Back in early April this year I had the most phenomenal day’s trout fishing of my life.
The venue for this extravaganza, although I didn’t know it yet, was to be Rutland Water, just east of the English county town of Oakham. I had spent most of the previous evening tying buzzer and sparse nymph patterns but I had no idea of what was about to take place.
On the morning of the day in question, as Dan and I made short work of a big ‘full English’ fry-up, I talked about what I expected from the day. It consisted mainly of small nymphs and floating lines. Even as we headed out of the boat dock I fully intended setting up the floater with three buzzer patterns on a fairly long cast. But something was nagging at me. For some reason, I had an urge to have a go with a big fry imitation and, although for no better reason than simply going with my gut, out came a slime line, 12lb nylon cast and a single big white ‘humongous’ on the end.
Danny stuck with the original plan of attack and went with the nymphs, but first cast my fry pattern was stopped dead by a good fish and, after a strong fight, I slipped the net under a lovely 6lb+ brownie! Wow – talk about following your gut! But this was merely the start. Next cast a nice over-wintered rainbow of about 4lbs was in the net and a short while later, as I slipped the net under another 6lb brownie, I noticed that Dan was changing set ups.
On his first cast Danny was into another fine rainbow, then another. Over the next hour we boated another 3 browns over 5lbs – fantastic sport and it was only 11 o’clock!
At this point, after what must be the most frantic couple of hours of fishing I’ve ever experienced, the frenzy stopped. The feeding spell was definitely over… for now. At this point we took a few minutes to survey our catch and we saw that a couple of the fish had coughed up small roach of about three or four inches long. We guessed these to be last year’s young fish and wondered if this might be some kind of annual feast. Food for thought.
Anyway, we left the area, if only to give it a rest, and set the buzzers up as we’d originally intended. We caught plenty of rainbows,it must be said, but they were nowhere near the stamp of the morning’s fish and it seemed that we’d been thoroughly spoiled!
At 6pm, after a pleasant day catching fish, we headed back to the spot we did the damage that morning. Armed once again with the fry patterns, we set to it. Wouldn’t you know it – they were back on?! We found ourselves, as before, in the midst of a feeding frenzy and, just as they had been earlier, these fish were big. By the time we had to head back to the harbour we had another five big trout in the boat, the pick of the bunch weighing in at 8lb 8oz. This had definitely been Rutland at its best.
Over the next fortnight we returned to Rutland twice and although the sport wasn’t quite as hectic as it had been that first day, we caught another ten fish over 5lbs from the same area. The highlight of these follow-up trips was a fish of 8lb for Dan and a 6lb brown for me, which we caught and landed simultaneously – as you can see from this picture, with the two fish in the net at once as shown below!
I suppose it just goes to show that sometimes it pays to follow your gut instinct.