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