Bob Smith's angling column: Crucial to check if venues are still open before setting off during lockdown

Under the present lockdown, the uncertainty about travelling and the meaning of the word local, information is not crystal clear.

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 3:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 3:22 pm
The top of Bob Smith's untidy fly tying desk

Thrunton Long Crag are having a temporary closure to protect staff and anglers.

Circumstances are changing all the time. Can I urge all anglers who decide to visit any still water, please contact the fishery before making your journey no matter what distance you have to travel.

The weather at the moment is another variable, and some still water have been iced up and virtually unfishable with little or no open water.

Personally I’ve have not cast a line this week. Most of the time has been spent reading, watching anglers fishing on videos, looking at new techniques to try and improve my enjoyment of the sport or tying some flies.

I received a 2021 catalogue from a well known fly tying company which I always find interesting.

I was especially interested in the new flies section. I try to tie flies but I’m not particularly good, but I do enjoy doing it. I tie my the simple patterns like buzzers, nymphs, a few lures, (which only get wet very occasionally), and the simple dry fly patterns.

I once showed my good friend Chris, who demonstrates for a well known website company, one of my favourite Pheasant Tail flies.

His comment was, I could not tie a fly as scruffy as that if I was drunk! But I know it catches plenty fish. I think that’s the point, flies have not got to be perfect as long as they work. There is something about catching a fish on a fly that you have tied yourself that’s very satisfying. It’s even better if you have designed a pattern yourself and find it catches too!

Imagine designing a new type of fly, or a new pattern using new materials that works. Then it is copied by your friends, or mass produced by a fly tying firm to be sold as your fly. The Jones Nymph, there are numerous flies named after their creator. Some flies become world famous and are used for many many years.

Fancy inventing a pattern yourself during lockdown, taking it out and using it. Finding to be successful, and keeping it to yourself or giving it as a present to a close group of friends!

The trouble with fly tying is to tie everything, you need so many hooks and fly tying materials. I once had a friend Colin, who got into fly fishing and then wanted to tie his own flies.

He got sick of having to clear everything away each time he got his materials out, (his wife insisted), he built a £150,000 extension on their house!

My friend Michael has just converted the garage into his den where he can fly tie without having to clear up all the time.

I decided to buy a desk, concentrated on tying a limited number of patterns, and once the desk was full then that was my limit. Like I say, I’m not anywhere near the level at which Chris ties, but I’ve spent thousands of hours at my fly tying desk and enjoyed working away while listening to the radio.

My homemade flies do catch trout in the still waters and the rivers.