Are you pining for spring? Do trout have spots?!! Turrall’s Chris Ogborne looks forward to sunnier times and the most optimistic time in the fly fishing calendar…
“That magical date of March 1st is with us. Yes, it’s officially the first day of Spring and although in many parts of the UK it may feel as though winter still holds us in its grip, things are slowly changing.
Every day we get another few minutes of daylight. In early morning and late evening the tentative calls of birds are heard, as though they are rehearsing for the rich dawn chorus that is so much a part of the coming season. Temperatures are rising, green shoots are in the hedgerows and the sequence of Spring flowers is underway. Snowdrops will turn to primroses, then daffodils and finally bluebells in a blaze of colour that brings the British countryside back to full vitality.
But perhaps most delicious of all is the glorious sense of anticipation keenly felt by fishermen up and down the country. The over-long winter is passing and we all have our own version of opening day to look forward to. So where would you choose?
Many stillwaters open in March and a lot of rivers and streams will be available come April 1st. We need to wait a little longer for the sea fishing, but it’s worth the wait and after Mayday I’ll be starting to think about wet wading on the beach, or a bit of rock- hopping for the early bass.
My Dad used to say that it was sometimes better to travel than to arrive, and his thinking was that this long period of anticipation was something to be savoured. There’s wisdom there and quite often the best of the fishing is a little further down the line.
Still, there’s no time like the present to get the tackle boxes in order, to arrange all the new flies in perfect rows in our fly boxes, and to get the lines off the reels for a pre-season stretch. It’s a fact of life for most of us that our gear will not look the same come summer – those orderly rows of flies will have lapsed into the inevitable muddle and the perfect order in the tackle bag will be chaos and confusion again, just as it should be! But just for this moment in time, everything will be ship-shape and precise.
The best moments for me are those when I prep my fly boxes ahead of the first trip up to the river. It will be too early for olives I expect, and up on the moors the old adage about ‘any colour you like provided it’s black’ will probably hold sway.
The usual suspects will be on the front row, with Hi-Vis black gnats and hawthorns being the default choice. Natural Hawthorns were early last year and the weather meant they had a shortened season, but I’m hoping for better things this year. When I see the unmistakable shapes hovering over the hedgerows, trailing those long legs beneath them – that’s when I truly believe that Spring has arrived.
On the lakes you’d be well advised to look at the old favourites to start the season. Black and green is always a top combination and remember that a fly with plenty of life in it will be a safe bet. Early season trout can be reluctant to chase a fly for any distance in the cold water and patterns like a black tadpole or anything with a marabou tail will enable you to give ‘life’ without too much speed in the retrieve.
My beach fishing will probably start with a bit of rock hopping, at least until the water warms up a bit for wet wading on the beach. The bootlace sand eels are perfect for Spring as the natural eels will arrive ahead of the larger summer sand eels. It will be intermediate lines to start with as well, until we reach for the floaters once the beach sport starts in earnest. The bigger bass are not always around at this time, but find the schoolies and you’ll still get some fine sport.
Whatever your pleasure, enjoy this magical time of year. Spring is a season of hope and optimism, a time of year when everything is waking and growing, and life and fishing are in the ascendancy. And the best bit of all is that we have the full angling year stretching ahead of us, with all its hopes, expectations and challenges.”
For a range of guided fly fishing in Cornwall, Chris runs a range of sessions from small stream angling to reservoir and saltwater trips. Click here for more details.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Turrall Flies Facebook Page for further news, fly patterns and top giveaways as we head into the new season!