Prepare for Success
As I write, the World is going through one of the most horrible, testing times in modern history – the Coronavirus pandemic. These are terrible, uncertain times but you know this already so I want to help take you away from it, just for a little while, and our wonderful hobby can help us do that – to a degree. We absolutely need to try and look to the light at the end of the tunnel, to when we will be able to embrace our loved ones, see our friends and colleagues again and maybe even cast a fly on our favourite fishery…
Now, before I mention words such as “lockdown” and “isolation”, I recognise not everyone is at home nor has time to tie flies/complete odd jobs etc. Many of us are working from home and/or have kids who require constant attention, entertainment and home schooling. Some of you may be those critical key workers who are still out there grafting, keeping our Country running and helping us overcome this horrible disease. But, if you do find yourself with a bit of free time, here are a few suggestions for you to help get you prepared and ready for when access opens up again for fishing:
Check those consumable items we always seem to run out of just as we need them!
- Leaders and tippet material. Been there: watching a nice trout rise as you tie up a new leader only for the end of the spool to appear after taking just 2 feet off the spool – nightmare! Check you’ve got enough for a few trips.
- Tippet degreaser and floatant – remember that dried out tub of Mud from last year?
- That old pair of blunt snips probably needs replacing.
In a nutshell, check your terminal tackle is in a good place, dig out your chest pack, vest or neck lanyard and go through all those essentials to make sure everything is fresh and in working order so they don’t let you down on the bank when it matters.
Traditionally, for Trout and Salmon anglers at least, Winter is the time to dig out the rods and reels for their annual deep clean. However, more and more anglers are now fishing for other species such as Grayling, Pike or even heading off to warmer climes for saltwater sport, meaning we may not have had the time during Winter to service our gear properly. Now would be a good time to give your tackle some much needed TLC.
- Rods – give the reel seat threads, handle and blank a good clean down. Pay special attention to the eyes of the rod and remove any old grime still in there – especially if you’ve been doing some saltwater fishing. Penn Rod and Reel cleaner is great for this. Check the ferrules are clean and free from damage.
- Reels – lots of moving parts. Remove the spool and give it all a good clean. Oil or grease bearings etc as required – check manufacturers information or check YouTube videos etc for more detail on best practice for this.
- Fly lines. Not cheap these days – look after them well and they’ll give you seasons of service. Did you dry your line off properly after that last trip? Check your fly lines and give them a wash and treatment with some line cleaner. Check your welded or braided loops for signs of wear and replace if necessary.
- That net in the shed – check for holes/pest damage and repair it if required. I’ve seen folk in the past get into a right mess when a nice fish has been netted only to slip out through a hole in the bottom of the mesh causing all sorts of carnage – usually ending up with a lost fish and knackered leader – there’s even potential here for rod breakage.
Let’s be honest, we don’t clean our fishing clothing as much as we should, right? Why spend hundreds of pounds on waterproof jackets and over trousers then not look after them? Again, often we are too busy and overlook this – but cleaning our clothing is important to keep the garments working as they should.
- Jackets/bib and brace/trousers. Sweat, fish slime, dirt and insect repellents all do a fantastic job of deteriorating the performance of your clothing, the inside layers, the waterproof outer and taped seams. Follow the manufacturers guidelines, wash then retreat your gear with the appropriate treatments such as DWR spray. Again, there are many articles and videos online to help you do this correctly. Remember – your warranty won’t cover wear and tear or negligence!
I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone the other night who had been fishing and he had taken a box of flies with him, one which he hadn’t used for a while. He laughed as he told me that several of them had deteriorated so badly that the hooks just came away in the box foam! It prompted me to give mine a once over.
- Have a visual check over your flies – any dodgy looking or obviously rusted hooks, throw them out.
- Any older flies in there you don’t use any more? Bag them up and pass them onto a pal or youngster to use once all this is over?
- Get those gaps filled up with fresh flies for this year (and next!).
- This will be laborious but will help when out fishing – why not spend an evening categorising your flies by type and labelling up the boxes? – it’ll save you time when you’re on the water.
- Consider sharpening the hooks of the flies you use regularly – this is probably more relevant to saltwater and predator anglers using larger hooks.
Fly Tying materials
I had a spare few hours last weekend and sat down to tie some tube flies for Pike. I looked at my tying desk and the stack of boxes containing my fly tying materials and realised I didn’t know where most of the materials were which I’d need for the flies! Needless to say, I lost my enthusiasm and decided to cut the grass in the garden instead. That evening I sorted through my gear and categorised it to make life simpler.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated tying space, start with that. Clear your desk, free up work space and why not give your vice a bit of a service too, keep it running smooth?
- Take stock on your fly tying consumables – check your hooks, beads and spools of thread for the items which are running low. This will help you sort out a shopping list to replenish those items you need most. You will probably also find stuff you forgot you had! I do all the time.
- If you’re like me, i.e. tying desk is a riot, you’ll need to go through your materials and get them sorted out back into an organised, workable order. I like to use large seal-able freezer bags to store my materials marked with a label or ink marker. These bags are then stored in large clear storage boxes – this helps keep out unwelcome guests such as moths from the natural materials but also helps you see the contents at a glance.
Plan a trip.
Finally, why not consider planning a fishing trip with a friend – maybe a pal you haven’t fished with in a while. Don’t message or text, pick up the ‘phone and give him/her a call? Considering everything that’s going on in the World, this could be a very welcome distraction to have a chat about the one that got away. Fisheries are going to need our support when all this blows over, so when it’s safe to do so, get out there. Until that time, stay safe, stay indoors and #KEEPTYING.
Dougie Loughridge – Senior Sales Advisor at Glasgow Angling Centre – one of our Largest Stockists. Glasgow Angling is currently closed, but will re-open soon, please keep an eye on their Social Media for latest news and be sure to support them and your local tackle shop when doors re-open. Thanks!