Anglers World Final

Saturday the first of September saw myself taking part in this years Anglers World Final at Chew Valley Lake, Somerset.

Having qualified for the final earlier this year by winning the ‘Rutland Water’ heat.

I arrived on the Thursday afternoon and met up with my fishing buddy Nick Dunn to take in a half day exploring on the lake, it wasn’t long before we were into the fish.

Nick hooking into a fish but will he land land it?

Of course he did.

After another day’s practice on the Thursday with another fishing buddy, Tony ‘banana’ Smith I reckon I was pretty set for the final, we had narrowed down that the fish were high in the water and would take nymphs with a small orange fab on the point.

Match day arrived and Chew was looking moody to say the least!

All the competitors arrive at the lodge and listen intently to the brief before the 10am start.

Then it’s off to the boats and last minute preparations.

And it’s an off, around eighty percent of the anglers head for the ‘walley bank’ where the majority of the the practice days catches were made.

It was crowded to say the least, it wasn’t pretty, you just had to get stuck in, thankfully good humour abounded and a lot of leeway was given to other competitors in the crowded conditions.

For me practice really did pay off, I found that a slow intermediate was the best was forward, my particular favourite, the Cortland Blue, was the line of choice. A long 20′ leader with just three home tied flies well spaced out, along with a figure eight retrieve mixed up with some short pulls was the best way to induce takes.

A sample of my match day flies

Match end at 6pm saw everyone heading back to the lodge, I managed to record eight trout. It seemed pretty fair but you do think about the ones that ‘got away’.

The results are in.

Fourteenth place for me, a fair result, a bit of luck, a couple of more fish and who knows.

A great competition and the early heats are a great introduction to competition fishing so why not give it a go.

Tight lines


AWAI Midland Final

23rd July saw myself and the rest of my fishing team, The Musketeers, at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire to compete in the Midlands Final of the Anglian Water Airflo International competition.

Having already qualified via the Midlands Heat it was going to be a tough ask to get through this round and to the International Final. All our other competitors had qualified through the first round so the pressure was on.

Practice days were totally indifferent with high temperatures for the past few weeks and the fish decidedly off the feed more pressure was on. Just to give an idea of how tough it was going to be, the previous weeks Tuesday night boat league broke a fishery record, 22 rods recorded 22 blanks!

Pre match preparation

As we loaded the boats at 9.15am it already felt like a sauna.

9.45am, text alert, Heat Wave warning issued for everyone to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, we must be bonkers thought everyone.

10.00am start saw some relief as we motored out of the harbour and thus creating some breeze.

Drifting onto the North Shore Tower

It was going to be a long day with very few feeding fish found to be around the North Shore Tower. It was going to be a case of grinding it out until the 6pm finish time.

Tactics on the day was the Airflo Booby Basher line fished very deep, around 35′ with boobies and nymphs. A few fish were caught early on then the dreaded quiet period which seemed to go on for hours before it picked up again with an hour or so to go.

Motoring back to the pontoon for the weigh in it was evident not many fish had been caught. A quick head count gave us 16 between the six of us, surly this would be enough.

The results are in

So fingers crossed we did it, second place, pressure off and a place in the International Final.

Then it starts all over again for the final in early October at Rutland Water.

Team Musketeers

A rag tag outfit, but they know how to fish.

Tight lines


Buzzer Action at Rutland Water

It’s been a busy few weeks at Rutland Water.

Finally being able to slow down the fly tying and now being able to put them to good use out on the water!

First up was a practice session for the Anglers World heat at Rutland Water. Fine weather with over cast conditions would mean that the fish would be ‘up’ in the water. So my first line of attack was a washing line set up, small FNF booby on the point with buzzers on a midge tip line. It wasn’t long before I was rewarded with this beauty.

FNF booby does the business.

My boat partner for the day Keith opted for the indicator method with buzzers and it wasn’t long before he was into the fish too.

Keith on the buzzers.

Next day was competition day, totally different day weather wise. Flat calm, bright sun would only mean one thing, those trout would be sliding off to the deep to feed. So it was a Di3 line, four buzzers and a very very slow retrieve. It worked!

Looks like I can do it 😉

Fellow competitor Jon Wood had an amazing day taking this fish of lifetime during the competition. It was safely returned to grow even bigger!

Well done Jon.

Speaking of big fish, my fellow team mate Al, took this cracker of a brown trout whilst fishing down the south arm of Rutland, again on the buzzers and a midge tip line.

11lb 8oz,,,, thank you very much.

Saturday saw my friend, and new comer to trout fishing Steve pay a visit to Rutland Water. So no pressure Dave to get your mate onto the fish. Happily the fish obliged until torrential rain spoilt the day.

Well done Steve.

Ok so now it’s my turn to show him how it’s done!

There you go Steve.

Here is an example of the flies we have been using over the past couple of weeks on a variety methods, straight lining, indicator and washing line.

Come with a guarantee to catch fish!

Water clarity is now excellent at Rutland so things are going to get tricky to keep the catch rate up. The water temperature is still behind normal so there is little surface activity to speak of, hopefully that will change soon and roll on the dry fly.

Tight lines everyone


Still Cold at Rutland

Well it’s still cold when it comes to fishing at Rutland Water. Last week saw me out with other local anger Sean Hanlon, let’s see how we got on.

First job of the day was to check the water temperature compared to the previous week.

It’s improving so let’s say that, up from opening day’s three degrees but still far colder than opening day last season. This will only mean one thing, with little fly life hatching off those trout will be hugging the bottom and be lethargic.

With a strong southerly wind all forecast all day the best plan of action was to head towards Dickinson’s Bay and work our way back to Whitwell by the end of the day.

I set up with a DI5 and 2 blobs ten foot apart with Sean setting up on a DI7 and two boobies. This way we could cover the depth from top to bottom.

We found Dickinson’s Bay starting to colour up but we soon put that to one side as we were into our first fish of the day, Dickerson seemed to be alive with fish. So rather begrudgingly we left it behind and started to make our way up the back to the main basin. We weren’t disappointed, by just doing short 40m drifts all day I don’t think a single drift went by when we weren’t into fish.

Sean with a fine rainbow near to whitwell

Not to be outdone we matched each other fish for fish

Best flies on the day we’re tequila variations as shown below. It seemed that getting the right depth with a sinking line and a slow retrieve was crucial more than the actual fly pattern.

Hopefully as the air temperature continues to improve so will the water temperature and with that the buzzer fishing.

Later this week it’s two days at Grafham armed with a floating line only!

Rutland Water 2018 Opening Day

After having to put up endless bouts of bad weather of late, particularly snow it was good to be looking forward to opening day at my local trout fishery Rutland Water.

Friday was the go day, all boats booked, and surprisingly the weather looked like it might be fine for the first few hours even though we had a hard overnight frost. So armed with a DI8 and a cat booby off we headed to Sykes lane.

Sample of new FNF Jelly Fritz flies tied by myself ready for the 2018 season.

Cracking start weather wise for the 2018 season.

After the first couple of hours it seemed that the trout hadn’t been told it was opening day and they were supposed to play today. Only to be expected I guess following the bitterly cold weather and as usual for this time of year it was lunchtime before the action started. The plan for today was to avoid the ‘stockies’ close in and try and target the over wintered fish.

Lunch time saw me prospecting around East Creek and I wasn’t disappointed with this over wintered Brown.

Rutland brownie on opening day.

Wanting to make the most of the day with heavy rain forecast around 3pm we headed off towards New Zealand point, sadly it proved to be pretty quiet. Then a short motor saw us fishing into Inmans Spinny where great sport was to be had at the end of last season. It was not long before I was rewarded with this cracking rainbow.

Plump Rutland Rainbow on opening day.

After a bit more frantic action and those glances towards to increasingly dark clouds looming it was time to call it a day before the rain hit. Rutland is currently at five degrees temperature whereas this time last year it was nearer nine. This can only be good news in the long run and should extend some great sport into the summer months as the reservoir takes longer to warm up.

Today’s winner was the hot food flask, what a bonus to have a hot meal when out in the boat and it’s freezing. I will certainly be making the most of that in the weeks to come.

Tight lines


February Fly Tying

February is a great time to get the fly boxes all ready for the start of the season next month.

This month I will be concentrating on early season buzzer patterns and adding in a new diawl Bach pattern.

Ok, so here we go, this is great pattern for early season at Rutland.

Standard ‘go to’ buzzer pattern for Rutland.

‘Go to’ with silver rib twist.

The silver rib just gives it that little extra.

Hot head Diawl Bach

Just love this pattern, great for cruising rainbows, has that nymph vibe with a bit of sparkle for daphnia feeders.

Happy Tying


Winter Fly Tying

As Rutland Water closes for another season its time to go through the fly box, get the fly tying gear out and start filling the gaps.

This week its one of my favourite flies, the olive muskins. Here are three varieties that have served me well over the past couple of seasons.

Olive Muskins with orange breathers.

Olive Muskins with red holographic collar.

Olive Muskins with UV collar.

Tight lines and happy tying.


Fly Tying

So as the competition season draws to a close its time to start tying a few flies for the 2018 season.

More and more competitions are going ‘catch and release’ so it’s only right that we use barbless hooks. It’s a great way to release caught trout back to the water as soon as possible.

So today I have been trying out the new Oshamo barbless hooks from Bill McIlroy and I have to say I’m not disappointed. Here is a picture of the size 14 barbless blob hook when compared to a Kamasan B160 size 8. As you can see there is very little difference, with the Oshamo being a slightly heavier iron.

My first attempt was to tie up some tequila blobs using the FNF Jelly Fritz. I don’t think they turned out too bad. As with all things in Fly tying it’s about proportion and scale and I think the 14 Oshamo with 15mm Jelly Fritz ticks all the boxes.

So being pleasantly surprised with the results I can see it’s going to be a busy winter getting my favourite blobs and fabs tied up on these new barbless hooks.

A few of my flies are for sale on eBay you can find me under the user name; dashlejog924

Tight lines


Windy Day on Rutland

Yesterday saw me

out on Rutland again with Tony. The weather forecast was grim to say the least, a 20 mph westerly wind all day which meant there was no place hide. On the plus side, no rain.

We headed off to P buoy which had been fishing well, short drifts produced a couple of pulls but nothing else.

Then we scooted around the peninsula to carrot creek. Thank you, a nice brownie in the net we we’re off the mark. The wind was still playing havoc with the drifts. So we bit the bullet and headed off down to the bottom of the South Arm for what little shelter out of the wind there was. We were rewarded with another nice brownie and a few other half hearted pulls.

So for the afternoon session we opted for drifts along the Normanton Bank. Then Tony gets his lunch out!

Tony with his banana!

No wonder it was a slow start, the curse of the banana strikes!

Once that was out of the way the sport heated up as Tony proved you can have a banana and catch trout too.

There you go!

Anything you can do I can do too.

Ok, so it’s not the biggest trout in Rutland but it was one of many that gave some great top of the water sport on a blustery day. They all went back to grow bigger for our next visit.

Tight lines


Novice Days Out

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure to take some novice anglers out on Rutland Water and introduce them to the world of fly fishing. Like any sport fly fishing will only flourish with new anglers taking the sport up. 

On one of the hottest days of the year I was joined by Tim. Weather wise it was going to be a challenge but thankfully we cracked the tactics and got into the fish.

Tim with his first ever trout.

Another one of my guests was Steve. It was a return visit for him so I took him to one of my favourite drifts in the South Arm. Armed with a fry pattern it wasn’t too long before he hooked into a nice brown trout.

Steve with a fry feeding brown.

Earlier this week it was the visit of Robin a novice fly angler. So the name of the game was to get him his first trout. Thankfully the weather conditions were kind and it wasn’t too long before we saw our rods bending into fish in the main basin. 

Robin with his first ever trout.

The next few weeks sees a busy period at Rutland Water culminating in the annual AWAI team final in early October. One thing I know for sure and that is we are set for a cracking end to the season in 2017. There’s lots of fish in the lake with them set to go hard on the feed in the next few weeks. 

Tight lines,,,, Dave