The end of the 2018 season, like the end of every season, is the time to reflect and review the patterns in the fly box.
I found the 2018 season was unusual in many respects as it unfolded and progressed. It was a very hot season with low water levels and the bright, sunny and hot temperatures certainly proved to be a challenge just in themselves. Thunder, lightening and torrential rain also featured in some of my angling trips, adding to the sense of adventure that experiencing the outdoor natural environment provides.
From what I saw it was a good year for the natural insects, with midge, sedge and olives all making an appearance, in addition to some stunning dragon flies and large crane flies. Perhaps surprisingly then, it was the smaller artificial patterns I found to be most effective and in particular small black spider type flies. The Black Spider (#16) was my most productive and reliable fly while the Red Tag Spider was also worthy of note.
The Black Spider (above left) caught my last fish of the season which was a memorable occasion of something going absolutely according to plan for once in my fishing exploits. It was proving a slow and rather difficult day, few fish were showing at the surface, and those that were, were all beyond casting range. I was fan casting my two fly team exploring the various depths of water, when I noted a fish move in a narrow channel between some weedbeds, much farther down the loch. I made my way carefully down through some trees, and then along to the channel. I didn’t want to enter the water there, but had no choice as a tree would prevent the cast being made to the fish. I entered the water so very carefully, and edged my way to just in front of the tree to allow a low side cast to the fish. Just one false cast was needed as the area where the fish had shown itself Iwas so close, and the Black Spider was delivered on the second forward cast. It was accurate, straight and landed very gently: just what I had hoped for. The fish took the fly on that first cast, fought well and stayed on until I could net the fish. It was an interesting fish, in that I noted it had two slight marks to each flank just in front of the wrist of its tail. These healed, but noticeable, puncture wounds looked like a failed attempt by the lochs resident osprey to make a lunch of the trout.
While its always immensely satisfying when things in fishing go so smoothly, would I wish it always went so? Absolutely not! I enjoy the mistakes, the way that things don’t always work or the way nature has an ability to prove you utterly wrong, despite all your hard work, preparation and research.
I’m already looking forwarded with anticipation to the 2019 season and to the winter nights when that fly box gets its annual overhaul.