26 Mar 2018 Rutland Water in the company of lunch bag.

A trip to Rutland to shake out the loch style kit and blow away the cobwebs, just what the doctor ordered. My pal Alan could not make it due to car problems and Tim couldn’t get anyone to watch the dog. Even my faithful lunchbox couldn’t make it so me and my lunch bag headed north for the day. The season on the big waters has gotten off to a quite start; the freezing temperatures, snow and ice has ensured the fishing has been tough. I had lucked in mind, the sky was clear blue and the wind was minimal. Rutland is a place of outstanding beauty and it looked glorious in the bright sunshine.

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Looks can be deceiving though and the air temperature remained on the cool side. I was wearing the Wychwood clothing layers system which was very much appreciated on a crisp spring morning. I tackled up with a fast sinker and some Rutland nasties on the business end, and made my way over to the sailing club. Lots of bank anglers were out despite it being a Monday. The water clarity was not so good and visibility might have been three feet at a push. After making several drifts, carefully avoiding the bank anglers, I had not had so much as a follow.

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A move into Church Bay proved fruitless until I got nearer the church, where I proceeded to practice a bit of long range catch and release. Nearly an hour in and still a dry net looked up at me from the gunnels, and not so much as chirp from lunch bag. I moved around the corner to be greeted by a line of bank anglers. I moved up past them and at long last the first fish took a firm hold of the candy booby; it was a nice fish and most welcome. It broke the seal after the first fish several more came to the boat as the sun warmed the day up. I did contemplate carrying on up the Normanton bank but the call of the North Arm was great. The combined services team had been out the previous week and reports for the North Arm were favourable so off I went.

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I got to the marks that had been kindly pointed out to me only to find it was not fish soup and I had a few drifts for nothing. Before long I decided to start having a bit of a look around. This was a smart move and before long I was on a large pod of stocked fish where much fun ensued. As a competition angler I am well used to going out finding fish and then moving off them. Today though I was going to make the most of it and redrifted a number of times. It was about now that Al and Bill turned up; they were having a tough old day. Their fortunes were about to change though and it was not long before they were getting some consistent sport. I moved down the bank to see how far the shoal stretched and the truth of it is, not very. The fish seemed to be in a very tight area and were content to shoal up.

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It had clouded over in the afternoon and you could physically feel the heat dropping out of the day. So, I headed back towards the Normanton bank for a last chuck before calling it a day. It was flat calm in the main bowl as my day came to an end with no more fish to the boat I decided to call it. Despite the lack of banter from the lunch bag it had been a top day, it was literally a day of feast or famine. When you could find them the fishing was easy, but when you were not on them you would think there were no fish in the water.

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The Kit Kat cup is next week and aside from desperately trying to make it a record four years on the bounce ;-) I can’t wait to catch up with the boys and see how they have over wintered.