Sunday, 25 November 2012

Rutland zander fishing - jigging the day away

Sunday the 11th of November

Andy Lewis of Piscatorial Pastimes contacted me at the start of the week to ask if I fancied joining him afloat on Rutland water for a day as his intended boat partner was ill and I jumped at the chance. Up until a couple of weeks ago I had never fished a trout water and with two days booked on Chew reservoir also coming up and now this I was suddenly in overload. I was really looking forward to the trip and then on the Wednesday, as mentioned in my previous blog, all hell broke loose when I had an accident in my van.

Thursday dawned with the realisation that my van was never likely to roll again, I had sent Andy a message to let him know what had happened late the previous night and it seemed that the trip was off. I made the necessary phone call to my insurance company and from the short conversation it seemed that things would be sorted out without too much bother and that I would have a hire van delivered the next day. I didn't want to let Andy down if I could help it and still wanted to go myself so the trip was back on.

The journey from my town across to Rutland is one of meandering country roads rollercoasting through farmland and rural villages and giving a great view of the wakening day. The mist hung heavy along the Wreake valley and my thoughts turned to monster roach as I passed the lane leading to where Guff (here) caught his two pounder many years before. I would dearly love to have a go for a big Wreake roach but I fear that I would most likely be chasing ghosts, this lovely little river has been hit hard by the cormorants and being so small a watercourse there is little room to hide, very sad.

I met Andy just before opening time and was very glad to get out of the van, sitting still for an hour had done my back no good at all. After a quick natter we got the boat loaded up and headed out into the vastness of Rutland water.

The captain at the helm
I've visited the place plenty of times in the past with the mrs but when you are out on the water somehow it suddenly seems so much bigger. We had been told in advance about a few areas to try and initially headed up into the south arm for a few drifts out from the sailing club. The only thing that was hooked in that area was a manky old coil of rope that I managed to haul up from the depths and after a couple of hours or so we moved across to the area of an old trout cage. That area was sheltered by the headland seperating the north and south arms and we made quite a few drifts out from a small bay past the cage into the reservoir before Andy hooked into a fish. The little Drennan spinning rod that he was using bent double as something bored away under the boat and we both soon decided that it wasn't a zander and pike came to mind, after a bit more of a tussle we decided that it might be a nice pike and were peering into the depths looking for a glimpse when up popped a trout foulhooked near the gill, no wonder it scrapped.

The next stop was a mark in the north arm and we set up for a long drift parallel to the peninsula. The wind had by now picked up considerably though I guess on dry land it would have just been a breeze, it was rocking us about quite a bit and I switched the drogue from coming off mid boat to being fixed from the bow which settled the boat nose into the wind and helped a lot. My back was starting to give me a bit of grief by that point and I don't think I could have stood that rocking and rolling for much longer. Without the wind hitting us side on the boat was also slowed down considerably and I was quite happy with how the lure was being presented, too fast a drift and it just gets lifted off bottom which is no good whatsoever. I'd spooled up a reel with 6lb bs braid for this trip, the low diameter really helped with lure control especially when used with a heavy jig head. I found 30 grams to be about right on the day and could easily feel the jig touching bottom when I lowered it down several times a minute to make sure that it remained in the bite zone.

My weapon of choice
A small selection, the yellow shad top left produced the bites

I certainly felt that I was using the method more efficiently than on my first attempt on Grafham water a couple of weeks previously. I was just starting to think that we should perhaps motor back up wind when the rod went over and I was in, I'm not sure if it was a heavy take or if I instinctively struck at a tap, these things happen on auto pilot don't they, but a fish was on and in no time at all was on the surface and netted. The Rutland zander are generally quite small, certainly compared to the Grafham fish, and this one wouldn't have been much more than two pounds in weight, a quick snap and I dropped it back from a height to shock it into diving back into the depths.

My back was really aching now and I was getting occasional tingling shooting down my arms into my fingers so I can't say that I was disapointed when Andy suggested that we move back into the south arm which seemed calmer. We finished the day back at the sailing club after dodging through the sailing boats to get there, I thought we were in the race at one stage!

A bit close for comfort
The wind dropped off almost completely as dusk approached and the drogue was stowed away. Lure control was as good as it ever could be with the braid cutting through the surface film almost vertivally from the rod top. A few small knocks indicated that fish were in the area and then I hooked into another which unfortunately came off after a few seconds, the last chance of the day.

The sun falling to the horizon made a lovely end to the day as we motored back to the jetty. The other boats had all found the fishing to be slower than expected though some had taken up to a dozen zander after finding them in very deep water around the 70ft mark. I'd had an enjoyable day though and Andy was good company, thanks for the invite mate. It was only when I looked at the picture later that I noticed how the zander's eyes were bulging, obviously from coming up from the deep water. It concerns me a bit to be honest as I don't go fishing to harm what I catch and I had some worries about wether or not the effect was reversible, I hope so and the fish did appear to swim off strongly.

Like a different day


  1. Now your on my home water and a place I spend most of my fishing time in summer. Pleased you had a good day'

    You need a good boat seat if your going again for that back of yours?

  2. On a nice day it must be a percect spot out on the boat Richard.

    Hopefully after a bit of physio my back will be back in shape, it wasn't the most sensible deision to go to be honest but stuff it!

  3. Nice blog Rob, I hope you get more action on Chew and that your back improves quickly.

  4. Cheers Dave. Chew update coming soon and hopefully teh back will be back to normal pronto, don't fancy sitting out in the minus 20 winter that they are forecasting (righto!)and seizing up!