Southern Softies

Southern Softies

Tracy&James | Thursday, 8 March 2018

Tracy and I wimped out of fishing the river Dee when we were up in North Wales last time, the river level was perfect however the forecast was for freezing temperatures and once I lose the feeling in my hands things become less fun. As such we settled for a short casting practice session and a catch-up with our families.

Preparations for our saltwater trip are going well, although the fly tying has been temporarily halted due to a lack of hooks – unfortunately both shops I’ve been in lately have had no stock of size 4’s or 6’s, apart from Tiemco 811S which I promised myself I wouldn’t use again. So as things stand I have two hooks left, one for me to demonstrate a pattern to Tracy and one for her to tie a killer bonefish fly on. That said I must have added 150 flies to our collection by now, and topped up by a kind gift from Peter Vikanis, we should have enough to cope with the inevitable losses.

I read with interest Bernd’s check list from a few weeks ago.  Our list is very similar but with one notable addition that is very useful for DiY anglers fishing together – walkie talkies.  Often on arrival at a new spot we’ll be faced with a decision of whether to go left or right, by splitting up we obviously cover double the amount of ground that fishing in the same direction would allow.  Being able to keep in contact via radio means that if one of us has found a fishy area then the other can be informed (or not if they’re feeling grumpy).  Some people get the impression that fish are evenly distributed throughout flats, this is rarely the case (as with most other forms of fishing), hence there’s a lot of unproductive water to cover on the way to learning a new one.

Part of our preparations has been to look through last year’s notes.  Tracy has decided to take images of the flats from Google Earth and paste them into our fishing document, that way the text can be compared to an actual picture of the area (maybe this is a sign of ageing that we need these reminders).  Hence this document contains directions (with GPS co-ords), information about the tide i.e. time difference from the data that can be looked up online and the best time to fish, productive areas and lots of other useful (to us anyway) information.

Google Earth has also provided us with ideas for new places to try, in fact there’s a surprising number of areas that we’ve not yet fished.  It’s impossible to tell whether these are wadeable or not without a visit or if they hold fish, so we’ll make sure we dedicate some time to finding out.  We also hope to fish a bit more of the Atlantic shoreline, this wasn’t really possible last year with the high winds apart from the one day when we caught nothing and sank the hire car in sand and needed a tow out.

Reading through the notes has also been a fun reminder of our previous trips to the island, perhaps more so than looking at the grip and grin photos (not that I do much in the way of grinning).  There’s also some practical information that we’ll take heed of such as take older T-shirts as the sunscreen will ruin the nice new ones, don’t bother taking extra shorts as most of my fishing trousers have zip-off legs and take extra neoprene socks as they wear out with the kind of mileage we cover.  Incidentally, by cutting the feet off last year’s socks we’ve made some gators that should come in useful in preventing sand ingress into our boots.

We’ve stocked up on sunscreen – our previously favoured product appears to be only available in a pump-action dispenser now, so we’ve changed to the highest factor/most waterproof cream product we could find; one that’s marketed for children (I’m sure there would be furious complaints if toddlers got sunburnt after going in the swimming pool, so I’m assuming it’s good).  I dislike pumped sunscreens for two reasons; 1) I don’t want a fine mist of protection that needs topping up, I want to slop it on really thickly so it lasts all day and 2) after one use the dispenser itself becomes so greasy that I’m forever dropping them.  The only thing left on our ‘to do’ list is to exchange some money and purchase a spare pair of polarised glasses for Tracy.  As Paul mentioned in his FP polycarbonate lenses can be a bit prone to scratching and delaminating especially given saltwater use, as such we tend to need replacements more often than we’d like.  Therefore I’ll be interested to try the glass ones that will be stocked in the Sexyloops store soon. 

Have a great weekend,