Although I had visited Rutland when it was single man boats I was really looking forward to going back and sharing a boat with Ian Pinder. I often enjoy fishing on my own but you can’t beat a bit of banter with a friend. Over the last four or five years I have fished quite a bit with Ian and we always have a laugh, we are both thick skinned and the craik can be fierce at times! I was getting a lot of mixed reports about Rutland and the forecast did not look particularly good but sometimes you just have to turn up and hope for the best.
We both arrived about the same time and to be fair the staff at Rutland really have the new measures squared away. Within 20 minutes we were in a boat and motoring out the harbour. As a start Ian and I always have a drift at Bouy 14 as that’s where we first met sharing a boat at one of the Army Spring matches. I had not quite finished setting up and Ian was giving it to me thick already because I was rigging up a fast glass and a Snooby that I had tied the previous evening. I told him I would get a fish first cast with this fly and after wetting the fly and line my first cast of the day was met with a keen fish that latched on! My whoops of joy were short lived though as the fish spat the hook.
After a short drift for only one other offer we decided to move out into the open water. Ian managed the first fish of the day which was knocked on the head, we were taking fish for Ian’s neighbours. It was a good fish by any standards but much better was to come! I could see the boils were on and got Ian to motor us over for a quick look and as expected Ian took another good fish while I only managed a pull. Several boats were quickly behind us and I suggested we head up one of the arms as the wind was starting to make the basin a little uncomfortable. We opted for the South arm and as we motored up we past L bouy where we had enjoyed some superb sport on our last visit.
Ian had never been any further than that so I suggested that we head right up into Manton Bay so he could get a feel for the place. There were already a few boats there and we saw a father and son team landing a fish, looked promising. What ensued over the next few hours was some of the best sport I have ever encountered at Rutland. Ian was on fire and could not go a drift without catching a fish or two. I was struggling somewhat and was left scratching my head a bit. After losing several fish and not connecting with takes I finally succumbed and asked Ian for a fly.
Even after getting the killer pattern which was a Purple Mini Snake I struggled and spent quite a lot of my day netting some quite remarkably hard fighting fish for Ian. He was fishing with a Rio line which I did not have and despite trying several lines that I did have I failed to match his catch rate. Much to his utter glee I might add, I couldn’t take it away from him as the shoe is usually on the other foot. I eventually managed to start getting into some sport by changing to the Airflo Fast Tip and fished a couple of Fabs with some Rutland Wet flies in-between. It would be difficult to overstate how good the fish are at Rutland we had full finned fish to 4.5lb. If you caught one fish like this on a trip you would be over the moon. We had around half a dozen like this, that’s not to detract from the other fish with over twenty fish to the boat not one was under 2.5lb.
There are days that stay with you for various reasons and this is one of them. Firstly, the quality of the fish is jaw dropping, don’t go with anything less than 10lb breaking strain. The other thing is having my arse handed to me by my pal for the first time. Ian just had it sorted and I was always playing catch up. What a great day, it is such a shame that it is a major trek to visit, but well worth it!