Storms & A Can't Do Attitude

Storms & A Can't Do Attitude

Martyn White | Thursday, 1 June 2023

There was no fishing this week, a typhoon was hitting western Japan and we were getting strong winds and inches of rain.

A pity because I'd arranged to take Canadian John out for some carp using float and fly - I'm gradually moving him towards the fly rod, but need to overcome the resistance/fear. Just in case he didn't get on with artificials, he'd gone to the petshop and got a box of live crickets, which was weirdly nostalgic for me, but more about that later. Unfortunately we had to postpone, hopefully he can keep the crickets alive until next week. I took advantage of the weather and started restocking my severely neglected carp box, well one of them anyway. Dries & slow sinkers.

I don't think you need a tonne of different patterns in these categories, just a few dries to cover the main groups you're likely to encounter. Patterns that float well are important, they can't be tied on weak dry fly hooks-I use mostly Kamasan B175s & B200s both of which are strong enough, but the extra metal is harder to float. Foam & deer hair are useful. Generally I like to have a couple of beetle patterns, an ant, a low riding foam hoppery thing,  letort hoppers and some berry & seed imitations. Slow sinkers are easy, caterpillars/inchworms, woolly worms, Glo-bugs & and suggestive flymphy things. Usually on boilie hooks.

Next week I'll sort out the box of more "standard" carp flies. 

If we make it out, I fully expect John to give me a battering with the live crickets, but I'll enjoy it. Although crickets and grasshoppers didn't really feature in my youth, but I have fond memories of collecting Jenny longlegs and catching wee burn trout on them as a boy.

Just recently Davie McPhail made a video of a stab flee imitation which also had me reminiscing-weirdly, despite using real ones, I never fished imitations of the stab flee. My friends and I used to be right into catching and using various creatures, it certainly added another aspect to our fishing, sometimes it was good sometimes it felt like a chore.

Stonefly nymphs - or gadgers as we called them were a real favourite of mine. Oddly though, as I got older and moved to fly fishing, I rarely met other folk with stonefly nymphs in their boxes and I certainly saw nobody fishing big dry stonefly patterns. The wee stones are acceptable, but not the 30mm jobs.

What I do remember is plenty of folk telling me I was daft fishing big flies like that. A particularly strong memory is an old guy laughing at me because he could see my stimulator from the footpath, telling his Mrs I was off my head fishing a fly like that, next cast the fish I'd been watching came up and smashed my stimmy, a giant for that wee river at nearly 2lb, and one of several I caught that day. I don't know for sure but I do think it's a Scottish thing. Gate keeping and pulling down anything different from the norm..

Talking to a pal back home, he says you still rarely see folk fishing them. Apparently they don't work. It's mad, every year the internet is full of American anglers getting rightly excited about the salmonfly hatch - an insect very similar to the orange striped stonefly found in Britain. Maybe they get more flush numbers and widespread hatches over there, but the fish still eat the British ones just the same. Perhaps it's something to do with so many rivers having lost their large stonefly populations due to water quality problems and habitat degradation-something that only looks to be getting worse sadly. Whatever the reason, I do think it's an opportunity for good fishing that people are probably missing out on for no reason other than attitude. 

Certainly if I'm ever back at the right time of year I'll be out on the river  with some inch+ Chubby Chernobyls hoping some big orange and black beasties show up.