Fly fishing gives me a serious edge for catching big rudd! – Dom Garnett


by Angling Times |

“NOW that soaring summer temperatures are with us, many anglers turn their attention to rudd – and although floatfishing dominates, I’ve found the fly to be an equally deadly method.

“I’ve fly fished for all manner of coarse species over the years, but rudd are a favourite, especially on the weedy canals and drains of the South West. Sunny, still afternoons are ideal – the sort of conditions that you wouldn’t fancy for many other species. The Somerset Levels, Taunton to Bridgwater Canal and Grand Western Canal all hold good rudd, if you’re willing to walk. They’re also found in Fenland drains, not to mention carp lakes, where they’ve grown fat on protein-rich baits.

“Floatfishing with a bit of bread, maggots, or corn, is generally the way these fish are targeted, as anglers roam the banks in polarised sunglasses, casting at shoals of fish. It’s relatively simple, so some might assume the fly is an overly-fussy or tricky way to catch them, but it’s extremely effective!

“On weedy, bushy waters that are rich in insect life, you’re offering something the fish are used to eating, because nature has done the ‘loosefeeding’ for you! While watching a fish rise and take a dry fly is exciting, I’ve found that wet flies are better still. Spiders are a particular favourite. These slow-sinking patterns imitate a range of aquatic insects and are often snaffled without hesitation.

“I find the fly a lot more stealthy and selective for rudd. With no float or rig bits, there’s very little to spook the fish, and the delicacy of presentation is hard to match. I also find that you can pick off the fish you want more easily. If you throw in bait you’ll get lots of small rudd jostling for it in no time, but a single fly can be cast straight in front of the exact fish you want.

“I use a long, light fly rod for bank fishing, usually a 10ft, 4wt, with a 3lb-4lb leader. The extra reach is vital in summer when there’s lots of vegetation to deal with. A landing net with a handle of at least 3m is another must, as the best sport tends to involve overgrown swims.

“It’s very exciting and brilliant fun, and you’ll often have the advantage of using a method nobody else is using. On a recent short morning trip, I found a shoal of good fish and caught three of them for over 6lb! My fish went 1lb 8oz, 2lb 3oz and 2lb 10oz, the latter being a new PB.

“If you’ve got your sights set on a big rudd this summer, why not give the fly a go? Not only does the featherweight gear suit the mobile approach required for this species, but you can gain a genuine edge in your approach. Fly fishing is great fun, and the thrill of fighting quality fish on a light outfit is hard to beat.”

You’ll catch all manner of coarse fish on flies! Dom is an expert in the method and wrote the book Flyfishing for Coarse Fish a decade ago. Make sure to order a copy if you fancy trying it.

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