With so many anglers entering the Scierra Pairs tournament it's an achievement to even make it to the finals these years. The popularity of the competition format is very appealing where you get to compete along side your partner for the day. My good friend James Bews had agreed to team up with me this year and we qualified through the lake of Menteith heat after targeting larger fish on competition day.
We decided to have 2 days practice on Rutland before the final to try and locate fish and zero in on the best way to target them. Over the practice days we tried to cover as much water as possible but on such a vast reservoir we were up against it and had to pick areas to concentrate on. During practice we found several areas holding fish. Sailing Club, Sykes, Three Treas, Dam and May Tree Bank were all very consistent areas for us. We would take it in turns to try various methods during practice however one method in particular was standing out by quite some margin and it was an easy decision what tactic to start competition day with however we would watch the boat split and assess the weather before making our decision where to go.
On competition day James and myself both set up the same. We were going to try and hunt the small pods of fish moving high in the water. To do so we had been very conscious how easily it was to sometimes spook them into either vanishing or not taking the flies properly. We both dropped down to 6 weight rods to help with presentation. Our stand out line was the FNF Slow Sneaky Tip. This line gave the presentation required and held up high in the water without cutting under the fish. The clear tip is a huge advantage when casting into these small pods of fish. It also bedded into the top few inches of water where the fish were more confident to take. To high and the fish would just follow the fly back. We fished a 3 fly cast. On the tail we used a sparkler booby, this fly held the cast up nicely and took the occasional fish. In the middle we used a size 10 nymph, these nymphs were rarely taken and really only used to bed the cast in quickly when covering fish. On the top dropper we had a stand out pattern. A small Jelly10 FAB Fire Prawn/Atomic Yellow was stand out for us right throughout the trip. The Jelly10 blob was a little smaller and seemed to be preferred to larger offerings with less follows and more lock-ups. In the dull conditions the Fire Prawn colours seems to come into its own for some reason.
On competition day we decided to go to the Three Trees where a gentle breeze would push us along level with the bank allowing us to make nice long drifts looking for these small pods of fish. The idea was to catch our basket of 16 as soon as possible and get back to the berth for weigh in. We did discuss targeting more resident larger fish however we would leave this to the local anglers that know the water way better than us.
James and myself worked along the bank all morning steadily building a bag. We stuck to the same tactics as we had huge faith in it. By 12.56 we had bagged up and were back at the harbour to weigh our fish and receive a healthy time bonus. I was delighted to see we were the first team to have bagged up which in itself is quite an achievement considering there were 55 teams competing. It was now a waiting game to see how the rest of the field fared.
At 17.00 when all the teams were in we noted only four teams had managed to bag up and catch their limit of 16 fish.
As the results were read out James and myself had managed 4th spot. The size of our fish had let us down a bit but we were still delighted. Rob Edmunds & Andrew Scott were announced the Scierra Pairs 2020 champions with 14 fish for a staggering 41Ib 3oz including a 10Ib 10oz brown trout. Rob and Andrew had decided to target the large resident fish in the morning which really paid off for them and huge congratulations.
A mention has to go out to Phil Dixon, sponsors and Rutland for hosting such a fun event.