Today it really was a proper All Fools' Day opening. The windchill was supposedly minus 7˚C. It felt colder than that to your faithful blogger...
This year is slow in getting out of winter and into spring and summer. The snowdrops that are usually over and done with by late February are still in bloom. The fly life cycle is like it would normally be on Christmas Day not Easter Monday. Hands were already getting cold in the short time it takes to get tackled up,
I know most of you will be aware of this neat way to avoid the line falling back down the rod rings whilst threading your line, but I'm sure there will be one or two of you who are yet to try this easy solution, so here is a picture...
Simply fold the first inch or so of fly line back into a hairpin bend and thread it that way through the rings (guides in the USA). If you inadvertantly let go it will jam in the ring and not slide all the way out again back down to the reel! This can be very helpful if you are setting up in a confined space, like on a boat, where you may not have enough room to get the rod horizontal.
The only tactic that made any sense today was to go-a-searching with a bushy fly. My choice was a Double Badger and at about 13:45 (BST) a trout grabbed it and immediately let go. It was the first rise I'd seen and it was a tiny bit of encouragement that was just sufficient to stay motivated enough to fish on no matter what the wind was doing.
At one stage, being anxious to at least see a trout, I climbed a tree for a better view. The gravel looking so lovely and the water with its usual gin like clarity was just too much for me to not get the camera out and take a quick snap...
Eventually, around 14:00, there were some flies on the water. Hurray! Now what are they?
Large Dark Olive was the deduction and this was confirmed when I dipped my hand, palm downwards, under one as it drifted by my sitting position. The little fly was gently snared in the hairs on the back of my hand and it lingered there long enough for me to get a clear look (and make a couple of photographs) confirming the deduction.
However, before there was time to change the fly to something more like a real Large Dark Olive, a fish rose less than three yards upstream of me. It was too tempting... The cast was made and Lo and Behold the first fish of the season was on and a moment or two later it was in my net! Bless my soul! The day is a success!
What lucky devils we are to be anglers!