TF’s experts help solve your fly-fishing problems
Q What is the best set-up for small stillwaters in winter? I’ve tried the washing-line method, but at this time of year it doesn't seem to work as well. Paul Dakers
ROB EDMUNDS REPLIES: In winter, the fish hold deeper in the water and are often unwilling to chase a fly moved at pace. They also tend to hold in certain areas rather than moving around a reservoir or stillwater, meaning they won't come to you – so you must find them. I always keep things extremely simple. Fish a single fly on a six to 12-foot leader of 8lb fluorocarbon. As regards patterns, all you will need are lures around 2.5 to three inches long. Black & Green Tadpole, a Cat's Whisker Tadpole, a Black & Green Booby or a Cat's Whisker Booby are all you will ever need! Fish the Tadpoles on a 10 to 12-foot leader on an intermediate line and work the bottom half of the water column. So, count the fly down five, 10, 15 seconds and so on, and then retrieve with slow, steady pulls or a medium figure of eight. Your other option is to fish a Booby on a sinking line. Anything from a fast intermediate to a Di-3 would be appropriate but with a much shorter leader of between six and eight feet. Again, make a cast and count the fly down at least 15 seconds before figure-of-eighting it back. If you do not catch within 15 minutes move spot and keep moving until you find the fish. Both methods will work and there is no need to change.
You've got to find the fish during winter, they won't come to you.
Four lures for the cold Black & Green Booby Hook: Size 8-10 comp heavy Thread: Black Tail: Sparkler tinsel overlaid with black marabou Body: Blob chenille – rear quarter fluo green and front three quarters black Head: Black foam booby eyes