Rutland's Old Warriors
Trout & Salmon|October 2017

James Beeson enjoys supercharged surface sport with Rutland Water’s fry-feeders.

James Beeson

EVERY YEAR, AS summer turns slowly to autumn, a massacre takes place in the shallow bays and creeks of Rutland Water. Big brown and rainbow trout cruise up from the deeper places to feed on the millions of coarse-fish fry that collect around the now decaying weedbeds. Throughout the back-end of last year there were pictures and stories of monster brown trout being caught on fry patterns. Having not fished for fry-feeders before, this seemed like the perfect time to start – so Andrew (editor), Peter (photographer) and I arranged to meet on the south shore of Rutland’s peninsula. There was no frost on the ground but the early morning air held the chill of autumn. We walked through the wood, leaves rustling underfoot. Peter was characteristically late.

The first cast wasn’t a long one by any measure. The fly, a Popper Minkie, landed at an angle. I pulled the line to straighten the leader, causing the fly to twitch in the surface film, and “sploosh” it disappeared in an aggressive swirl. I was into the first fish of the day within moments of setting up my rod, an experience I’d never had before. It wasn’t a big fish, a rainbow of less than 2lb, but it seemed to bode well for the chances of connecting with something bigger.

Peter and Andrew are old hands at the reservoir game with decades of experience fishing on Rutland. They would prove a valuable source of advice and information throughout the day. A wealth of collective knowledge of which I hoped to take full advantage, having not fished fry patterns before. I also had a secret weapon. In one of the dark corners of my fly-tying desk I had found some white barred rabbit zonker strips that looked especially fishy. I tied them in the Popper Minkie style with a white fritz body and 3D eyes.

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