hooks and crannies

hooks and crannies

Tracy&James | Thursday, 28 February 2019

The BFCC have now announced the first date in their fly casting diary, the now traditional early spring meeting in Cullompton, Devon. Tracy and I will be there, Tracy will be competing as normal, however I think I may be restricted to adjudicating etc. Although I didn’t cast last weekend, I did watch Tracy practice at our normal field. At one point I did pick up the rod to just make a suggestion – I immediately wish I hadn’t as I felt pain straight away (having induced tennis elbow the weekend before), this pain is still with me now. As such I definitely won’t be doing any distance practice and I’m conscious that it probably won’t be sensible to compete in Devon given that we fly out for a saltwater trip the next day. I normally start trying to hone my accuracy with a #7 between 40 and 80 feet (preferably in a stiff headwind) before a trip, but I doubt this is going to happen either.

This week I’ve therefore been plodding on with my fly tying.  I’ve started to realise that I’m now tying flies for specific flats rather than generic ‘bonefishy’ patterns.  Obviously this comes with experience of the particular destination gained over the last few years.  Perhaps of interest is that the flies I’m producing cannot be purchased in a shop – not that there’s anything particularly special or skilful about the flies I tie.  The main difference is the use of weed guards – trying to find a standard Gotcha or Crazy Charlie tied with one is difficult, add in some specifics about colour and weight and it’s impossible to find exactly what I actually require.  Looking through my tropics fly boxes I’d guess that 30-40% of my flies have weed guards, probably reflecting my preference for fishing the slightly rougher areas – after all the more nooks and crannies there are on a flat the more places there are for prey species to inhabit, and more prey means more bonefish.

That said, I do need to get a move on and tie a boxful of flies to the best ‘generic’ saltwater pattern – the chartreuse/white Clouser.  The fact that I have so few left after last year implies we used them a lot and lost them.  I think the majority of these losses can be attributed to barracuda.  If I’m blind casting, for example targeting snapper from a deep hole or a pier in the evening then my absolute number one choice of fly is the Clouser.  Unfortunately when fished without a wire the cuda love it too, as such losses are inevitable.  However they are quick and easy to tie so knocking up a couple of dozen each should be achievable before we go.  Last year I managed to land a baby tarpon on one, so hopefully we’ll get some nice surprises this year also before the cudas have them away.

All the best, James.

s jack