Hop To It
Trout & Salmon|January 2018

Richard Donkin has a no-nonsense approach to tackle and amphibians.

IT’S DARK OUT there, the snowdrops may be on their way but they’re not yet in bloom. There’s snow on the hills and grue in the river. You may be one of the lucky ones, heading south for the rivers of New Zealand or Argentina, or you may, like me, be thinking of some winter pike on the fly. Or maybe it’s time to catch up on some reading with a dram by the fire, and there’s always the grayling.

No doubt about it, fishing can be all year round, if that’s what you want. But I like to go with the seasons and, much as I love the river bank, I’m happy to give it a rest for a little while. Besides, there’s all the stuff I need to do for the year ahead.

Not least of this is a thorough tackle overhaul. There’s nothing worse than packing your kit in the spring and finding a reel with specks of mildew on the line, or flies scattered around different boxes, wedged where you last put them during a hasty change between casts.

That’s not true. There is one thing worse, and that’s feeling the icy reminder of that leak in your waders that dampened your socks at the end of the summer. You tolerated it then because the week was almost over. Then you wrapped up your waders and forgot all about it. In fact, once you’ve aired them the waders look perfectly dry and clean. It’s amazing how a leak doesn’t look so leaky with time and distance between you and the river.

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