It’s good to have some plans or objectives for a new season. My right hand, wrist, arm and shoulder are worn out and painful. This caused me problems while fishing last year. Resting my arm over the winter has not improved matters. I will have to learn to cast with my left arm. I tried it briefly at the start of last season and it was not as difficult as I had imagined. Although tricky casts under bushes or around branches might be an issue. I look upon it as an opportunity to improve my casting style which has always been wayward.
I treated myself to a late Christmas present, a Hardy Duchess reel. I examined the reel a year ago at Peter Cockwill’s shop, Albury Game Angling. Peter let me play with it for a while, there was no hard sell. I reluctantly gave it back to him and said that I would ‘think about it‘. Sadly, in a couple of days Peter is leaving his shop and moving to Hampshire. Happily, he was a having a closing down sale and he gave me a big discount on the reel. I have reversed both pawls so it doesn’t make a noise and I can’t wait to try it out.
I don’t know exactly how many fish I caught last year but it was probably too many. This season I will be more selective and target the bigger fish. When the river season opens in April I will explore the deep pools that usually hold the overwintered fish. This season there is a trial of catch and release at two of the club’s lakes. It will be interesting to see what impact the trial has on catch returns.
On one occasion last season I was forced to fish without a tapered leader. I tangled it around a tree and the fly line parted when I tried to pull it free. I bodged a leader from 6lb Fox Illusion fluorocarbon and subsequently avoided lining several spooky fish. I will continue using straight fluorocarbon this season, it will be particularly good for early season nymphing.
While rummaging around I found three old Cortland 444 WF lines in a drawer of my desk. I was about to throw them away but I wondered if the running line would be of any use. I had another Cortland line on my little Hardy Marquis. It was less than a year old and it hadn’t been used since July when I bought a Rio line. I took the reel into the garden and stripped all the line off it. The last ten yards looked like a pink spring and although I stretched the line, were obviously toast. I chopped off the coils and gave the remaining length an extreme stretch. Twenty yards extended by about a yard. The line looked OK. I stretched it again.
I looked at the line profile on the Cortland website and cut off most of the running line, leaving just ten feet. I fitted a closed cell foam arbour to the spool and reversed the line on the reel. I had a few casts on the lawn and it felt good. On my next trip I used the ‘Weight Backward’ line and I enjoyed it’s delicacy at short range. It felt remarkably like my Rio WF #3 but I preferred the peach colour. It should be good on the river this season. There is no point in having thirty yards of line on a small river. I won’t throw away the other Cortland lines, they might be reincarnated.