Highs, lows and hilo

Shooting Times & Country|May 06, 2020

Highs, lows and hilo
There is nothing like the joy — and despair — of a quiet day fishing in the sunshine to escape the troubles of the world, Jamie Tusting.
Jamie Tusting

Saturday morning broke bright, sunny and windy. It felt like the first Saturday in a long time that the weather was pleasant enough to spend all day outside. It was strange then that, only a few days before, the country had been told to stay indoors.

When that announcement came through, I thought not of whether I needed to bulk buy pasta, but about the fishing trips I had planned over the next few months. Trout fishing in Derbyshire, sea trout in Denmark and the possibility of sharks off Penzance. All of them were put abruptly on hold.

It wasn’t long before my innovative fishing friends found a way to pursue their passion for the sport and I was promptly added to a WhatsApp group named “fly-tying through corona”.

Though I have persevered with fishing for quite some years, I have never had the inclination to tie my own flies. Perhaps this had been due to the lack of a willing tutor, or possibly the lack of time in an otherwise hectic life. But with time now a luxury we all had, I was up for the challenge. It didn’t take me long to find a fly-tying starter kit online and troutcatchers.co.uk despatched my purchase within hours.

Fun and rewarding

I very quickly found tying flies to be fun and rewarding, despite being rather fiddly and at times frustrating. After a few attempts at a pheasant tail nymph and a botched march brown, I began to think about how I could put my newly acquired skill to practical application sooner than the end of the lockdown.

With a 25-acre lake only a short walk away, and knowing I could fish it without seeing another soul, I flicked through Flytying for Beginners in search of a pike fly. With no luck, I resorted to YouTube. After digging out from my fishing bag a hook that had previously been used for dead baiting pike, I tied what looked almost like a pike fly. It was supposed to be a Hilo, but in the end it was merely big, red and shiny.

When I arrived at the sparkling blue waters of the lake on that blustery Saturday, I found that the wind was puffing straight at me. Having broken my shoulder in early January, I was still struggling to wield a fly rod at full strength, so casting into the wind became an almost impossible battle.

“On such a lovely day, I couldn’t have felt further from the melee of the current world”

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May 06, 2020