Scierra Pairs Final Rutland 2020

Scierra Pairs Final Rutland 2020

So, the dust is settling on the 2020 Scierra pairs final. Originally planned to be fished on Llyn Brenig in North Wales but like so many things this year Covid changed all that and Welsh Water pulled the plug on the event at the eleventh hour. This left organiser Phil Dixon with an extremely difficult task of finding a new venue at short notice in these very difficult times, credit to Phil, Andy Ainscough and his team at Rutland water, they managed to find a way to stage the event and keep everyone safe in these very strange times.

So, my partner Gaz Dixon and myself headed for Rutland water for a few days practice ahead of Sundays final and started to make a new plan as to how we could try and compete with the local lads who know this huge expanse of water so well.

Russ Owen in a boat at Rutland water

With 3500 acres to cover it’s almost impossible to cover every part of this lake in a few days but having fished Rutland for many years we had some idea of how it fishes at this time of year. Now it’s no secret that with the abundance of food in the water there are some big fish to be had especially at the top of both the huge arms where the rich weed beds hold so much food and the angling pressure is less than the basin area. Our idea of how to practice such a vast body of water in such a short time was that we would start with fishing the main fish holding area of the lake which is normally the lower south arm and the basin.

In this comp there is no restrictions on size of flies. Gaz has a box of flies which are very scary and luckily, they only come out a couple of times a year and I’m rather pleased about that because they get cast over my head when we’re out sharing a boat.

Gazza Dixon with a bit Rutland water rainbow

First practice day went pretty well in favourable conditions we caught around 30 fish around the basin area on a variety of methods from Gaz’s monsters to small boobies. Gaz proved a point when he snagged a cracking brownie about 7lb on one of his special patterns.

gazz dixon with a 7 pound Rutland water brown trout

Our second day of practice we were joined by fellow Welsh Hawks Gareth and Wayne Jones. A change of weather with wet and windy conditions saw the fishing get considerably harder. We took about 8 fish between blue pipes and sailing club but with the help of our team mates Wayne and Gus we were able to fine tune the flies and depth at which the fish were holding, we felt the fish were in the top 2ft of water and it was also evident that the small flies were out fishing the lures by 4-1. By mid-morning we headed for some big fish marks up the south arm, Gaz took a nice grown on rainbow around 4lb on a snake pattern, I twiddled some more imitative patterns with absolutely zero success right round the top of the south arm, probably due to the gale force 6 which was lumping its way down the arm.

gazza dixon with a nice 4 pound Rutland water rainbow trout

We decided we couldn’t learn any more with the conditions as they were and an early bath was in order for us. Wayne and Gus would stay out searching round the arm to see if they could locate some more big fish, Gus was rewarded with a stunning brown with a massive tail around the 7lb mark, it was slightly on the lean side and would have weighed even more had it fed a bit more.

Gaz Jones with a 7 pound brown taken on a black humungous lure at Rutland water

Final practice day saw the wind drop but rain increase, the small flies again totally out fished the snakes and other large lures somehow. I managed 3 browns over 5lb on Candy booby with sunburst throat from The Fly shop fished on a slow glass or 12ft fast glass tip depending on the wind strength.

The Plan

It was clearly evident that the small flies were the best way to go certainly for us, we also felt that the way it had fished over the practice days that there would only be a handful of limits taken! We just couldn’t see how you could get a bag limit from the top of the arms although we knew that some big fish would be taken so our plan was to try and get 14 rainbows from yacht club New Zealand point area then search the spots for a couple of big browns to try and pull away from any of the bags from the stockie holding areas in the basin.

Match day

We headed for the end of the yachts drifting towards New Zealand point, I’d set up slow glass 2 candy boobies with 2 claret hoppers in the middle Gaz went for fast glass with a snake and a booby on the dropper in case there was some easy ones about first drift a  produced a fish apiece we didn’t see another fish caught all round us it would clearly be a tough day as it usually is, we set our next drift to go round past New Zealand point where I’d had a 5 lb brown the day before low and behold in exactly the same spot another fish engulfed my top dropper again after a good scrap we netted a cracking brownie that would eventually weigh 5lb 8oz we just need to keep building our bag but the morning was fast turning to lunch time we bounced around a couple of drifts around spud bay then lodge frontage with only a couple of follows to show for it by now there were no boats left around the yachts area where we started we still felt the fish were there and would come on at some point ! Wayne and Gus were also struggling with a fish apiece and decided to gamble and head off down the arm.

With both myself and Gaz now both on small flies we set up to drift the front of the yachts once again and gradually started to build our bag with a couple of bigger rainbows around the 4lb mark falling to the Candy boobie it felt like the fish were starting to come on the feed as the afternoon moved on we felt we had enough decent fish in the bag if we could just get finished and get in for some time bonus Gaz managed another 4lb brown from the middle of nowhere off the yachts we counted our bag a few times to see how many we needed infact when we thought we needed 2 we actually needed 3 it felt like and age to get the next one!  time was ticking on we urged each other on to get the last couple of fish.

Russ Owen with a 6 pound brown taken on a fly shop candy boobie from Rutland Water

A fish started to bow wave behind my flies I struck into it Gaz instantly cast near the fish and another fish crashed onto his fly we were both playing fish we landed fish together and I called to Gaz to “start the van let’s get this boat in “On the jetty by 3-40pm

We were 3rd boat in two others were in around 1pm our bag weighed just over 38lb plus a small-time bonus nearly 10lb clear of the early bags.

A nail-biting hour or so to wait to see if any of the big hitting local lads could better us! Had the top of the arms produced enough fish to make a bag? End of the match waiting for the boats in is always a difficult time. Wayne and Gus come in with a bag of 10 fish with some cracking lumps up to 4lb from Manton and around the south arm.

News of a big brown for Rob Edmunds circulating we speak to Rob as he come off, he does have a massive brown and a cracking bag to go with it, 14 fish

gazza dixon with a big brown trout at Rutland water

It was going to be close Rob and Andrew Scott were last to weigh in the brown went 10lb 10oz their bag went 41lb 3oz

They had pipped us by 9oz both myself and Gaz felt understandably a bit disappointed but hats off to Rob and Scotty they made a brave call to head to the top of north arm in search of big fish and it certainly paid off so a very deserved win for them and overall I think we’re are happy with second , I think?


Tight Lines Russ Owen

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