A Black Cloud On One Side Of The Boat

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It’s funny  the old boat fishing malarkey, your mate asks you for day out in the boat, you go, things turn violent!

Okay, I’ve grabbed your attention, they don’t really get violent, but let me tell the tale…

I had been keen to get on Rutland to see if the trout were on the floating fry yet. The weedbed fishing, for me, is what make this water far superior to any other, with the exception of possibly Pitsford.

I’d heard a few rumours on the grapevine that some fish had been starting to make an appearance, proper fish eating other, smaller fish and that the fishing had been challenging but wort it.

So, a trip was arranged.

Typically, my mates had been on the water the day before my visit and had caught well in the main basin, a phone call the night previous to my trip, told me this. The main basin is an area I can’t stand, too many boats and everyone doing the same thing. But it holds fish practically ALWAYS.

No matter, I’d made my mind up it was South Arm or bust! My favourite is the North Arm, far better trout up here and fishing but this year, it’s not fishing YET!

So after a few pleasantries with the warden, who everyone knows as Norris, we set off on the journey up the South Arm.
























Yup, he’s happy to start with


It’s a long drive and by the time we’re there I’m set up and ready to go, a little Popperfry set up with a LONG leader on one rod on the other a Di5 and two Sparklers. My plan, an hour on the weedbeds and an hour out in the middle pulling, keep swapping over.

First drift in my chosen area, and almost straight off the bat Jim, the boat partner, gets a follow behind his floating fry, as I’m urging the fish to take, I see a trout move to me left. Jim’s fish doesn’t lock up, I flick my smaller fry to the swirl I’d seen, and two pulls later, a large boil under my fly coincides with my line locking up solid.

Jim ain’t impressed, I turn to him with a look that says, see Jim, this is how you do it!’

After an epic scrap the fish is slipped into my net, just as I nearly beach the boat in the shallows!

Nearly there….

It’s a good fish, a long silver rainbow, one that has been in for a while, sadly no monster but a good one right enough and it fought like a Trojan, the shallow water meaning long runs were the order of the day!

The satmp of fish that I was after, not big but well mended.

Well, from the first drift and for the next 10 or so we are both getting considerable interest from the better fish of Rutland’s South Arm. Luckily for me the fish seemed to latch onto my flies a whole lot more than Jim’s did, and soon enough the mood in Jim’s, side of the boat started to turn sour.

‘Is my leader long enough, is the tail on my fly too long, have I got the fly tied on the right hook, what breaking strain are you using, what type of tippet, are you doing anything different on the retrieve? It went on and on, he wasn’t upset yet, but he was doing the whole, what the f*** is he doing that I’m not doing, carry on.

Silver Bullet!


“Okay Jim, let’s give this a rest and lets go through the middle pulling, we’re sure to pick up some fish doing this.

He knows that I’m on my trusty 40+ Di5, and he’s got a shop bought medium sink line and so I get a barrage of question before we begin.

“Jim what you’ve got on is fine, more than fine, I gave him the flies, the same ones I was using on my cast, just do what I’m doing and we’ll both get them.

You can guess what’s coming, I catch and I also have a few other pulls too and I lose a good rainbow 4 to 5lb after it takes me on the hang.

Jim, has zero action, again the questions….

I advise that he’s not pulling hard enough, something I see a lot, guys thinking they’re ‘pulling’ when in fact they are playing at it.

PULLING PROPER: A good example of this proper pulling was day out with my mate Charlie Abrahams. We were practising, I was showing him the ropes for a Draycote eliminator. I went out on dries and fry and all sorts of randomness, he was tasked with ‘Pulling’.

I had moved a few fish but had no takers, he’d had nowts.

Now, I’d seen a well-known ‘Puller’ catch fish, more than one actually, I saw him get three quite fast.

I switched over to a Di5 40+, Blob on dropper and Booby on the point, Charlie intervened, ‘What are you doing?’, “I’m going ‘pulling’ Charlie”. But what’s the point, I’ve been ‘pulling’?

“Charlie…. I promise you, what you were/are doing is NOT pulling!”

What Charlie was doing was casting his line out, 15 -20 yards and stroking the flies back in one-foot, steady pulls. My style on the other hand is to launch my flies as far as possible, 30 plus yards, a few turns of the 40+ still on the reel, then rip the flies back at pace. My rod holding hand extended as far forward as I can and heaving the fly line back behind my body, so that my ‘pull’ is all of 5ft long my movements are fast, so that my flies are MOTORING, a constant blur of movement.‘Pulling’ proper pulling, the LEVEN LASH, is all about getting the fish wound up, they need to commit, you can’t afford to be lazy, it’s really hard work, try doing it for a day!

Long story short, I caught four in no time, Charlie never. That was the method I used in that competition, a back brace and some painkillers and out I went, and it worked, I got through quite easily, so did my boat partner that day he did the same!

There’s Pulling and there’s PULLING!

Proper pulling!






Brown…. Aye!


Back to the weedbeds, this time Brown’s Island, there’s some serious trout here just now, saw them, big browns, but the water colour wasn’t great, and we had no actions. Off to the point Of Lax Hill and on into Cattle Trough , a few fish were here too, again the floating fry being the best bet in the very shallow water.

We’d rested the area well, so back up into Manton proper, again for me there was action, I’d swapped now, to a BIG popper and wee nymph hanging off the back, Jim followed suit.

As home time was drawing near, I’d just came back from holidays and the jet lag was terrible, and I suggested heading in, Jim hooked a fish. The panic was clear on his face, this guy has not blanked on this venue for a very long time and the fish had him right in the weedbeds.

He got it though, the boy had done it, and the happiness was contagious! I was genuinely chuffed to bits that he’d caught, go on Jimbo, you nailed it!


Go on JIMBO!!!

Beast mode




Deep down and dirty













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