I fished Rutland right at the start of the very hot week in July, beginning Monday the 18th. A group of us fished the very warm Monday morning, with just a very light breeze from the west. Some anglers drifted along the Normanton shore and had success with floating lines and a team of buzzers. The other successful method was drifting down the middle of the main basin , through the aerators, pulling blobs and boobies on Di5 and Di7 lines. But as the heat built up in the afternoon it was difficult to catch fish by any method other than fast sinking lines through the aerators, and most success was with just a single blob.
On the Tuesday the temperatures built up to over 30 degrees and the light breeze had moved around to the south, and although some fish were being caught drifting through the aerators, it was much more difficult than on the Monday. The most successful angler by far used a Di7 40+ line, starting with a single blob, then adding a booby on the point, and then later in the day put a shrimp pattern on the middle dropper and picked up 2 fish on that to give a total catch of 6 fish. There were lots of dry nets and a rod average of just 1.4 !
I was then going to be fishing at Pitsford on the Saturday at the end of that week (the same day as the Chiltern Club match at Ravensthorpe), and I thought that with the continuing hot weather and very little breeze, it was going to be Di7s and nasty lures all over again. But a friend who had been out the day before assured me that the fish were high in the water in the main basin, and the most successful method was washing-line with diawl bachs and crunchers. Pulling fast sinking lines had been singularly unsuccessful. So that’s what I started with. But when I was getting no action at all and my boat partner, fishing a team of heavy buzzers caught on his point fly, I put a heavy buzzer on my point. I soon caught, albeit on a black cruncher on the top dropper! The next fish also took the top dropper, then everything went quiet. But we saw some fish moving, and so I took the buzzer off the point and replaced it with The MacKay to keep the flies up in the water and had a fish on that fly soon after. My boat partner also landed 3 fish, but from 2.00pm onward we saw very few fish being caught. But one person did catch 8 fish, fishing a floating line with 3 buzzers on a 20ft leader, fishing the buzzers absolutely static, and then twiddling at the end of the drift with most fish taking as the flies came up through the water. It was Bill McIlroy who had fished this method successfully on the Thursday and had given all his team members exactly the same leader set up to fish on the Saturday – including my boat partner. So the fish were taking very high up in the water despite the heat and bright sunshine! The rest of his team fished exactly the same set up and caught a lot more fish than anyone else. And it was very much a matter of sticking with that method even if you went for several hours without any action – eventually the fish would come on again.
Which all goes to show that in hot weather you really cannot predict what will work best – and sometimes it turns out to be that what you think to be the most obvious methods for the conditions are not necessarily the one that works best. And I am still trying to work out whether another factor was that the buzzers Bill McIlroy tied really were quite beautiful – and maybe irresistable to the fish??