Saturday, February 16, 2013
The weather has changed and with it, the first stirrings of the coming spring. A walk along the Ribble last week revealed shooting bluebells and ransoms amongst the tired leaf litter of the woodland floor, and there was a thin warmth to the low sun which lifted the spirits of this winter-weary fly fisher.
I podged about for a couple of hours, fishing a few likely runs with a brace of nymphs, but saw neither insect nor fish the whole time. Not that I was too bothered about that: there is still a full month to go until trouting resumes here in the north west - time which will be spent cleaning fly lines, tying tapered leaders and replenishing depleted stocks of olive and midge imitations. February is a horrible month; a month so full of promise, yet so far away from the fulfillment of the same, that I cannot wait for it to be over. Even so, there are occasional reasons to be cheerful and my stroll through Hartsails Wood, with the Ribble running bright and scoured below, was one of them. When I returned home at half past five it was still just about light.....and high in the topmost branches of the roadside hawthorn tree, a cock blackbird was singing.
I tied a handful of spiders this morning. My box is nicely full of these sparse little north country patterns and there is no shortage of the waterhen bloas and March browns which will come into play in a few weeks time. So I concentrated on creating a few variants, purely for the pleasure of going through the ritual of wrapping Pearsall's gossamer silk and game bird feathers onto a bronze wire hook.
One pattern with which I was quite pleased is shown below - the 'light olive plover'. I soaked it in water to see how it would look with the hackle 'zipped up' back along the body - typical of the appearance spiders give as soon as the current grips them and begins to swing them around towards the angler. Provided a weighted point fly has been included on the leader, to achieve some initial ballast, then this final phase of the cast tends to end with the flies easing across-stream and upwards towards the surface, much like ascending nymphs. A confident take often results.
Light Olive Plover
Hook: Partridge Classic Spider #14 or 16
Thread: Pearsall's gossamer silk, light olive
Hackle: marginal covert from golden plover