Rutland Water (Army Fly Fishing Championship) 23-25 Jun 2017

Rutland has arguably been having one of the best seasons I have known in recent years and I was looking forward to the three days with bated breath. The weather has been blisteringly hot lately and I had a small inkling it may start to affect the fishing. A close look at wind guru revealed that the wind was going to be a bit tasty as well. Undaunted though as a report from Al Owen said it was still fishing its head off, which was Wednesday. Come the Thursday we had several boats out for an extra day and the word was not so good, only a handful of fish were caught. I arrived early on the Friday morning to be greeted by Al with the words you might as well go home! Too late I was here for a fly fishing competition and I was ready to get on with it.

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I was practicing with Gerry Rattery in the hope of getting some tips from the current Interservice Champion and recently capped Scottish International, aye right. A day in the boat with Gerry was sure to provide plenty laughs and maybe a few fish too. The wind was howling but the basin needed a looking at so we set up for a big drift through the basin. Gerry thought it was a nice ripple; the drift took less than half an hour! Gerry managed a fish so at least the boat would not go in blank. We moved round the usual areas dipping into likely spots. On occasion we would even generate a bit of interest. After what could only be described as a grinder we finished up with only four fish in the boat. It was going to be hard going the next day.

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The first match day I was drawn with Paul Wright, we have fished together a few times and have always enjoyed the day. Paul like me was under no illusions’ about how tough the fishing was going to be. I spoke briefly with Ian Barr and Rob Edmonds and delivered the news that it was not fishing so well. Ian thanked me for the motivational talk but I am pretty sure I saw his shoulders slump a bit. I do hope they both had a good day. Paul had agreed that big drifts across the basin were our best chance of getting some sport. So ready for a hard days graft we headed out it was bouncing and getting across the waves was a chore. We had not been drifting ten minutes when Paul nailed the first fish of the day what a result, he had not taken the fish out of the net when I hooked and landed my first fish. Bingo, a fish each and we had just started what a great bit of luck. We continued our drift to its conclusion and I managed another before the end. Three fish in the boat on the first drift we were both pretty pleased.

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 As the day progressed the sport was excellent and Rutland had seemed to have turned around again. We were getting loads of interest follows, takes and sometimes they would even hang on, for a while that is. They were not so keen to actually get in the net and Paul and I both lost fish at the net snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. As I was netting my forth fish of the day I saw Gerry get his last fish, good angling. I had had the opportunities to be in the same position but just was not getting the rub of the green. Paul was worse off than me and was really unlucky not to get more fish. By the end of the day I managed seven which is becoming an on-going theme lately, Paul had managed two. It had fished much better than we had both anticipated and there was plenty of laughter in the boat mixed in with some tears….lol.

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When we returned to the accommodation Ian Pinder offered to give me a run out in his Porche 911. I am not that into cars to be honest but having never been in a Porche I thought it would be a shame to miss the opportunity. Ian reliably informed me that this is the third fastest production car made and I am sure he is right. The car accelerated onto the A1 from the slip road and my head was thrown back into the head rest, it was like being fired out of a cannon. That’s when I got it; I always wondered why folks would pay all that money for a car now I know. What a fantastic experience and I am very grateful to Ian for the trip. He did offer to let me drive back from Rutland but being unable to afford a new light bulb for it I thought better of it. On the way back my wife Jayne face timed me and she was gutted the 911 is her lottery car….lol, she said she could see the sheer joy on my face. Jayne wasn’t wrong as I had a fixed grin for most of the evening. When we got back Ian snapped a couple of photos for me and I got to park it up. Maybe once the kids have grown and I have sold both kidneys…….

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Anyway back to the fishing, I had drawn Gerry for day two from a completely random draw. The wind was even worse today and we both thought more of the same. Once again we were both put out of our misery relatively quickly taking a couple of fish each on our first drift. But as the day went on it was very apparent that it was tougher than the previous day. Not nearly the same number of opportunities and the fish were much harder to take. Again there was a good craic in the boat and as Gerry played a fish out and brought it to the point I thought he had netted it, but no! The fish had fallen off just as Gerry was about to slip the net under it. The fish still a wee bit stunned was still there though. Gerry soon sorted that oot by banging the fish on the head with the outside of the net causing it to wake up and swim away. I said hard lines pal….snigger. Only five minutes later I had hooked a fish and as the net stretched out towards the fast approaching trout it fell off, karma what a bitch….lol.

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It was tough going most were struggling; the wind would come up then drop back so there was a fair bit of changing going on. In the end Gerry had managed six and I had netted three hard earned fish. Only a couple of the guys had managed their eight and fair play to them. As ever the organisation was slick, Si Elson completing his last match as secretary and Richard Thorpe as Chairman. They will hand over at the autumn match. Gerry Rattery Is the Army Champion for 2017 and Graeme Ferguson the Associate Champion. Well doe to all those in the prizes this year they were hard earned!  

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