As the big chill recedes, let’s think about the start of the new season. Here are a few ways to get ready and put more fish on the bank, early season at Barn Elms Fly Fishery.
It has been a long hard winter made even more challenging with lockdowns and the lack of fishing. However, we all now have a high expectation of a new fishing season out of lockdown. Any moment now we will be happily on the banks of Barn Elms with our line in the water and a whole six months of fishing ahead of us.
So if you’re still suffering from the cold and the lockdown, here are a few early season fly fishing tips to help you get going. There are also some nice little jobs to do that will take the mind away to warmer days and fish in the net.
1. Checkout your fishing kit
Take some time to steadily check through all of your fishing gear and be ruthless about it! A bit like spring cleaning your home, it’s time to say goodbye to any bits and pieces that aren’t up to it anymore – and dust off and organise the rest.
2. Fly lines
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, discolouration and poor performance (like a floating line that won’t float) are all signs that time is approaching to get new ones. 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 fishing. It’s a false economy to hamper your efforts with poor gear, so treat yourself and replace it!
3. Flies and Fly Boxes
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 due to rust. Other flies can sometimes be rescued by means of a hook sharpener? Get the flies into order in the box as well, with sections for dries, nymphs etc.
4. Recommended Flies for Still Waters in Early Season
The thinking angler these days will tend to look to the floating line first, before moving through the sinking line densities as the day progresses or the fish become more spooky. Any large body of water can take a while to warm up, and the rule of thumb in cold water conditions is to fish SLOWLY. Try gentle retrieves at first, rather than over-fast pulling. Trout are cold-blooded after all and can be pretty lethargic at this time of year, meaning they’re less likely to chase a fly for any great distance. Nymphs, epoxy buzzers, and darker colours are always in my first line of attack. Turrall’s heavier buzzers are spot on, while you could also try some classic lures, such as the Cat’s Whisker or the excellent Green Damsel with or without the blue flash.
5. 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! Be sure to explore the shallows, especially if there’s been a bit of sunshine in recent days. The easy-fishing spots will probably have been taken, but the remote areas will still be un-disturbed and well worth investigation. Fly fishing is meant to be a mobile sport and the more you look, the more you’ll often find.
6. Pack Something Warming
Never mind trout spoons, gadgets and gizmos, stay warm with different layers of clothing and a flask of your favourite hot drink.
7. Enjoy Your Day
There is more to fishing than catching fish as they say! So take a break from the fishing, admire the first trout in the bag, and relax in the feeling that the whole season lies ahead of us!