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

Iain Barr – Fish deep in February

With an icey blast hitting the UK I still ventured out to do some well earned fly fishing on Farmoor 2 Reservoir in Oxfordshire. Despite the cold I wasnt disappointed. With ice jamming the line in the rings of the rod, feet feeling like lumps of ice, I was catching fish!

The fish were lying in very deep water, over 30 feet, so I needed the right kit to get there! With my favourite Enigma MIII #8 rod, I tackled up a #9 Di 7 Airflo 40+ fly line. you may note the line rating is one above the #8 rated rod. This helps load the rod very quickly and the whole 40 yard line is launched with one false cast, its amazing! I was using 10lb  Airflo G3 fluorocarbon. No need to be shy on tippet material when fishing this deep with Boobys and the weight of the water at such depths and a full line out, anything lighter may break, especially on an aggressive take.

I wanted to keep my flies as deep as possible for as long as possible and there is no better way to do this than casting as much of the Di7 as you can and fish two boobys. I wanted to fish a variation of Boobys, so opted for a straggle Cat Booby and a Cut Throat Cruncher Booby. The Cut Throat Cruncher was a revelation in 2011! I fished a leader shorter than normal. only 13 feet, with 5 foot to the first dropper and 8 to the point. This keeps my flies relatively close to the bottom.

Several casts in I miss a typical booby take. Tap, Tap, BANG!! When fishing boobys you may feel ‘interest’ in your flies but wait for it all to lock up before striking. Having spoke to the rangers at farmoor, they advised we fished at least 60-80 yards from the bank where the natural clay lake bed begins. here the bloodworm are plentiful and this is where the fish were.

A very numb Pete Gathercole lifted the anchor and we dropped the anchor some 100 yards out which would be alien on most places this time of year. We weren’t disappointed. I was soon in to fish after letting the boobys drop for a timed 60 seconds with the very slowest of retrieves and long pauses in between. Both the Straggle Cat Booby and Cruncher Booby take fish. I kept changing the Boobys and the fish kept coming, a Blue Eyed Cat Booby, Black and White Humungus Boobys all took fish. They seemed to come at range at the end of the cast or almost vertical beneath the boat as the flies came up off the bottom. This proved the fish were lying almost on the lake bed!

We watched grebes diving and coming up with small fish so dedided to drift 200-300 yards from the bank and I continued to pick up fighting fit rainbows. What was amazing was that we were in 35+ feet of water, along way off shore and around no features and we continued to catch fish with plenty of offers too. The place must be stuffed with fish as this certainly wasn’t the hot spot. The hot spot was on the far shore with the wind pushing in. But, with frozen feet, ice jamming the rings and finger tips only warmed by a pulling trout, it was too cold even for a double world champion!!

Keep your flies as deep as possible in these conditions and fish as slow as possible, a team of boobys on just 13 foot of leader is perfect. The fishing in this cold snap can be fantsatic so wrap up warm and venture out.

Iain Barr Fly Selection Choice

Essential Boobys

Minkie Boobys

UV Dancers

Iain Barr – Early January

January saw the launch of the new Airflo World Bank Masterf competition. With heats across the UK that are filling fast, it promises to be a a massive competition. Cash prizes, holidays and more prizes to be won. See for more details.

I took a trip to Ellerdine fishery in Shropshire on the 11th and wasnt disappointed! Ellerdine offers a lake for all with it’s on site 5 lakes to choose from!

Most of the lakes are relatively shallow, averaging 6-8 foot, with the larger lake being 16 feet at it’s deepest. I opted for a 90 degree corner with the light winds pushing in on what was a mild sunny day in Shropshire.

I enjoy the fight from fish when not competing so took my Airflo Streamtec #4/5 which couples for a great small water rod as well superb for the river. Takes can be very subtle during winter months as the fish slow down so I fished a non-stretch airflo floating fly line to pick up the slightest of takes.#5


It didnt take long before my line started to slowly draw away and I landed my first of a 30+ fish haul. When fishing any small water I always start with a SunBurst Blob and two buzzers. I opted for a my original flexi blob as I had one handy in my patch from my last outing.


Remember to stay low at these kind of waters as they tend to slope off close to the shore and fish will not be lurking far out! The line slid away and I was into my first fine Ellerdine trout of about 2lb. It was rapid fire after that with about 10 following in the next hour or so. With the fish still pulling, I was keen to see the other 4 lakes on offer and made my way around them all.

They offer variations and no matter how strong the wind and from what direction you will always find a sheltered spot and almost flat calm somewhere! Superb! I decided not to take the comfort factor and chose again to fish in to the wind and across in a 90 degree corner on the largest of the lakes.

I had switched to a Neon Damsel which will catch on every water you will ever fish. It didn’t take long again until I was in to action but as quick as they were taking the fly they stopped! The lake switched off as bending rods around the lake ceased for everyone. Time for one of Ed’s finest bacon butties!

Refreshed and revitalised I went in search of one of Ellerdines many doubles which had been caught the previous few days. I picked up one here, one there and decided to return to where I started my day. Whereas in the morning I had caught nothing substantial, best of about 3lb, in my last throw of the dice I caught a further dozen with just 3 under 4lb! A great fly this time of the year is the Dancer and I fished my white and yellow uv version on the floating fly line. 12 fish came in the last hour and a half including a cracking 6lb fish and several around the 5lb mark. The double had eluded me although one of 9lb and 8lb were caught and safely returned.

Treat yourself to a trip there where you will receive a very warm welcome from this friendly run fishery.

Iain Barr small water Winter Fly Pack recommendations:-

Iain Barr Blobs

Iain Barr UV Dancers

Iain Barr Gold Head Damsels