Monday 7th January 2014, the festivities are over and for the majority of us it is back to work. Unless of course you have done the sensible thing and booked some winter sun, perhaps Bonefishing or stalking a giant GT on the Seychelles flats, wandering through the New Zealand back country or … hang on, swift slap to the cheek required at this point, no such luck, stop dreaming, you are (I am) here, the deluge continues, gales howl all about and no doubt sometime soon the snow will join in too. Happy New Year!!!
Nothing for it then, it’s time to turn the negative into a positive and look forward to the new season. Technically here at Exe Valley the season never ends and even during the storms a good few anglers turned out, but personally I quite like the break. It adds to the anticipation of it all, although if the rivers & canals ever manage to recover from the recent tsunami I will be off chasing Pike. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon!
Whoops, bit of negativity creeping in there again and do you notice that yet again it’s our weather which is to blame? So this year what I am looking forward to in 2014 is an absolute perfect set of weather conditions, especially as I have personally written to the weather. After all my children wrote to Santa and their wishes came true!
As you may have noticed over the last couple of years, probably more like 5, you along with jet streams and various other atmospheric characters have been causing quite a lot of fuss.
I realise that you have quite a difficult job and therefore to assist I have written a list of the weather that we will need this year for a perfect fishing season.
To assist with this task you will note that I have only gone so far as June for the moment, to give you time to organise all the conditions required.
January – Get it over with, throw everything at us in January, there is not much to fish for with a fly anyway unless you are one of those crazy people who doesn’t mind freezing your knackers off for a super early Scottish spring salmon. Rain, gales, snow, hail, thunder, lightening … just go for it, get it out of your system. Sky News will love you! And Northface, Berghaus, Schoffel … and probably Simms.
February – It’s time for some of those amazing blue skies that you are capable of, lit up by the strange orb we see so infrequently these days and with just a hint of what spring may hold. Having survived the January onslaught and realised just how much we managed to spend on those few short days back in December, we deserve it. Anyway the rods are getting dusty and we need a feed of Trout to maintain that healthy diet resolution we made. So it’s a small stillwater visit in the SUN, preferably with a mid morning midge hatch and of course nothing more than a gentle breeze, although I am quite happy to settle for flat calm.
March – Now it’s getting important, so listen good weather! The Trout fishing season opens on 15th here on the West Country Rivers and in case you haven’t noticed for the past few months you have been subjecting the inhabitants of our rivers to a physical endurance test on a minute by minute basis.
All good, the Trout which made it through will be hard as nails and willing to show us their metal when they mistake our Klinkhammers for their lunch. We would have preferred that you hadn’t been washing out the few Salmon redds remaining but I guess we can’t have everything and at least this year you haven’t emptied most of the contents of our fish farms into the river. So, pleeeease could we ensure that you don’t just stop raining altogether and dry out all of the rivers but at the same time we have some more blue sky, more sun and very little wind. Could you even sneak in a double figure temperature or two as well please? I don’t want to be guiding in my gloves until May again!
Which means no East winds. You hear?! Not one. Our technical layering wardrobe will cope with some North if you really must, but again I implore you not to blow from the East. How about a nice South Westerly? Coincidentally a SW would blow upstream here on the Exe. Perfect.
April – I know we are sticking all sorts of chemicals into the air, digging up fields and chopping down trees to make way for yet another dolls house development but that was kind of a favour from us to you. Look at all the fun you have been having as you overflow our drains while we call cobra meetings to debate just why we seem so incapable of defending against you. You have been around for billions of years and for the last 5 or so you have been misbehaving very badly. Don’t we deserve at least one year off?
So April 2014 must be different. The big reservoirs have all opened their doors now and so we need some decent 14 to 15 Celsius (that’s 57 to 59 Fahrenheit) and of course you can forget the East wind too. Instead by all means cover up the sun with some cloud and push our rowing boat along at a nice steady pace, preferably not requiring the drogue. Now we can control our flies while relaxing to the gently lapping sound of water as once again the floating line slides away and then snaps tight into a razor finned overwintered Rainbow.
May – Weather you completely screwed this up in 2013 so having learned your lesson let’s try and get it right in 2014 shall we? This is proper late spring now and that means summer is not far off, but it’s not summer yet so remember we still need some rain. Here’s an idea, why not piss down (gently) all night? We don’t need to be out until all hours for the Sea Trout at the moment but having enjoyed such amazing conditions last month (see above) I have to say I am all but fished out on the reservoir at the moment.
I want to be out on the river with the trees radiating incredible greens while flies hatch all about and wild Brownies guzzle them down with glee. I don’t want dirty water, but it must not be low either. In fact if I make a chart of all the perfect river levels required for Trout and most important of all their favourite family members the Salmon, who like to visit very now and again, could you follow it?
I don’t know what you have against the silver tourists but last year you left them floundering around in the estuaries to be munched upon by seals or caught in illegal nets. Let them run freely upstream, pausing in our favourite pools just as the water begins to steadily drop and clear . This will give them the chance to see the stunning blobs of fur & feather we so carefully crafted during the winter while you tried your best to stove in the double glazing. And in return we will return them (note: it is a good idea to return them whatever the weather!)
June – You see how easy it is weather? 4 months of brilliant fishing have now passed by and because you kept the rivers in tip top condition this month is set to be one of the best. The call of the large stillwater can be heard once again and do you know I quite fancy giving Roadford a crack, it was right back on form last year and after such a great spring those grown on Brownies will be looking to the surface for breakfast, lunch and hopefully supper.
Do you know what, now that the evenings are so long I think I will head out in the afternoon and have a back to front day. Keep the temperature up, don’t let it fall too quickly and if you could manage a decent sunset so much the better. The Brown Trout will come into the margins to play and I will be waiting. Who knows I may even detour on the way home and see if I can tangle with a sea run Brownie or two.
Please note weather that tangle is not used in the context of a “birds nest” which can be caused by high winds or possible run ins with a wayward branch. If you could see fit to allow just enough light to assist with the visibility of such obstructions then you will have managed half a season of perfection. Well done … but it is not over yet, so have a word with that jet stream and make sure it doesn’t get up to its old tricks. If you read the papers you will know that in these austere times many cutbacks have been made, other than to MPs expenses so it seems … so the less they need to have a Cobra meeting to discuss you; the better!
I am so excited at the prospect of enjoying perfect conditions this year that I am going to close now and leave you to muse over my various requests, but please look out soon for another letter to complete the year.
My kids said that the best place to send my letter to the weather is the North Pole, because all the magical stuff happens up there and hopefully by now it may have arrived. Certainly the weather seems to be listening as looking outside it is following up on my request to throw everything at us in January!
And of course if you have any wishes to add to my list please comment below and I will make sure the weather receives them, along with my next 6 months of requests!
I have a feeling that this season is going to be perfect!