fly tying, shore fishing

Level 5

It comes as no great shock but it is never the less desperately disappointing that Ireland has returned to level 5 restrictions to battle the covid-19 pandemic. The harsh lessons of earlier this year were largely ignored by a sizable minority of the population and we are now all paying the price for their stupidity. In lieu of a holiday this year Helen and I had one night in Galway back in August and we were amazed and disgusted at the throngs of young ones gathered near the Spanish Arches. Hundreds of them with no social distancing at all, making a mockery of the hard work and suffering of the front line workers who had given so much to try and stem the disease. We are paying a high price now for their ignorance.

my long suffering partner, Helen

So what does this mean for Irish anglers? Basically we are screwed. No travel outside 5km from home means that unless you are lucky enough to live on the banks of a lake or by the sea you can’t go fishing. My planned autumn piking has been cancelled and a trip to Donegal to fish from the beach for flatties has also been called off. All that remains is to tie flies and carry out any repairs and maintenance on the gear. We have to hope that the situation improves sufficiently to allow us back to the water’s edge next spring. A blind person could see this coming and that was why I fished so hard during the months of August and September. I don’t feel guilty about that and enjoyed my trips coarse fishing, even if I did not catch any monsters.

So what jobs have I to do? For a start I have a load of small (size 16 to 20) spade end hooks for coarse fishing which need to be snelled and tied up as hook lengths. This is something I have been putting off for ages as I hate the nasty little job of snelling on such small hooks. I am OK with size 10s and the likes but the little fellas drive me around the bend. The only way I can do them is to put the hook in my fly tying vice so that I have both hands free to do the wrapping and pulling tight. Once tied, I’ll wind the hook lengths on to those foam rig winders ready for use. I want these for fishing single maggot for roach and rudd. I have grown to use a small bunch of maggots on a size 12 or 14 normally but I want to have the option of going finer to be at hand and not be fiddling with thin line and tiny hooks on the bank.

I have to clean and lubricate all my reels, something I do religiously every close season. Due to missing the months of April and May due to lockdown this past year a good few reels did not even make it as far as the water so there are only a small number which need attention. The fly reels in particular were barely used so a quick shine up and a few drops of oil will be all that is required in many cases.

If I can track down a set of good eyes and reels of whipping thread I will re-ring an old ABU beachcaster which has been sitting in the fishing room for a while now. It is a 484 and the poor old thing has been horribly mistreated by previous owners. She lost about three inches from the tip somewhere along the line but this doesn’t worry me too much. When you purchase a classic rod for a tenner you don’t expect too much! I want to get this particular rod refurbished because it can handle a wide range of casting weights, from 2 right up to 9 ounces. With (as yet vague) plans to fish the Limerick side of the Shannon estuary next summer the ability to switch from light to very heavy weights is useful given the tidal flows down there. The blank is good and with a bit of TLC I can make a very serviceable rod. I’ll pop down to Frank’s shop for a set of 7 rings plus a tip and some orange thread…………….

Think I can make a better job it than this!

Then there is the fly tying. I have a host of ideas for new patterns and many gaps in the fly boxes to fill so I will be kept busy at the vice for a number of weeks. I am thinking about stripping a large number of old salmon flys and reusing the hooks. these are mainly old doubles which I would have tied back in Scotland for use on the Dee and Don. I tied extremely simple patterns back then, a floss or tinsel body and some hair for a wing. That was it! They caught me loads of fish and would probably continue to do so but I fancy making some nice looking patterns just for the sake of tying them. I have tons of materials just lying around to be used up and so it makes sense to repurpose these old flies.

a very messy fly tying station

So there you have it, lockdown is a massive blow to the country and many people will be horribly affected. I will hunker down and catch up on the odd jobs which I have been putting off and get ready for what I hope will be a better year to come. Mind yourselves out there!

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4 thoughts on “Level 5

  1. Muiris Houston says:

    Nice blog, thanks.
    It would be great to hear from you regularly – many of us value your writing, especially when isolated.

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  2. Here in the UK I have some sympathy for youngsters – in August they were encouraged to ‘eat out to help out’ then in September shunted off across the country to Uni to be ripped off for very little face to face teaching. Locally we have a very elderly population and there is a prevalent attitude of it ‘doesn’t apply to me’ around us. I think the rise in the UK is more complex than just kids going back to schools (with the associated parent and g/parents drop off and collection) , or just Uni/youngsters, or just people going out more, or just people returning to work. I think if you factor in all these aspects with an added in a element of we’ve all cracked a bit under the pressure (I’ve eased up a bit since March). Fishing blogs are not the place for politics, but I’m not sure the UK’s politicians have lead us at all well through what is admittedly very difficult period. That said, however inept he may be, I think Hancock has tried his level best.

    Clive

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  3. Hi Clive, some similarities between the two countries but we never had the ‘eat out’ thing. Instead pubs were only allowed to open if they sold food (with a minimum spend of €9/person). Personally I don’t see how the virus was going to know if you ate a lasagne with your pint but hey ho. I think the initial response of the Irish government was excellent but the summer has passed and we do not appear to have bolstered the health service here and there are real fears the systems in hospitals will be swamped this winter. I also take issue with the 5km limit which is too restrictive in my view. Not being allowed to leave your county made more sense in my opinion. Anyway, we are stuck with this lockdown for the next 6 weeks here. It is a shame as October and November are by far the best months for Pike around here and I was looking forward to a few days chasing them on the local lakes. Best wishes and take care, Colin

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