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Trout love a fry-up!
by Bob Church

As I waited to go out in a boat at Grafham I watched the millions of three-inch roach fry scattering in the safety and cover of the little harbour walls. Then suddenly there was a great spray of these little fish leaping from the water in terror as they attempted to avoid the lunge of an attacking rainbow trout of around 3lbs! It happened again several times before I motored out for my day afloat
Scenes like this herald the arrival of a massive autumn feast which many reservoir trout take part in each year. Some of every reservoirs best sport takes place in these next few weeks as big rainbows and browns that have evaded capture all season now feed on the fry in earnest.
Fly fisherman can now go specimen hunting with a degree of confidence, although the fishing needs a more specialised approach. Forget the limit bags and consider an early dawn start from the bank, which now comes into its own again.
The marginal weedbeds hold the fry shoals and they attract the trout in like a magnet. Itís a good idea to set up two rods, with some kind of pulling lure and the other with a floating pattern. This latter is almost like fishing a dry fly and it is a very popular and successful tactic.
It is important that the artificial pattern you decide to use really does look something like the small fish the trout are eating. Pulling lures in this category comes the Appetiser lure and its modern variations. Grafham regular Dave Barker's series of Minky lures, the rabbit Zonker lures, the white marabou Nobbler-type lures and finally that controversial lure, the white Waggy.
At this stage I must mention the Waggy because it really does look and behave like a real swimming fish. A long cast coupled with a continuous 'roly poly' retrieve could do the business for you this back end.
I must add that this lure although controversial in the eyes of the purist was passed as O.K. by all leading reservoirs several years ago.
Now we come to the method which grows in popularity each season - fishing with a floating fry pattern. Once you have caught fish in this way, and have the confidence that it really works well, itís surprising how big a catch you can take.
In reality what you are doing is imitating a dead, or near dead small fry pattern. A number of natural occurring casualties can be seen floating near the weedbeds, so trout get used to seeing and feeding on them there.
Popular floating lure patterns are tied with bouyant white deer hair, then trimmed to a fishy shape and then coloured with water- proof Pantone pens. Itís more model making than fly tying, and some of the patterns I have seen tied by Rutland head bailiff, Nigel Savage, look so much like a real perch.
Some roach artificials are very simple to tie. On a long shank 6 or 4 hook, slide on a body of tubular pearlescent mylar. Cut a fish tail and back shape from a strip of white ethafoam and tie in at the tail and head. Complete by adding a few throat hackle fibres of red or orange. The result is a very effective floating fry pattern. I use powerful 10 foot fly rod and W.F.8 Fly line outfit, but often I dig out my old shooting head reels, especially if I need to cast that extra bit further out. It goes without saying only use a single lure and your leader should be 8lbs breaking strain at least, and make sure this is degreased.
Cast out your floating line outfit so the wind will slowly drift it close to, or onto the weed bed where the fry are shoaling-up. If you have patience to fish in this way, sooner or later better-than-average sized catches will be rewarded by a specimen of 5lbs or more.
For all boat fishers the same procedure can be followed by anchoring up in the appropriate shallow hotspot areas.

This back-end in particular is going to be a good one at the popular big reservoirs. Don't miss out!

1. Bob with a lovely wild rainbow from the massive Rutland Water.
2. Bob with a perfect rainbow from Sutton, Hampshire. It weighed 18lb 12oz.

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