But as usual with such extremes in the UK, it didn’t last long and with temperatures returning to seasonal norms I’m allowing myself to think that maybe Spring really IS just around the corner. The milestone markers for me are the Cheltenham Festival, the start of the F1 Grand Prix season – and opening day on the big stillwaters!
1. Get your fishing kit checked!
Take some time to steadily check through all your fishing gear. Be ruthless about it, too. A bit like spring house cleaning, it’s time to say goodbye to any bits and pieces that aren’t up to it any more- and dust off and organise the rest.
If in any doubt, Club Cortland is a good scheme just starting up this year. The idea is that you can take your gear to selected tackle dealers who will give your stuff a free health check and MOT at the same time. There are some neat offers and events for members too, making it a great way to increase your fly fishing enjoyment this year. Click here to sign up!
2. Fly lines: keep or change?
Be honest: how well do you look after your lines? If you clean them periodically and are careful, they can last a good few seasons. But everything has its limits. So when should you change a fly line? Cracks, discoloration and poor performance (like a floating line that won’t float) are all signs that time is approaching.
Don’t kid yourself that the line you bought six years ago is up to the job! It’s a simple fact of life that a new fly line adds massively to your angling pleasure, and in the overall scheme of things they cost little more than a days boat fishing. It’s a false economy to hamper your efforts with poor gear, so treat yourself and replace it!
3. Flies and Fly Boxes: It’s substitution time!
It’s fairly obvious when a line has gone past its sell by date, or a rod needs repairing or binning, but what about your flies? How long do typical patterns last? And when does a fly need changing or replacing, exactly?
Go through your boxes with a keen eye, for starters, and remove any hooks that show even the tiniest sign of rust. Few things are worse than losing a good fish because the hook has given out at the barb, due to rust.
Other flies can sometimes be rescued by means of a hook sharpener; if it’s seen even a couple of busy trips, the chances are that the point is no longer as keen as it should be.
Do sharpen up before you start missing fish.Get the flies into order in the box as well, with sections for dries, nymphs etc. We all let our boxes get a bit chaotic at the end of the year, and I’d bet that yours will be less than ordered if you’re honest!
4. Waders: Should I repair or replace?
5. Think before you Wade!
Talking of waders, please DON’T wade straight up to the tops of your waders on opening day! This not just a safety thing, but a case of watercraft. Always fish the margins first. Find a spot away from the crowds and you’ll find un-spooked fish that have had five months of peace and quiet. They can be closer in than you think and are much more likely to take a fly than those in the hot spots, where every man and his dog are splashing about at maximum wade depth.–
6. Best flies for stillwaters in early season?
7. Stay mobile to find the best stillwater fishing spots
Avoid the temptation to plant your landing net in one place and fishing the same spot all day. Have that first hour in your favourite place by all means, but come mid morning you’ll almost certainly be better off to move around. The only major reason to stay in any spot is if you’re regularly seeing or catching fish!
8. Pack something warming
Read more on the Turrall Flies blog & Facebook page…
Are you new to the Turrall blog? If so, take a look through our listed archives (left) for a whole stack of great posts! There are tons of excellent tips and flies to learn about, whether you want to tie the brilliant Humungous lure, or take a look at spring options for saltwater fly fishing in the UK.
Meanwhile, you’ll find inspiring tips, catches, news and exclusive giveaways on the Turrall Flies Facebook Page.