Two Titles One Champion – Iain Barr’s Winning Tactics

Unstoppable fishing machine Iain Barr keeps on winning UK fly fishing competitions! He recently bagged the Bank National Champion title and then followed up this mean feat by winning the Bob Church Classic – for the third year running! In this blog post Iain shares the tactics that won him these two prestigious titles. Enter the mind of a champion fly fisher…

Competition pro Iain Barr in action

Competition pro Iain Barr in action

English National Small Water Championship – Farmoor

Farmoor reservoir hosted the English National Small Water Championships with a field of 48 strong anglers hoping to make the 7 man squad.

Hot sunny weather greeted us and this has a impact on the methods to use. This time of year sees plenty of warm weather and the fish behave differently. In these conditions you will often find two layers of fish and Farmoor was no exception. There was a layer in the top 3-4 feet and and another layer approx 12-15 foot down.

I deployed 3 rods, Airflo Di5 and new JELLY Blobs. Airflo Di3 with a mix of cats Blobs and damsels and a Super-dri floater with nymphs and buzzers.

I fished the Di3 first on each peg, switched to buzzers and nymphs before fishing the last 10 mins of the 45 minute pegs to search for bonus fish that were lying deeper.

The first peg yielded a cracking 6lb fish, the only 1 I landed. I had 2 off my next 2 and a blank off a tricky corner peg which didn’t produce all day although I did miss a take whilst applying more suncream!!

The afternoon saw more fish nearer the surface so I pulled the Di3 with a blob and a cat switching the cat to a damsel mid way through the 45 mins. The Airflo sixth sense Di3 is the perfect pulling line if the fish are high.  It cuts through quickly and fished fast and high or slower and deeper if they drop.

I landed a 1, 2,2 off my first 3 afternoon session pegs with many coming on the ‘hang’ about 10 yards off on the infamous Farmoor ledge.

During the last peg a thunder storm circled in the distance and despite 2 quick fish high in the water they stopped taking. During this changes in air pressure many say the fish stop feeding when really all they tend to do is drop deeper to acclimatise to the change in pressure.

I let the Di3 and Tungsten beaded cat lure drop for 30 seconds before a slow retrieve and I landed my final 3 giving my maximum of 5 in a few casts.

Scores were calculated and the Bank National Champion title was mine.  The top 7 will not represent England at Garnffrwd Lake in Wales in November.

The national bank champion trophy being awarded - top angling!

The national bank champion trophy being awarded – top angling!

Bob Church Classic – Grafam water

June saw the 29th Bob Church Classic held at Grafham Water.  Having won it the previous 2 years the hatrick was on. I’d had a tough practice landing just 2 but that was above average! Grafham was sulking with high and low pressure dominating and mixing through the week. Late Saturday saw a steady change in pressure with some rain and wind which we hoped we would stir them and boy did it!!

I took an evening boat Friday just to motor round to see where fish were moving and this played a key part in my day. I tried a couple of areas briefly and went for a quick look to where I had seen a few moving late Friday before my plan to move to the open water.

I arrived at the dam with it to myself and the fish were there in droves almost smutting like on midge but I’m convinced they were gorging the clouds of daphnia.

I was using an original Airflo slow intermediate with a booby on the point,  2 nymphs and a cat on the top. With fish so high the booby pulled across the top will certainly draw the fish in and it did. Usually I’d catch more on the nymphs but they just kept engulfing the sparkler booby pulled across them on the top.

Soon I was spotted and the armada arrived which inevitably slowed the sport down. I stuck with the same method but just fished it almost static. The majority of my remaining fish took the nymphs. Many may have taken the booby off but it allows the flies to descend much slower and more naturally.

I soon had my 16 fish limit and it was now a waiting game to see if i had done enough to complete an incredible hatrick of wins. All anglers were still fishing around me but there was a splattering of boats dotted in other areas.

17:30 saw the competition end and I heard of 2 other limits and it proved incredibly close!!

With a slightly earlier finish then Gus Armor of Scotland I managed to complete an unbelievable hatrick in wins!  Next year sees a special 30th year of this prestigious event to be held at Rutland where I’ll be aiming to bring it home for a 6th time.

Iain Barr with Bob church classic cup

Iain Barr with Bob church classic cup.

This time of year you can be fishing the top with dry flies or deep with lures.  Try dries like Big Reds, Shipmans and CDC owls. For deep lures boobies on fast sinking Lines, or cats whiskers and blobs fished deep – these will always catch.

See Iain Barr Fly packs available from Fishtec, such as:

Essential Dries
Harry potters
Essential Boobies

Tight lines, Iain.

Spring Buzzer Fishing Tip’s

A great little post by former world champion Iain Barr on spring buzzer fishing – invaluable advice if you fly-fish stillwater’s!

April going into May is all about the buzzers for me and no doubt many of you fly fishers out there.

I’m having crazy sport on buzzers at the moment and it will only get better before it tails off through June when more aquatic nymph pattern become hot on the trouts agenda.

Outings to note recently have been to Elinor where I’ve landed 48 in two trips, part days with about 35 taking buzzers including a cracking 13lb 10oz rainbow and a fine over wintered fish of about 5lb too.

13lb 8oz Elinor Fishery - on a buzzer

13lb 8oz Elinor Fishery – on a buzzer.

Black and dark claret buzzers are my favourites this time of year and usually larger ones in size 10 and size 8 reservoir buzzers.

What’s key is to fish them dead dead slow but best static. Their decent can be controlled by using a blob or fab on the point and or top dropper.

The retrieve is key too, keeping them static as long as possible but every 12 second or so try a very long slow pull to raise them through the water column and pause again before repeating. This will lift and drop the buzzers through the layers just like the naturals.

The woofta - Iain's buzzer of choice at the moment!

The woofta – Iain’s buzzer of choice at the moment!

My Woofta buzzers, black crisp,  Red Butt, Claret Stealth and Claret Midlands are some of my favourites this time of year or you can pick up my black buzzers selections and reservoir buzzer selections through Fishtec.

Tight lines at this great time of year for the fly!


Winning The 2015 Bob Church Classic – Iain Barr

Anglian water’s Grafham hosted the 28th Bob Church Champion of Champions competition on 27th September. A strong field of 96 anglers from the UK, Norway, Belgium and for the first time Poland, were invited to compete for this FA Cup of Fly Fishing.

Iain with a cracking king Grafham rainbow.

Iain with a cracking king Grafham rainbow.

Conditions were near perfect albeit a little bright but that hasn’t affected the fish on Grafham this year as they remain high in the water.

My game plan was to target bigger fish feeding on shrimp in the margins and stay away from the fleet of boats that were targeting smaller fish in the open water near the Dam and Willows.

Having practiced 2 days before I had taken some belting fish to 5lb in just 3 foot of water in the sailing club bay to sludge point near Gaynes Cove.I couldn’t believe my luck when all boats went racing by leaving the whole shoreline to myself! Surely people had found these fish but I felt the good head of fish at the dam had sucked them in. These big fish were by no means easy but I felt with less boat pressure and the sheer average size would give me the advantage over the 8 hour match.

The killer shrimp fly pattern

The killer shrimp fly pattern

It wasn’t long before my partner, Andy Axon was into a 3lb 8oz rainbow as it tore in to a shrimp pattern I had given him in the sailing club bay. He’s relatively new to this game but mad keen so I recommended he change his set up and switch to a floating line and a Candy Blob and Shrimps which I duly gave him. I have got him on 8lb G3 fluorocarbon and it didn’t let us down! He was also using the new Airflo Blitz fly fishing rod which I had recommended him. We were like twins! Same rods, lines, tippet and flies!

It was a slow start but after 11 o’clock they started to come steadily to the shrimp and blob. As we were in shallow water the trick was to short line as if we were dry fishing so we didn’t disturb too much water and ‘line’ the fish.

By 1230 we had our 4 better fish, Andy actually taking a 5-2 lead at one point! He executed the hang perfectly and this was the trick as most come close to the boat. This included over 6.5lb of fish in a crazy double up that saw the boat beached in the reeds and me reaching over Andy to net his 2nd fish on the point! Great angling Andy!

A candy blob fly

A candy blob fly

A move to open water saw me take another 6, fishing two Candys and Crunchers in the middle, still on the floating line, all but 1 taking the blobs and a coral booby as I was targeting Daphnia feeders.

A fine Grafham brownie

Cracking brown caught on the Airflo blitz rod and a shrimp at the bob church classic

With just 20 mins fishing time left and sat on 10 fish we had one last drift near sludge going in to Gaynes Cove. In a crazy spell I took 6 all over 3lb in the last 20 minutes short lining the floating line with 3 shrimps and the candy blob. Andy took a 6th on a claret bits. The perfect day was complete!

Was 16 enough…. as I had heard of 9s and 10’s when I was sat on 4 fish? The weigh in soon revealed that 16 was the winning margin and with 4 fish for near 14lb I had the best fish too of 4lb 10 with a 14lb clear margin to 2nd place which went to Ray Maylon with 12.

It's great when a plan comes together...Result!

It’s great when a plan comes together…Result!

It’s good when a plan comes together but teamed with the right flies and the right kit for the job, it makes a tough task a little easier.

Tightlines, Iain Barr.


European Fly Fishing Championships – Slovakia

England World Fly Fishing Team

September saw me heading to Slovakia for the European Championships with team England who were sponsored a pair of superb COSTA polarised glasses each.

It was 5 river venues with wild Grayling and wild Brown and Rainbow Trout. Some beats on two of the venues had stocked browns introduced due to lower numbers of wild fish. The 3 venues were the River Poprad, River Vah and River Bella. We fished in the beautiful surroundings of the Liptovsky region where wild bears roam!! One section of the Bella had bear alerts so we had to be cautious!

I have fished in the World and European teams now for 15 years and have to say that this region of Slovakia has the most prolific fishing I have ever come across. The River Vah in practice would produce anything from 20 – 50 fish in a 3hr practice session in the right conditions. The Poprad would produce 60-80 grayling an hour at least!! On the first day of practice we fished the Poprad, a small river only approx 10 yards wide at best. We fished for 3.5 hrs and had over 900 fish to the hand for the squad of 7! I fished single dry fly, changing every 10 fish and took 40 in under an hour. I watched as the others caught half as much again if not double on nymphs. I switched to nymphs and the catch rate soared astronomically. Small nymphs on a 16 – 18 and 2.5mm beads seemed best in the small often skinny river. A hint of colour, orange, red or pink certainly helped the catch rates.

Iain Barr Grayling

The Vah is more of the typical river. Fast runs, deep holes, slow glides and long slow pools. We spent many days on this river in practice as 3 of the 5 sessions were on this river. Upper, Middle and Lower Vah sections.

Iain Barr Brown Trout

7 days back to back fishing took it’s toll and the team had earned a much needed rest. team Jacuzzi’s and Saunas and killer pool sessions on the table offered the perfect tonic of rest and play. Not too much rest I hasten to say as the manager had us all tying flies for almost 14hrs that day, not that the team needed prompting. I roomed with Andrew Scott who was tying flies at 0530 every morning without fail! Good job I get up early for London every morning and am used to it!

The competition was upon us and the team were confident. A day of heavy rain and snow in the mountains before the competition days put some depth to the river and the dreaded colour. Despite this, we were ready!

As with all pegged events you have good and bad beats.This was one for me to forget! I drew 5 of the lowest scoring pegs in the competition with the best position being an 8th by the overall winners, a Chech republic angler. He had 22 from my beat on the lower Vah and I followed with 16 despite their techniques I call ‘hoovering the beat!’. I caught just 4 in the main flow of  the river where he had obviously fished. On returning a fish to the controller I stumbled across a 2 foot or so deeper channel in some very shallow fast water. I managed to get 12 fish from this small bit of water that had obviously been missed as the 12 fish came in about 15 minutes.

I had a fast rip of water on the Bella and managed 13 with fellow angers around me fairing with 7-11. The top end beats all produced 30-40+ fish!

Day 1 saw England lying 6th well within striking distance. Andrew Scott got off to a flyer with a 1st and 2nd in his first two sessions netting 89 fish in the process!

Day 2 saw me get the one I had been waiting for, the Poprad. I avoided the lower beats again which had taken 50-70 fish in the first two sessions and drew the last peg on the stretch. It looked good but had only produced 8,3 and 11 fish so far. I took 11 matching the best to date.

It only went down hill as more poor beats followed and it didn’t fair too great for fellow team members. Andrew Scott drew another good beat and got a superb 2nd position but his luck run out with two average pegs which knocked him off a certain individual medal. He finished a very respectable individual 12th position. The team slipped to 11th.

The Czechs came out team winners with Spain taking the top individual. The Czechs fished small nymphs, often within a few feet of the margins to take the gold.

The rivers are starting to cool now and the grayling shoal so now is the time to contemplate some river fishing. It may be cooler but always carry some dries with you as even in the coldest of days fish will rise to any hatch that occurs during the warmest part of the day.

See Iain Barr fly sets available from Fishtec


Fly Fishing in Hot Weather

With this hot weather beating down many fish are heading to the depths to keep cool. The smaller waters with limited depths are struggling as the temperatures soar and the fish simply stop feeding.

My latest trip was to Rutland Water. The water had turned a pungent green with minimal visibility. The record had just been smashed with a Brown of over 17lb caught up Rutland’s North Arm. We decided to head up the North in search of better fish.

Rising fish

We had thick low cloud cover and to my astonishment fish were moving through the middle of the north arm. I was armed with my Di 7 Airflo forty plus fly line  to get to the cool depths but chose to pick up the rod with a floating line and pursued the rising fish. Nothing came and my partner started to pick fish up steadily on his Di7. 3-0 up and the banter started! It wasn’t long until I put a stop to his success and took him to the infamous North Arm weed beds.

Di7 and Buzzers

The water was badly tainted with green algae and it just didn’t seem appealing. We stuck it out for an hour on what I call dead certain drifts and nothing! We headed back to the North Arm Tower and I put 4 buzzers on a 16 foot leader on my Di7! I launched the full 40+ fly line in an increasing wind and held on. Just my 3rd cast and all locked up and the backing went flying out the rings!

I was in to a cracking fish which fought hard for almost 15 minutes before coming to the net. It weighed just shy of 6lb. It took the point fly at it’s deepest point and still came to the net feeling warm. 6 more quickly fell to the Buzzers ranging from stock fish to more resident specimens.

IB Buzzer

The Boils

No hot summer day would be complete without a shot at the boils. These are in the middle of Rutlands main basin and there are approximately 12 of them. This is where the water is pumped in producing numerous amounts of oxygen bubbles and the fish congregate in big numbers on them. It can be embarrassingly easy or they can be empty. If one is not producing just move to the next one. Many anglers cast in and rip there flies through them but the best method is to simply throw it on to one of the edges and let it swing around and just keep your line tight.

Fish here tend to be fighting fit and with the currents caused they can give you one hell of a scrap. Make sure you fish an absolute minimum of 8lb G3 but I would opt for 10lb. A di 5 or Di 7 is best to cut through the fast flowing water. I have had great success with dries on boils too so if overcast try a team of Harry Potters which skim perfectly off them. Again, takes can be very fast and furious so don’t be shy using 8 or 10lb tippet on the dries.

Small Waters

Anglers should ring up their local small waters and check how it is fishing before venturing out in such heat.many are shallow and with little oxygen the fish just wont feed. Many small waters close during the hotter months of the year so check this too before venturing out I recently visited Thornwood Lakes in Essex and had some absolute superb fishing with fish in to double figures on dries, nymphs and lures, take your pick. 4 of us landed 96 on the day and I took the lakes best figures of 49! Despite being relatively shallow, it is the clearest small water I have ever fished and just like chalk stream clarity. It is spring fed keeping the lakes crystal clear and cool even through the hottest months.

IB Recommended Fly Packs

Diawl Bachs | Crunchers | Blobs

Boobys | Essential Small Water | Essential Dries

Bob Church Classic at Rutland Water

Rutland hosted the 26th Bob Church Classic this month and produced a fishing bonanza! 100 Anglers took part with a rod average of 11.12 which is a record for the competition by some way!

You could have picked your method and almost every bank held fish. I was paired with Patrick De Schutter from Belgium. I hadn’t practiced so decided to start with the 3ft Airflo Mini Tip fly line a blob on the point and 3 new buzzers up the line. This is a great combination with many fish likely to take the blob whilst dropping through. We headed for Whitwell Front with a handful of other boats fishing there too.

Despite losing a fish first cast, Patrick soon raced into a 3 – 0 lead using a the sixth sense Di5 with the new hang markers a Blob and a Booby. This wasn’t just me against Patrick, this was a  Belgium World International versus an England World International so our country’s pride was at stake here!

My Di5 40+ emerged from my fishing tackle box. I prefer this line for pulling lures because of the angler which can be achieved by the intermediate running line. I put a Cats Whisker on the point due to the milky water colour, a size 12 Crisp Red Butt Buzzer just above it, a size 12 pearl goose cormorant just below a tequila blob on the top dropper. I took no chances with the leader material and opted for my tried and tested Airflo G3 in 10lb due to the low water clarity. In clearer water I would drop to 8 or even 6 when fishing nymphs.

I soon boated a fish to the blob and opted to move as the fish soon went off with boats turning in the shallow water where the fish were feeding. A quick move to Armley Wood up Rutlands North Arm saw one more fish come to the cats Whisker. A few drifts along the Finches produced no more fish so we moved to the end of Cardiac Hill where a boat had been sat anchored for some time.


It wasn’t long before the Di5 40+ got in to full action but the retrieve and hang was crucial. A very long slow pull with the arm fully extended to the front and then to the back allowing maximum distance in one movement with a brief figure of 8 after each set of 3 pulls. More important was the long ‘sweep and hang’ well away from the boat as we were only in 6-8 foot of water. I lifted the flies about 8 yards from the boat and hung them there for about 10 seconds proceeded with a very slow FO8. When doing this I was watching the line simply lift as  the fish took before lifting in to them. This is where the intermediate running line and heavier sinking head came into play.

The Cat was taking most of the fish but within 30 or so minutes the takes to the cat dried up and switched to the buzzer and cormorant between the two attractor flies as they became wary. We had the short drift to ourselves and if we went a drift with out action we left it for 15 mins and returned only for them to start taking again. A good point to remember when fishing any spot! Fish soon become wary and will go off, if you don’t know for any more fish near by, move off and return after!

England romped to victory in this mini European Championships by 16 fish to 5 after I took 14 fish in a little under 2 hours. My partner decided to switch back to nymphs in a bid to claw back some Belgium pride. It is often thought that competition anglers keep things to themselves but I set up my partner with a leader and my own fly set up and attached it to the end of his line and he proceeded to take 12 more fish to finish with 15 with as many takes.

Winner was Leigh Pond with his boat partner Al Owen in 2nd. Both fished buzzers on indicators and mini tips and Lee’s 4 fished weighed 14lb 14oz on top of his 33lb time and fish bonus!! Despite a quick fire 14 fish to complete my 16 fish limit the 3rd time win eluded me as I finished 5th. The whole of Rutland fished superb and with the fish to almost solely turn to buzzers it is set to be a healthy June! Get your boats booked early!

IB Recommended Fly Packs for May/June :

Reservoir Buzzers | Black Buzzers | Crunchers | Diwal Bachs

Why Fly Fishing late season pays off

I have never understood why many put there rods away come October or November. I took a trip to Grafham late November and caught the record 8 fish bag weight for 2012, 33lb 14oz.

The fly fishing was outstanding at the best fish was a 6lb 4oz Rainbow which I caught on my third cast on a new 2013 buzzer pattern. I was fishing a floating line with a buzzer, 2 cut throat crunchers or a sz 8 Killer Shrimp with a Candy Split Blob on the point. This is the same set up I used to win the Grafham Trophy for Team England September last year.

The fishing gear I used was my trusted i#8 Enigma fly rod, coupled with a #8 line and 8lb G3 fluorocarbon. It is imperative that you use fluorocarbon this time of year as the water is often crystal clear.

Fish like it slow this time of year and that day was no exception. They literally wanted it static! I was guiding for the day and my pal Paul Norris soon clocked on to this fact. We would cast it out and simply leave it alone for 20 seconds or so. We would then do 2 or 3 quick ‘flicks’ of the line like a fig of 8 and count to 20 or so again. It was a calm day and we were fishing relatively short lines as often fishing in 3-6 foot of water close to the sailing club shoreline between the yachts and The Seat. More often than not we would see our fly lines start to move before we saw anything at out finger tips. This is key if you want to catch more fish!

Although I stuck with the Blob and Nymph method, my partner tried a Minkie and caught a cracking Rainbow of 4lb 9oz, a personal best and first fish from Grafham after several visits with no joy. He landed 5 for 16lb and had plenty of other action on what has to be the 2nd best days fishing on Grafham I can remember. The best being 2 years back on Buzzers on the West Bank when it was almost a 3lb+ fish every other cast and there’s no better way to catch them than nymphing on a floater.

Dust down them resting fly rods and go fishing. Winter fishing is often superb, if like me, monitor the weather and choose good conditions. Next trip Farmoor 1 Reservoir where the sz 10 size limit of fly has been lifted and the Booby ban has also gone. See how I get on here first!


Iain Barr - Grapham Water

Iain Barr Competition Diary

September is a big month for competitions including the Lexus European Championships which were held on Rutland Water.

To say the fishing was tough would be an understatement. Having fished the 2 day final I had just 6 takes and 2 follows in 16 hours fishing. A lot of anglers blame their flies, tactics or even fly fishing tackle, but it’s usually none of them, it’s all about finding the level and hoping the fish are there. Especially at this time of year.

In competitions you have to make some tough decisions, get it wrong and it can all be over but considering how tough it was I opted to target the bigger fish in the hope that if I got one they would be bigger than 2 of any stock fish that were caught. It paid big dividends as I landed a 30 year personal best on Rutland, a 8lb 2 1/4 oz Brown. On the first day I landed a magnificent 5lb 1oz Rainbow from the very same spot.


Although the fish had been feeding on fry it readily took a sz 10 Plain Cruncher fished on an Airflo mini tip in 3 foot of water! Fish this time of year are looking to pack on maximum weight for the lean timed ahead and become more of opportunists. As the water cools the fry move in and the trout follow. Corixa can be prolific this time of year so look for weed beds which will hold fry and corixa and the fish wont be far away.

Always ensure you keep on the move and look for signs like seaguls that indicate fry near the surface, possibly chased there by hungry trout beneath. Or simply look for the explosive thrash on the surface as the fry leap for safety. Many people confuse corixa feeders with fry feeders. The Corixa feeders tend to ‘push’ water for a few feet as it chases the darting corixa as opposed to an isolated explosion of attack for fry.

This time of year gives you the best chance of a grown on fish. Ensure you use strong fluorocarbon. I always use 10lb Sightfree G3 this time of year as it’s very strong and ultra clear in the clearing waters. There is no more powerful rod than the Enigma III so strap up with your 10lb G3, Enigma III and get fishing.

IB Reommended packs 

Fry Frenzy

Humungus Heaven

Minkie Boobys

Leaded Minkies


Iain Barr on Rutland

Rutland has been tipping fine form with some cracking fish coming to the net! With water being pumped in right through May water levels have remained cold and the fish deep.

I have diverted to the Airflo Di7/8 Competitor line. This is made of a Di 8 Weight Forward section with a Di7 running line, probably the fastest sinking competition legal line available. It sinks like no other line and more importantly gets the flies down quick and keeps them there. They are a little heavier than your standard fly line so ensure your rod is powerful enough to handle it. I tend to always go one weight heavier on line choice for my #8 Enigma Rod but I use the 7/8 Di7/8 and it balances perfectly!

Despite being June, many of the better fish are still coming to the lures on Rutland as they stay deep due to colder than normal water temperatures. This has also hampered the usual hatch of large black buzzers which usually sees the lures redundant in June. The mini black Humungus Booby has been the stand out pattern for me with the Flash Cat Booby and Straggle Cat booby close behind. The sparkler booby and various cormorant boobs have also worked very well!

You need to get you flies down deep, fast and hold them there so I have been fishing a shorter leader than normal. I have been going down to 16 foot fishing 4 flies 4 feet apart. Humungus booby nearest the fly line, two black diawl bachs and a cat booby on the point. The water clarity hasn’t been great due to the excess water so I have been keeping the flies closer than normal.

The point booby should always have larger buoyant eyes to help suspend the two diawl bachs so you almost have a vertical line of flies lifted off the bottom. This gives you great coverage of different depths and helps you locate their feeding depths. If they consistently take the point booby then this will tell you they are not hard on the bottom so you can probably come up to a Di5 fly line to keep all the flies at the feeding depth for longer. To help them get down quicker ensure you keep a relatively slack line when dropping through the water column to allow the fly line to sink as it is designed on a ‘free fall’ basis.

The best retrieve has been a quick fast figure of eight, followed by a long pause and repeat until near the boat. Many fish have been coming on the hang, this is when the flies and line are almost vertical below you and at this point lift the rod as slow as possible until parallel to the water and start the slowest of figure of eights. When you see the top dropper booby below the surface stop retrieving altogether and watch for the booby to move as the fish grabs one of the lower flies.

Best areas have been X and W buoy along Normanton and Whitwell to the Dam. Some very big fish are coming out along the Finches and Tim Appletons as they are at Gibbets Gorse and the Bird Hides up the South.

Recommended fly packs

Iain Barr Essential Boobys

Iain Barr Diawl Bachs

Iain Barr Crazy Cats

Rutland, How to get deep?

Airflo tackle consultant, Iain Barr, describes how to get as deep as possible on one of the UK’s most prolific trout waters. Using the correct fishing tackle will get your flies as deep and as quick as possible into the fish’s feeding zone.

Rutland Water has got off to a flyer and fish like the one below are very common at the moment. In fact, it’s one of the best starts to a season for a very long time in terms of the quality and number of over wintered fish coming out. In most bags, I have caught more over wintered fish that stocked fish by fishing just a little further out from the shore than normal for this time of year.

But, being in the deeper water you need to get down and dirty as the fish are hard on the bottom, the unseasonably cold weathers has kept water temperatures low and the addition of stagnant water which continues to be pumped in keeps it cool. Ideal feeding conditions! The water which has been pumped in has also made the water clarity fairly poor with about 3 foot visibility in places but this has in no way stopped the feeding frenzy! I have been using the new  Di 7 Airflo forty plus fly line and I have to say its one of the most productive lines I have used for a long time. With just one false cast the head flies out and hits the backing. I’ve been teaming it up with my favourite Enigma #8 fly fishing rod which handles all lines from floaters to the heaviest sinkers on the market. This is the most perfectly balanced of kit going, fact! My boat partner for the day borrowed it and instantly gained an extra 12-15 yards and is now purchasing identical kit, #8/9 Di 7 and #8 Airflo Enigma fly rod.

Due to the water colour and temperature, I’ve been using a short leader 12 foot and two boobies, with just 3/4 foot to the first dropper and 8 foot to the point fly. I have been using Black Boobys to help them stand out in the murky water. White and Pink being the first colours to disappear through the light spectrum, usually opting for the opposite end of the scale will help. When things get a little tough, I have also been fishing a 16 foot leader with two black diawl bachs in the middle which is what this fish took about 100 yards off Gibbets bank near the golf course on the South Shore. Although this fish took a nymph the majority are still taking the boobys, I don’t think the fish can actually see the nymphs so well but spacing the boobies further apart makes a big difference when fishing for pressured fish. With the water still being so cold the fish haven’t yet switched onto the nymphs, but when they do Rutland is going to explode especially when the water clears!

It’s important to get the flies as deep as possible and hang the flies at the boat. Almost all the fish are coming as you lift the flies from the bottom just in front of the boat so ensure the slowest of lifts and retrieves but don’t forget to hang them! If on a leisure day try anchoring with two Boobys and figure of eight retrieve keeping the flies close to the bottom. There are literally big fish coming off all over the reservoir but try about 100 yards off for the slabs and they are coming from almost anywhere!

Best of luck and tight lines!!.

Recommended Iain Barr fly sets:

Essential Boobies

Rutland Heavy Buzzers

Diawl Bachs #10