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The one that didn’t get away

Who's fly is this? How big was the 'one that got away'?

Is this your fly?
Is this your fly?

There's some big trout currently up in the Arms of Rutland Water, and when I was down last weekend the fish were cruising along Tim Appleton's bank. I'd banked a nice fish of 3.5lb on a Bob's Bits (Perfect timing! See the forthcoming October issue!). After the subtlest rise, the fish tore off and I was far into my backing before turning it. I spooned it, and discovered it was swilling down sticklebacks. We saw some impressive fish swirling and jumping, but they were proving very canny and wary too, in very shallow, weedy water.

Fish were around, but only sporadically. However, I then hooked into a really good fish (on the Bob's Bits again), which smashed me in a fashion that I can only recall with bonefish. I'd been gathering line with an absent-minded, slow, figure-of-eight when the fish took, and as my line scythed through the water, connected to an obviously powerful fish, I watched with horror as an overhand loop of fly-line flicked through the butt-ring and then chattered through the guides. When this happens it must be quite amusing to watch as the angler deperately tries to undo the knot with their free hand, their arm shooting up the length of the rod as it accelerates through the guides. This is, of course, a desperate, reflex action, and it's also futile. The knot jammed in my penultimate and narrowest guide, and instantly my rod straightened and the line slackened into sickening, long, dead, lifeless droop. I apologise to the bird-watchers, who had crept up behind me, for the ensuing language.

I hate losing fish, but I hate leaving a hook in a fish even more, and determined that I'd scale up my 6lb nylon to 8lb BS when I returned that evening.

That afternoon, a friend, Charlie Mason, asked me where he should fish and what to use. When I got down there, he was in 'my' spot, and had a beautiful, silver-dusted, overwintered rainbow on the bank on dry fly. He told me it hadn't fought as well as he'd imagined it would, and it had a long length of nylon trailing from it, with the fly well down inside it.

I asked him if he could extract the fly for me when he gutted it.

This Charlie duly did, but it wasn't the fly I was expecting to see. It was a Peach Blob with a bright red tail and claret Booby eyes (see photo). It had obviously been used as the point of a washing line set-up, and the fish had broken the leader at the dropper (perhaps the dropper had caught in the weed?)

So, the question is: who's fly is this? The dressing is so obviously personal and unique that it is easily identified, and it would be interesting to hear the story about what happened, and how big the angler who lost this fish thought it actually was!

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