Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The dawn of a new trout season rapidly approaches and I have at last returned to the vice to top up my stock of large dark olive patterns - paraduns, cdc duns, waterhen bloas etc. The third week of the month sees me off work for a few days and if the weather is kind enough, I shall be out on the river for a day or two in search of a big early season bruiser.
I had worried for a while that my enthusiasm for the sport was waning. The winter has been mild and I really should have made an effort to go grayling fishing some more, or at least keep my eye in at the vice. But somehow I couldn't muster the effort and the last few months have been spent festering indoors and drinking more beer than is good for a man.
Now though, with the dire month of February put to the sword at last, and with the chaffinches in song and blackbirds finding their voices in the highest branches at dusk; now I am at last stirred from my stupor and inspired. It's a good feeling, and a relief to know that I still have fly fishing blood coursing through my veins. The best of the year now stretches out in front of us: with the end of September still seven months distant, the full spectrum of angling possibilities presents itself. It's exciting to think what experiences the season might hold.
I found myself getting a little too far ahead. I always do. Once the large darks were tied, my thoughts turned to long summer evenings and that most enigmatic of fisher's flies, the blue-winged olive. I cannot visualise a sunset by the river without looking up into the slanting light and seeing in my mind's eye the burning sparks of a thousand dancing spinners. I watched the re-make of the film King Kong a few nights ago, marveling at the special effects and attention to detail so professionally rendered. In one scene the eponymous silverback reclined in the evening light of his prehistoric island with illuminated flies flitting lazily around his head. I wondered if they were giant blue-wings..........
The spinners are a beautiful sight to behold and I wish I had the opportunity to fish amongst them more often. Sadly, recent seasons have seen precious few proper falls - at least when I've been on the water - and as a result my skills have become blunted and are now I fear, way off the standard required to deal adequately with this most challenging of situations. If there's one thing guaranteed to make a Kong-sized monkey out of a fly fisher, then it must surely be extracting trout from the flat tail of a pool where they lie, sidling about just under the surface, hoovering up spent spinners within a window of vision which must measure mere centimeters. And in near darkness.
Still, I'm always up for a challenge and I hope that I get plenty of chances to redress the balance this summer. I have a pattern which works anyways; or at least it works when unhindered by ahem, 'operator error'. It even has a little white wing-post which makes it visible in the gloaming. Since arriving at its current incarnation a couple of season ago, there have all too few suitable occasions for deployment; but when pressed into action - and when the man holding the rod has avoided making a total hash of things - my spinner pattern did the business admirably and I was left with the satisfying feeling that I had addressed a fly tying problem and solved it, meeting the criteria which I had set:
Wings in 'spent' position
Visibility in failing light
For some time, I have believed I am on to a winner with this pattern. I just need to reinforce the theory ....I hope this summer provides the opportunity!