There is, as we say here in Ireland, a grand stretch in the day. I became aware of it a couple of weeks ago when my normally dreary Monday morning commute was ennobled by a perfect sunrise as I ploughed along the east bound lane of the M6 between Athlone and Clara. With the days getting longer I’m conscious of that deep rooted sense of excitement as my fishing season is almost upon me. I say ‘my’ fishing season because many weeks of flogging the water have already passed for Gortex clad early spring anglers. I used to be one of those hardy souls who chipped ice off their rod rings and kept casting through the snow showers, but not any longer. The middle of March is early enough for me and, lord be praised, we are almost there.
This past winter has been long and cold for me but I spent it gainfully enough, busy at the vice on many nights churning out flies by the dozen. Indeed, the desire to tie up some new patterns fired up my old passion for fly tying and a rough count shows well over a thousand flies now need to be sorted out and find homes in the appropriate boxes. Daddies and dabblers still need to be topped up and I have a box of mixed trout and salmon flies to finish off for friends but other than that I am happy with my output since October.
One of the salmon flies I was making is a variant of the Garry Dog. The wing is your normal few fibres of bucktail dye blood red under a more generous bunch of the same material dyed yellow. The hackle is guinea fowl dyed bright blue and you can either wind this feather or tie in a bunch of fibres under the hook as a false hackle. The body is flat silver tinsel ribbed with oval tinsel and use oval tinsel to make a tag under the golden pheasant crest tail. I prefer to tie the wing long as the bucktail tends to be too stiff if you make it short.
While there may be the occasional tying session to meet any particular requirements the heavy lifting is now over and any free time will more than likely be spent fishing rather than tying. Work commitments are going to mean my plans to fish as many evenings as possible will be under pressure. I am sure the same applies to many of you reading this but I suppose I feel that restriction more because I had planned on being retired by now. No point in moaning about it, I just need to grab any opportunities to fish as they come along. March already looks to be hectic and since that is a bit too early for evening trout sessions I will likely be trotting for roach instead. I bought myself a cheap centre pin reel just for this and am looking forward to picking out endless tangles as I learn how to use it!
I have invested in some other new gear over the winter. New neoprene chest waders to replace the leaky nylon ones of last year is the main item. Anything that keeps me warm and comfortable is now of greater value to me than rods or reels. I’ll be popping over to Scotland next month to catch up with family and friends so there will no doubt be a visit to the Glasgow Angling Centre for my annual fix of tackle buying. I specifically want a bigger landing net for my coarse fishing but I will go into buy a net and come out with half the store!
Hopefully the next time I post something on the blog it will actually be about fishing and not just dreaming about it!