March is here - a month with so much to look forward to; the start of British Summertime, the resumption of trouting, and the beginnings of the amazing transformation that spring brings to our flora and fauna.
I have tied more flies this winter than I ever have before and I have enjoyed it immensely, but now that more and more of my spare time will be occupied with actually fishing, it is unlikely that I shall be spending much time at the vice. The baetis nymphs above have been tied this afternoon with the forthcoming hatches of large dark olives in mind, but it is likely they will be my last for a while - unless I lose them all in the first couple of weeks, that is!
So what have I learnt from my winter tying spree?
1. Practise makes perfect - well not perfect exactly, but it helps keep your eye in and the flies that result are a vast improvement on what I would otherwise be capable of.
2. Stick to a few basic patterns and churn a few of each size out, rather than just odd ones here and there - I've previously been guilty of tying only one or two of each pattern before getting bored. The result is a complete hotch-potch of a fly box with too many variants which never get used, and not enough of the stuff which I use the most. I've tried to rectify that and I'm hoping the result will see me comfortably through the season.
3. Use top quality materials - a couple of genetic capes, along with some really first rate stuff from FlyTek have been a revelation compared with some of the tat I was using before.
4. Fly tying is a good excuse to retire to a corner of the room and drink malt whisky. A good malt is essential for maintaining concentration and for numbing the pain in the shoulders that long stint in front of the vice tends to bring on.
5. Never ever ever try to tie flies with a hyperactive toddler running around the place. The result is loss of patience, poor quality tyings and ultimately, a bollocking from the wife for neglecting one's paternal duties!