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 www.iainbarrflyfishing.co.uk 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

Iain Barr Winter Tactics

I paid my last visit of 2011 to Grafham Water for some fighting fit rainbows and I wasnt disappointed! There was a strong SW wind pushing in to the dam where I was fishing towards the bowl of the dam. I opted for one of my 40+ fly lines in an 8weight floater, to push out into the wind and my trusted Enigma #8, the perfect combo!

I fished a shortish leader for me of 14 foot with a single leaded grey and pearl minkie. Taking no prisoners and with such powerful fish about in Grafham I opted for the strong 10lb G3 fluorocarbon for my leader. The leaded fly and shorter leader ensured I got good turnover into the wind. An unleaded fly may just drop back against the wind causing poor presentation.


At this time of year, fishing can be very patchy and today was no exception. It was a slow start that exploded in to life! From just 1 offer in the opening 2 hours I landed 3 cracking rainbows in the next hour and missed 2 solid lock-ups! I was using the strong cross wind that was hitting the bank at 45 degrees to allow the minkie to almost drift back to the shore as I cast out. it often pays to use the wind when fishing, whether it is almost dead drifting a minkie or the common method of dead drifting buzzers around.


Either way allow the wind to do the work and just keep a tight line to your flies with out actually moving the flies. The takes hooked themselves as some extremely lively and very poweful rainbows were landed. As quick as it exploded into life it died again. In the remaining 3 hours I managed 1 more, dropped 3 and missed 1. After cleaning the fish there was the sign of plenty of shrimp in the fish which bodes well for a healthy 2012 season on Grafham with some over wintered specimens about in abundance!

Iain Barr larger Water Fly pack recommendations:-

Iain Barr Leaded Minkies