I have taken a break from fly tying to compose this blog. I don't normally tie many flies during the fishing season, too busy using them to tie them, but the last few days has seen me working feverishly at the vice. Why? Tomorrow I am fishing with a very good friend of mine, Mark Thomas. Mark and I go back years, we have fished together since I was a short, chubby kid and him a 18 year old with a fast car and various girlfriends, all of the things a spotty, teenage kid like me aspired to. Mark is an excellent fly fisher, specialising in stillwater trout fishing, competing regularly at international level. In addition to that and the reason for the fly tying is that Mark is an absolutely awesome fly tyer.
I tie lots of flies, but I must confess it is not something I really love, I tie 'functional flies' (for that read - scruffy), Mark ties immaculate flies, truly immaculate. Whenever we fish together Mark will produce boxes full of these flies, a box of dries and emergers, a box of nymphs, another of pulling flies etc etc every single one of them filled with neat rows of these beautiful flies. I have this feeling of inadequacy whenever I fish with Mark, don't get me wrong I have plenty of flies, some in this pocket, some in that bag, some loafing around in my waistcoat and others stuck to the ceiling of my car, but whenever I look at Mark's bag full of labelled boxes I can't help wishing that I was as organised as Mark or even half as skilled as him at the vice.
So here I am madly tying hoppers, emergers and sorting them into some semblance of order. It won't make a blind bit of difference, as soon as we tackle up tomorrow I will be overcome by this feeling of inadequacy again, but in the meantime I feel a bit better about it all. I will as always take every opportunity to rifle through his boxes tomorrow for the latest patterns and hopefully take a couple of clandestine photos for the next blog.
Should you be following my mumblings on Twitter or on Facebook you will be aware that I am planning a new Fly Fishing Adventure. I am really excited about this one, but also slightly nervous. The Westcountry Angling Passport scheme offers fantastic wild fishing opportunities throughout the southwest, I fish and occasionally guide on some of the beats. The plan is to travel across Devon on my bicycle being completely self sufficient, fishing Westcountry Angling Passport beats on 5 different rivers in 5 days. Camping, pedalling and fishing - that's the plan in a nutshell, obviously there is much more to it than that. I have identified the beats I want to fish, the campsites I want to use and now I am plucking up the courage to work out the routes I am going to cycle, I am trying not to think about how far I have to cycle. I am going to need to think really carefully about what I take with me, room on my bike is pretty limited. Tent, sleeping bag, cooking stove, food, clothes have to be fitted in before I even start thinking about fishing gear. A two weight rod, floating line and various bits and pieces are essentials but what about if we get some rain, there might be peal, do I need a second heavier rod? How do I attach rod tubes to the bike? Chest waders and boots, they will have to come I guess, don't think I can cycle in them so they will have to fit on the bike somewhere. I don't need a coat, not in Devon in August, surely?
Lots and lots to think about.