It appears to me that these days we have lost our fascination with large, overweight rainbows, these things were classed the fish of a lifetime, why? I can assure you they were not. Let’s be honest we have witnessed some really ugly rainbows and browns in many fly fishing magazines and social media pages in the past, but now, with modern fish farming methods, trout are normally in a pretty pristine condition.
For me, and I’d guess the majority of the UK fly fishing fraternity, a large, grown-on or wild fish is what it’s all about these days. It doesn’t have to be huge just ‘proper’!
Many of our large reservoirs and even a fair few of our medium-sized small waters will see a sharp increase in the size and the quality of the trout being caught now and through the winter. Right now the water is cooling, following some of the silly and at times prolonged temperatures we saw through the summer and the fish are back on the feed, thank god! They are looking to pack on weight for the winter ahead and as they do they become a little less wary in their need to survive.
Trout that have been at large for a time are on the prowl and are imminently more catchable. It’s these beauties that we, as anglers, want to catch more than anything. Trophy trout now are the fin-perfect, streamlined, muscle-packed variety, not the heavy hitters of the late 80’s early 2000’s!
Unless you’re stalking there is – and this is strictly MY opinion – no skill to catching, massive, recently stocked trout from any water, it’s utter luck! You can’t see what’s going on, you cast out, with whatever fly, pull it back in whatever way you see fit, and if one of the lunkers manages to see it they’ll have it, it’s a total and utter chance!
The page three pin-ups of the trout world, however, take some skill in order to be fooled.
As with most things in life, timing and patience are the key to getting amongst the better trout. You’ll need to offer them something that they are feeding on, first of all, you can’t get this wrong, if you do you’re not catching.
I recently fished a very difficult and moody Pitsford Water, if you listened to the hoards there were only a few stockies playing ball but the big resident trout both the browns and rainbows were there to be caught. They were bloody tough mind, but if you stuck it out in the right area, you had a few chances. Nymphs were the majority’s line of attack, Crunchers and Diawl Bachs and Nemos fished on long leaders using a floating line was the best bet in or around the dying weed beds.
I and a few others went with little fry patterns, not the huge articulated deer hair stuff, no, smaller stickleback size patterns, Popper fry, and tiny Minkies, just seemed to be more effective in the shallows. We also set up some sunk line for the fishing over the drop-offs, Humungus and Minkies were used here, they are better at getting a reaction. I and a few others had good fish, but moved or saw bigger, scary, freak-sized fish, so they are there!
Although anglers that brave the tough conditions that we see at this time of year, although they may not catch many trout the standard of the ones that will be caught are second to none, four, five, six, seven, and even double figure trout are there to be targeted and caught each and every trip! If you wish to experience this awesome fishing, get out on the water now, go imitative and you never know, your next trout may well be that fish of a lifetime!