For my birthday (we won’t say which one over 49 it was!) I received a guided days fishing with Iain Barr. After our trip to Rutland and Grafham in September I knew things had been tough so we decided middle of October would be a good bet. But another few weeks of warm and sunny weather had meant the fish were still not playing ball. Iain had said a few good browns were starting to come out so off we went to hunt down some of Rutlands big browns.
We stood on the harbour looking at the cloud and the gentle breeze rippling the water. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Today would be a good day we both remarked. So we set off in near perfect conditions, two rods setup; a floater with a popper fry and a Di5 with a Black & Gold Humungous and a fantastic looking Perch fry that Iain provided.
We set off up the south arm towards the sailing club stopping and various places along the way. Most of them places I would never have considered stopping! After a few casts at each stop we were quickly off to the next location. We had a couple of swirls to the popper fry in one of the bays near the sailing club but nothing concrete so it was up and off quickly onto New Zealand point. There were a few signs of fish here but no takers so we motored on towards green bank and the stones. It looked more promising up this end with signs of birds feeding, a nice ripple and a few signs of feeding fish. Iain took us to an area he’d had some luck with a few days earlier and we quickly had some interest. I had a huge swirl to my popper fry but missed it! Too eager to get one in the net before the world champion I think! We tried a few drifts from the stone bank over to the Willows without much action when suddenly a 7.5 lb brown jumped onto Iain’s gold/black humongous just as he was letting it hang by the boat. Now I know the importance of the hang, I catch a lot of fish this way, but Iain gave me some great tips and reiterated how it’s such an important method for catching fish.
Then suddenly the weather changed. Our perfect conditions were gone and we were presented with bright sun and no wind. We were sat in flat calm and baking sunshine. Nice for some lunch but it wasn’t going to do the fishing much good.
Iain Barr World Champion 1 – Beardy Paul 0
After a few drifts trying deeper with the Di5 without a touch we decided a change of location was needed so we started the long drive back to the peninsula. Half way back and the sun gave way to monstrous drizzle still with the flat calm. As we got round the peninsula the wind started to pick up a little. It had changed direction and we’d been very sheltered in the south arm but turning into the main area we started to feel a nice ripple again. Iain suggested we should try a small bay around the other side with small daddies so we headed that way stopping at some other spots around the peninsula. At this point the drizzle gave way to bright sun again! We spotted some fish rising in the corner of the bay as well as a bank angler who looked like he needed help. He’d caught a huge 8lb brown trout, on a daddy no less, that was struggling to recover so we took the fish out into deeper water to try and revive it. We did our best but this battered old war horse of a fish had seen better days. Sadly we had to take it back and leave it to its fate. Fish were still showing so drifted gently along the shore trying to pick them off. We had a lot of follows and tugs but nothing concrete. Iain decided to change set up and go for very light tippet and a small hares ear CDC. After a few misses (even world champions can miss a few you know!) Iain caught a nice rainbow. With the bright sun and calm water to fish soon disappeared so we carried on round to Armley Wood area but there was nothing going on.
As we can back round to the peninsula we gave it another try in the small bay and I managed to pick one up on a claret hopper as the sky went black and the real rain came over! And it was real wet hard thrashing rain that gets you very wet very quickly. It wasn’t mentioned on any of the weather reports so it was bloody lucky I’d put my proper waterproofs in my bag. Not that they kept me fully dry. There’s always that wet arse bit where it collects on the seat and gradually soaks in. You almost don’t notice it until you stand up then sit down again!
Iain Barr World Champion 2 – Beardy Paul 1
In the last hour or so we motored over to Normanton for a try along that side and drifted slowly down towards the harbour in the still torrential rain. I’d almost given up at this point, think about how to get changed into some dry clothes before the long drive home when Iain managed to pick up another small brown. Lucky last minute fish if you ask me! ;o)
And that was it. Iain Barr World Champion 3 – Beardy Paul 1
It was an extremely tough day. The weather was all over the place, I think we had 4 different days in one. The fish were there but hard to catch and it was hard work for a few fish. But, what an incredibly enjoyable day. Iain was a great boat partner, his knowledge of the water is extraordinary and his patience incredible. Especially as a kept ducking every time he cast! Sorry Iain, force of habit from being in a boat with Beardy Neil!
So what did I learn being out with a world champion for a day?
Water and location knowledge is VERY important. We hit areas I’d never have thought of. Stuck the boat in positions I’d never have dared. The info I got from Iain about whats under the water was very helpful.
We moved quickly. After only 5 or 10 mins in one location we’d move to the next. We stuck to a few methods all day and swapped between floating and Di5 but the key was location.
Even the pros miss fish and wrap drogues around propellers! ;o)
I can’t recommend a day with Iain enough. I’ll be back out again soon when the weather is better and the fish are more active. We both talked a lot about fishing buzzers so maybe a trip in the spring. Hopefully the weather will be better. Hopefully my fishing will be a little better.