I was supposed to go fishing today 26th Mar with Ronnie Christie but work commitments kept him from attending. I tried to tap up some other partners but all the usual suspects were spoken for. I even nearly abandoned it all together to go and find comfort in the river Usk with Adam and Glen. But in the end, the prospect of Rutland lured me in, the weather for today is rotten high winds and rain so I switched days to yesterday. What an inspired choice the weather forecast said mostly cloudy but the wind was 12-15 which is a nice ripple. I don’t particularly like going fishing on my own I find the banter of good company always enhances a day out. So all I had in the way of company was my trusty sandwich box, some would say it has a lot more charisma than Ronnie anyway….lol.
When I got to the shop I bumped into to seasoned pros in the shape of Graham Pearson and Al Owen. They had both seemed to have overwintered well and Al told me not to expect too much as it had been a bit patchy. I rigged up a fast sinker with a team of lures. I recently tied some flies with the new jelly fritz. I tied a hot head jelly cat on the top dropper a cormorant in the middle and a FAB on the point. I asked sandwich box where he fancied but he did not really have an opinion so I decided to start in church bay and work my way up the Normanton bank. I miss calculated the first drift (its been a while) and after a couple of casts was almost back in the boat dock, plonker! I moved further across towards the church and fished in from about 100m out. It was only when my flies nearly hit the bank that I had the unmistakable rattle from a fish the rod duly buckled over and I was into the first fish of the day. A cracking rainbow, not that big probably just under the 2lb mark but lovely and silver with a well-mended tail. I drifted up the bay for not much else avoiding the boat that was anchored as I moved beyond the anchored boat I had a drift in right by the church and again as I neared the bank the rod buckled over once more. A rank stockie it failed to put up much of a struggle and was in and out of my net in short order. As I was motoring up the anchored boat was lifting anchor and already moving towards the spot where I took the fish…oh dear! Not to worry plenty water to go at. I moved to the other side of the church and bounced up the bank towards fantasy. Some drifts were fruitless, not many mind most drifts would offer up a fish or a follow. After three hours I had reached eight fish to the boat not too shabby. It was a little past twelve when I decided to move across to Whitwell and cover the other bank. The wind had obligingly changed direction to take me right down the bank.
Before carrying on fishing sandwich box offered me a butty and a drink so I stopped fishing for a spot of lunch. Sandwich box was a great crack but I decided to phone Ronnie to rub it in a bit…lol. As I began to work the Whitwell area concentrating 20-30m of the bank I had switched to just two of the jelly cats 10’ apart as nothing else was taking might as well double your chances. About halfway towards trig point a fish locked up and I knew almost immediately it was not a recently stocked fish. The slow deliberate head shaking indicated a Brown trout of some size. The fight was mostly in the depths even in the clear water it was not till near the end that I glimpsed the fish. It was a belter maybe even 5lb I was stoked and quickly got all my line onto my reel. The fish made one more big run the reel singing along. But it was done and as I brought the beast to the boat for the last time and reached for the net the fish rolled leaving the fly floating alone in the water. All in all, I thought I took it really well I gave sandwich box the look but he said nothing. Only a few casts later I watched as two spritely Rainbows chased my top dropper zig-zagging across each other inspecting the jelly cat. One committed and turned in the blink of an eye and was of 20’ from the boat. I had to move my head quickly as the flies pinged back hurtling towards my swede. Was the day starting to turn a corner aye the wrong corner! I moved around a few bank anglers who were not fairing to well from what I could discern from the boys I spoke to.
Before I got to the Monument I had another thunderous take and again as I glimpsed the fish I knew I had a peach of a trout on I thought it was a Rainbow at first, it fought like a Trojan. I had retrieved all the line back on the reel and took care fighting the fish. I was mightily relieved to net what would turn out the best fish of the day it was stunning, a Brown trout that had silvered up and it was only on closer inspection that I noticed this. It would have been between 4-5lb not as big as the one I had lost but a great consolation prize. A couple of more Rainbows came to visit but Sandwich box and I fancied a change of scenery, so it was off up the North Arm.
The North arm was not as clear as the basin had been and there was some brownish tinge to the water. I hit up a couple of the usual marks for not so much as a take until I reached Dickinson’s. The water looked not so good and I was not really fancying it but sandwich box insisted on a couple of casts. A couple of freshly stocked fish fell to the cat but I had grown a bit bored with lures so switched to buzzers. I had wanted to give my new floater a run out anyway. I had opted for a Rio Perception and have to say I am very pleased with it. There was not much heat left in the day but even though the buzzers still scored taking a few fish in the last hour. Sandwich box was starting to bore the shit out of me and I decided to pack up and head for the boat dock. I had enjoyed a great opener to my loch style season and it was sorely needed. I have found it really hard to get excited about boat fishing but this has put me right back in the mood and given me my appetite for back.
When I got back to the dock I chatted with Al and Graham for a bit about the fishing they had managed around twenty to the boat so I was pretty pleased to have netted seventeen. We discussed the lack of bank anglers about which was unusual considering how pleasant the day had been. I think fly fishing is in a pretty tough place at the moment and maybe people have to prioritise where they're spending their hard earned buck. It's really sad not to see Rutland buzzing with anglers especially on such a cracking day, I only hope its because its still a wee bit early and things are going to pick up soon.