Catching Big Fish!

I am often asked if it’s possible to go out on a reservoir and target bigger than average fish with small flies, the answer in simple terms is YES!

I recently had a trip to Rutland, the fishing had been tough but a few nice fish were being caught on the bung up in Manton. My boat partner and I had a look, fished for a while and due to the inactivity, decided to go for bigger fish, with dries out in the open!

This, in my eyes, is the ultimate way in which to catch proper fish with small flies.

Dry flies have a habit of fooling the bigger trout, even on days when the fishing is really hard!

We chose to drift from Gibbets right across open water to Old Hall, bear in mind it was wet and windy and bloody cold for the time of year, that’s why the other fish had gone off up in Manton.

I fish a short line and two dries, normally a Bits and my own little dry which is being relied upon more and more just now.

I took 7 trout each one was like a grilse and all of them to my little dry, what you need to get your head around was the fact that we never saw a fish move all day!

This was a good bag for the day, and that included the bags being brought in by the stockie bashers.

Why on earth  everyone hung up on pulling Blobs when you can be going out and catching big  fish on dry flies I have no idea.


I’ve been fortunate enough to catch plenty, big, reservoir rainbows and browns and I can assure you it’s not just luck – despite what some people will have you believe!

Big fish, don’t tend to hang around the stockie shoals, stockies mean boat pressure and the bigger fish stay well clear of this.

It’s rare to get these bigger than average trout, I’m talking 3 to 4lb and above, on mini lures, it’s possible but that really is luck, ‘pulling’ across open water is the usual, an unsuspecting resident can be a sucker for a Blob or Sparkler but you can’t go targeting lots of them.

The best bet by far, is to try dry flies or better still floating fry, small ones, ones that fit in the gauge.

Last year while practicing on Grafham Water for the English National Final, I took rainbows, five of them, each one over 5lb, one over 6lb in less than five hours fishing over two days.

I fished a single fly on a 15ft leader of 12lb fluorocarbon on my ventures into this tiny area of the reservoir.

I’d wait until the other boats had left the dock, sneak in for an hour, leave it and have another crack last thing at night, again when no one was near.

Day one, morning one, I rose five and caught two, in the evening I rose two and had one.

Day two, morning one, I rose one and caught one, in the evening, rose three and had one.

My boat partner on both occasions, tried everything in his box but couldn’t even raise a fish…

On match day, I ventured into that little spot just once, I rose four, jagged two, one of which I played for about 30-seconds, before it went under a huge raft of weed and came barreling out the other side up into the air and down into some more. My boat partner and I estimated it at around 8lb!

These fish had no pressure, a constant food supply and were feeding.

The three key factors needed for catching big fish!


Get the three key things sorted and this is the prize

My Little Dry fly
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