Winter Dries

Winter Dries

Tracy&James | Sunday, 21 November 2021

Tracy and I are just back from a couple of days fishing on the river Dee. Unlike a couple of weeks ago, the water level and clarity was perfect for both days, the fishing was still tough however. We decided to rent a cottage pretty much on the bank of the river as a birthday treat for Tracy, plus we wanted to try a restaurant in the area without having to drive home and back to get ready after the fishing (the meal was excellent).

On arrival at the river it was clear to me that a change in tactics from our previous visit would be required, there was pretty much zero insect life obvious and there were no fish rising.  As such, I stripped off my dry fly leader onto a winder and dug out my French nymphing rig from the dark recesses of our fishing bag where it had been hidden since last winter.  Tracy foolishly decided to start with a dry fly, but I wasn’t going to argue with her if she wanted to waste her time.

I fished hard for two days on the nymphs without a single take to show for my efforts.  I also came to the realisation that I don’t actually enjoy French nymphing that much (I’m probably not that good at it as a consequence).  It’s ok if I’m catching fish, but if I’m not I find it tedious – I’d far sooner blank when dry fly fishing or long nymphing than with a leader only set-up.  I also find the amount of flies I lose by snagging on unseen debris, rocks or weed beds annoying.  So much so I often find myself doing stupidly deep wades in order to try and kick free a snagged jig fly from its stronghold.  I’m sure I’m going to have an ‘incident’ at some point doing this which will serve me right.  I did get to test my replacement chest waders to within an inch of the top and I’m glad to say that this pair is leak tight, so at least one good thing came from my nymphing efforts.

So what about Tracy’s foolishly optimistic attempts to catch fish on a dry fly?  Well she caught steadily over both days!  Pretty much the only fish we saw rise all weekend were the ones sipping down her tiny Klinkhammer.  She had some nice graying and missed a few also.  She even let me borrow her outfit on occasion which saved my weekend from being a total blank.  So she’s not so foolish after all.

Have a great week,