Saturday, October 05, 2013
Tomorrow I go in search of stockies!
My trout season ended on something of a low. Two consecutive day sessions on first the Ure, then the Eden, yielded nothing in the way of memorable sport. Half a dozen fish were picked off on both occasions, on a mixture of dries and nymphs, but the largest was a grayling of around 1lb 8oz and at no point on either day did I get the feeling the fish were in the mood to dine. Bright and windy conditions didn't help, but to be honest I don't think that was the key factor.....reports from fellow fishers revealed that earlier in the final week, when the weather was as mild, cloudy and still as you could ever wish for, even then the sport had slowed to a virtual standstill: a late season lull of sorts.
Whether the situation improves over coming weeks remains to be seen. I will likely dip my toes in a time or two more before crappy weather forces me into a concerted spell of fly tying. But it will only be a time or two - grayling fishing is not my favourite pastime; a pleasant diversion to extend the season at best, and I long since lost the urge to pursue them in earnest through the winter months. Grayling are not a fish I've ever understood properly and we don't really get on. Not so much the Silver Lady of the stream for me, as its Leaden Bitch. Maybe we will resolve our differences in time.
I have a project in mind over the coming months; one spawned by this small box of traditionally hackled flies tied nearly three decades ago.
This little selection of delights was given to me last year by a good friend, who at some point in the mid-eighties decided his short range eyesight was making the task of fly tying ever more difficult. With the aim of stocking up on enough flies to see him through the rest of his angling days, my friend set about a sustained tying marathon, knocking out hundreds of his favourite patterns in the process. The little dries above are from that period. I keep them in a safe place.
Now I'm not going to say that at the age of 37, my eyesight is yet going the same way, but I do admire the principle. Instead of my usual MO of hastily lashing twos and threes together once the box starts to look a bit threadbare, I have resolved to get my act together and embark upon a wholesale re-stocking exercise this winter. It would be nice to have a bank of a few dozen of my most relied-upon patterns, tucked away somewhere in the house, that I can pick from when bankside trees have claimed their usual quota.
So, some bulk hook orders have been placed, threads topped up, a new medium dun cape procured to replace my ratty old Metz. The bottle of Laphroaigh Quarter Cask in the cupboard is still three quarters full, and my wife gives a bloody good shoulder massage. Batten down the hatches, it's time to get down to serious tying business!
I'd like to say I made a go of it today, but I've always been slow starter and the fruit of my efforts this afternoon has amounted to 3 Griffiths' gnats, 2 pale watery paraduns and half a dozen mini lures of all things! I have a free morning tomorrow and with the weather set fair, I've decided to potter up to my local rainbow trout fishery and see if I can't get my string pulled a few times. I have this irrational urge to pull a sinker back for a few hours, to feel the sudden throb of life at the end of an unseen line. Don't ask me why.
Tying on a size 10 hook feels odd after spending a season fashioning flies of fine dubbing and feather on hooks in the #16-22 range, but I got the hang of things in the end....and I doubt my target quarry will be all that fussy. The patterns below are usually good for a trout or two and rarely let me down. Hopefully tomorrow will be no different.
Cat's Whisker Mini Lure
Hook: FM Comp Heavyweight #10
Thread: UTC70 fluoro orange
Body: chartreuse UV mini straggle
Wing: white marabou with a couple strands of chartreuse Micro flash
Hackle: grizzle hen dyed olive
Cheeks: hot orange goose biots
Black and Gold Cormorant
Hook: FM Comp Heavyweight #10
Thread: UTC70 black
Tag: Globrite floss #7
Body: peacock herl on bed of varnish
Rib: tying thread
Wing: black marabou with a couple strands of black Krystal flash
Cheeks: JC splits
Head dubbing: gold Lite-brite