaller coarse fish of­ten me­an­der out into open water and brown­ies like to am­bush them from be­low. Also pay at­ten­tion to gaps in the weed. Small pock­ets of open water are per­fect for toss­ing in a Float­ing Fry and the splash as it hits the water of­ten gains a pretty fast re­sponse from any nearby brown­ies. To catch brown­ies con­sis­tently is very dif­fi­cult and at times a very slow process, but us­ing big­ger flies in and around struc­ture, man­made or nat­u­ral, will cer­tainly in­crease your chances.

Big flies are rec­om­mended when tar­get­ing spec­i­men brown trout.

Dumb­bell eyes add weight to a Hu­mun­gus pat­tern.

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