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Spring is Round the Corner

Blog Posted on 16 Feb 2011

Crocus and Snowdrops are blooming in my front garden, a timely reminder that spring is just around the corner, even if more snow is ‘promised’ for the next few days. This tells me that I must get on with two
things immediately.

The first is to plan at least one trip after the ‘lady of the stream’, the grayling, before the coarse fishing season ends in mid March. Actually, this was planned for today but when I arrived the Dove was pushing through and quite coloured so I took the camera for a walk instead.

images/river-dove-in-winter-sunlight

Even though levels are high and visibility poor there was at least one fish rising around 12.00 noon. It was nice to be alongside the river after a long period of working indoors through the winter (Decorating – bah
humbug). I may not have fished but I was cheered to see the odd dipper whizzing about and saw buzzards wheeling high over the rock steeples as well as a raven croaking overhead.

images/raven-against-a-dark-sky-PICTURE-1-50.jpg

When I do fish, tactics will be governed by the weather of course but hopefully it will be a little warmer than of late – getting too old to freeze my fingers off these days – and I really hope there will be more surface activity so that I can fish a floating fly. This, if it happens, will probably be from around mid-day until about 3.00pm and will almost certainly involve fishing some sort of midge pattern in a size 24. My little Dark Terrestrial will do the job if they are feeding in this way, either dry or fished ‘with its feet wet’, as an old friend used to call fishing just in or under the surface film.

images/early_stonefly.jpg

There is always the chance of a Spring Olive or two as well as an early Stone fly to add interest to the day, but they will all be few and far between. I will have with me Pheasant Tail and Fox Squirrel nymphs in a range of sizes and weights, as well as a couple of my own Shrimp patterns, Non-cased and Cased Caddis imitations for fishing deeper should the need arise. If my luck does hold up and I need a floating olivepattern or stone fly imitation, then there are plenty to choose from. Klinkhammers in tan, olive, grey and
black are all good this time of year and they cover a wide range of flies well enough whilst I have a dark coloured Stone fly pattern should I need it.

For nymphs the sizes needed are 14 through to 24, caddis grubs in 10 to 14 and for the dry flies, sizes 14 to 18 for olives and stone flies but 18 to 24 for the dun terrestrial. Tucked in a corner of my box will be one or two old style spiders and a red tag variant called the Avon Bomb.

The second job is to examine all my fly lines and renew either the line/leader links or, where necessary, the complete line. I know some of my teaching lines will need to go this year – they have withstood a serious amount of wear and tear from beginners. I will check rings and spigots on all my rods and grease all my reels ready for the ‘fray’. All the old nylon will be destroyed and replaced with new while all fly boxes will be checked for rusty hooks which will be discarded. There is no excuse for bad tackle and the fly and the nylon are THE most important items in your armament. Why, oh why do people scrimp on the cost of these items? If you are on a tight budget an inexpensive rod and reel will do the trick but poor hooks and nylon let you down regularly so always buy the best you can afford. A lot of anglers refer to the business end of the tackle, hook, leader etc as ‘terminal tackle’ and it probably will be terminal if you use substandard hooks and mono. Fish will be lost either with the line breaking or a hook straightening.

The first dates are set for the Carsington Water Fly Casting lessons as follows: 2nd April, 30th April and 14th May 2011. Others are to be arranged later in the year. Full details are available from www.carsingtonwater.com or telephone them at 01629540748.

Blog brought to you by Philip White

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