by Countryside Alliance

During these cold, short and dark days of winter we are all looking forward to spring, but there are jobs to be done.

Let’s start with your equipment. Whether it is coarse or fly, we need to keep it in tip top condition.

Check your rod guides for wear. If they have become grooved replace or have it replaced by someone who knows how.

Reels need to be cleaned under a lukewarm tap. Take the spools off and clean in and around the cages using an old toothbrush. This will enable you to get to those hard to reach places. Clean the old grease out of the gearing and replace with a tiny smear of petroleum jelly.

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If it is needed, replace old nylon but please dispose of it safely. Cut the nylon into small pieces for disposal.

Fly lines can damage very easily. Check for cracking along the length. There are restorers that will bring your line back to some sort of performance but if it is too badly cracked I would replace. Damaged lines will not perform or cast properly and will frustrate your day on the water.

Check your connections to your fly lines. Knots can weaken. This also applies to nylon and knots used with fixed spool reels.

Clean out your tackle box or bag, there may be debris in the bottom and in the pockets - old line, bits of grass, mud etc. My motto is be prepared and ready.

Now on the subject of rubbish, At times, I find all manner of rubbish at venues. This rubbish can be found anywhere people coarse, fly or sea fish and it is disheartening. I always endeavour to clear up any rubbish I find, especially line and discarded hooks. Both can be deadly for animals and if you are a dogwalker I don’t need to tell you more.

Most anglers do not litter and it is only a very small minority who do not seem to care, but don’t be one of them. It is no hardship to take it away and dispose of your rubbish safely.

Let us put out the message to onlookers and non-anglers that we care for the environment, after all we are the ambassadors for our sport. Gripe over!

Coarse fishing should still be good this month, if the weather allows. Rivers are still the go-to places, if they are not running too high or coloured,

Try fishing close to the margins, you might be surprised and find fish there to take the float under or rattle the quiver tip.

Sea fishing will be a little slow in February, but you may find flounder, dabs, pouts and, if you’re very lucky, codling to catch.

Fly fishing will still be quite good but check the weather and with the fishery to make sure that it is open. It may be frozen over or the weather too severe for them to open.

If all is good, make sure you layer up in all that warm clothing I have talked about in past issues.

All the usual patterns can work - black and green or orange etc - but I suggest using a fast intermediate or sinking fly line to get down deep for the trout. Most importantly, retrieve slowly. 

That’s all for February. Let’s look forward to March and the awakening of spring.

Keep warm, be safe but most of all have fun, Bob G.

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