NEWS and Events.
2006 - has arrived. (I thought I would mention that in case your hadn't noticed)
I said that the 2006 season was looking positive. As far as work for guides and instructors is concerned, bookings are starting to come in already and we are only a couple of weeks into the year.
As far as fishing goes, we can only hope and pray. The rivers and reservoirs are all desperate for water, a lot of the lakes have fared better thanks to excellent management. Unfortunately the water levels have been kept up but the flows are a problem and during the last season a number of lakes had to close due to lack of oxygen in the water. When the water is like this there is no sense in trying to fish on, especially on waters that practice catch and release. The fish just do not recover not matter how carefully they are handled.
On the subject of catch and release - why is it that fishing personalities on the television have to handle fish that they are going to release. During last season my colleagues and I released numerous fish for people without removing them from the water, on more than one occasion I got a boot full of water for my efforts. Even under these circumstances I had a blue trout die after swimming away into deeper water. It was a short fight where it was "bullied" into the net, it was not lifted out of the water, I reached in and flicked the barbless hook out of it's lip, held it carefully for a few minutes until it was ready and then it swam powerfully away into deep water where it turned upside down and sank to the bottom. It was too far out and the water was too deep for us to get to it. For the fish to die was a shame but for it to be wasted was really annoying.
Many of the fish you see on television which are held up for the cameras and kept out of the water for very long periods of time do NOT survive when released and just swim away and die.
Now is a good time to check out all your tackle, here are a few things to think about.
Reels - check all the screws are tight, oil or grease the bearings. Strip all the line off and check the arbor knot and the backing to fly line connection. Clean the line. Redo your leader butt to fly line connection. After a season the the fly line often cracks just above the connection to the leader.
Rod - Make sure that it is really clean, you should have done this before you put it away for the winter. Clean the rings carefully, there are silicon sprays available that you can use on the rod and the line, without damaging either. This is worth doing as it helps the line "glide" through the rings when casting. Less friction, less wear, longer life for the line and the rings.
Flies - Every time you take flies out of the box and use them they should be dried before being replaced... you didn't do that every time. Oh dear. You should check all your flies for signs of rust and while you are checking them you may as well make sure that they are all sharp. If you are fishing a very light tippet you can't afford to have anything but the very sharpest hooks. With a 1lb tippet you can't "haul" on the rod like the deep sea guys do with there 30lb traces. So keep all your hooks really sharp.
Nets - Check your net for holes! make sure your don't have anymore than you paid for. A friend of mine offered to land a fish for guest on the Test, he used the guest's landing net and the fish went through an extra hole... it was eventually landed but only just.
Boots and waders - Check them for leaks, check the soles, all the studs in place?
Lastly - all the other bits -
Tippet, floatant, leader de-greaser, forceps, snips, brandy, fishing license, Polaroid glasses etc etc.