Down to the wire

Down to the wire

Tracy&James | Thursday, 21 March 2019

My fishing season should be well underway by now, however my elbow injury has completely scuppered any thoughts of fly-casting. I did have a couple of days last week were I woke up and the ache was gone but this turned out to be a false dawn, with the pain returning for no apparent reason. Dr. Internet doesn’t imbue me with a lot of confidence for a quick return to action either – most sites tend to suggest that tennis elbow is going to take 6 to 12 months to improve. This is not good news for me when I have a flats trip coming up in less than two week.

Luckily bonefishing doesn’t involve a lot of casting and most casts that are made to sighted fish are at a very comfortable distance.  My predator outfit takes as bit more energy to get moving, with its bulky streamer fly and 12 inches of pretty hefty wire.  This isn’t a problem when it comes to sharks as they’re a one-shot kinda fish – i.e. you’ll catch it on the first cast (possibly you might get a second) or not at all.  My big issue could come with barracuda; I’ve written a FP previously about the technique of ‘annoying’ them into taking the fly – this can involve many pick-up and put-down shots interspersed with stripped retrieves (I’ve had a fish take after upwards of 50 casts).  The thought of this fills me with dread at the moment so I may have to pass all these shots to Tracy, so expect lots of photos of her holding big cudas - obviously Tracy is very happy about this.

Whilst I‘m on the subject of cudas; I thought I’d try out some different wire specifically for mid-sized fish.  As such I bought some AFW; the lowest diameter version of the 7 strand wire that they sell. This has a stated UTS of 13lb and is impressively thin and supple.  I’m not sure whether going so thin is a mistake and perhaps, in hindsight, I should have ordered the diameter one up from the one I got, however we’ll give it a go and report back.  I’m expecting to have lots of fun with this blind casting around docks and structures, although again this depends on my elbow.

My fly tying for the trip is mostly done and any additional flies I produce now are more to the fact that I’m not able to fish or cast, rather than being absolutely needed.  I did look back at the flies I’ve already tied with a critical eye – the heads on them are not as neat as they could be if I gave them an extra coating of varnish.  I pondered this for a while and ultimately came to the conclusion that its extra work for something the fish don’t care about and probably won’t see – after all, they should just see the back end of the pattern as it flees away from them.  As such I’d be varnishing them for my sense of aesthetics and not to make a better fly.

So are you a ‘neat head with three coats of varnish’ type of person, or a ‘that will do so long as it doesn’t unravel’ kind?

Have a great weekend whatever you’re doing,