The first tip for young anglers of 2018 from Fishing for Schools fly fishing instructor Bob Goble.

First of all, a very happy new year to all! I hope you all had a great Christmas and received some great presents – maybe some new fishing tackle?

Though an avid fly fisher I’m not unaccustomed to coarse and sea fishing, and as you are well aware I like to fly fish for all species – be they coarse, game or saltwater.

Recently I have been sea fishing with conventional tackle – beach rods and lug baits – but I was disappointed with my results and I have heard from a lot of sea anglers that the cod (which should be good at this time of year) has not materialised. There has been lots of whiting but not many suitable for the pot!!

So let’s talk about my favourite way of fishing and the fly vest we wear when doing it. The vest is an essential piece of kit, you could say it’s your tackle box, with a multitude of pockets to carry all and sundry.

When coarse or sea fishing with conventional gear you can pitch up and surround yourself with your equipment around you and to hand. However when fly fishing you need to be able to move your tackle to another swim or area, so we fly anglers need all our kit ready to hand in our fly vest. That way we can be mobile in an instant.

If you look closely at the picture you will have an idea of what I carry. I may have gone over the top but I like to be prepared for every eventuality.

Let me explain the various items I like to carry:

  • Several spools of different breaking strains of nylon as well as co-polymer and fluorocarbon tippet material.
  • Fly boxes with a variety of fly patterns and sizes.
  • A fly patch. I still like the ones with sheep’s wool to safely store my wet changed flies. An important thing to remember is not to put wet flies back into your dry box, it will make the others damp, rust the hooks and render your other fly patterns useless after not long. The fly patch I recommend is the fold over double patch by Hardy tackle Co, from good fly fishing stores or online. This is especially safe to store barbless and debarbed hooks, they may fall out otherwise! On the subject of debarbing your hooks ,a pair of flat nosed pliers will do the trick.
  • A tub or bottle of sinkant to help your nylon leader and tippet to sink faster under the water.
  • If dry fly fishing, some floatant either in dry or liquid form. I personally like Kink. Smear a little drop on your finger and thumb, and give a little rub to bring up to body temp, then lightly touch the dry fly hackle. A few false casts and you are fishing. It will help to keep the fly on the surface for much longer.
  • In the centre of the picture you may be able to see a small brown patch. This is amadou, a fungus this helps to wick away or absorb moisture by squeezing the dry fly in between the patch.
  • Snips, for cutting line
  • A catch and release tool if needed to return fish safely back to the water.
  • A priest – a heavy piece of rounded metal to dispatch your trout.
  • Zingers these are retractable to attach your tools to keep them safe.
  • Sun glasses, not only for glare from the sun but to protect your eyes from hooks and fly lines.

At the rear of your fly vest you will find a large pocket to keep flasks etc, as well as an attachment to clip your trout landing net to so it is ready at hand.

So as you can see, the fly vest is a useful piece of kit, enabling you to have everything ready and be mobile enough to move anywhere on the river or lake.

Be safe and importantly have fun chasing those trout.

All the best Rob